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7.13 Sex and Authority

As Manganiello suggests, 'Love and authority are not mutually exclusive but complementary' in Stephen's understanding, and Stephen proposes an alternative peace between the sexes consisting of free love, where a woman gives herself freely, without 'resort to the ''simoniacal'' practice of bargaining for her body'.28 Manganiello notes that this is made explicit by Stephen in Stephen Hero:

A woman's body is a corporal asset of the State: if she traffics with it she must sell it either as a harlot or as a married woman or as a working celibate or as a mistress. [...] But a woman is (incidentally) a human being and a human being's love and freedom is not a spiritual asset of the State. (SH 202)29

The reciprocity of domination and obedience in marriage is satirised in Circe, where in an inversion of sexual stereotypes, Bello places a ring upon Bloom's finger and, declaring 'With this ring I thee own. Say, thank you, mistress' (U 15.3068-69), proceeds to enumerate Bloom's domestic duties. Manganiello suggests that Stephen's call for 'individuated rather than institutionalized sex' is manifested in Molly Bloom, who 'attempts to keep body and soul free from the claims of church and state'.30 Yet, the traditional institutions of marriage are still firmly in place in Ulysses. Moreover, Molly's belief in the deity implicitly accommodates a biological taboo, for while she 'hates confession' and mocks the priest to whom she nevertheless confesses a sexual encounter, she had 'already confessed it to God' (U 18.113). Nor is she averse to offering her sexual favours in exchange for legal tender: 'I'll drag open my drawers and bulge it right out in his face as large as life he can stick his tongue 7 miles up my hole as hes there my brown part then Ill tell him I want 1 or perhaps 30/-' (U 18.1520-23). Bloom's blind eye to his wife's infidelity is related in part to a voyeuristic impulse, rather than a generosity of spirit, and he suffers under the heel of Bello for his marital ineffectualness:


What else are you good for, an impotent thing like you? [...] Where's your curly teapot gone to or who docked on you [...]? It's as limp as a boy of six's doing his pooly behind a cart. [...] Can you do a man's job?


Eccles street ....


(sarcastically) I wouldn't hurt your feelings for the world but there's a man of brawn in possession there. [...] Wait for nine months, my lad! (U 15.3126-42)

Free love cannot be defined as adultery, or conversely the consent to adultery of the cuckold, but rather the freeing of sexual relations from values emanating from power, whether Church, State or capitalism. For free love to occur, sexual and textual letters, that is, sexual union and religious, political and materialist values, must ideally remain separate. Such a concept of free love remains differentiated, for instance, from aspects of the sexual revolution of the 1960s which were overtly political, rather than oriented toward the fulfilment of individual desire: 'The men of the New Left accepted the elision of Marxist alienation with Freudian neurosis and the exploitation of the proletariat with the repression of the sex drive. They adopted the motto ''Make love, not war'' on the assumption that making love was making revolution'.31

Like Stephen, Bloom has also sought escape, trading his position as husband and father for an Earwicker-like position as ineffectual observer. Bloom, as an ensconced deity similar to HCE in the Wake, is afforded the opportunity at the conclusion of Ulysses for revitalisation through a consubstantial son. In effect he chooses an apostolic rather than biological successor. Buck Mulligan also refers to the deity's reincarnation in Bloom: 'Jehovah, collector of prepuces, is no more. I found him over in the museum where I went to hail the foamborn Aphrodite' (U 9.609-10). As both a genetic avatar of the Hebrew deity and a reincarnation of the wandering Odysseus in the age of the mass-man, Bloom is to enter again into the affairs of a material world controlled by the 'dominant' male (in Ulysses, Boylan, the 'man of brawn in possession'; in The Odyssey, Helen's suitors; in the New Testament, the Romans) through the agency of a son. Like Shakespeare, the deity 'is a ghost, a shadow now, the wind by Elsinore's rocks or what you will, the sea's voice, a voice heard only in the heart of him who is the substance of his shadow, the son consubstantial with the father' (U 9.478-81). The allusion to eggs for breakfast at the conclusion of Ulysses indicates a return from his emasculated, celibate presence in Molly's bed to the role of effectual husband in the patriarchal model. Molly's dominance over her 'Henpecked husband' (U 15.3706) is an early model of the 'annadominant' ALP of Book IV, a state which is overturned when the 'word' of the son allows the regeneration of HCE.

In the Wake the Norwegian Captain and ALP resemble Joyce and Nora in their evasion of the legal parameters of marriage, instead 'eloping for that holm in Finn's Hotel Fiord, Nova Norening. Where they pulled down the kuddle and they made fray' (FW 330.24-26). The pragmatism of the mature Bloom, however, is paralleled in the marriages of the Joyces and the Earwickers. In 1931, the Joyce's married officially in order that Georgio and Lucia 'secure the inheritance under will' (Letters III 221). By Book III.4, HCE and ALP have also married, for while an 'elopement fan' (FW 559.3) decorates the lovemaking set, 'Anita' is described as 'the wife of Honophrius' (FW 572.27). Free love is characterised as youthful exuberance, a hope yet to be dashed by the repressive Shaun. In the Mime of Mick, Nick and the Maggies the rainbow girls circling Shaun proclaim a vision of sexual freedom, free distribution of food and universal suffrage as a version of the 'Lord's Prayer':

Hightime is ups be it down into outs according! When there shall be foods for vermin as full as feeds for the fett, eat on earth as there's hot in oven. When every Klitty of a scolderymeid shall hold every yardscullion's right to stimm her uprecht for whimsoever, whether on privates, whather in publics. And when all us romance catholeens shall have ones for all amanseprated. And the world is maidfree. (FW 239.16-22)

Such a state of affairs would correspond with the refrain which follows the defeat of Jarl Van Hoother, 'And they all drank free' (FW 23.7-8), and it is similarly one which is refused by the dominant Shaun.

28 Manganiello, 'The Politics of the Unpolitical', pp. 246-47.

29 Cited in Manganiello, 'The Politics of the Unpolitical', p. 247.

30 Manganiello, 'The Politics of the Unpolitical', p. 247.

31 Beatrice Faust, Apprenticeship in Liberty: Sex, Feminism and Sociobiology (North Ryde, Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1991) p. 331.