[ Back ]


James Joyce's Epiphanies: Theory and Praxis from the Epiphanies to Finnegans Wake.

Author Sam MACDUFF
Director of thesis Professor David Spurr
Co-director of thesis
Summary of thesis In this doctoral thesis I propose to re-examine James Joyce’s Epiphanies (c.1901-04) in the light of his theoretical pronouncements on epiphany and the aesthetic principles he outlined in the Paris and Pola notebooks (1903-04), Stephen Hero (c.1901-06), ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ (essay, 1904) and his novel of the same name (1916). An introductory chapter will locate Joyce’s concept of epiphany in the context of a nineteenth-century poetic tradition dating back to the Romantics, showing how Joyce developed his own theory and practice of epiphany in relation to Wordsworth, Shelley and Pater, amongst others. I intend to follow this theoretical introduction with a detailed analysis of Joyce’s Epiphanies, illustrating the essential difference between the realism and irony of Joyce’s dramatic epiphanies and the lyrical symbolism of the dream epiphanies, which form the twin poles of Joyce’s art. Later chapters will trace the development of Joyce’s epiphanies in Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses (1922) and Finnegans Wake (1939), focusing on a) the way the Epiphanies are recycled in Joyce’s later work and b) Joyce’s changing attitude towards epiphany and the effect this has on the stylistic and linguistic innovations of his later work. In the conclusion I will assess how successful Joyce is at attaining his epiphanic ideals and what we can learn from his failings. I will also endeavour to clarify the connection between the ideals of epiphany and the central concerns of modernism as a whole, identifying Joyce’s unique contribution to the literature of epiphany in relation to his contemporaries.
Status finished
Administrative delay for the defence
URL http://home.adm.unige.ch/~macduff/