The Joycean Sublime

Abstract

The purpose of my thesis is to analyze notions of the sublime in James Joyce’s Ulysses and how the sublime is evoked and presented in Joyce’s work. The present work will examine concepts of the sublime from the Classical and Medieval period, through the Enlightenment, and into the Romantic era to develop my own definition. Placing the sublime in a historical perspective allows me to discover how the sublime is at work through Joyce’s creative use of complex narrative approaches. The beauty of aesthetic perfection was achieved by employing all of Joyce’s artistic faculties. My thesis investigates how Ulysses’ experimental writing technique, unique structuring, and difficult prose created a work of genius which evokes the sublime. By analyzing Joyce’s use of language, unconventional narrative, and ambiguity in Ulysses I will explore how the sublime is aroused.

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