On the Opposite Shore: Challenging Male Heroism and Reinstating the Female Voice in James Joyce's Ulysses and Hilda Doolittle's Helen in Egypt

Postgraduate Thesis uoadl:2962414 13 Read counter

Unit:
Speciality The Greek Element in Anglophone Literature
Library of the School of Philosophy
Deposit date:
2021-10-11
Year:
2021
Author:
Pantazis Nick
Supervisors info:
Ευαγγελία Σακελλίου, Καθηγήτρια, Τμήμα Αγγλικής Γλώσσας και Φιλολογίας, Εθνικό και Καποδιστριακό Πανεπιστήμιο Αθηνών
Σταματίνα Δημακοπούλου, Επίκουρη Καθηγήτρια, Τμήμα Αγγλικής Γλώσσας και Φιλολογίας, Εθνικό και Καποδιστριακό Πανεπιστήμιο Αθηνών
Κώστας Μπλατάνης, Επίκουρος Καθηγητής, Τμήμα Αγγλικής Γλώσσας και Φιλολογίας, Εθνικό και Καποδιστριακό Πανεπιστήμιο Αθηνών
Original Title:
On the Opposite Shore: Challenging Male Heroism and Reinstating the Female Voice in James Joyce's Ulysses and Hilda Doolittle's Helen in Egypt
Languages:
English
Translated title:
On the Opposite Shore: Challenging Male Heroism and Reinstating the Female Voice in James Joyce's Ulysses and Hilda Doolittle's Helen in Egypt
Summary:
James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922) deconstructs and refashions the Homeric epic in a manner that challenges the established conventions of traditional myth; as Katherine Mullin notes, “Joyce's appropriation of classical heritage is loose and irreverent.” More importantly, Joyce’s opus vividly questions the androcentric heroic narrative of the ancient Homeric tale, replacing it with a modern narrative that implicitly comments on the established patriarchal western tradition and considers woman’s position and self-determination in contemporary society. Similarly, Hilda Doolittle’s Helen in Egypt (1961) revises an ancient Greek myth “in an attempt to transform the old patriarchal myths to novel definitions of feminine identity, female discourse, female experience, female vision, and a female quest, which are all antithetical to the androcentric myths of the western world” (Nisa 6). Both works recreate ancient myths in modernist terms, ultimately engaging the reader in a self-reflection on male hegemony and women’s supressed role in mythology and human society for centuries.
In this dissertation, I explore how the two modernist texts challenge the dominant element of male heroism embedded in the source myths, and how they rebuild and redefine the female figure while contrasting the traditional patriarchal stereotypes and mythical superstitions. Therefore, my research concentrates on two main axes: the structural revision of each myth in non-patriarchal terms, and how the two authors deploy language to subvert the gender stereotypes and to re-establish the role of the two genders in the modern epic. I focus primarily on the central male characters of the two stories (Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom on one hand, and Achilles, Paris, and Theseus on the other) to argue that both authors imply the inadequacy of traditional male heroism. Subsequently, I examine the central female characters (Molly Bloom and Helen) to trace the reconstruction of female identity and the abandonment of male-centered narrative. An additional look on a small number of secondary characters is also offered at the end of the first two chapters. Finally, a juxtaposition of the two literary styles—Joyce’s experimental, deconstructive, and parodic stream of consciousness, and H.D.’s revisionist mythmaking—is provided to highlight the similarities and the differences between the two modernist epics in terms of female subjectivity, imaginative language, and each author’s proposition as an alternative to the androcentric heroic narrative of the original myths.
Main subject category:
Language – Literature
Keywords:
male heroism, greek myth, James Joyce, Ulysses, H.D., Helen in Egypt, revisionist mythmaking, female voice
Index:
Yes
Number of index pages:
1
Contains images:
No
Number of references:
34
Number of pages:
50
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