'Disappointed Bridges': Language, Identity and Historiography in the Works of James Joyce and Samuel Beckett
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
This thesis investigates the ambivalent and sceptical relationship towards language and linguistic representation shared by James Joyce and Samuel Beckett. The motivations behind the subversive approaches to language enacted by the two writers are both literary and political: both question the ability of language to represent external reality, and seek to expose and subvert the ways in which linguistic representations, and language in general, are mediated by ideological and social values which often reflect the political goals of those who create or use them. The discussion of Joyce focuses on Ulysses (1922), but I also discuss to a lesser extent Dubliners (1914), A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Finnegans Wake (1939). The main focus of the discussion of Beckett is his so-called 'Trilogy' of novels, Molloy (1955), Malone Dies (1956) and The Unnamable (1958),1 and his plays Krapp's Last Tape (1958) and Happy Days (1960). Wherever appropriate, the relevant works of one author are referred to during discussions of the other.