Abstract

The National Museum on Kildare Street, which Leopold Bloom visits in Ulysses, was an institution whose curatorial policies reflected ongoing debates about Ireland’s cultural history and colonial status. This essay argues that Ulysses reimagines the work of Ireland’s National Museum: where nationalists linked Irish identity to the ancient Celtic past through the Museum’s archaeological artifacts and loyalists and imperialists used the Museum’s administration to reaffirm Britain’s control over Ireland’s people and material history, Ulysses shows how the Museum could support alternative formulations of Irish identity. Additionally, the essay claims that Joyce represents the Blooms’ home as a museum of the ordinary, paralleling its collection to that of the National Museum. Although he uses both locations to suggest how museums might productively “curate” colonial people, Ulysses ultimately makes the case that museums could best represent life and identity in colonial Ireland through common domestic objects.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1938-6036
Print ISSN
0021-4183
Pages
pp. 353-370
Launched on MUSE
2016-08-12
Open Access
No
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