Dante's Literary Influence in <i>Dubliners</i>: James Joyce's Modernist Allegory of Paralysis

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2009-01-01
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Lecuyer, Michelle
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Kj Gilchrist
Susan Yager
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English

The Department of English seeks to provide all university students with the skills of effective communication and critical thinking, as well as imparting knowledge of literature, creative writing, linguistics, speech and technical communication to students within and outside of the department.

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The Department of English and Speech was formed in 1939 from the merger of the Department of English and the Department of Public Speaking. In 1971 its name changed to the Department of English.

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1939-present

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  • Department of English and Speech (1939-1971)

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Although the influence of Dante Alighieri on James Joyce's major works has been the subject of much critical commentary, the importance of Dante in Joyce's first book, Dubliners, has been largely overlooked. In this collection of fifteen short stories, Joyce draws extensively upon the Inferno--the first canticle of Dante's moral allegory of salvation, The Divine Comedy--to portray Dublin as a city and a people trapped in a state of paralysis. By incorporating elements of the Inferno's structure, setting, characterization, and imagery into Dubliners, Joyce makes a conscious decision to participate in the tradition of allegory. But because his Modernist aesthetic raises concerns about the lack of guidance in the modern world, the instability of language, and the seemingly impossible hope for spiritual salvation, Joyce also subverts Dante's allegory. Ultimately, Joyce distinguishes his own artistic vision, creating a new, radical allegory of the modern world as paralysis.

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Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2009