Eternal Geomater: The Sexual Universe of Finnegans Wake

Eternal Geomater: The Sexual Universe of Finnegans Wake

Eternal Geomater: The Sexual Universe of Finnegans Wake

Eternal Geomater: The Sexual Universe of Finnegans Wake

Synopsis

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.

Excerpt

The bible begins with myth: first the creation story and then, when man has appeared on the scene, the myth most important to the human being in history: the fall of man. Finnegans Wake follows a similar pattern. Chapter One begins with a cyclical image--"riverrun . . . brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back"; presented next are the chaotic materials of the entire book in a paragraph of proto-history; then follows a summary of human history: the fall--metaphorically represented by Finnegan of the Irish ballad--the two kinds of activity, love and war, which make up the entire spectrum of life, so far as Joyce is concerned, the sense of guilt with which man is eternally burdened--like a hump on his back--and the cycles of death and birth which continually contribute relics, memories and museum pieces to the human scene. Ireland and the area surrounding Dublin are introduced as representative of the world. The records of four periods of history are referred to as incomplete; somewhere, in the "silent . . ."

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