The Truce, the Old Truce, and Nattonbuff the Truce: A Creative Reading of James Joyce's Finnegans Wake
Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
James Joyce's Finnegans Wake is known as one of the most difficult texts in all of literature. A one-to-one relationship, however, between a decoding reader and a presenting author is something Finnegans Wake does not incorporate in any traditional sense. Because of the ways in which Joyce manipulates language through assonance and multilingual references, his words are essentially freed from their dictionary definitions and rely instead on connotations.
This essay looks at the text from the perspective of a first reading, a look that is then compared to a more 'authoritative' stance found in various glossaries, to see if the information found there takes precedence over the reader's imagination, and if self-made meanings remain 'appropriate' in the face of the explanations.
The text is shown to become more of a device with which we produce meaning, rather than a story to which we are only passively listening or otherwise trying to understand. Instead, it celebrates obscure, often contradicting sense relations, which correspond to the dream-like nature of its nocturnal theme.
Despite the sheer amount of historical references contained within, the first-time reader can proceed without the many glossaries that have been written on the work, and instead rely on a more creative and less disciplined method of examination.
This essay is thus tainted with an inherent contradiction—it questions the transcriptive act epitomized by eager textual scholars set on elucidating the text's difficulties while simultaneously committing that act, but only in order to encourage readers that Finnegans Wake otherwise scares away and to suggest an alternate method of reading. Readers are thereby asked to relieve themselves of their domesticated behavior, and get involved. The difficulty of Finnegans Wake only appears when we read it in terms of conventional understanding, and should instead encourage us into becoming creative users.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 31 p.
James Joyce, Finnegans Wake, reader-response, formalism, intention
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-88003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-88003DiVA: diva2:608717
Rasmussen Goloubeva, Irina, Research Fellow
Helgesson, Stefan, ProfessorSchreiber, Paul, Associate Professor