The historical consciousness of Ulysses: James Joyce's gendered, national aesthetics
AbstractThrough a Bakhtinian aesthetic paradigm this study ainis to explore the radical modernist space of James Joyce's U4vsses. By contextualizing Ulysses through a gendered version of Baklitin's theorization of modernism, I have endeavoured to deliver readings which take full account of English and British colonial discourses while being sensitive to subaltern voices and Irish discourses of nationhood. Locating Uýysses within the heteroglossia of the Irish Literary Revival, through a chronotopicity -, N-hich also looks back into Irish history and forward to the years of struggle in Ireland's fight for independence, I have attempted to discover the polyphony of counter-histories in Joyce's gendered, national aesthetic. Firstly then, in an initial theoretical chapter, through dialogue with 'post-colonial' and feminist theories I explore the writings of Mikhail Bakhtin and construct readings of his concepts which are most pertinent to the production of a gendered dialogics. In Chapter Two I contextualize my approach through contemporary Irish formations which theorize gendered discourses of nationhood. Although it is through Ulysses and the genre of the polyphonic novel that I will assert Joyce's national politics, a reading of "The Dead" also delivers a discourse of resistant Irish nationhood. In the third chapter I will consider Joyce's location within modernist aesthetics and the epic tradition. I will argue that Joyce does not reject epic locations out of hand, but rather that he invokes such histories in order to subject them to the dialogizing forces produced by his feminized subjects. I wIII develop an argument which suggests that Joyce achieves linguistic and aesthetic metamorphosis through the dialogism produced by his women's interactions with female symbols of Irish Sovereignty, and not a metamorphosis of the female bodily form through the epic locations of symbolic decolonization. In Chapter Four I will focus on the "Nausicaa" episode through the textual and sexual encounters of Gerty MacDowell and Leopold Bloom. The two halves of "Nausicaa" are not stylistically isolated and Joyce's textual Gerty forces dialogism. If Gerty's feminized narrative is marginalized. by the authority of Joyce's Blooniian project then the masculine form of the second half of "Nausicaa" is also subjected to review through the dialogism which Gerty creates and occupies. In *Nausicaa" Joyce examines popular forms of the novel and subjects influential modernist forms to review, as well as carrying out a self-referential questioning of his own stylistic questioning. A fifth chapter develops Bakhtin's carnival paradigm as a structure for the unofficial theatre of "Circe" in order to explore the ways in which Joyce draws into his text real histories - and so his text intervenes in history by supplying counter-hi stories. In the final chapter I will map the bodily aesthetics of Molly Bloom. Formally "Penelope" is no simple monologue which concludes Joyce's national polyphony, but rather Molly resists the night world of sleep so that her text inay inform the previous episodes of Uýysses with the authority of a gendered, cyclical time which can replace the closure of the beginning and end of a literary world. Rather than refracting Joyce through the topography of exile, this study locates him as the producer of Irish, decolonizing discourses of nationhood. Joyce's aesthetic subversion of controlled narratives of representation is forced by Joyce's feminized subjects, and his women in particular; they are the carnival texts who occupy the chronotopic sites of the boundary and the threshold from which diev are able to force dialogism. From such sensitized time-spaces of counter-hi stories Joyce's Ulyssean Nvomen create new contexts for discourse and infuse national narratives with the possibilities of an open-ended future.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
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