Allusions in Ulysses: An Annotated List

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University of North Carolina Press, 1968 - Literary Criticism - 554 pages
This comprehensive list of allusions found in James Joyce's modern classic, Ulysses, is in itself a classic and is a feat of literary scholarship of unprecedented magnitude. In brief, this book is a copiously annotated list of Joyce's allusions in such areas as literature, philosophy, theology, history, and the fine arts. So awesome an undertaking would not have been possible without the prior work of such persons as Stuart Gilbert, Joseph Prescott, William York Tindall, M.J.C. Hodgart, Mabel Worthington, and many others. But the present list is more than a compilation of previously discovered allusions, for it contains many allusions that have never been suggested before, as well as some that have only been partially or mistakenly identified in earlier publications.

In preparing this work, the author has kept its usefulness to the reader foremost in mind. He often refreshed the reader's memory in concerning the context of an allusion, since its context, in one sense or another, is always the guide to its function in the novel. The entire list is fully cross-referenced and keyed by page and line to both the old and new Modern Library editions of Ulysses. In addition, the index is prepared in such a way that it indexes not only the List but also the novel itself.

The purpose of allusion in a literary work is essentially the same as that of all other types of metaphor -- the development and revelation of character, structure, and theme -- and, when skillfully used, it does all of these simultaneously. Joyce's use of allusion is distinguished from that of other authors not by its purposes, but by its extent and thoroughness. Ulysses involves dozens of allusive contexts, all continually intersecting, modifying, and qualifying one another. Here again Joyce's uniqueness and complexity lie not in his themes or characters, nor in his basic methods of developing them, but in his accepting the challenge of an Olympian use of his chosen methods. The value of this volume to Joyce scholars and students is obvious; however, its usefulness to anyone who reads Ulysses is as great, if not greater. It can truly be the key to this difficult but rewarding novel.

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About the author (1968)

Weldon Thornton is professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is also the author of J. M. Synge and the Western Mind.

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