Joyce and Wagner: A Study of Influence

Timothy Peter Martin, Author
Timothy Peter Martin, Author Cambridge University Press $69.95 (305p) ISBN 978-0-521-39487-1
Reviewed on: 12/02/1991
Release date: 12/01/1991
An associate professor of English at Rutgers University examines the artistic kinship between the 19th-century composer Richard Wagner and the 20th-century writer James Joyce. Exploring such specific themes in Joyce's writings as the artist-hero, the problem of exile, and redemption through a woman's love, Martin demonstrates their origins in Wagner's work. Parallels are drawn between characters: for example, Siegfried in the Ring cycle and Stephen Dedalus in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man ; the wandering captain in The Flying Dutchman and Leopold Bloom in Ulysses . In a more general sense, Martin finds that Joyce's works are Wagnerian in their underlying mythic structure and that Joyce embraced the Wagnerian idea of ``total art'' in his synthesis of music and literature, especially through his use of the leitmotif. This detailed analysis enhances our understanding of both artists. (Jan.)
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