Beckett, Lewis, Joyce: Reading Dream of Fair to Middling Women through The Apes of God and Ulysses

  • José Francisco Fernández
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Modern European Literature book series (PMEL)


Samuel Beckett’s first attempt at writing a novel, Dream of Fair to Middling Women (1932), adopted James Joyce’s Ulysses as a negative model, the supreme masterpiece of modernist literature that the fledgling artist had no choice but to imitate in a parodic way. However, Beckett was aware that a similar approach had already been taken by Wyndham Lewis with The Apes of God (1930). The presence of intertextual elements from The Apes of God in Dream suggests that, in his attack on Joyce, the young Beckett was also reflecting on Lewis’s novel, and that he tried to supersede both works by means of an intricate labyrinth of allusions, parodies, and witticisms. The triangle which these three novels represent is taken here as an opportunity to trace the dynamic interplay of Lewis and Joyce’s novels in the composition of Dream.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • José Francisco Fernández
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AlmeríaAlmeríaSpain

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