|The following are a few references to authors who have been overtly influenced by Joyce. In cases where an author makes use of James Joyce as a fictional character, or uses Joycean inspiration as the primary focus of a work, the work in question may be found listed on the Joycean Fictions page.
Jorge Luis Borges
Mark Z. Danielewski
Philip K. Dick
Robert Anton Wilson
Commentary by William H. Stoddard:
Blish was possibly the most intelligent man writing science fiction in his particular time, the fifties and sixties, which is not to say the best writer; though his novels still are worth reading, and he never made any secret of his admiration for James Joyce. Joycean influences are most apparent in A Case of Conscience, whose Jesuit hero spends the whole book struggluing with a moral problem raised by Finnegans Wake; Black Easter and The Day after Judgment, two novels about black magic; and the short story Common Time, which presents an unusually strange race of aliens called the clinesterton beademungen (which turns out to mean blessed are they who snore in bed, a very Joycean pun).
Borges, Jorge Luis
An ardent admirer of Joyce, this blind Argentine mentions him several times in his writings, and was one of the first Spanish-language reviewers of Ulysses. Hes also written two poems about James Joyce: James Joyce, and Invocation to Joyce. Here are some of the more interesting references to Joyce from some of his essays and lectures.
Yeats, Rilke and Eliot have written verses more memorable than those of Valery; Joyce and Stefan George have effected more profound modifications in their instrument (perhaps French is less modifiable than English and German); but behind the work of these eminent artificers there is no personality comparable to Valerys.
Essay: Valery as Symbol
I believed, and still believe, that some twenty-five hundred years ago there was a prince of Nepal named Siddhartha or Gautama who became the Buddha, the Enlightened or Awakened One as opposed to the rest of us who are sleeping or are dreaming this great dream that is life. I remember that line of Joyce: History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake. Well, Siddhartha, at age thirty, woke up and became the Buddha.
1977 Lecture: Buddhism
Let us recall another example, one more famous than Groussac. In James Joyce we are also given a twofold work. We have these two vast and why not say it? unreadable novels, Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. But that is only half of his work (which also includes beautiful poems and the admirable Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man). The other half, and perhaps the most redeeming aspect (as they now say) is the fact that he took on the almost infinite English language. That language which is statistically larger than all the others and offers so many possibilities for the writer, particularly in its concrete verbs was not enough for him. Joyce, an Irishman, recalled that Dublin had been founded by Danish Vikings. He studied Norwegian he wrote a letter to Ibsen in Norwegian and then he studied Greek, Latin . . . He knew all the languages, and he wrote in a language invented by himself, difficult to understand but marked by a strange music. Joyce brought a new music to English. And he said, valorously (and mendaciously) that of all the things that have happened to me, I think that the least important was having been blind. Part of his vast work was executed in darkness: polishing the sentences in his memory, working at times for a whole day on a single phrase, and then writing it and correcting it. All in the midst of blindness or periods of blindness.
1977 Lecture: Blindness
Jorge Luis Borges has a major section of the Libyrinth devoted to him: The Garden of Forking Paths.
British novelist and critic Anthony Burgess has written no less than three nonfictional works on James Joyce ReJoyce, A Shorter Finnegans Wake, and Joysprick. One of Burgess areas of speciality is language, and these works are filled with witty remarks on Joyces revolutionary prose and ingenious wordplay.
Burgess own talents in narrative invention are perhaps most evident in his best known novel, A Clockwork Orange. The tale of an ultraviolent youth who is rehabilitated for fascist political ends, A Clockwork Orange is told in a fictional slang called Nadsat an electric combination of curiously old-fashioned English charged with a vocabulary of corrupted Russian words. Upon opening the book, the reader is immediately plunged into Nadsat, and must find his way with precious few points of reference. It is a gamble that pays off brilliantly once the reader learns to master the lingo, the narrative opens explosively, providing a direct route into the protagonists brutal imagination. An mesmerizing tour-de-force of linguistic invention, its impossible to imagine the book having the same impact if it were related in normal English.
Anthony Burgess has a section of the Libyrinths Scriptorium devoted to him: The Scriptorium Burgess Page.
Danielewski, Mark Z.
This young American writer may only have only a single book to his credit, but its one hell of a book! House of Leaves is an existential horror novel, a labyrinthine work exploring the empty spaces in our understanding of the world, ourselves, and other people. Though Danielewskis literary influences lie more with Nabokov, Borges, and Lovecraft than James Joyce, House of Leaves still shares many Joycean characteristics, including chapters organized around structural motifs and bearing assumed titles, exhaustive and often confusing footnotes, copious linguistic games, coined words, and tricks with typography. Like Finnegans Wake, House of Leaves demonstrates a self-reflexive awareness of its own difficulty, and makes frequent allusions to the web of intertextuality surrounding it.
At the heart of this many-layered novel is a mock-critical analysis of a film called The Navidson Record. Itself a part of Danielewskis fictional universe, The Navidson Record is a documentary about a house that conatins more space on the inside than mathematically possible. This explication is written by a character named Zampanò, who uses copious footnotes to provide a pompous sense of academic rigor. The notations also occasionally veer into the realm of the surreal and the encyclopedic: in the chapter known (informally) as The Labyrinth, footnotes wind their way through the text like twisting worms of pure data, catalogues so comprehensive as to approach an unreadable gigantism. Joyce of courses uses similar techniques in both Ulysses and Finnegans Wake; and indeed, a direct reference to Joyce appears in footnote 167 which is about the very question of similarities between House of Leaves and its artistic predecessors!
167 In her elegantly executed piece entitled Vertical Influence reproduced in Origins of Faith (Cambridge Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1996) p. 261, Candida Hayashi writes, For that matter, what of literary hauntings? Poes The Fall of the House of Usher, Shirley Jacksons The Haunting, ... many stories by Lovecraft, Pynchons gator patrol in V., Borges The Garden of Forking Paths in Ficciones, Conrads Heart of Darkness, ...? To say nothing of ... Bill Violas Room for St. John of the Cross or more words by Robert Venturi, Aldo van Eyck, James Joyce, Paolo Potoghesi, Herman Melville...? To all of it, I have only one carefully devised response: Ptoeey!
House of Leaves, Footnote 167, pg. 131-135. The blue type is as it appears in the text.
The Modern Word hosts a full-length review of House of Leaves. There is also a small entry regarding the books Borgesian allusions on the Libyrinths Borges page, The Garden of Forking Paths.
Dick, Philip K.
One of the most original American voices of the last few decades, the late Philip K. Dick used science fiction as a vehicle for his heartfelt metaphysical speculations, interrogations of modern society, and investigations into the nature of identity. Best known for Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the novel upon which the film Blade Runner was based, Dicks work presents a remarkable attempt to explore the boundaries between human consciousness, systems of morality, and the nature of the cosmos itself.
Dick has been called postmodern in the structuring and execution of his novels, but like Joyce, his experimentations in style and narrative provide a framework for a very humanist quest for understanding. Dicks characters who, like Dick himself, often skirt the edges of madness never lose sight of this quest, even if they are constantly exposed to disillusionment and dehumanization. Amidst the alienating chaos of modern society, there must still be a commitment to a basic humanity, a dedication to higher truths such as love, and an affirmation of life or else all is empty.
Joyce is mentioned frequently in Dicks stories and novels, but the most extensive allusion is found in The Divine Invasion. In the excerpt below, Asher, more than a little crazy from a long period of extraterrestrial solitude, discusses Joyce with an unsympathetic alien called an autochthon. Of particular significance to Asher and Dick as well is the gnostic conception of the Fall. The excerpt is taken from the 1991 Vintage paperback edition, pages 13-15:
Into the stereo microphones Asher said distinctly, O tell me all about Anna Livia! I want to hear all about Anna Livia. Well, you know Anna Livia? Yes, of course, we all know Anna Livia. Tell me all. Tell me now. Youll die when you hear. Well, you know, when the old cheb went futt and did what you know. Yes, I know, go on. Wash quit and dont be dabbling. Tuck up your sleeves and loosen your talktapes. And dont butt me hike! when you bend. Or whatever
What is this? the autochthon said, listening to the translation in his own tongue.
Grinning, Herb Asher said, A famous Terran Book. Look, look, the dusk is growing. My branches lofty are tyaking root. And my cold chers gone ashley. Fieluhr? Filou! What age is at? It salon is late. Tis endless now senne
The man is mad, the autochthon said, and turned toward the hatch to leave.
Its Finnegans Wake, Herb Asher said. I hope the translating computer got it for you. Cant hear with the waters of. The chittering waters of. Flittering bats, filedmice bawk talk. Ho! Are you not gone ahome? What Tom Malone? Cant hear
The autochthon had left, convinced of Herb Ashers insanity. Asher watched him through the port; the autochthon strode away from the dome in indignation.
Again pressing the switch of the external bullhorn, Herb Asher yelled after the retreating figure, You think James Joyce was crazy, is that what you think? Okay; then explain to me how come he mentions talktapes which means audio tapes in a book he wrote starting in 1922 and which he completed in 1939, before there were tape recorders! You call that crazy? He also has them sitting around a TV set in a book that started four years after World War I. I think Joyce was a
The autochthon had disappeared over a ridge. Asher released the switch on the external bullhorn.
Its impossible that James Joyce could have mentioned talktapes in his writing, Asher thought. Someday Im going to get my article published; Im going to prove that Finnegans Wake is an information pool based on computer memory systems that didnt exist until centuries after James Joyces era; that Joyce was plugged into a cosmic consciousness from which he derived the inspiration for his entire corpus of work. Ill be famous forever.
What must it have been like, he wondered, to actually hear Cathy Berberian read from Ulysses? If only she had recorded the whole book. But, he realized, we have Linda Fox.
His tape recorder was still on, still recording. Aloud, Herb Asher said, I shall say the hundred-letter thunder word. The needles of the VU meters swung obediently. Here I go, Asher said, and took a deep breath. This is the hundred-letter thunder word from Finnegans Wake. I forget how it goes. He went to the bookshelf and got down the cassette of Finnegans Wake. I shall not recite it from memory, he said, inserting the cassette and rolling it to the first page of text. It is the longest word in the English language, he said. It is the sound made when the primordial schism occurred in the cosmos, when part of the damaged cosmos fell into darkness and evil. Originally we had the Garden of Eden, as Joyce points out. Joyce
His radio sputtered on. The foodman was contacting him, telling him to prepare to receive a shipment.
. . . awake? the radio said. Hopefully.
Contact with another human. Herb Asher shrank involuntarily. Oh Christ, he thought. He trembled. No, he thought.
Philip K. Dick has a section of the Libyrinths Scriptorium devoted to him: The Scriptorium Philip K. Dick Page.
Professor of Semiotics at the University of Bologna, this avowed Joycean is known for writing extremely dense but witty novels, each overflowing with historical trivia, puzzles, paradoxes, and countless arcane allusions. He has also written two nonfiction books about Joyce as well, and parodies Joycean criticism in a third:
The Aesthetics of Chaosmos: The Middle Ages of James Joyce.
One of Ecos first published works, this book puts forth the theory that Joyce was the most significant writer whom embodied the modernist ideal. It also makes a case for Finnegans Wake as being the open work par excellence. Revised in 1982 and translated into English by Ellen Esrock, The Aesthetics of Chaosmos it is published by Harvard Books (ISBN 0-674-00635-6).
Talking of Joyce
Talking of Joyce This is a very small book that contains two lectures about James Joyce: Umberto Ecos A Portrait of the Artist as a Bachelor and Liberato Santoro-Brienzas Joyces Dialogue with Aquinas, Dante, Bruno, Vico, Svevo...
A particularly funny reference to Joyce is made in Ecos Misreadings, a small book of comical essays that begins with a quote from Joyce: Music-Hall, not poetry, is a criticism of life. In the chapter entitled Regretfully, We are Returning Your.... Eco imagines what it would be like if modern publishers received manuscripts such as the Bible, The Divine Comedy, The Trial, and such. Here is his entry on Finnegans Wake:
Joyce, James, Finnegans Wake
Please, tell the office manager to be more careful when he sends books out to be read. Im the English language reader, and youve sent me a book written in some other godforsaken language. Im returning it under separate cover.
The last chapter of Misreadings is a jibe at modern literary criticism, entitled My Exagmination Round His Factification for Incamination to Reduplication with Ridecolation of a Portrait of the Artist as Alessandro Manzoni, a hilarious piece that is written as a criticism of Joyces last work that is, one coming after Finnegans Wake. This newly discovered work is I promessi sposi, or Manzonis The Betrothed. (The joke is that I promessi sposi is actually a nineteenth century novel of completely normal style, subject, and structure, familiar to most of Ecos Italian readers.) In Ecos fictional world, this book, transplanted through reality as Joyces last work, must of course be subjected to the barrage of Joycean criticism. The result is hilarious the reviewer prattles on for pages, declaring it an inventive masterpiece that was clearly Joyces next logical step, that the traditional language is really terribly meaningful, etc. In his preface, Eco has this to say about his misreading:
Bearing in mind all the critical styles in fashion at American universities a few decades ago (from New Criticism to various forms of symbolic criticism, and also a few hints at the criticism of Eliot) I adapted these attitudes of overinterpretation to the most famous Italian novel of the nineteenth century . . . Its style and narrative structure recalling Walter Scott (for example) more than Joyce. Today I realize that many recent exercises in deconstructive reading read as if inspired by my parody. This is parodys mission: it must never be afraid of going too far. If its aim is true, it simply heralds what others will later produce, unblushing, with impassive and assertive gravity.
There is an extensive a section of the Libyrinth devoted to Umberto Eco: Porta Ludovica.
Kirk Hampton, author of The Moonhare, has this to say about his novel:
Id like to call your attention to a publication which may interest Joyce scholars and fans particularly Finnegans Wake enthusiasts.
The book in question is not a scholarly work but rather a novel, written in a distinctly Wakean style. My book, The Moonhare (York Press, Fredericton, NB, Canada), a Wakean science fantasy, is hard to categorize, and the language loaded with neologisms, wordplay, and puns will look exceedingly strange to those whove never seen the Wake.
In the interests of finding readers, I thought I would try to bring my book to the attention of Joyceans, who might well be intrigued by a contemporary writer who employs the Wakean mode especially in the service of a variant on genre fiction. Certainly Joyceans wont be intimidated, as many SF and fantasy readers are likely to be. I am myself a Finnegans Wake reader, though my style is not intended to be imitative or an affectation. A neologistic style comes naturally to me, and its hard (and dull!) for me to write any other way.
This small Web site contains information about Kirk Hampton and The Moonhare.
Chris Lombardi, activist and novelist, uses the relationship between James Joyce and his daughter Lucia as inspiration for her forthcoming novel blue:season. According to her Web site:
blue : season is a meditation on forgiveness, in the context of father/daughter relationships. The complex narrative spins from a single center: James Joyces daughter Lucia, hospitalized for schizophrenia for most of her life.
The novel is the story of Molly ODonnell, doctoral student in Baltimore in the 1990s, studying Lucias relationship with her father how it brings up repressed memories of Mollys own growing up; how she breaks down, rather than forgive the seemingly unforgivable; how she recovers, passing out of her blue: season (the title is from Scribbledehobble, one of Joyces most famous notebooks for Finnegans Wake writing this novel required extremely extensive research, from Joycean explorations to volunteering at a psychiatric hospital ).
The narratives opening chapter, is there one who understands me? begins with Mollys admission to the hospital; chapters then alternate from Mollys life in the hospital to the journal from a year before, as she is led by the trail of her research into unforeseen places.
The structure is almost that of a mystery: Mollys life in the hospital is illuminated by revelations in the journal, while leading us to question the reliability of the journals grad student, who was so innocently studying Joyce, teaching modern literature, and fondly remembering her father.
By the time of the journal chapter LIrlandaise! Molly the doctoral student has gone from disdaining Lucia as a topic to being obsessed and in love with her and to having her own memories burst in on her while researching Lucias journals in Austin, Texas.
At the novels climax, Molly has conflated her own identity with that of Lucia, Issy, Ophelia, Nicole Diver, Christine Beauchamp and assorted madwomen requiring her to swim to the surface outside hospital walls, with a spiraling consciousness not unlike Joyces own.
Commentary by Derik Badman:
Marksons novel Springers Progress contains a number of wordplay/references to Ulysses, including:
Hey, Loosh, how long since you read Joyce? You hear what the newly amputated chef told Stephens friend he was serving on the fancy silver platter?
Plately stump, Buck Mulligan?
Stately, hirsute Lippman Pike.
Final scrotumtightening image as her elevator swallowed him...
And what is home without Plumtrees Potted Meat?
Marksons novel Readers Block, a novel of reference and allusion, refers to Joyce and Ulysses a number of times, particular biographical elements relating to degradation, physical and mental (one of the ongoing themes in that novel).
There is a Joycean reference in Millers 1998 A Ride Down Mt. Morgan, a poignant and darkly comedic story of an aging bigamist named Lyman Felt, who, hospitalized by a car crash, is forced to confront his life and his marital choices.
During one of the flashback scenes, a vigorous Felt stretches to the morning sun and quotes, What clashes here of wills gen wonts, ostrygods gaggin fishygods! His wife correctly identifies the quotation as coming from James Joyces Finnegans Wake. (FW 4.1-2 to be specific.)
Commentary by Derik Badman:
Raymond Queneau was much influenced by his early reading of Ulysses. He shared many themes with Joyce, such as wordplay, encyclopedic works, and a sense of humor in serious literature. A couple more obvious examples:
The Bark Tree (Le Chiendent, in the original French)... Queneaus most obvious homage to that seminal novel [Ulysses] is the way he uses different narrative modes throughout the novel... [for example:] narration by letters, dialogues and conversations, first-person soliloquies, telegrams, catalogs, stream of consciousness, dream hallucinations, newspaper articles, to name a few...
p.74 Allen Thiher, Raymond Queneau
On est toujours trop bon avec les femmes [translated in English as We always treat our women too well], set in Ireland, contains numerous direct references to Joyces settings, characters [almost all the character names are taken from Ulysses], themes, style(s), and individual works.... at one point Caffrey [a character in the novel] remarks, Well, well, ...were certainly learning some new words today. Anyone can see we are in the land of James Joyce. Queneau mocks his own parody with a humorous footnote to this line: There is a slight anachronism here, but Caffrey, being illiterate, could not have known in 1916 that Ulysses had not yet appeared.
p.82 Jane Alison Hale, The Lyric Encyclopedia of Raymond Queneau
Raymond Queneau has a section of the Libyrinths Scriptorium devoted to him: The Raymond Queneau Page.
This great American novelist mentions Joyce in his novel, Sabbaths Theatre. (London: Cape, 1995).
lamppost sex sale naked girl silhouette phone number whats that say I speak Hindi Urdu and Bangla well that leaves me out shiksa Mount Rushmore Ava Gardner Soja Henie Ann-Margret Yvonne de Carlo strike Ann-Margret Grace Kelly she is the Abraham Lincoln of shiksas
So Sabbath passeth the time, pretending to think without punctuation, the way J. Joyce pretended people thought. . . .
Seventeen. Three years Kathys junior and no ad hoc committee of mollycoddling professors to keep me from getting clap, getting rolled, or getting stabbed to death, let alone getting my little ears molested. I went there deliberately to get myself molly-bloomed! Thats what sevenfuckinteen is for!
Thanks to Mr. Koster of the Joyce List for this information.
A long time admirer of Joyce, the British/Indian author Salman Rushdie has produced a body of fiction both profound in depth and delightful in breadth, rich with wordplay, literary in-jokes, and sly allusions to other writers such as Borges, Pynchon, and James Joyce. In The Ground Beneath her Feet, some of these Joycean references come right to the surface.
Commentary by Internet Joycean Charles Cave (Page numbers refer to the Henry Holt 1999 hardcover edition):
During my reading of Salman Rushdies latest book, I was struck by the number of allusions and references to Joyces Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. Perhaps this is because there is a natural affinity between Wakean language and Rushdies Bombay argot? Many languages are fused, and new words arise. Rushdie talks about this on page 7:
Because it was only me, she could prattle on in Bombays garbage argot, Mumbai ki kachrapati baat-chet, in which a sentence could begin in one language, swoop through a second and even a third and then swing back round to the first. Our acronymic-name for it was Hug-me. Hindi Uurdu Gujarati Marathi English. Bombayites like me were people who spoke five languages badly and no language well.
On Page 124, she Vina Apsara is further described:
She picked up languages as easily as, throughout her life, she picked up lovers. It was in those years that she perfected her use of Hug-me, our polyglot trash-talk. Chinese khana ka big mood hai, she learned to say, when she wanted a plate of noodles, or for she was a great hobbit fancier Apun J.R.R. Tolkiens Angootiyan-ka-Seth ko too-much admire karta chhé. Ameer Merchant, the familys great word-gamester, paid Vina the compliment of incorporating many of the girls locutions into her own personal lexicon. Ameer and Vina were, linguistically at least, two of a kind.
On Page 118, the character Piloo is talking in a Wakean style. (Im sure there are some deeper references to goats: FW 48.2: mixed sex cases among goats):
Newer phear, he said. The goats we will hawe in phuture could not be depheated by Exwyzee or any other alphabetists. They will be top-quality goats, and you will all grow phaty and lazy, becaase you will still get all your pay, though the goats will not require any maintenance, and also, they will not cost one single rupee to pheed. Phrom now on, he concluded cryptically, we will raise not simply goats but ghoasts.
The following paragraph (on page 118) has Wakean/Viconian allusions to the opening paragraph of Finnegans Wake: riverrun, past Eve and Adams, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs. (FW 3.1-3):
The riddle of the ghoats or ghoats, or goasts, or what you will must remain unsolved awhile. We have arrived once again, by recirculation, at the moment of Vinas expulsion from Piloos portals.
Towards the end of page 118 is a Rushdie-crafted portmanteau word:
accompanied by wife, daughters and the full magnificentourage.
Page 121 also has distinct Wakean overtones:
National sensitivities are on permanent alert, and it is getting harder by the moment to say boo to a goose, lest the goose in question belongs to the paranoid majority (gooism under threat), the thin-skinned minority (victims of goosophobia), the militant fringe (Goose Sena), the separatists (Goosistan Liberation Front), the increasingly well organised cohorts of societys historical outcasts (the ungoosables, or Scheduled Geese), or the devout followers of that ultimate guruduck, the sainted Mother Goose.
Page 145 has a reference to the Willingdone Museyroom (FW 8.9):
chips and swimming at the Willingdon
In an ironic parody of Mollys great soliloquy, Page 244 demonstrates a style borrowed from the last page of Ulysses:
The hanged man and I were alone for a long time. His feet swung not far from my revolted nose and yes I wondered about the heels of his boots his when I got the ropes off I made myself approach him yes in spite of his poong like the end of the world and the biting insects yes and the rawness of my throat and my eyes sore from bulging as I puked I took hold of his heels one ater the other yes I twisted the left heel it came up empty but the right heel did the right thing the film just plopped down in my mind yes and I put the and I put an unused film in its place from my own boot yes and I could feel his body all perfume and my heart was going like mad and I made my escape with Piloos fate and my own golden future in my hand yes and to hell with everything I said yes because it might as well be me as another so yes I will yes I did yes.
On Page 261 we come across a direct references to Joyce and his fictional universe:
for he often made the comparison himself, and these days, a persons self-description is quickly adopted by all and sundry Clown Prince, Comeback Kid, Sister of Mercy, Honest John so why deny Standish his chosen similes? . . . like Joyces Nausicaä, Gertie MacDowell, the American has a club foot.
And finally, page 490 has references to a wake, Finnegan and Molly thrown into the mix:
In the middle of my so-called coming-out party, I looked over at Aimé-Césaire and saw the mark of death on him, and the party began suddenly to seem like a wake for that beautiful man who, like Finnegan in the song, was sitting up gaily and enjoying his own farewell do. I knew about Schnabel also, that since his punishing divorce he continued to be at war with his ex-wife Molly, who had successfully obtained court orders preventing him from going within a mile of his two kids, and who visited Macks father on his deathbed to tell him, falsely, that Mack was a heroin addict, guilty of both violence towards and sexual abuse of the boys.
There is also a small entry on Rushdies Borgesian allusions on the Libyrinths Borges page, The Garden of Forking Paths.
Author of the novel Mulligans Stew, a sprawling work that lampoons bad writing in all its forms. According to Tim Szigla of the FW-List, Mulligans Stew is A Rosencrantzian/Pirandellian kind of novel of Martin Halpin, whose entire literary existence is as a footnote on page 266 of Finnegans Wake. This troubles him a bit.
A brilliant British playwright whose sardonic and delightful comedies take pleasure in skewering the nature of language and reality itself, Stoppard is a self-confessed Joycean and one the most imaginative contemporary playwrights. Best known for the witty comedy Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, he also cowrote the screenplay to Terry Gilliams Brazil and the Oscar-winning Shakespeare in Love. The following two plays make use of dear old Jim; the first as a character, the second just in passing.
In Travesties, Stoppard places James Joyce in Switzerland with Vladimir Lenin and Tristan Tzara. The play is related through one Henry Carr, a real-life associate of Joyce immortalized in Ulysses. As Travesties uses Joyce as a character, a full commentary may be found on the Joyce as a Character page.
The Real Thing
The Real Thing has the following bit of dialogue:
Charlotte: Are you still doing your list?
Charlotte: Have you got a favorite book?
Henry: Finnegans Wake.
Charlotte: Have you read it?
Henry: Dont be silly.
The Nobel Prize-winning Caribbean poet Derek Walcott makes some pointed Joycean references in the 39th chapter of his masterpiece, Omeros.
Id I leant on the mossed embankment just as if he
bloomed there every dusk with eye-patch and tilted hat,
rakish cane on shoulder. Along the Liffey,
the mansards dimmed to one indigo silhouette;
then a stroke of light brushed the honey-haired river,
and there, in black cloche hat and coat, she scurried faster
to the changing rose of light. Anna Livia!
Muse of our ages Omeros, undimmed Master
And true tenor of the place! so where was my gaunt,
cane-twirling flaneur? I blest myself in his voice,
and climbed up the wooded stairs to the restaurant
with its brass spigots, its glints, its beer-brightened noise.
Theres a bower of roses by Bendemeers stream
was one of the airs Maud Plunkett played, from Moore
perhaps, and I murmured along with them; its theme
as each felted oar lifted and dipped with hammer-
like strokes, was that of anadoring sunflower
turning bright hair to her Major. And then I saw him.
The Dead were singing in fringed shawls, the wick-low shade
leapt high and rouged their cold cheeks with vermilion
round the pub piano, the air Maud Plunkett played,
rowing her with felt hammer-strokes from my island
to one with bright doors and cobbles, and then Mr. Joyce
led us all, as gently as Howth when it drizzles,
his voice like sun-drizzled Howth, its violet lees
of moss at low tide, where a dog barks Howth! Howth! at
the shawled waves, and the stone I rubbed in my pocket
from the Martello brought one-eyed Ulysses
to the copper-bright strand, watching the mail-packet
butting past the Head, its wake glittering like keys.
Commentary by Willian Sugrue of the FW-List:
There is the writer of the post WWII pulp/noir group, Charles Willeford, who had the protagonist in The High Priest of California killing time by rewriting Finnegans Wake in standard English. This book came out originally as one of those dime store pulp novel with two books in one featuring lurid covers.
Wilson, Robert Anton
A novelist, humorist, philosopher, and cultural critic, R. A. Wilson holds a sacred place in the American pop-consciousness as God of Conspiracy Theories, having devoted his entire fictional oeuvre to making people feel Extremely Paranoid About Nearly Everything. His most famous work, the original Illuminatus! trilogy, is a cult classic, and his role in founding the Discordian Society has invested him with a kind of sci-fi sainthood. An associate of Timothy Leary and a devotée of Carl Jung, Aleister Crowley, Zen Buddhism, quantum theory, and Finnegans Wake. Wilson has also produced some amazing books of postmodern philosophy, including the seminal Cosmic Trigger. Joycean references pop up all the time in his works, and his nonfiction book Coincidance contains several essays on Joyce. Indeed, one of his novels goes so far as to use Ol Jamsey as a character.
A 1988 interview with David A. Banton reveals some of Wilsons thoughts on Joyce, including the excerpt below:
DAB: I understand youve been working on a book about James Joyce.
RAW: Well, I was working on a book on Joyce, and I finally decided that for financial reasons, the kind of money you make out of writing scholarly books on Irish writers is not really huge. Im publishing about a third of the Joyce book together with essays on other writers, under the title Coincidance, and thats due out any day now from Falcon Press. Meanwhile Im working on more commercial ventures. There will come a time, sometime in the future, when I will write a whole book on Joyce. Meanwhile, Ive got a third of a book on Joyce bound together with two-thirds of a book on other subjects.
DAB: What is your fascination with Joyce?
RAW: I could talk all day about that! Joyce was more interested in synchronicity more than any other writer before me, and he influenced me a great deal. My fascination with synchronicity grows more out of Joyce than out of Jung. Ulysses and Finnegans Wake are all about synchronicity, and they came out long before Jung ever wrote anything on the subject. Joyce fascinates me because of many other things. In Ulysses, he was the first one to write a relativistic novel, the first Einsteinian novel. Every other novel before Ulysses had one point of view, which was supposed to be the objective point of view, and in Ulysses, Joyce refuses to give you an objective point of view. He gives you about 54 different points of view, and leaves it up to you to decide which of the various narrative voices youre going to believe. And I find that a very appropriate style for the 20th Century, its entirely compatible with relativity and quantum mechanics . . . the amount of deception and propaganda in the 20th Century world, where you cant take anything at face value. Its compatible with modern philosophy, everything from Nietzsche and Wittgenstein on, weve learned more and more about how the mind creates its own reality-tunnel; its entirely compatible with modern psychology and neurology and cultural anthropology.
I dont see why anybody is still writing Victorian novels, I think everybody should be writing Joycean novels, to be contemporary, to be compatible with modern science, modern philosophy and modern civilization in general. People who are writing pre-Joycean novels, it seems to me like theyre riding around in a stagecoach instead of using a car or a plane.
(Thanks to Mike Quest for this!)
The Illuminatus! Trilogy
The Godfather of all Conspiracy novels, The Illuminatus! Trilogy consists of three main works The Eye in the Pyramid, The Golden Apple, and Leviathan and a small librarys worth of auxiliary novels, prequels, and nonfictional explications. As with most of Wilsons work, Joyce and Finnegans Wake are never too far away from the surface. Charles Cave has compiled this list of Joycean references from The Eye in the Pyramid (Page numbers are from the trade paperback edition):
He began trying in earnest to re-create the face and identify it - James Joyce, H. P. Lovecraft, and a monk in a painting by Fra Angelico all came to mind. (p 73)
The machine gun suddenly stopped stuttering and I thought I heard a voice cry Earwicker, Bloom and Craft. Ive still got Joyce on my mind, I decided. (p 74). [It was actually Ewige Blumenkraft, or Eternal Flower-Power.]
Were we all in Jarrys mind, or Joyces? (p 143)
He kept wondering where all that Joyce and surrealism was coming from. (p 145)
But acid is placid, you know, and a minute later I was on Joyces juices again and thinking of a drama called Their Mace and My Gripes. I made the first line fruity, in honour of Padre Pederastia: What a botch of a pair to plumb this hours gripes. (p 147)
They needed them: they were half-blind, like Joyce splitting his Adam into wise hopes. (p 148)
James Joyce, in Paris, scrawled in crayon words that his secretary, Samuel Beckett, would later type: Pre-Austeric Man in Pursuit of Pan-Hysteric Woman. (p 181)
A Portrait of the Artist has five chapters, all well and good, but Ulysses has 18 chapters, a stumper, until I remembered that 5 + 18 = 23. How about Finnegans Wake? Alas, that has 17 chapters, and I was bogged down for a while. (p 237)
I. THE FAUST PARSON, SINGULAR. Napalm sundaes for How Chow Mein, misfortunes cookie. (p 272) [A Finnegans Wake style pun]
Kevin of the FW-List also writes: In the sci-fi cult classic Illuminatus!, theres a long female monologue ending No I wont No. Also, the Democratic Convention of 1968 [as depicted by Wilson] has a Finneganesque rhythm and multiple puns.
Masks of the Illuminati
As its title suggests, Masks of the Illuminati is a member of the sprawling world of the Illuminatus! series. As the novel uses Joyce as a character, a full commentary may be found on the Joyce as a Character page.