Spatchcocked! Modernist Collage in James Joyce's Ulysses Open Access

Melnick, Madeline Ruth (2015)

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Despite a long history of inter-disciplinary critical engagement, scholars have rarely explored James Joyce's works as they relate to visual arts. Though verbal-visual approaches come with a particular set of challenges, such as how to negotiate differences across media and historical understandings of visual and literary artistic divisions, examining the aesthetic interests and practices of Modernism across disciplinary boundaries reveal that literary and visual arts inform and complement one another. In particular, Ulysses draws upon a painterly practice new to Modernism as an organizing principle: collage. Collage, assemblage, and photomontage practices and the scholarly understandings thereof can provide new critical parameters for Ulysses. Reading "Aeolus" with an eye toward the formal and semiotic approaches to early collage as espoused by Clement Greenberg and Rosalind Krauss allows for comparison between the functions of newspaper in Ulysses and in collages, which often incorporated newspapers as pasted material from the practice's invention circa 1912 to around 1925. This episode contains newspaper crossheads spatchcocked throughout, which draws attention to the varying materialities, temporalities, and speech types in novels versus those in newspapers. With the proliferation of mass-media, many avant-garde artists began to include these kitsch forms into their art. Ulysses and Kurt Schwitters' Merz assemblages absorb kitsch elements, such as postcards, detective novels, erotica, and religious pamphlets as rich material sources. Merz works juxtapose various materials against one another in order to expose new relationships between a wide variety of things, and Ulysses enacts a similar process with regard to genre. These disparate objects, ideas, and forms coalesce in art to reveal new relationships that in life remain concealed. The photomontage principles behind the structure of "Oxen of the Sun" function similarly, and they expose the aesthetic anxieties behind literary and artistic inheritance and (re-)production in an era of technical reproducibility. Photography, with its critical emphases on memory and death, complement the reading of "Oxen" as both the life and death of literary style. László Moholy-Nagy's Bauhaus photomontages explore similar themes, and both his works and Ulysses see new art forms as opportunities to expand the scope of human vision in art and life.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 - Ulysses through the -Ages 4

Chapter 2 - Novel, Newspaper, Collage 17

Chapter 3 - Genre and Merz 34

Chapter 4 - The Life and Death of Style: "Oxen" and Bauhaus Photomontage 51

Conclusions 66

Bibliography 67

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