Term of Award

Fall 2009

Degree Name

Master of Arts in English (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)


Department of Literature and Philosophy

Committee Chair

Howard Keeley

Committee Member 1

Joe Pellegrino

Committee Member 2

Rebecca Ziegler


Privileging a historicist approach, this document explores the presence of consumer culture, particularly advertising, in James Joyce's seminal modernist novel, Ulysses (1922). It interrogates Joyce's awareness of how a broad upswing in Ireland's post-Famine economy precipitated advertising-intensive consumerism in both rural and urban Ireland. Foci include the late-nineteenth century transition in agriculture from arable farming to cattle-growing (grazier pastoralism), which, spurring economic growth, facilitated the emergence of a strong farmer rural bourgeoisie. The thesis considers how Ulysses inscribes and critiques that relatively affluent coterie's expenditures on domestic cultural tourism, as well as hygiene-related products, whose presence on the Irish scene was complicated by a British discourse on imperial cleanliness. Building a substantive critical context, the thesis also presents a comparative analysis of advertising in Ulysses and a novel it directly influenced, Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway (1925).