Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




This dissertation is a pioneer study of the influence of James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses on Hart Crane's White Buildings. As such, it is both an influence study and a close reading of Crane's finest poems in a new light.

The first part of the essay (the introduction and the first three chapters) tackles the question of influence, the authors who helped shape Crane's literary make-up, and the extent and limitations of these influences as compared to the thorough-going influence Joyce exerted on Crane. In those chapters I examine the role played by Joyce's aesthetic theories in the Portrait and Ulysses in shaping Crane's aesthetic concepts.

In the last four chapters I present a close reading of the poems in White Buildings in the light of the groundwork laid down in the first part of the study. It becomes clear there that Joyce's influence on Crane manifests itself both thematically and technically. In that second part of the study, the poems of White Buildings are divided into three main groups: first, poems that deal with aesthetic questions; second, poems that involve ontological, philosophical, and religious themes; and third, poems that treat the Materna archetype.

In all the poems, and al through the treatise, various aspects of Crane's relation to Joyce--affinities of artistic temperament, subconscious and conscious influences, and direct borrowings, both thematic and technical--are explored in detail. In exploring these aspects my objectives have been: first, to make a case for a very important though overlooked influence on Crane; second, to present a new and close reading of Crane's best poems; and third, to "relocate" Crane artistically and critically by undermining his Romanticism and establishing his affiliation with the modernist tradition of Joyce, Eliot, and Pound.