Literary encoding of modernist alienation in the language and spaces of James Joyce’s Ulysses and Sadeq Hedayat’s the Blind Owl

Najafıbabanazar, Maryam
This thesis examines James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922) and Sadeq Hedayat’s The Blind Owl (1937) from the point of view of their responses to modernist alienation, that is, how these two writers construct texts that, at several levels and particularly on the levels of language, place and space, encode and express alienation. Alienation itself is a theme that has been regularly associated with modernist art, and with its history of plentiful associations and meanings alienation is here taken to refer to the indifference and/or the inability of individuals to establish a meaningful relationship to other human beings or even to themselves, or to the things or social, political, or religious institutions around them. Regarding the exceptional cases of modernism in Ireland with its colonial history and in Iran with its enforced and hasty modernization and its semi-colonial situation the effects of representing such alienation on the language and spaces of the novels will be analysed. Alienation is encoded in these novels through modernist and avant-garde techniques such as formal experimentation that involves unconventional language use and complicated, non-linear narrative styles. The complexity caused as a result of these non-conformist styles and methods also creates the alienating effects on the readers that are typically modernist, too. That is, the readers experience these novels as “difficult” and become to some extent alienated from such texts. In their creation of the fictional spaces and representations of places in these novels, readers also encounter the alienating aspects of liminality, which reflect the isolation, dislocation, disorientation, and alienation of the situation of the characters. The thesis shows how liminality is a characteristic of many of the spaces in Ulysses and The Blind Owl. In these two modernist novels, alienating spaces, non-standard and unconventional narrative styles and language uses depict directly and indirectly the alienated positions of individuals who feel excluded from or are alienated in a society filled with oppressing elements such as colonial intrusion as well as religious and political autocratic rule.


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Citation Formats
M. Najafıbabanazar, “Literary encoding of modernist alienation in the language and spaces of James Joyce’s Ulysses and Sadeq Hedayat’s the Blind Owl,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2018.