Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


In this dissertation, I am concerned with the specific relationship between William Blake's Milton and James Joyce's Ulysses. In chapter one, I excavate and examine Joyce's acknowledgement of a deep debt to Blake and especially to Milton through a long series of texts extending from his 1902 essay on James Clarence Mangan to selected passages of Finnegans Wake. These acknowledgements indicate that the ground of this debt was Blake's self-reflexive analysis within Milton of the formal and material properties of the written text. In chapter two, I review the contemporary theoretical debate on writing and intertextuality and adumbrate the relation of these areas of debate to Milton and Ulysses. My assumption throughout is that both Blake and Joyce saw a close relation between a writer's formal approach to language and his historical posture. In chapter three, I analyze writing and intertextuality in Milton and begin to extract the set of definable structural relations that are the basis of my collocation of Milton and Ulysses. In chapter four, I look first at A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man because the earlier novel is Joyce's most lyrical and Romantic text and because he completed it at a crucial point in his relation to Blake. Then I examine four chapters of Ulysses. Two of these chapters, "Proteus" and "Sirens", contain an extensive analysis of the structure of the written sign and its relation to other modes of communication. The other two, "Scylla and Charybdis" and "Cyclops", present positive and negative structures of intertextuality. Milton, I maintain, was one of Joyce's intertextual sources for the analysis of Shakespeare's creative and erotic life in "Scylla and Charybdis", as well as for the overall borrowing and transforming of the narrative pattern of the Odyssey. I conclude by defining the set of linguistic and historical relations that link Milton and Ulysses.



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