Why Leopold Bloom Menstruates

Austin Briggs

in Bloomsday 100

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780813034027
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038162 | DOI:
Why Leopold Bloom Menstruates

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This chapter examines a persistent vein of imagery in James Joyce's Ulysses which cross-associates Bloom with stereotypical properties of Jewishness, particularly those of effeminacy and the peculiar slur of male menstruation. Moreover, the panoply of racist stigmas, as the chapter deftly shows, is inherently contradictory because it simultaneously casts Jews as vengeful and bloodthirsty and as timorous and emasculated. Ultimately, Joyce references and counterpoints the lurid denigrations of anti-Semitism and the discourses of masculinism and athleticism espoused by Irish nationalists such as Michael Cusack and Patrick Pearse in order to refute them. This chapter argues that the unmanliness and pacifism of Stephen and especially of Bloom act as a pointed counter to political ideologies that aggrandize violence and aggression.

Keywords: James Joyce; Ulysses; Jews; effeminacy; male menstruation; anti-Semitism; masculinism; athleticism; violence; aggression; Leopold Bloom

Chapter.  9629 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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