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Reading James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake I

Class at Faculty of Arts |


Optional M.A. Course, Special Programme in Irish Cultural Studies

Department of Anglophone Literatures and Cultures

Faculty of Arts

Time: Wed 12.30-14.00

Place: Room 34


The course will attempt a close reading of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake side by side with exegetic and critical material. Departing from detailed explorations, in previous seminars, of Joyce’s “day book” Ulysses and some of the techniques employed there (mythological method, interior monologue, stream of consciousness, cinematic flashback & flash-forward, montage, discursive collage, etc.), the course will focus on his “night book”, arguably the experimental text to emerge from the interwar avant-garde scene, and yet one whose avant-garde affiliation remains a highly problematic one.

By means of focusing on particular passages from across the whole book and exploring some of their famous techniques (the pun & the portmanteau, multilingualism, the sigla, the acrostic, textual recycling & circularity, the coincidence of the narrative "character" with the written "character", etc.) the course will consider how Joyce’s radical experiment revolutionised the novel genre and the potential of his "revolution of the word" for further critical thinking on the materiality of language.


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