The protean semiotic system of James Joyce's Ulysses : interacting iconic, indexical, and symbolic levels of signification and their structures
Rehbein, Matthew Philip.
Thesis (M.A.)--Georgetown University, 2009.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. Ample Joycean scholarship since the late 1960s considers the relationship between Ulysses and the semiotic practices of the medium of cinema. As this prevalent comparison implies, the complex structure of Joyce's Ulysses can best be understood through a semiotic approach that transcends the limitations imposed by overemphasis on purely verbal communicative processes. Using Charles Sanders Peirce's taxonomies of the sign and Kaja Silverman's overarching semiotic that seeks to bridge the theoretical gap between literary and filmic texts, this paper presents a reading of Ulysses that explores the implicit iconicity and indexicality of the novel's semiotic system and describes these signifying functions' interaction with the explicitly symbolic signs of the verbal print text. The overlapping semiotic approach utilized here is able to account for and theorize the participation of visual and aural referents in the signifying processes of Ulysses' subjective discourse; the novel's frequent invocation of visual and aural registers involves the verbal text in the protean exchange of iconic, indexical, and symbolic signifying functions. Analysis of Ulysses in this way facilitates not only a better understanding of the semiotic system and structure of Joyce's novel, but also further develops a semiotic approach that can be used to analyze and better understand specific textual systems and aesthetic representations regardless of medium--an important direction as aesthetic representations in new media forms amalgamate the specificities of older media forms, utilizing iconic, indexical, and symbolic signifying functions in the explicit incorporation of verbal text, images, and sounds.
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