The eyes of that cow: Eating animals and theorizing vegetarianism in James Joyce’s Ulysses

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Abstract / Description of output

At the end of the nineteenth century more than half of Ireland’s entire land surface was being used for the raising of livestock, most of which was transported through Dublin on its way to England to be slaughtered and eaten. The same period saw the development of a new social phenomena of vegetarianism amongst Ireland’s intellectuals and literary figures. This article focuses on James Joyce’s portrayal of livestock, meat and vegetarianism in Ulysses, examining how the novel engages with the politics of cattle raising, the emergence of industrialized animal slaughter and the ethics of meat eating at the turn of the twentieth century. Attending to the ways in which Joyce both historicizes and theorizes the lives of animals and the production of meat, this article places Ulysses in dialogue with recent writings on animal ethics by Jacques Derrida and J. M. Coetzee and the emergence of what is being termed “vegan studies” to suggest a vegetarian reading of Joyce’s novel.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2017

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • James Joyce
  • animal studies
  • vegan studies
  • modernism
  • vegetarianism
  • Ulysses
  • meat
  • literary ethics
  • J. M. Coetzee
  • Jacques Derrida


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