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ENGL406: James Joyce

Unit 5: Finnegan's Wake   If readers find Ulysses challenging and at times inscrutable: welcome to Finnegan’s Wake, a bold and chaotic adventure into language.  Lacking a conventional plot and nearly creating its own language, this final work by James Joyce has been alternately spurned as gibberish and revered as genius.  In this unit, we will first read the work in its lyrical entirety, then address its innovative form and style, and finally move on to major tropes and themes that emerge in the text.

Unit 5 Time Advisory
This unit should take you 27 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 5.1: 18 hours

☐    Subunit 5.2: 9 hours

Unit 5 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Trace the development of Joyce’s literary style to Finnegans Wake, in which Joyce experiments with his most unorthodox form.
  • Describe the treatment of “the dreamer” figure in the novel.
  • Explain the significance of the use of multiple languages.
  • Compare the treatment of marriage in Finnegans Wake to its treatment in Ulysses.
  • Identify and explain instances of repetition and circularity in Ulysses.
  • Identify and explain problems with performing traditional critical analyses of Finnegans Wake.

    Reading: Trent University Finnegans Web’s version of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake; The James Joyce Center’s “Finnegan’s Wake”

    Link: Trent University’s Finnegans Web’s version of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake (HTML); The James Joyce Center’s “Finnegans Wake”  (HTML)
      
    Also available in:
     
    Kindle ($0.99)

    Instructions: Please read a selection of this text – perhaps the first 50 pages – as well as the short introduction from The James Joyce Center.  You may, of course choose to read as much of the work as you wish, but for now, a small sampling or taste will do as a book-end to the course.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.1 Language and Style  

5.1.1 Stream-of-Consciousness Narration at the Next Level: The Language of Dreams  

Reading: Ohio State University’s Knowledge Bank: Coping with Joyce: Kimberly Devlin’s “The Dialectical Logic of Joyce’s Text” Link: Ohio State University’s Knowledge Bank: Coping with Joyce: Kimberly Devlin’s “The Dialectical Logic of Joyce’s Dream Text” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read the essay linked here, which is found of pages 232-246 of the online textbook.  The essay interprets the novel as a type of dream text—a fairly common reading of the work.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.1.2 Cyclicality and Repetition  

Reading: Hypermedia Joyce Studies: Jim LeBlanc’s “The Closing Word of Finnegans Wake”

Link: Hypermedia Joyce Studies: Jim LeBlanc’s “The Closing Word of Finnegans Wake(HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read this short article on the patterns and repetitions in the novel.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.1.3 Beginnings and Endings: Thematic and Structural Concerns  

Reading: University of Wisconsin’s James Joyce Scholars Center: Margot Norris’s The Decentered Universe of Finnegans Wake: A Structuralist Analysis: “Reading Finnegans Wake”

Link: University of Wisconsin’s James Joyce Scholars Center: Margot Norris’s The Decentered Universe of Finnegans Wake: A Structuralist Analysis: “Reading Finnegans Wake(HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read this chapter for a review of the novel’s structure.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.1.4 What Tongue Is Joyce Speaking In?—Thoughts on the Incorporation of Multiple Languages and Literary Traditions  

Reading: Hypermedia Joyce Studies: Mark Nunes’s "Semiotic Perturbations: What the Frog's Eye Tells Us About Finnegans Wake"

Link: Hypermedia Joyce Studies: Mark Nunes’s "Semiotic Perturbations: What the Frog's Eye Tells Us About Finnegans Wake" (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire critical essay for a discussion of language and wordplay in the text, as well as a conversation about Joyce’s ability to communicate with readers.    
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.2 Major Tropes and Themes  

5.2.1 The Narrative of a Dream and the Absence of Standard Analysis-Friendly Conventions  

Reading: University of Wisconsin’s James Joyce Scholars Center: Margot Norris’s The Decentered Universe of Finnegans Wake: A Structuralist Analysis: “Dream and Poetry”

Link: University of Wisconsin’s James Joyce Scholars Center: Margot Norris’s The Decentered Universe of Finnegans Wake: A Structuralist Analysis: “Dream and Poetry”(HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this short chapter for a discussion of the theme of dream in the novel.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.2.2 The Concept of Time  

Reading: Ohio State University’s Knowledge Bank: Joyce in the Hyberian Metropolis: Derek Attridge’s “Countlessness of Narrativity in Finnegans Wake”

Link: Ohio State University’s Knowledge Bank: Joyce in the Hyberian Metropolis: Derek Attridge’s “Countlessness of Livestories: Narrativity in Finnegans Wake (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read the short article linked here, which can be found on pages 290-295, for more about the structure and movement of time in the novel.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.2.3 Marriage and Marital Relations  

Reading: University of Wisconsin’s James Joyce Scholars Center: Margot Norris’s The Decentered Universe of Finnegans Wake: A Structuralist Analysis: “The Themes”

Link: University of Wisconsin’s James Joyce Scholars Center: Margot Norris’s The Decentered Universe of Finnegans Wake: A Structuralist Analysis: “The Themes” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the sections on “Family and Society,” which can be found on pages 41-44; “The Primal Scene,” which can be found on pages 44-47; “Triangular Desire,” which can be found on pages 47-54; and “In the Name of the Father,” which can be found of pages 54-61.  These selections will offer you a solid thematic overview of the text.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.2.4 Guilt and Forgiveness  

Reading: University of Wisconsin’s James Joyce Scholars Center: Margot Norris’s The Decentered Universe of Finnegans Wake: A Structuralist Analysis: “The Themes”

Link: University of Wisconsin’s James Joyce Scholars Center: Margot Norris’s The Decentered Universe of Finnegans Wake: A Structuralist Analysis: “The Themes” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the section titled “The Redemption of the Son,” which runs from page 61-64, as well as “Redemption: Maternal Salvage,” which runs from pages 64-72.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.2.5 Cycles, Disconnections, and Paradoxes  

No material for this subunit. <!-- Note added 14AUG2017; no indication in original course if this topic is covered elsewhere, e.g. in Norris, or if no materials were found. -->