“Write the Dirty Words Big and Underline Them and Kiss Them and Hold Them for a Moment” — James Joyce’s Dirty Epistles

Penelope -- Itmar Lerner

Anyone who’s read the “Circe/Nighttown” chapter of James Joyce’s Ulysses knows that Joyce had more than a passing interest in masochism, gender-role reversals, scatology, and other aspects of “deviant” sexuality (we put the word in quotations in an attempt to remove it from any pejorative or judgmental connotations and at the same time recognize that Joyce aspired to shock or otherwise disrupt his audience in his depictions of sexuality). But if you want to read something really filthy, something purposefully obscene, check out Joyce’s dirty letters to his wife Nora, written over a three month period in 1909 when the couple were separated due to a business trip. Joyce shows a particular fetish for coprophilia, expresses a desire to wear his wife’s underwear, and meticulously describes his wife’s farts. Gross stuff.


  1. cgstein · January 25, 2010

    James James…I had no idea…. How ironic that I am just beginning to read Ulysses for the first time. Now all I’m going to be able to think about is Joyce wanting to sex up his wife after she poo-ed her pants…eck


  2. Pingback: Blah Blah Bloomsday | biblioklept
  3. Pingback: Bloomsday | biblioklept

Your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s