Disabled legislators : disability and Irish colonial pathology in James Joyce's Ulysses
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Why are there so many disabled characters in James Joyce's Ulysses? "Disabled Legislators" seeks to answer this question by exploring the variety and depth of disability's presence in Joyce's novel. This consideration also recognizes the unique place disability finds within what Lennard Davis calls "the roster of the disenfranchised" in order to define Joyce as possessing a "disability consciousness;" that is, an empathetic understanding (given his own eye troubles) of the damaged lives of the disabled, the stigmatization of the disabled condition, and the appropriation of disabled representations by literary works reinforcing normalcy. The analysis of four characters (Gerty MacDowell, the blind stripling, the onelegged sailor, and Stephen Dedalus) treats disability as a singular self-concept, while still making necessary associations to comparably created marginal identities-predominantly the colonial Other. This effort reevaluates how Ulysses operates in opposition to liberal Victorian paradigms, highlighting disability's connections to issues of gender, intolerance, self-identification and definition.