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In Dante's wake : the Dantean poetics of 'Finnegans Wake'

The thesis investigates how the theories of linguistic and literary composition of Dante's treatises and the poetics of ineffability of the Divine Comedy may be seen to provide the basis for (one of) the poetics of Joyce's Finnegans Wake. The polysemy of Joyce's last novel relies on Dante's literary-exegetical model of the four levels of meaning at the same time as it challenges it so as to show both its inadequacy for the modern literary work and, conversely, how its failings can be turned to the writer's advantage in the production of an original text. The multilingual idiom of the Wake draws from, at the same time as it reshapes, Dante's conception of the history of language and his theory of an illustrious poetic language, and the thesis shows how Joyce exploits these two aspects, turning them into a narrative framework for several episodes of the Wake and thematising their features in order to explore the function of character-roles in connection with the processes of artistic creation. Finally, Joyce's reliance on a pliable language for his evocation of the unfathomable dimension of the "nocturnal world" and of the unconscious is shown to be comparable to the poetics of ineffability that informs Dante's "vision" in the Divine Comedy. In this context, the thesis looks at such issues as silence, vowels / vocalisation, and the use of geometry to express the ineffable and / or the unspeakable. Joyce's use of Dante's works thus involves a constant reflection on the processes of writing and of literary composition as well as on the relationship between a modern writer and his sources, and the intertextual practice of the Wake is shown to be part of the "poetics in progress" that Joyce has been elaborating from his earliest to his last publication.
Date January 1996
CreatorsBoldrini, Lucia
PublisherUniversity of Leicester
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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