"Romantic Legacies in the work of James Joyce"
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This dissertation considers the influence of the Romantic writers; William Blake, William Wordsworth and Percy Bysshe Shelley in the work of James Joyce; specifically considering the Joycean epiphany as a central concept of his writing and examines its relation to Romantic ideology. This study explores Joyce’s definition, his perception of the artist, – evidence of his preoccupation with Byron and the Romantics – and how his reinvention of the term relates to Harold Bloom’s theory of revisionism. The introduction outlines a premise referred to as the gnomon hypothesis which can be applied in understanding Joyce’s epiphany concept. The relationship between epiphany and sublimity is explored, referring to Edmund Burke with a view to identify common traits which occur in Joyce’s epiphanic moments and the sublime realisations of Shelley. When comparing Blake and Joyce, the writer’s fluctuating stance on religion is explored, alongside further examination of how their work relates to Bloom’s revisionism. The notion of the Blakean imagination is applied to Joyce’s work in order to establish whether parallels exist between the two. The likenesses between Wordsworth’s ‘spots of time’ and the Joycean epiphany are also explored,investigating the common themes they share: the soul, the imagination and radiant geometry. David Ellis’s exploration of The Prelude is also examined, notably applying the Freudian theory of the Uncanny, with a view to ascertain whether the two writer’s interpretation of epiphanies conform to Freud’s premise.
Dissertation by Simon Middleton for the BA English & Creative Writing course, submitted May 2012.
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