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"Changeably meaning vocable scriptsigns": Protean parody in Joyce s "Telemachiad" (Text)

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  • Recent Joyce criticism makes clear that the richness and variety of his parody stems from traditional methods adapted to meet the needs of a modernist sensibility. On the one hand, criticism confirms Joyce s continued use of traditional parodic comparisons. On the other, recent criticism consistently reveals Joyce s departures from traditional parody and his explorations of new parameters of parody as a theory of language itself. The premise for this dissertation is that the "Telemachiad" of Ulysses serves as a turning point in Joyce s attitude toward, and use of parody. In each episode, Joyce steps away from tradition and suggests new parodic possibilities. The three episodes become a didactic introduction to the balance of Ulysses and the entirety of Finnegans Wake. The impetus toward a Joycean parody emerges indirectly in Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. In these works, Joyce already minimizes traditional parodic associations, rendering them largely into allusive suggestions. More strikingly, Joyce brings the parodic model into the text, creating parodies within individual stories as well as throughout the series of stories themselves. In "Telemachus," Joyce subverts the tradition of the single parodic model by employi ng multiple models in the formation of his characters. Buck Mulligan becomes a trickster-protean figure, his whole composed of segments of multiple identities. Similarly, Joyce creates the character of the milkwoman, who possesses no single identity but, like Buck, is a composite of parodic inferences. In "Nestor" Joyce systematically breaks parody away from history. For the Joycean text the positivistic premise of history has outworn its usefulness. It is replaced by Joyce, in "Proteus," with a parody that exists vertically in layers of the text--a parody that no longer looks to the historic paradigm but to the present parameters of the text. The text Joyce creates is, a text where the language act self-consciously predominates, where, in order to be understood, language must be processed through parodic means. Ultimately, the point of Joycean parody is its protean nature, the abilities of its structures and language to continually generate new meaning.
  • 2006-08-11
  • English
  • ksl:etd-1056657886
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