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To Go and Sin Once More: Confession and Joyce's ‘Nausicaa’ Episode

To Go and Sin Once More: Confession and Joyce's ‘Nausicaa’ Episode <jats:p> While critics note the saturation of Gerty MacDowell's mind with British commercial culture in the ‘Nausicaa’ episode of James Joyce's Ulysses, less well noted is the language and logic of Ireland's other master, Rome. In addition to the Marian images of piety and purity Gerty would have learned through religious societies like the Children of Mary, one finds elements of the Roman Catholic Sacrament of Reconciliation. Joyce's rejection of the Catholic Church being common knowledge, it is surprising to find that the language and logic of confession which pervades much of Gerty's narrative and thought is not the repressive force one might expect. Instead, the logic of sin and redemption becomes a means for Gerty to embrace and explore her sexuality, to indulge her sexual desire, enhancing her enjoyment while allowing her to defer moral judgment. Through Gerty, Joyce diagnoses confession's functional importance in the mental, social, and sexual lives of many Irish of his day, complicating our assessments of modernist attitudes towards organized religion. </jats:p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Modernist Cultures Edinburgh University Press

To Go and Sin Once More: Confession and Joyce's ‘Nausicaa’ Episode

Modernist Cultures , Volume 10 (2): 201 – Jul 1, 2015

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
© Edinburgh University Press 2015
Subject
Articles; Film, Media and Cultural Studies
ISSN
2041-1022
eISSN
1753-8629
DOI
10.3366/mod.2015.0109
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

<jats:p> While critics note the saturation of Gerty MacDowell's mind with British commercial culture in the ‘Nausicaa’ episode of James Joyce's Ulysses, less well noted is the language and logic of Ireland's other master, Rome. In addition to the Marian images of piety and purity Gerty would have learned through religious societies like the Children of Mary, one finds elements of the Roman Catholic Sacrament of Reconciliation. Joyce's rejection of the Catholic Church being common knowledge, it is surprising to find that the language and logic of confession which pervades much of Gerty's narrative and thought is not the repressive force one might expect. Instead, the logic of sin and redemption becomes a means for Gerty to embrace and explore her sexuality, to indulge her sexual desire, enhancing her enjoyment while allowing her to defer moral judgment. Through Gerty, Joyce diagnoses confession's functional importance in the mental, social, and sexual lives of many Irish of his day, complicating our assessments of modernist attitudes towards organized religion. </jats:p>

Journal

Modernist CulturesEdinburgh University Press

Published: Jul 1, 2015

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