Abstract

Abstract:

It is a mysterious quirk of fate that the "Circe" episode's so-called "Bella/Bello scene"—easily the most graphic sex scene in the western canon, depicting no fewer than fifteen distinct paraphilias including sissification, coprophilia, and face-farting—does not define Ulysses in the public imagination. Incredibly, it went altogether unmentioned during the famous 1933 obscenity trial, and to this day the scene remains remarkably underdiscussed in the Joycean community. This essay uses Lacanian theory to investigate the critical silence on the Bella/Bello scene, making the case that the it qualifies as a Lacanian tuché—an encounter with the Real—and is thus uniquely resistant to symbolic interpretation. Still, I argue that the Bella/Bello scene deserves closer critical examination despite its "unspeakable" nature, for a Lacanian reading of "Circe" adds new dimensions to Ulysses as a whole.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1938-6036
Print ISSN
0021-4183
Pages
pp. 303-313
Launched on MUSE
2018-11-12
Open Access
No
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