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The Transfigurations of the Characters in Joyce’s Novels

Author: FengJianMing
Tutor: ShiZhiKang
School: Shanghai International Studies University
Course: English Language and Literature
Keywords: transfigurations characters Joyce novels mythologies stream-of-consciousness symbolic
Type: PhD thesis
Year: 2005
Downloads: 493
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MUCH research has been done on James Joyce (1882-1941) and his works. His novels have a huge impact on the rapid development of modernist English literature. He is a“writer with a new form of his own and new aims”(Deming 116). His works, on the whole, are not easy to place in any given literary pigeonhole.“He is one of those rude craftsmen who open up paths whereon many will yet follow”(Deming 116). In a way, he is a school by himself. He tries to express himself by virtue of art as freely and wholly as possible.The study of the Transfigurations of the Characters in Joyce’s novels can be regarded as an approach for the young students to appreciate and understand Joyce’s novels. The content of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) is mainly based on the personal experiences of Joyce as a young man, so he reshapes the experiences, which have ever shaped him. The content of Ulysses (1922) is mainly based on the personal experiences of Joyce as a young man and the real experiences of his acquaintances, so he reshapes the experiences, which have ever shaped him and other people. The content of Finnegans Wake (1939) is mainly based on the fictitious experiences of Joyce as a young man and the fictitious experiences of his acquaintances, so he shapes the fictitious experiences, which have ever appeared in his imagination.It seems to Joyce that the soul of art is like Proteus, who could change his shape at will. Joyce depended on the environments, persons, and events in his life for models of the various characters and occurrences of his works. One of the chief elements Joyce employs to distinguish himself is a variety of creative methods of metamorphosing his familiar environments, persons, and events into his artistic works. Once these environments, persons, and events are transfigured from the so-called“fact”to the page, the so-called“reliable”or“true”essential characteristics of these environments, persons, and events lose much of their relevance. Art is a kind of recreation of reality, so are the characters in Joyce’s novels. The literary method of transfigurations of characters in Joyce’s novels equals creativeness, which can be regarded as an indispensable aspect of his aesthetics. It is employed to emphasize change, implying the artistic representation, or the fictional

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