James Joyce and the Other: Paradigms of the Jew as scapegoat

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Zack Bowen - Committee Chair


This dissertation argues that James Joyce depicts the Jew as exotic Other in order to expose and parody anti-Semitic scapegoating in modern European social practices, political affairs, and legal structures. In Ulysses, Joyce provides a historical context for his parody by alluding to paradigms of the Jew as Other in writings of the Early Christian Era, especially the Gospels' depiction of Judas Iscariot as the personification of evil and betrayal; by pillorying anti-Semitic stereotypes and superstitions emerging from medieval Europe, including those of the Jew as devil and sorcerer; by alluding to the pseudoscientific models of racial inferiority disseminated in modern Europe; and by incorporating comic and parodic reenactments of modern instances of Jewish victimization, including the Alfred Dreyfus Affair.By alluding in "Circe" to the religious origins of the scapegoat ritual, Joyce also reveals the ambiguous relationship between salvific ritual and destructive victimization. Rene Girard's scapegoat theory offers an important analysis of this connection between social persecution and religious sacrifice which helps to illuminate Leopold Bloom's ostracism in Dublin and mock-immolation on the Circean dreamstage.Joyce's depiction of scapegoating in Ulysses thus emerges as a critique of the multifarious guises of anti-Semitism in European history, as well as an indictment of the xenophobia and exclusionary practices of Joyce's contemporary Irish and British milieu.


Literature, English

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