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Quests for independence: a comparative study of James Joyce and Pío Baroja's attempts to break boundaries

  • Autores: Olga Fernández Vicente
  • Directores de la Tesis: María Luz Suárez Castiñeira (dir. tes.)
  • Lectura: En la Universidad de Deusto ( España ) en 2014
  • Idioma: inglés
  • Tribunal Calificador de la Tesis: Francisco García Tortosa (presid.), Asier Altuna-García de Salazar (secret.), José Miguel Santamaría López (voc.), Margarita Estévez Saá (voc.), Aitor Ibarrola Armendariz (voc.)
  • Materias:
  • Enlaces
    • Tesis en acceso abierto en: TESEO
  • Resumen
    • `He writes as a European, not as a provincial.¿ (Letters 32-33). Ezra Pound¿s description of James Joyce could be considered to be the starting point of this doctoral thesis. The thesis aims to show that the wide range of codes and languages which Ulysses forms part of is significant in the concept of the author as a citizen - not only a Dubliner but also a European. We will see how Joyce became part of the experimental wave of Modernism because of his extraordinary show of technique and not because of any sympathies with a vanguard doctrine which was, for him, irrelevant. The thesis will show that, in spite of the undeniable fact that James Joyce participated, whether consciously or not, in the intellectual currents which flowed through Europe at the start of the twentieth century, his work was unconditionally liberal, democratic and tolerant, to the point that it raised the hackles of the other great names in the history of Modernism, Pound and Eliot. We will assert that, at a time when his contemporaries were formulating a syncretic vision of Irish history and culture, Joyce emphasised conflict and bifurcation, and we will see how the evolution of his writing reveals a continued search for an ever more plural style.

      The thesis aims also to demonstrate that terminology such as ¿Modernism¿ is semantically unstable, in that it allows for differing definitions and interpretations and gives rise to the existence of various distinct styles under the umbrella of the same term. In order to do this, we have carried out a comparative study of the work of James Joyce and the Basque author Pio Baroja, who was fêted by Spanish literary critics as a member of the Generation of `98, in spite of the fact that Valle-Inclán had already acclaimed him as a Modernist. Baroja was characterised by his commitment to Spain¿s historical situation, in clear opposition to the group of Modernists who, when faced with social realities, preferred to lock themselves away in an ivory tower. The study of Baroja¿s work is thus proscribed in the context of the Generation of ¿98, at a specific moment of Spanish history and within a literary movement whose existence Baroja himself questioned. We will see how Baroja¿s social critique did not reflect the call for a regeneration of Spain, typical of the Generation of ¿98, but instead formed part of the European challenge to the social, ethical and artistic values which accompanied the emergence of European Modernism, and converted his work into an attempt to Europeanise Spain, or at least to make Spain more objective and immanent. The thesis shows how both Joyce and Baroja decided that the literary tool best able to arouse their countrymen from their lethargy was to reflect reality, and thus made their own people the centre of their writing and their message that of the possibility of a better future.

      Nevertheless, and based on the comparative study of the two authors, this thesis will also demonstrate that in spite of the fact that both men agreed with Dedalus, the artist as a young man, in his contention `When the soul of a man is born in this country there are nets flung at it to hold back from flight. You talk to me of nationality, language, religión. I shall try to fly by those nets.¿ and tried to dodge the nets of nationalism, religion and language in order to attain the perspective necessary to create and revolutionise the novel, only one of the two managed to do so. Joyce rejected religion and nationalism in the extraordinary way he clung to reality and declared himself to be apolitical. Baroja like modernist English literature saw himself linked to the far right, and thus lost the opportunity to belong to the realms of Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, Rabelais, Cervantes and Goethe; all of whom, whilst often considered to be geniuses of their particular country, awaken, as does Joyce, an even greater interest for having been able to express universal truths.


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