Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dorothy McMahon, George McCelvey, William McMahon

Degree Program

Department of English

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Contemporary literary theorists, very much aware of themselves as constituting a break in, and a refutation of, an entire classical metaphysics, are trying to prove that James Joyce, the foremost prose writer of the twentieth century, writing when that classical view was falling from grace and the modern perspective was forcing itself upon the intellectual world, is, in fact, in his work--all works considered as one work--undermining the very tradition which critics consider his foundation. Consequently, the way in which Ulysses and Finnegans Wake are read and valued will be linked to an entire theory of literature.

The body of this paper will comprise a general overview of criticism which has attempted to measure Ulysses subsequent to its publication; an analyzation of the direct influence of one of the earliest language theorists, Giambattista Vico, on Joyce's Ulysses; a brief review of the classical metaphysics; a detailed presentation of the Deconstructionist position; and an investigation into ways in which Joyce, and Ulysses, may be viewed as Modern and as Contemporary. In the conclusion, the writer, using E. D. Hirsch's probability theory as presented in Validity in Interpretation, will set forth her criteria for measuring the likelihood that Deconstructionists will be able to move Joyce from his Modern position to a Contemporary one.


Arts and Humanities | English Language and Literature | Literature in English, British Isles