By Margaret C. Solomon
Finnegans Wake has been the target of peripheral investigation for more than forty years, starting with early studies of this novel as a "work in progress." Just now, however, are studies beginning to appear in which the book's basic plot and theme are closely examined. Of these new studies, there is no doubt that Margaret C. Solomon's close examination of the sexual universe created here by Joyce will prove especially illuminating to both scholars and general readers.
In closely reasoned and richly detailed chapters in the three major parts of her book Mrs. Solomon examines individually the enigmatic figures, reveals the meanings of the passages or chapters which they have made hitherto obscure, and weaves them together to form a distinct pattern of sexual analogies. In Part 3, perhaps the most significant for future students of Joyce, the author, supported by the discoveries of the first two parts, examines the number-symbolism that obviously and enigmatically pervades the Wake. Her final chapter, "The Coach with the Sex Insides," which brings to a climax her brilliant description of Joyce's sexual universe, examines the dreamer, Yawn, and the image of the bridal ship of Tristan and Isolde and reveals man-as-universe in the shape of a tesseract, a geometrical figure realizable only in a four-dimensional continuum.