Joyce, Bakhtin, and postcolonial trialogue: history, subjectivity, and the nation in Ulysses

Chou, Hsing-chun (2002) Joyce, Bakhtin, and postcolonial trialogue: history, subjectivity, and the nation in Ulysses. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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In the light of Bakhtinian theories, this research focuses on Ulysses as a postcolonial modernist text, in which Joyce appropriates modernist aesthetic strategies to serve the purpose of narrating the nation. Bakhtin is helpful here, not only because his theories serve especially well to explain the meeting and intersection of social, political, and cultural forces in periods of transition, but also because his attempt to establish a “historical poetics” helps both to explore discourse as social/individual ideology constituting the text and to interpret the dialogue interaction between sociohistorical forces and textual representation. As Bakhtin seeks to think through the issue of alterity and accentuates the all-importance of dialogue construction, his thought is useful for interpretation of Joyce-s endeavour to turn the hostility of binary opposition into polyphonic orchestration of heteroglossia. Mediating between such binary oppositions as Self and Other, private and public, inside and outside, the Joycean text demonstrates the importance of engagement with the past to transform its nightmarish impact into creative power for the composition of a postcolonial history; the significance of incorporating and negotiating dichotomies in a triangular structure and recognizing their coexistence for the constitution of a postcolonial subjectivity; and the consequence of integrating nationalist projects and cosmopolitan dimensions for the construction of a postcolonial nation. While Bakhtin sheds light on Joyce, Joyce complements what Bakhtin leaves unsaid, enlarging the scope and implication of Bakhtinian theories. The dialogue between the Irish author and the Russian thinker results in mutual enlightenment.

The introductory chapter surveys the relationship between Joyce, Bakhtin, and postcolonial modernism, concentrating on the applicability of Bakhtinian concepts to the Joycean text. From the notion of the chronotope, the first chapter examines Stephen’s ambivalent attitude toward history, and focuses on his transformation of the past in the present time-space for the construction of a divergent and ongoing postcolonial future. The next chapter explores Bloom’s relation to colonial Irish society and inquiries into his shaping of an architectonic self, which results from the reaccentuation of public discourse and the mediation between individualism and collectivism. In the light of dialogism and grotesque realism, the third chapter deals with Molly’s dialogue answers to Bloom’s proposal of liberation, and investigates how her androgynously grotesque body transmits the external body, through her sexual body, into the textual body which is “Penelope.” The concluding chapter focuses on the interillumination of Joyce and Bakhtin: while Bakhtin helps refigure a postcolonial modernist Joyce, Joyce triangulates the binary structure of dialogue, underscoring the significance of trialogue as potential technique for postcolonial construction.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Supervisor's Name: Piette, Dr. Adam
Date of Award: 2002
Depositing User: Elaine Ballantyne
Unique ID: glathesis:2002-1800
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 13 May 2010
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:46

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