Date of Award

1-1-2013

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

English Language and Literatures

First Advisor

Thomas J Rice

Abstract

This thesis is an in-depth study of the implications of digital technologies and information literacy for the reading and scholarly study of James Joyce's novel Ulysses. Because the reading experience of Ulysses depends heavily on both its physicality and the interaction of the reader with the text, the changes in reading practices and scholarly study brought about by digital adaptations and hypermediations of this novel can offer new modes of understanding and characterizing readers relationships with text, as well as how the readers' digital interactions with Ulysses might engender or inhibit potential interpretations.

Each of the three chapters in this study take up a different episode of the novel as a theoretical lens for examining the possibilities and pitfalls of a digital Ulysses. In the first chapter, I argue that the stylistic and structural attributes of Wandering Rocks foster a particular method of cognitive mapping that presupposes digital reading practices, and that the aura of the work of art, conceived as a unique relationship to that work of art, does not fundamentally change in digital environments. In the second chapter, I take up Penelope, the question of the gender of texts and their readers, and the theoretical problems posed by texts' unique history of materiality, in order to argue that readers' desire for completion reveals the bond between materiality and meaning to be flimsy and arbitrary. In the final chapter, the philosophical views of Stephen Dedalus and Mr. Deasy in Nestor serve as the embodiment of the options available to scholars in pursuing the study of Ulysses with the use of currently available digital tools.

This study serves as a means of developing a more nuanced understanding of how the material and stylistic legacy of Ulysses can inform digital remediation and adaptations of the novel. The new reading practices and modes of scholarship fostered by these digital versions of Ulysses not only have the potential to lead to new modes of interpretation, but will also provide the means for reflecting on the literary conditions and cultural milieu into which Joyce was writing.

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