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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Paternity and the quest for knowledge in the works of Joyce and Proust Mackenzie, Susan Jane

Abstract

The general theme of this thesis is Paternity and the Search for Knowledge in the works of James Joyce and Marcel Proust, specifically, in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses, and A la Recherche du Temps Perdu. Two main sets of characters are compared in the novels; the young artists, or would-be artists, Stephen and Marcel, and the older, experienced men-of-the-world who become their mentors, Bloom and Swann. Both young artists must overcome a fear of the physical world which tends to make them ineffectual dreamers, self-romanticizers. Stephen has been taught to deny the physical side of his nature by family and society. Marcel's fear of suffering and overdependence on others also has its origin in his family life. Neither young poet can create until he has been immersed in the physical experience of life, and has attained that knowledge of good and evil in himself and others which is the goal of his quest. Bloom and Swann are ‘father-figures’ in two senses; they 'educate' the young lads by initiating them into life, and they are themselves very much involved in the cycles of physical creation. Their roles are discussed in the light of various mythologies; specifically; Classical, Medieval, and Jewish. An intensive study of flower imagery in the three novels helps to elucidate further their roles as 'Earth-Fathers.'

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