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Title: Daedalus, Dedalus, and Joyce
Authors: Kingman, James Robert
Keywords: Text;Honors papers;English, Department of;Student research
Issue Date: May-2009
Publisher: Memphis, Tenn. : Rhodes College
Abstract: Stephen Dedalus, James Joyce's characterization of himself in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1914-15), is often interpreted as a young man who sets out with great artistic ambition but meets with utter failure. The image of Icarus, hubristically flying too close to the sun and drowning as a result, is often used to characterize the aspiring artist. However, the story of Daedalus and hisson Icarus is a complicated myth rather than a morality fable. The imagery of the myth also includes the labyrinth, the Minotaur, Ariadne's thread, and othe relements that are used subtly by Joyce to relate the story of Stephen's rejection of religion, nationality, and family. Joyce, an author with an encyclopedic grasp of literature, philosophy, history, and art, appropriately structures Stephen's development in a myth centered on the world's first exiled artist. Though it may seem paradoxical that an author consciously rejecting reliance on outworn ideas of the past would use myth—the oldest surviving literary influence—to scaffold his novel, a careful consideration of the entire myth in relation to Joyce's writings reconciles the apparent contradiction. Through an investigation of these themes, this essay deepens our understanding of the relationship between creator and creation.
Description: James Kingman granted permission for the digitization of his paper. It was submitted by CD.
Appears in Collections:Honors Papers

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