Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Joseph G. Bentley

Committee Member

Lawrence R. Broer

Committee Member

Sara M. Deats

Committee Member

Irving Deer

Committee Member

Richard Dietrich


The extensive, previously unrecognized, use James Joyce made of contemporaneous geometric concepts for structure, metaphor, and theme in Ulysses provides new keys to how Joyce, following the model of his predecessors and contemporaries in Cubism, responded to the revolutions in aesthetics and physics which marked his intellectual milieu. As an examination of pre-publication materials reveals, during the six months before February 2, 1922, Joyce manipulated the pagination of the Ulysses placards and page proofs to impose geometric aesthetic proportions on the overall text and within individual episodes. Most significantly, Joyce aesthetically proportioned the pagination of the disparate eleven "initial style" episodes with the final seven experimental chapters on the esoteric golden section ratio; furthermore, Joyce balanced the daylight activities of Ulysses with the nighttime events by imposing a precise binary structure on the novel's pagination. In a completely different literary application of geometry, Joyce, echoing the popular science literature of the early Twentieth Century, created metaphors and themes from the geometric concepts which were crucial in the contemporaneous post-Newtonian (pre-Einsteinian) version of the physics revolution: non-Euclidean geometry (parallel lines meet in "Ithaca"), fourth-dimensional geometry (the fourth spatial dimension of "Circe"), and new discoveries in optics (the basis for Stephen's internal debate on the subject/object dichotomy). By imposing rigid geometric proportions for aesthetic structure and by creating metaphors from contemporaneous geometric concepts for metaphysical theme, Joyce translated the contemporaneous revolutions in aesthetics and in physics into literary Modernism.