Date of Award

Spring 5-14-2021

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

First Advisor

Marilynn Richtarik

Second Advisor

Randy Malamud

Third Advisor

Tanya Caldwell

Abstract

Criticism of James Joyce’s Ulysses has often centered on the novel’s unconventional narrative structure. Most critics recognize a consistent style in the first six episodes of the novel, but, beginning with the seventh episode, “Aeolus,” the narration changes rapidly and dramatically. This proliferation of voices has led many critics to suggest that the novel represents a break from the traditional view of literature as imitating nature. To the contrary, I argue that Ulysses should be read as a work of representational fiction modeled in large part on the multi-perspectival nonfiction of Daniel Defoe, especially his extended journalistic work The Storm (1704). From his reading of Defoe, Joyce realized that a complex subject is best captured through the use of diverse, often contrasting, perspectives, genres, and styles. Consequently, while resembling a postmodern work, Ulysses remains in the mimetic tradition, though Joyce’s multiperspectival approach pushes this tradition to its limit.

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