Joyce's Modernist Allegory: Ulysses and the History of the Novel
In Joyce's Modernist Allegory Stephen Sicari suggests that James Joyce's famous experiments with style and technique throughout Ulysses constitute a ... Show synopsis In Joyce's Modernist Allegory Stephen Sicari suggests that James Joyce's famous experiments with style and technique throughout Ulysses constitute a series of attempts to find a language adequate to his purposes -- a language capable of representing an ideal of behavior for the modern world. Addressing Joyce's use of lucid and powerful naturalistic prose in the opening episodes of Ulysses only to abandon such writing as insufficient to his aims, Sicari underlines Joyce's conviction that the novel, constrained by space and time, can end only in death. As a result Joyce begins to play with language, exposing the limitations of the novel as a genre and opening up new possibilities for prose fiction. In this volume Sicari shows how, episode by episode, Joyce tests style after style, voice after voice, in search of an effective way to present his Christian ideal of behavior. Sicari traces the development of Joyce's writing from novel through epic to what Sicari calls "modernist allegory", a kind of writing based on ancient and medieval forms of allegory yet suited to modern concerns. He connects Joyce to the tradition of Christian allegory, inaugurated by Saint Paul and developed by Dante, that sought to represent ideals as based on the Christ event. Sicari contends that Joyce's Christian allegory establishes a spiritual mode of thought for a harsh, literal-minded modern age.