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A Joycean Exegesis of "The Large Glass": Homeric Traces in the Postmodernism of Marcel Duchamp

Rogakos, Megakles (2016) A Joycean Exegesis of "The Large Glass": Homeric Traces in the Postmodernism of Marcel Duchamp. PhD thesis, University of Essex.


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This thesis examines Marcel Duchamp’s "The Large Glass" in relation to Homer’s "Odyssey" and by extension to James Joyce’s "Ulysses." It focuses on the idea that Duchamp may have had in mind Penelope and her Suitors when he was creating the Bride and her Bachelors. The aim of the thesis is threefold – to clarify a problematic area in avant-garde art by restoring the important role the "Odyssey" played in the modern culture as evidenced by preceding and contemporary artists; to detect possible Homeric traces on the "Glass" as such, but also by exploring references to Homer in related works by Duchamp; and finally to compare the "Glass" with "Ulysses," which seems to be as convoluted in its relation to the "Odyssey." The thesis is correspondingly divided into three parts. The first places Duchamp in a broader culture that is directly influenced by the Classics and Homer’s "Odyssey." The second sets out to explore possible references to Homer in seminal works of Duchamp, which reveal that he discreetly based his working method and conceptual rationale on the appropriation of tradition. The final part deals with the ways in which specific aspects of the "Glass" may be critically interpreted as Homeric in origin. Throughout the thesis runs a comparison of the "Glass" with "Ulysses," which exemplifies how safe Homeric attributions may be bent by appropriation to serve their authors’ ends. This study is primarily theoretical and thematic, attempting to piece together perhaps a better understanding than before of one of 20th century’s most seminal artistic figures and elusive bodies of work. Thus, the "Glass" may turn out to be read as a morality story about archetypal issues with which human nature grapples eternally – violence, intoxication and lust. As such, the "Glass" may enigmatically emerge as a Homeric paradigm of man’s initiation to inner freedom, which Duchamp called the “beauty of indifference.”

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Philosophy and Art History, School of
Depositing User: Megakles Rogakos
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2017 07:43
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2017 07:43

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