“Throwing Shapes: The Morphing Feminine in Joyce” – Dr. Caroline Elbay

The third talk in our Autumn/Winter lecture series at the James Joyce Centre took place on Monday 4th November 2019. We welcomed Dr. Caroline Elbay, and she gave her lecture entitled, “Throwing Shapes: The Morphing Feminine in Joyce”.

Dr. Elbay discussed in the Modernist literary context, the term ‘metamorphosis’ which elicits immediate associations with Franz Kafka’s novella The Metamorphosis (1915). In which the protagonist, a travelling salesman, Gregor Samsa, awakens one morning to discover that he has been transformed into a bug.

From the ‘bird girl’ and ‘bat-like soul’ of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, to the ‘cold nightsnake’ of Giacomo Joyce and the feminised Bloom in ‘Circe’, this lecture explored how, through metamorphosis – a shifting of form or maturing to adulthood – and anthropomorphism, many of James Joyce’s female (and feminine) characters represent both [wo]man and nation intent on liberation.

Dr. Caroline Elbay lectures at Champlain College Dublin and CEA Study Abroad (Dublin), where she teaches courses in Irish literature; Academic Writing; Popular Culture & Irish Identity; and Irish music. Caroline is the co-founder and facilitator of a life-long learning programme at The James Joyce Cultural Centre, Dublin.