A portrait of grief: attachment and loss in the works of James Joyce

Horsnell, Linda (2020) A portrait of grief: attachment and loss in the works of James Joyce. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This thesis uses Bowlby’s Attachment Theory to explore how Joyce portrays the expressions of grief in some of his short stories in Dubliners and in Ulysses, the main emphasis being on the principal protagonists of the latter. Bowlby argues that how one expresses grief is ultimately linked to the types of attachment formed in early life, hence reference is also made to A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man when discussing Stephen Dedalus, particularly the representation of his time at Clongowes Wood College.
Psychoanalytic interpretations of literary texts have historically concentrated on the work of Freud, Lacan and Jung. This thesis explores the ways in which Attachment Theory can work as a frame of reference to provide innovative readings of Joyce’s texts, thereby adding to the existing and extensive critical debate surrounding his work. By reference to the work of Alexander Shand, it is possible to highlight the correlative relationship between creative writing and the theory of grief put forward by Bowlby. Attachment Theory, an interdisciplinary concept that allows for empirical research, has enabled the discipline of psychoanalysis to move on from Freud and this thesis will show that it can provide the same benefit to literary criticism.
The introduction provides a basic explanation of Bowlby’s work, including its claims to universality. It will also discuss the relation between theory and the text and the representation of character. The first chapter looks to both Dubliners and Ulysses in order to discusses Joyce’s portrayal of the emotional response to bereavement in four protagonists at different stages of maturity. Chapter Two discusses how knowledge of Attachment Theory provides a particular reading of the main protagonists of Ulysses, which in turn enables an understanding of Joyce’s portrayal of their grief. The third chapter focuses on Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom and considers how Joyce represents the role played by religion in the negotiation of their grief. Joyce’s evident understanding of human behaviour makes his oeuvre particularly open to the utilization of Attachment Theory as an interpretative framework for critical analysis.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Literature and Creative Writing (former - to 2011)
Depositing User: Nicola Veasy
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2022 09:38
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2023 01:38
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/85842


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