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Constructed by Music: An Analysis of Sounds in Ulysses with a Focus on "Sirens"

Author: XuZuoJia
Tutor: WangYouGui
School: Guangdong University of Foreign Studies
Course: English Language and Literature
Keywords: "Sirens" Music Ulysses James Joyce
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Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2008
Downloads: 87
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Abstract


This thesis relies heavily on textual analysis of Ulysses with a focus on "Sirens" episode from the perspective of musicality in order to fathom Joyce’s intention to experiment the possibilities to put "music" large into a novel, to explore the functions of musical elements in the novel and to grope for Joyce’s special ways of creating musicality in literary works. The thesis is divided into five chapters and a conclusion:Chapter One is the Introduction. This part introduces James Joyce’s musical talent and his Ulysses to show the possibility of his efforts to bring music to his literary work. Besides, a literature review of relevant studies is summarized and the aim and methodology are also indicated in this part.Chapter Two presents and compares the main plots of siren story in mythology and that of "Sirens" episode in order to reveal that siren story in mythology is the musical foundation of "Sirens".Chapter Three uses comparisons to prove that "Sirens" has borrowed the structure of fugue while the whole novel the structure of sonata. The aim of employing musical forms is not to show off the writer’s knowledge but to tame the overflowing stream of consciousness.Chapter Four shifts to the direct analysis of musical sounds in Ulysses, with the focus on representative sounds of the main characters and background sounds. As the analysis goes on, the intricate text at the first reading gradually becomes legible and meaningful.Chapter Five goes deeper to the music created by the pronunciations of words. In this part, Joyce’s ways of creating musicality and the effects are discussed.The last part is the Conclusion, in which an attempt is made to answer the questions put forward in the Introduction. In addition, the limitations and suggestions for further studies are pointed out in this part.

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