ALLUSIVE METHODS: A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF BIBLICAL ELEMENTS OF JOYCE'S "ULYSSES" AND DOEBLIN'S "BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ"

NAOMI ELIZABETH HAHN SOHN, Purdue University

Abstract

This dissertation consists of a comparative study of the allusive method in James Joyce's Ulysses (1922) and Alfred Doblin's Berlin Alexanderplatz (1929). The Introduction states the scope and significance of the problem. Joyce and Doblin both use literary allusions for ends which the traditional novel accomplishes by means of plot. Although both works contain extensive allusions to classical literature, biblical allusions offer a more fruitful field for comparative study. In Ulysses, biblical references, unlike Homeric, appear in the consciousnesses of the characters. They also function mere extensively in thematic development.^ The first chapter deals with the Elijah motif of Ulysses and the Job narratives of Berlin Alexanderplatz as examples of the use of biblical allusions in structural and thematic development. The Elijah motif focuses on an especially important and controversial aspect of Ulysses: Bloom's relationship to Stephen. References to Elijah occur throughout the novel, gradually creating a pattern of meaning and revealing its significance to the protagonists. The concluding verses of Malachi, which foretell Elijah's return before the "great and dreadful day of the Lord," are structurally significant. In Berlin Alexanderplatz, the centrally-located Job narrative and the single later reference to Job have similar functions. The first allusion provides a pattern which corresponds to Biberkopf's story and the second clarifies the thematic significance of this pattern. The two novels thus use biblical allusions in structural and thematic development, but use them in different ways.^ The second chapter deals with the use of biblical allusions as leitmotifs, in characterization, and in depiction of the environment. Although both Ulysses and Berlin Alexanderplatz contain important biblical leitmotifs, the most thematically significant scriptural elements of Berlin Alexanderplatz appear as interpolated stories. The essential question here is how the motifs are developed. In Ulysses, biblical stories and passages occur in the consciousnesses of the characters. In Berlin Alexanderplatz, the underlying technique is montage. Like the larger biblical narratives, the elements of motifs interrupt the text abruptly and are spoken by an unidentified narrator. . . . (Author's abstract exceeds stipulated maximum length. Discontinued here with permission of school.) UMI^

Degree

Ph.D.

Subject Area

Literature, Comparative|Literature, Germanic|Literature, English

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