Date of Award

Spring 2021

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

English, PhD

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Eric Bulson

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Enda Duffy

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

David Luis-Brown

Terms of Use & License Information

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


foreign, genetic, James Joyce, language, quantitative, Ulysses


Readers of James Joyce's Ulysses know that it is a cosmopolitan (multilingual) novel, but most do not know just how many foreign words Joyce used, altered, and inserted throughout the writing process, nor do they know the final tally in the 1922 Shakespeare & Co. edition. This dissertation approaches Joyce's foreign language from a quantitative and genetic perspective, counting all 2,525 foreign words and attributing each to episodes and characters to visualize where and how foreign language manifests in the novel. Genetic data in turn reveals that Ulysses was not always quite so multilingual but instead became more foreign during the writing process. My study explores these foreign words as one type of the "disunities" that Andrew Gibson proposes as entry points for understanding a modernist text's unique mimesis. I explore these foreign interruptions as contributing to a consistent sense of worldliness, or multiculturalism, in the novel. Finally, I turn toward reader-response theory and neuroscientific evidence to explore the foreign words of Ulysses as units of unfamiliarity that slow readers and elicit higher levels of neurological activity, ultimately helping readers learn to read differently.