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In the Company of StrangersFamily and Narrative in Dickens, Conan Doyle, Joyce, and Proust$
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Barry McCrea

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231157636

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231157636.001.0001

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Family and Form in Ulysses

Family and Form in Ulysses

(p.101) 3 Family and Form in Ulysses
In the Company of Strangers

Barry McCrea

Columbia University Press

This chapter makes a queer narratological case for Ulysses on the basis of its vision of the family. Queerness here is not by any means coterminous with homosexuality or sexual deviance, but the structural consequences of homosexuality in narrative terms are foundational to the form of Ulysses, to the communal and collective realities that provide the framework and scaffolding of the novel. Ulysses is neither a rediscovery nor a wreckage of Victorian family values but a work and a world structured by an alternative ideology of kinship: a queer family epic. The muted but distinct references to homosexuality in Ulysses are an important sign of the queer vision of human life that underpins its formalist strategies. The great project of Joyce's family plots is the queering of heterosexual family life—as in Dickens and Holmes, homosexuality has a powerful metaphorical role in Ulysses but little concrete presence in the novel.

Keywords:   queerness, Ulysses, James Joyce, Victorian family values, kinship, homosexuality, heterosexual family life

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