“A Great Poet on a Great Brother Poet”: A Parallactic Reading of Goethe and Joyce

Robert K. Weninger

in The German Joyce

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780813041667
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780813043678 | DOI:
“A Great Poet on a Great Brother Poet”: A Parallactic Reading of Goethe and Joyce

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Following an extended theoretical examination of the continuing relevance of the concepts of influence and rapport de fait for comparative criticism today, this chapter provides a contrapuntal “parallactic” reading of Goethe’s novel Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre (1795) and Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses. The focus is placed on the role of irony and “parallax” in the depiction of the main characters of these “Bildungsromane,” Wilhelm Meister and Stephen Dedalus (and, to a lesser degree, Leopold Bloom), the role and relevance of chance and coincidence in these novels, and the symbolic significance of the Icarus-motif for an interpretation of the protagonists’ development.

Keywords: James Joyce; James Joyce’s Ulysses; Johann Wolfgang Goethe and James Joyce; Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister Lehrjahre; James Joyce and Irony; Literary Parallax; Bildungsroman; Coincidence; Chance

Chapter.  14715 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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