Date of Award
Master of Arts
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.
Michelle Lynn Lecuyer
Lecuyer, Michelle Lynn, "Dante's Literary Influence in Dubliners: James Joyce's Modernist Allegory of Paralysis" (2009). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 10625.