Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Joyce, Dante, and the Poetics of Literary Relations: Language and Meaning in 'Finnegans Wake'

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Joyce, Dante, and the Poetics of Literary Relations: Language and Meaning in 'Finnegans Wake'

Article excerpt

Lucia Boldrini, Joyce, Dante, and the Poetics of Literary Relations: Language and Meaning in `Finnegans W'ake' (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001). xi + 233 pp. ISBN 0-521-79276-2. (English pound)37.50. This study argues that of all the modernists it was Joyce who had the keenest engagement with the linguistic issues raised in Dante's work, and that in distinction from Eliot's talk of Dante's 'easy' irritability Joyce responded to the more complex issues of polysemy, fragmentation, and the problematics of signification raised not only by the Commedia but also in the Convivio and the De vulgari eloquentia. Lucia Boldrini superbly demonstrates how Finnegans Wake is saturated in these matters and their Dantesque provenance, seeing the text as indebted to yet 'playfully' subverting Dante; thus Beckett's hints, in his seminal essay `Dante. …

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