Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
James Joyce's Ulysses stands out as the most conscientiously topographical novel ever written, according to the authors of Literary Landscapes of the British Isles. The Dublin which Joyce recreates is the Dublin of physical reality, painstakingly transposed so as to elicit exact details of the city. This detailed locale plays an important role in the novel, revealing many of Joyce's ingenious artistic purposes. The topography of Dublin appears the beginning of Ulysses and is significant until the end of the novel, influencing three major aspects of the work. The aspects referred to include the personality of Dublin as well as her inhabitants, the social commentary of the Liffey river in Dublin and the actual structure of Ulysses as it reveals several themes within the book. The personality of the city itself as well as the characters are clearly reflected by the topographical details which surround them. The introductory geographical location of Stephen and Bloom within the city provides a sharp social commentary on location and status in Dublin. The topography of Dublin also serves a structural purpose in Ulysses, as the movement in and around the various geographical features display three major ideas of the book; these physical elements as reference points to the characters, the isolation of church and state within Dublin and the paternity quest between the two protagonists.
Delea, Mary Beth, "James Joyce's use of topography in Ulysses" (1985). Honors Theses. 428.