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

Literature, Writers

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.

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

  1. 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

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