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Festschrift for Tadhg Foley

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Edited By Maureen O'Connor

This Festschrift for Professor Tadhg Foley of the National University of Ireland, Galway, who retired in 2009, gathers together international contributors in the fields of poetry, politics and academia to honour this great man’s life and work. Professor Foley has not only been central in the development of Irish Studies and Colonial/Postcolonial Studies in Ireland and in the United States, but he has also enjoyed a long career as convivial host in his thatched cottage in Salthill, Galway. He remains one of the most popular and beloved figures in Irish academia. Among the eminent scholars included in the volume are Terry Eagleton, Robert Young, Penny Boumelha, David Lloyd, Luke Gibbons, Joep Leerssen and Maud Ellmann. The book is further enriched by poets Bernard O’Donoghue, Louis de Paor, Rita Ann Higgins, Michael D. Higgins and Tom Duddy. This collection is a rare and distinctive gathering of true and resonant voices, offering a unique portrait of late twentieth-century Irish literary and academic culture and its interplay with the United States.

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Noses and Monotheism Maud Ellmann 165

Extract

Noses and Monotheism Maud Ellmann Molly Bloom, musing on Blazes Boylan’s ‘big red brute of a thing’, wonders why ‘his nose is not so big’.1 Her association between these male protuber- ances has a venerable history: in ancient Rome, both women and men fol- lowed long-nosed men into the baths to observe Ovid’s precept, ‘noscitur e naso quanta sit hast viro’.2 This practice of judging ‘a cock by his comb’ has persisted to the present day. Yet if popular culture identifies the nose with phallic prowess, Freud identifies it with the feminine, the animal, and the primitive. James Joyce and Virginia Woolf, on the other hand, invest the nose with the power to disturb the boundaries between male and female, human and animal, evolution and degeneration. Beginning with a brief excursion into the nineteenth-century science of nasology, the present essay examines the repression of the nose in Freudian psychoanalysis, and concludes with an analysis of Joyce and Woolf ’s attempts to reinvigorate the denigrated ‘world of smell’.3 The cock is usually hidden, whereas the comb is usually exposed, and has therefore become a byword for the obvious – ‘as plain as the nose on your face’. The nose sticks out, but it is visible only to others, not to its owner. In this sense the nose epitomizes Lacan’s axiom that ‘the subject is a subject only by virtue of his subjection to the field of the Other’.4 Another mark of this subjection to the Other is the sense of shame, which...

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