ETD system

Electronic theses and dissertations repository


Tesi etd-03132018-085149

Thesis type
Tesi di laurea magistrale
Portraits of the Artist as a Young Romanticist: Romanticism and the Romantics in Joyce's Early Novels
Corso di studi
relatore Prof.ssa Ferrari, Roberta
Parole chiave
  • James Joyce
  • Joyce
  • Stephen Hero
  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  • Romanticism
Data inizio appello
Riassunto analitico
The relationship with Romanticism of a great Modernist like James Joyce is a complex subject, ambiguously denoted by a shady mixture of rejection and pervasive influence. In the years of his formation and youth, the cultural paradigm of Romanticism played a crucial role in defining Joyce’s conception of literature and art, and its importance is directly transposed in the autobiographical fictionalisation of Joyce’s own development through his two Bildungsromane, Stephen Hero and A Portrait of the Artist a Young Man. By examining his juvenile critical writings, this study tries at first to reconstruct his complex relationship with Romanticism and its epigones. While in his famous essay about James Clarence Mangan Joyce condemns the misconceived Romantic temper that distinguished the 19th century, his cultural formation is shaped by authors and works that are somehow connected with this dominating Romantic paradigm. Besides, it can also be observed that some of the original Romantics, poets like Shelley, Byron and Blake, are considered positive models for the emerging artist, becoming some of Joyce’s early literary heroes. After evaluating the complex critical position of the Irish author towards the Romantics and Romanticism, this study considers how this influence is transposed in the two versions of his Künstlerroman. In particular, it is worth noting that Romanticism acquires a fundamental role in the fragmentary, unpublished novel Stephen Hero. Here, the Romantic temper is not only a negative conception of art, but also a misleading attitude in front of life and reality: Stephen Daedalus’ progress, therefore, has to move beyond it to succeed in becoming a complete artist. In A Portrait of the Artist a Young Man, on the contrary, Romanticism also plays a role in the symbolic and thematic architecture of the novel, even though Joyce’s critical positions are no more directly and explicitly tackled in the narrative. Indeed, references to Romanticism become a way to better represent the protagonist’s mindset and his relationship with the external world, always ambiguously – and often ironically – defined by his Romantic flights and more earthly resolutions. By comparing the role of Romanticism in the two novels, therefore, this work aims at better understanding a fundamental phase of Joyce’s production, through the analysis of the evolution of the symbolic structures of cultural and literary references that will recur also in his later masterpieces.