27 November - Ulysses, the Cattle Economy and the Unwritten Agrarian Code

Dr Heather Laird (UCC)

Department of English

Wednesday 27 November 2019 3-4 pm
O'Rahilly Building, Room 2.12

James Joyce’s Ulysses is undoubtedly an urban text, but one with an important rural context.  In this paper, I argue that viewing the novel through a rural lens can reveal much about its treatment of Irish nationalism and the colonial relationship between Ireland and England.  Through a brief mention of the Citizen’s violation of the unwritten agrarian code, the novel points to the breakdown of the relationship between mainstream nationalists and the poorer rural dwellers who had been the driving force behind the nationalist movement in the late nineteenth century.  Irish agrarian capitalism, which is linked in Ulysses to both the nationalist Citizen and the unionist Deasy, is depicted in the novel as reliant upon a bloated cattle industry grounded in Ireland’s colonial relationship with England and thus subservient to the latter’s requirements.

Heather Laird is a lecturer in the School of English, University College Cork.  She is a postcolonial scholar whose research interests include theories and practices of resistance, particularly as they relate to land usage; critical/radical historical frameworks; and Irish culture since the early nineteenth century.  She is the author of Subversive Law in Ireland (2005) and Commemoration (2018).  She is an editor of Sireacht: Longings for Another Ireland, a series of short, topical and provocative texts that critique received wisdom and explore alternative ways of thinking and being.

College of Arts, Celtic Studies & Social Sciences

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College Office, Room G31 ,Ground Floor, Block B, O'Rahilly Building, UCC