ABSTRACT

MollyBloomemergesinthe"Penelope"episodeofUlysseslikea fragmentedimageinacubistpaintingseenfromanumberofsimultaneousbutconflictingperspectives.Shehasbeenportrayedina widerangeofparadigmaticfeminineroles,fromlatter-dayEmma Bovarytomythicearth-goddess-asasensuousIrishmatronwhose emotionalresourcesarerapidlydwindling,andinthemetaphorical guiseofasereneGea-Telluswhoreplicatesthematernalandseductiveaspectsofthearchetypalfemale.Ifoneweretojudgefrom currentcriticaldebate,Mollywouldseemtobeeitherafictional embodimentofthe"eternalfeminine"oramiddle-aged,cranky, anderotically-mindedhousewifefrightenedoflosinghertenuous powersofsexualallure. 1

Joyceencouragedanepicinterpretationofherfigurewhenhe confessedinalettertoHarrietWeaverthathehad"triedtodepict theearthwhichisprehumanandpresumablyposthuman"(LettersI, 180).ButtoFrankBudgenhesketchedMolly'smorefleshlyaspects, describingheras"perfectlysanefullamoralfertilisableuntrustworthyengagingshrewdlimitedprudentindifferentWeib .lchbinder FleishtierstetsbeJaht"(LettersI,170).BylabelingMollythe"flesh thatalwaysaffirms,"Joyceinviteshisreaderstoapproachthe "Penelope"episodevoyeuristically,asatextualexhibitionof

femininesexualityrevealedthroughuncensoredandunsublimated stream-of-consciousnessmonologue.