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Title: Against Joyce : Ulysses, authorship, and the authority of the reader
Author: Corser, Sophie
ISNI:       0000 0004 7232 2797
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis considers James Joyce’s Ulysses as a text that plays with its own relationships to the author and the reader. It draws out the complexities and contradictions of a Joycean – and Barthesian – sense of ‘play’, by exploring the activity of reading prompted by the novel’s intertextuality and narrative. Alongside such investigation, I trace the history of approaches to the author within and without Joyce studies – to unravel how reading Ulysses interacts with such shifting sand. Through a methodology of ‘reading reading’, I analyse overlooked layers of Homeric orality and scholarship in ‘Eumaeus’, the development of Joyce studies from the 1920s to the present, modern understandings of the concept of the author, irreverent approaches to biography, and how reading ‘Calypso’ and ‘Wandering Rocks’ enacts a clash of readerly and authorial authority. This results in an unusual, looping structure, alternating analysis of Ulysses, Joyce studies, and other texts: exhibiting the impossibility of separately discussing author, reader, text, or – as chapters progress – critic. The thesis asks how one can place limits on where readings of Ulysses take us; how to discuss anti-authorialism in a field as author-centric as Joyce studies; and how the oft-asserted idea that opposites can be simultaneously true in Ulysses offers a valuable way to approach and query critical and theoretical understandings of how authors, readers, and texts interact. Writing ‘against Joyce’ (resisting, preparing for, leaning on) responds to theoretical and critical approaches and habits that pitch reader against author: that declare the birth of the reader must come at the cost of the author, or give greater currency – however veiled – to an author’s understanding of their text, over a reader’s. Above all else, this thesis proposes that to unpick the author question we should focus our attention on the activity of reading: self-aware, self-interrogative reading.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral