Quill In the passage, quoted in the blathe on girlish and referenced in the blathe on boyish, from Joyce's "Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man," a boy (more accurately, the young man Joyce was at the time he wrote the book) is writing about a 16-year-old boy's perceptions of and thoughts about a most girlish (from this man's perspective) girl.

Surely then this passage from "Portraits" can be designated "boyish," even though self-denominated Joycean experts insist on calling it "girlish" and so perpetuate an error one of them made long ago.

Now, also in the blathe on boyish, an as usual carefully considered opinion has been offered by our fellow blather amy that Molly's soliloguy at the end of Joyce's "Ulysses" is "also" (i.e., like the passage from "Portrait,") "on the boyish side."

I beg to differ. First, in the soliloquy, the distinction is between "mannish" and "womanish," not "boyish" and "girlish." The character, Molly, who predominates in the soliloquy, is clearly by virtue of age a woman, while the female character in "Portrait," while clearly postpubescent, could be and probably is young enough to be termed a "girl."

Joyce, at the time he wrote "Portrait," was young enough that, while stretching things, he could have been termed a "boy." Also, the male figure in "Portrait" was 16-years-old, probably postpubescent but still young enough to be termed a "boy." When he wrote "Ulysses," Joyce was old enough that he could no longer be termed a "boy." Also, the only male that could make the soliloquy anything other than "womanish" would be Joyce, the author.

The soliloquy is Joyce's, i.e., a man's, description of thoughts and fantasies going on in a woman's (Molly's) head while she is masturbating, these thoughts/fantasies concerning both the sexual encounter she had had earlier in the day to which "Ulysses" relates with a man not her husband and a fantasized sexual encounter with her husband.

There is obviously a "mannish" aspect to the soliloquy, because of the writer's gender. But the soliloquy itself is, perforce of the author's description, a woman's thoughts/fantasies, so there obviously is also a strongly "womanish" aspect to it.

The fact that Joyce was a man would not matter and Molly's soliloquy could confidently be called "purely womanish" to the extent thoughts/fantasies that go through a woman's mind are not fundamentally different from those that go through a man's mind during masturbation, or, even if there be such a difference, Joyce described reasonably well what goes through a woman's mind.

If, on the other hand, what goes through a woman's mind does differ fundamentally from what goes through a man's and Joyce described what was going through Molly's mind as if she were a man, then the soliloquy could not be clearly designated as "mannish" or "womanish."
I would term it then "womanish/mannish."

Sadly I've yet to explore in depth with any women what does go through their heads during masturbation. And I've not researched the issue in the books. So I cannot now resolve whether the soliloquy is "purely womanish" or

Clearly, though, it is not "purely mannish."

Joyce certainly could have intended in the soliloquy to portray more or less accurately what does go through a woman's head while masturbating and then would have taken pains to describe it that way. Still, it would not have been unusual for him to have deliberately chosen to describe what goes on in a man's mind and not have known or cared what goes on in a woman's.
. . 050529
what's it to you?
who go