The dissertation, "The Multiple Languages of Modernism: Joyce, Beckett, Nabokov, and the Making of Modern Fiction," shows that there are important differences between multilingual and monolingual writers and documents the creative tension resulting from writing that is informed by more than one language. I argue that a deeper awareness of the way in which multilingual literature diverges from that of monolinguals not only sheds new light on these three authors and their writings but on the workings of language in multilingual fiction, and ultimately on the workings of language in literature generally.
Joyce, Nabokov, and Beckett were all thoroughly multilingual. Although multilingualism takes a different form in each of their works, for all three authors a multilingual background is indissolubly connected to the writing, both on the formal level of the text (the use of foreign words, multilingual puns, a play with accent and pronunciation) and as theme and content. Through close readings of texts by Joyce (Ulysses and Finnegans Wake), Nabokov (Король, дама, валет (King, Queen, Knave), Lolita and Ada) and Beckett (Watt in English and French), of letters (both published and unpublished), interviews, recollections of the writers by their contemporaries, recordings, (auto) biographies, and notebooks, I demonstrate the effect that multilingualism has on the written language of the three writers, and on their relation with English.