|dc.description.abstract||This thesis presents an account of the relationship between literary Theory
and close reading in Joyce studies. Throughout, 'Theory' is understood not in a
general, conceptual sense, but as a word we use to refer to certain specified
intellectual developments in the literary academy that have taken place over roughly
the last half-century.
Working from the basis that little can be deduced regarding the contentious
relationship between Theory and close reading as long as the issue remains an
abstract one, the thesis works towards a description of that relationship based upon
scrutiny of key works in the field. To that end, it performs a series of case studies of
some of the more significant attempts to combine a deep Theoretical commitment
with rigorous textual analysis. The argument developed is that in a significant
number of cases a commitment to reading 'Theoretically' has led the critic into an
erroneous reading of the literary text under discussion. The possibility of such error
is defined with reference to a set of standards which, the author hopes, will be
accepted by most scholars working in the field.
Alongside this primary concern, the thesis sets out a technique of close
reading designed to minimise the chances of such errors occurring. This technique is
referred to as Thematic Stylistics. Requiring both broad and deep engagement with
literary texts, it aims to encourage both fidelity and sensitivity when put into practice,
and thereby to act as a balance to the suggested tendencies of Theoretical reading.
This technique is not left as a set of bare principles, but is exemplified in alternate
chapters with reference to errors discussed during the critique described above.
Together, the critique of Theory and the outline of Thematic Stylistics are taken to
provide a constructive suggestion for the future of the academy.||en