Abstract

This essay examines how and why Joyce's long history with censors shaped the themes, style, and eventual form of "Cyclops" at a critical turning point in the composition of Ulysses. It uses genetic materials to track the ways that "Cyclops" reanimates old conflicts with censors, starting with Joyce's 1906 struggle against what he called the "one-eyed printer" who blocked the publication of Dubliners. Written during a period of intensive censorship, "Cyclops," this article argues, goes on the attack against its potential censors in a variety of ingenious ways. Its subversive language ultimately raises questions about the nature of obscenity and suggests that violence is obscene. The episode's challenge to censors aligns with its aggressive representation of a variety of Irish and international audiences. Designating any of these as "that monster audience," "Cyclops" scrutinizes the interpretive habits and collective logic of groups that sentimentalize and revel in executions, lynchings, and other violent spectacles. By provoking its censors and challenging its bloodthirsty audiences, "Cyclops" attempts to clear a cultural space for Ulysses and its cosmopolitan hero.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1938-6036
Print ISSN
0021-4183
Pages
pp. 425-444
Launched on MUSE
2012-12-06
Open Access
No
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