The Siren Song

4 April 2015
This paper discusses James Joyce’s famous work Ulysses and what distinguishes it from being a novel versus an opera.

This paper takes a look at James Joyce’s “Ulysses” which was transformed from a novel into an opera. It analyzes the impact that each of these art forms has on the work and how the format changes. It provides a background of James Joyce’s life and the background to his writing the novel. Within the novel itself, the Siren Song chapter is analyzed.

From the paper:

Historians with idle time on their hands occasionally may indulge in moments of wishful revisionism. What if, they say, That young dreamer named Adolph Hitler had been accepted into art school? Wouldn’t the world be different?” History is littered with celebrities who, for better or worse, had as youngsters fervently wished to be doing something different than their allotted role. Among them was one James Joyce, who, as it so happened, wanted to be a musician.

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If Hitler had been an artist instead, he probably would have been drawing propaganda posters for a second World War that would have persisted without his figure head. If James Joyce has been a musician, would he still have created Ulysses? At first glance, of course one must say not. This book is, after all, celebrated as one of the best modern examples of the novel — not an opera. However, if what we look for in Ulysses is not its obviously visible shape, but rather, its messages, its rhythms and stories and symbolisms, then it is entirely possible that it would be the same creation if it were suddenly transmutated into music.”

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Choose cite format:
The Siren Song. (2015, Apr 23). Retrieved December 5, 2019, from
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