Dr. Starks-Estes, Ph.D.
Dr. Armstrong, Ph.D.
Dr. Hallock, Ph.D.
University of South Florida St. Petersburg
October 26, 2016
The filmography of Austinite Richard Linklater (as in, one that comes from Austin, Texas) is incredibly Joycean, and my argument is that Linklater makes Joyce’s work contemporary in both the realms of independent and big studio film-making. He is the greatest interpreter of Joyce in the 21st century, and he never mentions his name. Linklater both introduces Joycean themes to mainstream audiences who would never dream of taking on Ulysses, and encourages those familiar with Joyce to take a second look. Whether the best way to “save” Joyce study is through a focus on the source texts or their appropriations, Linklater chooses both options to great measure. While the regression into naming literary periods is somewhat cliché, Linklater demonstrates the malleable nature of the modernist text by “making it new” formally and ideologically. Linklater is extending the modernist project (specifically Joyce’s) by using explicit symbols and references to Joyce’s work, but with an entirely new form. Using the framework of adaptation provided by Linda Hutcheon in her seminal text A Theory of Adaptation will show that Linklater’s adaptation of Joyce is successful. However, in a stark difference to many of the adaptations discussed by Hutcheon in her text, Linklater’s appropriations are hidden by a shroud of interpretation and thus, the Joycean connections have never been discussed at length. What Linklater has done with Joyce is reminiscent of what Joyce did with Homer. One should remember that Joyce intentionally removed the chapter headings to Ulysses, shrouding for his audience the systemization of his own text. Linklater does the same with the work of Joyce across all of his films, but most specifically with Slacker, Waking Life, and Boyhood.
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Farmen, Layne M., "Slacker Joyce: James Joyce, Richard Linklater, and the Silent Re-Canonization of the Masterpiece" (2016). USFSP Master's Theses (Graduate). 180.