Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Since Ulysses was originally published forty-five years ago, it has been the subject of critical interpretations which extend over the whole range of possibilities. One of these possibilities, advanced primarily by Edmund Wilson, is that Ulysses expresses an affirmative philosophy of li£e. Another is that Joyce views the human condition as potentially positive, even though the present condition of his characters is wretched. A third is that Joyce sympathetically presents a pathetic world. Another possibility is that the book is "only a naturalistic Irish comedy, the apotheosis of the bar-room joke,” but this opinion is held seriously only by the Irish themselves. In addition to these a final possibility is that Ulysses asserts pessimism, even nihilism, that it is an attempt to discredit or destroy all traditional values of life and art. According to Kain, the pessimistic interpretation has been the dominant direct and indirect influence on the criticism of Ulysses, for the number of critics who consider it positive is relatively small.


Dr. Samuel J. Sackett

Date of Award

Summer 1967

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1967 Marlys Anderson


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