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Bloomsday 100Essays on Ulysses$
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Morris Beja and Anne Fogarty

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780813034027

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813034027.001.0001

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Barracks and Brothels

Barracks and Brothels

Militarism and Prostitution in Ulysses

(p.96) 6 Barracks and Brothels
Bloomsday 100

Greg Winston

University Press of Florida

This chapter explores a cluster of essential but peripheral female figures in James Joyce's novel Ulysses: the streetwalkers. Its detailed investigation of the trade of prostitution in turn-of-the-century Ireland uncovers its peculiar historical dimensions. It shows that imperialism, militarism, and the sex trade were inextricably connected, a fact that was mirrored in the very geography of Dublin, where barracks and brothels tended to be situated in adjacent districts. In Joyce's writings, the chapter argues, the figure of the prostitute is deployed not only to expose the symbiosis of militarism and female sexual labor and the exploitative effects of imperialism but also to undercut the moral pretensions of Irish nativist philosophy, which condemned the sexual diseases spread by prostitution as a foreign import and refused to acknowledge the all-pervasive importance of sexuality and desire in the human constitution.

Keywords:   James Joyce, Ulysses, streetwalkers, prostitution, Ireland, imperialism, militarism, barracks, brothels, sexuality

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