City as writing : textual Dublin in Ulysses
Nguyen, Thi Hanh Quyen
Date of Issue2017-05-11
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
This thesis explores how the odyssey of style in James Joyce’s Ulysses multifariously renders the literary representation of Dublin. Rather than focusing on the realness of the city, I challenge the assumption that the fictive Dublin is wholly overlapped with the real geographical one and seek to destabilize the polarization of a textual city as being either real or unreal. Employing an atomist notion of style in which dominant and recessive features of the text are considered the crucial factors constituting its being, I advocate for the existence of a plurality of styles, arguing that Joyce shifts through various modes in portraying his native habitat. As a result, Dublin appears as a compendium of differing texts in “Proteus,” a semantic field of stimuli in “Lestrygonians,” an unconnected urban space in “Wandering Rocks,” and a parareal city in “Circe.” By examining the multiform textuality of Dublin, this study demonstrates that Joyce’s arbitrary styles do not offer an absolute representation of reality but interpretations of it. I posit that Ulysses defies any imposed orders of literary criticism and Joyce’s Dublin is a de-centred city resisting totalization.