Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis


English Language and Literatures



First Advisor

Thomas J Rice


'Ulysses is like a great net let down upon the life of a microcosmic city-state, Dublin, wherein lie captured all sorts and conditions of men and minds,' wrote Stuart Gilbert, the famous literary scholar whose landmark 1930 book-length investigation into Joyce's magnum opus cemented his legacy as one of the first Joyceans. In saying so, Gilbert quietly proposes an early reading of Joyce's global ethics long before the study of humanities had developed the post-colonial focus necessary to more fully grasp the cosmopolitan ethics asserted in Ulysses. Gilbert was not alone. Because of his self-imposed exile and thematic insistence on Ireland as a nation, Joyce's work is a prime case study for any scholar interested in understanding the complicated interactions between the national and the global. Several critics saw this possibility in Joyce's texts and formulated opinions that now echo contemporary work on the notion of the cosmopolitan. Because these critics did not have the shoulders of cosmopolitan scholars to stand on, the first chapter of this essay demonstrates Joyce's complicated understanding of cosmopolitanism by close reading a significant scene from the Cyclops episode. The second chapter discusses how early Joycean critics demonstrated their knowledge of Joyce's globalized ethics in Ulysses in the colonial rather than the post-colonial era. Together, the chapters demonstrate that the divide between nationalism and cosmopolitanism lives in language - the semiotic collision between ideologues whose signifiers are incapable of reaching the intended signified meaning for each audience. To Joyce, '[n]ationalism has seemed to him as dangerous to intellectual freedom as religion, and the two forces have parallel importance in his maturity.' In Ulysses, Joyce proposes that nationalism oppresses through semiotics.