O, Rocks! The Comedy of Ulysses

Smith, Chase, English - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Smith, Chase, Arts & Sciences Graduate-asg, University of Virginia

Most criticism since the publication of Ulysses has tended to overlook, deny, or otherwise ignore the comedy of the novel. The humor is so central to the book's lessons about love, family, and society that this gap in scholarship is curious to say the least. In this essay, I lay down an overview of Ulysses scholarship headlined by a few key critics and attribute their oversights to a long running preoccupation with self-seriousness and unironic exaggeration. I offer that the comic power of the novel itself has the potential to remedy pretension through laughter. To do this, I focus specifically on reading the characters of Ulysses as an ensemble cast representative of various aspects of comic theory.

MA (Master of Arts)
James Joyce, Comedy, Ulysses
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