Tales all tolled and keys to dreamland. Reiteration, recirculation, and redefinition in our wholemole millwheeling vicociclometer: Funn at "Finnegans Wake"
Ligon, Betty Lee
Isle, Walter W.
Doctor of Philosophy thesis
Inter-textual relationships between James Joyce's works have long-since been noted, but the monographic studies that illuminate his works from different positions and theoretical bases tend toward specificity. The challenge of understanding the role the Wake plays in the structural cohesiveness of his corpus yet remains; it is this challenge that I address, and I suggest that Joyce provides us the key in Finnegans Wake and expects us to recognize it. The Wake is not only a unique instance of metafiction, but it refers to the earlier works in a provectional (to use Fritz Senn's word) fashion that provides the ultimate level of what I call a "gyre," a structural basis that offers a cohesive frame for Joyce's works; furthermore, Joyce points to this gyre in a number of self-conscious instances. A provection is a recasting with expansion, and as it relates to Joyce's corpus, it becomes expanded redefinition, reiteration, and/or recombination, as well. What I am suggesting, then, is that each work leads into a subsequent work which is both a product of the previous one(s) and simultaneously an expansion into an even broader level, forming a "cone" or "spiral"--or what I shall call a "gyre." As the final gyration, Finnegans Wake encompasses Dubliners, Hero, Portrait, and Ulysses, just as each of them recapitulates aspects of the work(s) that has/have preceded it. But because the Wake has no closure, the reiteration and recirculation of the people, city, and themes show that not only does each of his works grow out of its predecessor, but it prepares the way for a succeeding work. If the Wake is, indeed, the final swoop of a gyre, then Joyce is presenting us with a "container" (the siglum $\square\square,$ which is the title) of all his works, is telling us that he is doing so, and is challenging us to see both the gyre (the key) and the explicit statements concerning it, to see that in this final work are all his works recapitulated, reiterated, recast.