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Title: Joyce, Weininger, sex and character : a comparative study
Author: Elbay, Caroline
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 9964
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis investigates and traces the influences and theories of the infamous Viennese philosopher, Otto Weininger (1880-1903) throughout the prose works of James Joyce, ranging from Dubliners to Ulysses. A notorious figure in modern European history, Weininger committed suicide shortly after the publication of Geschlecht and Character: Eine Principelle Untersuchung (Sex and Character: An Investigation of Principles), a work which began as his doctoral thesis, and in which he set out to ‘prove’ that women and Jews possessed neither a moral nor rational self, and were therefore undeserving of emancipation and equality at any level. Weininger’s oeuvre had a remarkable impact on some of the finest intellects of the era, including Karl Kraus, Franz Kafka, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and James Joyce; and while it is highly prejudiced, it provides a comprehensive, and emotionally charged ideological critique of modernity, and in particular, both the ‘Jewish question’ and the ‘woman question’. Whilst many readers have concentrated on interpreting his work from a psychoanalytical perspective, this thesis investigates Weininger’s magnum opus primarily from a socio-historical perspective, tracing and comparing Weiningerian concerns (including and particularly the ‘woman question’, ‘the Jew’, and the new ‘womanly man’) throughout the prose works of James Joyce, whose development of these ideas reveal an apprehension in which he seemingly first adopts, but ultimately parodies and dispenses with Weininger’s highly contentious theories. Indeed, close examination of Weininger’s ideas and their incorporation into subsequent modernist texts suggests how his legacy of prejudice remains relevant, and may still affect Western culture today. Contrary to Weiningerian philosophy, however, Joyce’s epic, Ulysses, carries a universal message in which Bloom, the Jew, has been transformed into a trope or symbol standing against such intolerance, self-hatred and hypocrisy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available