The following are a few references to authors who have been overtly influenced by Joyce, have namedropped Joyce in their fiction, or have even used Joyce as a fictional character. When appropriate, individual books have been linked to reviews, features, or Amazon.com entries. Of course, I realize that my selections are highly subjective and biased towards my favorite authors -- indeed, many of these writers have their own site on the Libyrinth. If you have any other influences or references you would like to submit, please mail them to me!
Jorge Luis Borges
Mark Z. Danielewski
Philip K. Dick
Flann O'Brien (Coming Soon)
Robert Anton Wilson
James Blish, a science fiction writer, is an author who uses many Joycean references in his unusual work. The following paragraph was sent in to me 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 more apparent in A Case of Conscience (whose Jesuit hero spends the whole book struggle with a moral problem raised by Finnegans Wake), Black Easter, 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 brilliant Argentine mentions him several times in his writings, and was one of the first Spanish-language reviewers of Ulysses. He's also written two poems about James Joyce: "James Joyce," and "Invocation to Joyce." Here are some of the more interesting mentions of 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 Valery's.
-- 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 section of the Libyrinth devoted to him: The Garden of Forking Paths.
Anthony Burgess is a self-proclaimed Joycean, and has written three books on Joyce -- ReJoyce, A Shorter Finnegans Wake, and Joysprick. One of Burgess' specialties is language, and these works are filled with witty remarks on Joyce's skill in wordplay and linguistic skill, talents which Burgess himself shares in abundance.
Perhaps this is most evident in his best known novel, A Clockwork Orange, which is told in a futuristic English heavily-inflected with an invented slang called Nadsat. A combination of corrupted Russian words and a strange hybrid of modern and old-fashioned English, Nadsat is one of Burgess' most enduring creations; though one that provides something of a barrier to the average reader, who is immediately plunged into the book with few points of reference. (Hmmm.... "This is Nadsat in any sinse of the world?" If I may adapt FW 83.10-12.) It is a gamble that pays off brilliantly -- once the reader learns to master the lingo, the book opens explosively, providing a direct route into the protagonist's brutal imagination. An electrifying tour-de-force of linguistic invention, it's impossible to imagine the book having the same impact if it were told in normal English.
Though many other of Burgess' works match the thematic brilliance of A Clockwork Orange, it is this book which perhaps shares the most linguistic qualities with Finnegans Wake. It is also impossible to estimate the influence of A Clockwork Orange, which spawned not only a cinematic masterpiece from Stanley Kubrick, but a whole generation of books taking it as an inspiration, from Neuromancer to Vurt. There are also obvious similarities to genre novels such as Riddley Walker, Dune, and Queen of Angels, which, while not overtly Joycean, are also narrated in a partially invented language.
Anthony Burgess has a section of the Libyrinth's Scriptorium devoted to him: The Scriptorium Burgess Page.
Danielewski, Mark Z.
This young American writer may only have one book to his credit, but it's one hell of a book: House of Leaves.
House of Leaves is essentially a horror novel, but less about things that go bump in the night, and more about the existential dread latent in the tensions between knowing and not knowing, about 3 a.m. anxieties, and about the empty spaces in our awareness and apprehension of ourselves, others, and the world. Though Danielewski's influences may have more to do with Borges, Lovecraft, Pynchon and Wallace than James Joyce, House of Leaves nevertheless shares many Joycean characteristics, including chapters organized around structural motifs and bearing "assumed" titles; exhaustive and often confusing footnotes; linguistic games, coined words, and frequent wordplay; and finally a self-reflexive awareness of both itself as a difficult text, and the web of intertextuality in which it is situated. So, to take a closer look....
House of Leaves has many layers, and like the film The Blair Witch Project, it comes pre-fixed in the middle of its own fictional mythology. The book as sold purports to be the revised "second edition" of a work that was originally loosely bound and passed along the Interney-savvy counterculture. The version you are reading has been "professionally edited," binding together the work of two authors, Zampanò and Johnny Truant.
The bulk of the novel is a critical explication written on the subject of The Navidson Record, a documentary film made about a house with more inner space than is mathematically possible. This "inner book," also called The House of Leaves, is written by one Zampanò, who uses copious footnotes to provide a somewhat pompous sense of academic documentation. These footnotes are largely apocryphal, reminiscent of Borges and of course David Foster Wallace. (Indeed, Zampano himself is a thinly veiled Borges figure, like Eco's Jorge of Burgos or García Márquez' Melquíades.) The notations also occasionally veer into the realm of the surreal and the encyclopedic -- In the chapter known (informally) as "The Labyrinth," certain footnotes wind their way around and 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? Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting, ... many stories by Lovecraft, Pynchon's gator patrol in V., Borges' "The Garden of Forking Paths" in Ficciones, Conrad's Heart of Darkness, ...? To say nothing of ... Bill Viola's 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.)
As Zampanò relates the events occurring in the film The Navidson Record -- which is apparently a world-wide phenomenon, generating nearly as much scholarship and commentary as Finnegans Wake -- we as readers are allowed access to the primary story, that of the Navidsons and their eerie home. Zampanò's work was left uncompleted at his death, however, which is an ingenious device for bringing in a third level of narration, Johnny Truant. He's the young man who found the manuscript fragments of The House of Leaves in a trunk, where Zampanò had labored to write it on reams of paper, napkins, envelopes, and anything else he could find. As Truant assembles the work, he adds his own layer of footnotes; perhaps better described as intensely personal digressions. These long passages tell Truant's story, a parallel tale of creeping madness, of alienation, and even the doubt he feels about the whole Zampanò manuscript itself -- in Truant's universe, as in ours, there never has been a film called The Navidson Record! Through his reflections on Zampanò's work, we also see evidence of a very mysterious story revolving around the old man -- Why did Zampanò "make up " this documentary? Why was he writing this book? And of course, What happened to him? The fourth level of narration comes from the "editors," who have taken the work of Zampanò and Truant and bound it in a book, adding supplementary material for this "second edition" which you, the reader, are holding in your hands. And for a final twist, some of that extra material involves a refutation of Truant's introductory claim that Zampanò's sources did not exist.... Wheels within wheels within wheels!
I wrote a review of House of Leaves for the Spiral-Bound newsletter. There is also a small entry on the book's Borgesian allusions on the Libyrinth's Borges page, The Garden of Forking Paths.
Dick, Philip K.
One of the greatest American writers 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 Bladerunner was loosely based, Dick's 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. Dick's characters -- who, like Dick himself, often skirt the edges of madness -- never lose sight of this quest, even if they are constantly exposed to the fractioning forces of alienation and disillusionment. Amidst the chaos and dehumanizing forces of modern society, there must still be a committment to a basic humanity, a dedication to higher truths such as love, and an affirmation of life -- or else all is empty. Dick's work is brilliant, humane, disturbing, and always interesting.
Joyce is mentioned frequently in Dick's stories and novels, but my favorite allusion is found in The Divine Invasion, where the protagonist, Herb Archer, attempts to explain his ideas about Finnegans Wake to an unsympathetic alien. In the excerpt below, Asher, more than a little crazy, and solitary in his dome on a distant planet, has a discussion with an alien called an "autochthon." (Note that Cathy Berberian is a real singer, and is Luciano Berio's wife. She recorded many of Berio's Joyce inspired compositions. Music is always very important in Dick's work.) 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. You'll 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 don't be dabbling. Tuck up your sleeves and loosen your talktapes. And don't 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 cher's 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.
"It's Finnegans Wake," Herb Asher said. "I hope the translating computer got it for you. 'Can't hear with the waters of. The chittering waters of. Flittering bats, filedmice bawk talk. Ho! Are you not gone ahome? What Tom Malone? Can't hear--'"
The autochthon had left, convinced of Hern Asher's insanity. Asher watched him through the port; the autochthon strode awayfrom 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 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.
It's impossible that James Joyce could have mentioned "talktapes" in his writing, Asher thought. Someday I'm going to get my artricle published; I'm going to prove that Finnegans Wake is an information pool based on computer memory systems that didn't exist until centuries after James Joyce's era; that Joyce was plugged into a cosmic consciousness from which he derived the inspiration for his entire corpus of work. I'll 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.
Another avowed Joycean who also has his own site in the Libyrinth, Umberto Eco is one of the world's greatest living novelists. Professor of Semiotics at the University of Bologna, this Italian is known for creating extremely dense novels that are illuminated by his unique wit. Puzzles, wordplay, historical trivia, paradoxes, arcane allusions -- all are grist for Eco's impressive mill. Here are two of his nonfiction works that make mention of Joyce:
The Aesthetics of Chaosmos: The Middle Ages of James Joyce.
One of Eco's 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 now put out by Harvard Books (ISBN 0-674-00635-6).
A particularly funny reference to Joyce is made in Eco's 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. I'm the English language reader, and you've sent me a book written in some other godforsaken language. I'm 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 Joyce's "last" work -- that is, the one coming after Finnegans Wake. This newly discovered last work is I promessi sposi, orManzoni's The Betrothed. The humor is that the book I promessi sposi is actually a nineteenth century Italian work of completely normal style, subject, and structure, familiar to most of Eco's Italian readers. But in Eco's fictional world, this book, transplanted through reality as Joyce's "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 Joyce's next logical step, that the traditional language is really terribly meaningful, etc. In his preface, Eco has this to say:
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 parody's 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.
Talking of Joyce
Talking of Joyce This is a very small book that contains two lectures about James Joyce: Umberto Eco's "A Portrait of the Artist as a Bachelor" and Liberato Santoro-Brienza's "Joyce's Dialogue with Aquinas, Dante, Bruno, Vico, Svevo..."
Umberto Eco also has a section of the Libyrinth devoted to him: Porta Ludovica.
This Scottish playwright has crafted a drama about Joyce called Mr. Joyce is Leaving Paris. According to Colin Owens:
This play was filmed, and was shown at the Joyce Symposium in Dublin in 1982: about JJ's last days in Paris in 1939. Surrounded by the ghosts of the past, he goes through another crisis like Stephen's in Ulysses. The lead actor's likeness to JJ aside, it did not seem to me very sympathetic to the historical JJ. I have not heard of it since.
Nor have I heard any other mention or information about it. If someone can fill in the details, please contact me.
Recently I was contacted by an author named Kirk Hampton, who has just written a book entitled The Moonhare. He has this to say about his work:
I'd 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 who've 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 won't 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 it's hard (and dull!) for me to write any other way.
Copies of The Moonhare can be obtained through the publisher, and comments may be emailed directly to Kirk Hampton.
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 Joyce's daughter Lucia, hospitalized for schizophrenia for most of her life.
The novel is the story of Molly O'Donnell, doctoral student in Baltimore in the 1990s, studying Lucia's relationship with her father -- how it brings up repressed memories of Molly's 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 Joyce's most famous notebooks for Finnegans Wake -- writing this novel required extremely extensive research, from Joycean explorations to volunteering at a psychiatric hospital ).
The narrative's opening chapter, is there one who understands me? begins with Molly's admission to the hospital; chapters then alternate from Molly's 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: Molly's life in the hospital is illuminated by revelations in the journal, while leading us to question the reliability of the journal's grad student, who was so innocently studying Joyce, teaching modern literature, and fondly remembering her father.
By the time of the journal chapter L'Irlandaise! 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 Lucia's journals in Austin, Texas.
At the novel's 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 Joyce's own.
You can read more about Blue:Season on Chris Lombardi's Web Site. The Blue:Season page also holds excerpts, research notes, and a PDF file of the novel available to order directly from the author.
There is a Joycean reference in Miller's 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 Joyce's Finnegans Wake. (FW 4.1-2 to be specific.)
This great American novelist mentions Joyce in his novel, Sabbath's Theatre. (London: Cape, 1995).
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So Sabbath passeth the time, pretending to think without punctuation, the way J. Joyce pretended people thought. . . .
Seventeen. Three years Kathy's 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! That's 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. Internet Joycean Charles Cave has kindly prepared the following Joycean appraisal of the novel (Page numbers refer to the Henry Holt 1999 hardcover edition):
During my reading of Salman Rushdie's latest book, I was struck by the number of allusions and references to Joyce's Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. Perhaps this is because there is a natural affinity between Wakean language and Rushdie's 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 Bombay's 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. Tolkien's Angootiyan-ka-Seth ko too-much admire karta chhé." Ameer Merchant, the family's great word-gamester, paid Vina the compliment of incorporating many of the girl's 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. (I'm 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 Adam's, 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 Vina's expulsion from Piloo's 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 society's 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 Molly's 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 Piloo's 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 person's 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 Joyce's 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 suddlenly 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 Mack's 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 Rushdie's Borgesian allusions on the Libyrinth's Borges page, The Garden of Forking Paths.
Author of the novel Mulligan's Stew, a sprawling work that lampoons bad writing in all its forms. According to Tim Szigla of the FW-List, Mulligan's 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 an avowed Joycean and one of the best of our contemporary playwrights. Best known for the witty comedy Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, he also cowrote the screenplay to Terry Gilliam's Brazil, the Oscar-winning Shakespeare in Love, and gives frequent lectures. The following two plays make use of dear old Jim; the first as a character, the second just in passing.
In Travesties, Stoppard brings his inimitable talents to bear on Switzerland in the year 1917, a time and place that saw James Joyce, Vladimir Lenin, and the Dadaist Tristan Tzara busy at work with three different revolutions -- literary, political, and art. A forth figure ties them all together: Henry Carr, the young "English Consulate" who serves as the play's narrator, recalling that year from the vantage point of his senility in 1974.
Carr is an interesting character, and bears some explanation. Readers of Ulysses know him as "Private Carr," the English brute who hassles Stephen in Nighttown during the "Circe" episode. But this is an example of Joyce getting even with someone, as there really was a Henry Carr. A minor employee at the English Consulate in Zurich, he played the part of Algernon in an English production of Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest. Alas, he got in a tiff with the production's business manager -- James Joyce! -- and landed in court, where he lost his claim for additional money (compensation for the trousers he purchased for the role), but won the countersuit Joyce brought against him for slander.
The fictionalized Carr of Travesties fares little better than his literary double in Ulysses, for as narrator he is quite senile, and given into episodes of egocentric misremembering, deliberate or unintentional. Indeed, all the principle characters are seen interacting through Carr's myopic vision, which is essential to the play's very nature. Nothing in Travesties is quite what it seems, and we frequently see whole conversations acted, and then re-acted, often with wildly different outcomes. The effect is often hilarious, as Carr's memories tend to derail the action into ludicrous episodes, often affected by the very nature of the topic in question -- whole scenes veer off into insane repartée delivered in limericks; conversations take on the form of episodes from Ulysses; and frequently Carr recasts everything as an Oscar Wilde play, complete with scintillating banter spiked with well-placed epigrams. Indeed, the secondary structuring device of Travesties is The Importance of Being Earnest, which serves as a parodic backbone much the same the way as Homer's Odyssey supports Joyce's Ulysses.
But despite its time-slips and frequent departures into madcap confusion, Travesties is amazingly coherent. Joycean allusion, political dialectic, Wildean paradox, Dada poetry -- all are absorbed and transformed into a shimmering narrative that shifts back and forth between 1917 and 1974, exposing both art and politics to Stoppard's lucid and ironic wit, and dazzling the imagination with endlessly inventive wordplay.
For additional information, check out Michael Berry's Travesties 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: Don't be silly.
The Nobel Prize-winning Caribbean poet Derek Walcott makes some pointed Joycean references in the 39th chapter of his masterpiece, Omeros.
I'd 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 age's 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.
"There's a bower of roses by Bendemeer's 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.
Thanks to Bob Williams for this.
According to 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.
Other than this, I have no further information. If someone can fill in the details, please contact me.
Wilson, Robert Anton
An American writer, humorist, and philosopher, Wilson is something akin to the God of Conspiracy Theories, having devoted all his fictional work to making people feel extremely paranoid of Just About Everything. His most famous work, the "first" Illuminatus! trilogy, is a cult classic, and his role in founding the Discordian Society has assured him a very strange order of sainthood. An associate of Timothy Leary and a devotée of Jung, Crowley, Zen Buddhism, Finnegans Wake and quantum theory, 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 Wilson's thoughts on Joyce, including the excerpt below:
DAB: I understand you've 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. I'm publishing about a third of the Joyce book together with essays on other writers, under the title Coincidance, and that's due out any day now from Falcon Press. Meanwhile I'm working on more commercial ventures. There will come a time, sometime in the future, when I will write a whole book on Joyce. Meanwhile, I've 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 you're going to believe. And I find that a very appropriate style for the 20th Century, it's entirely compatible with relativity and quantum mechanics . . . the amount of deception and propaganda in the 20th Century world, where you can't take anything at face value. It's compatible with modern philosophy, everything from Nietzsche and Wittgenstein on, we've learned more and more about how the mind creates its own reality-tunnel; it's entirely compatible with modern psychology and neurology and cultural anthropology.
I don't 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 they're riding around in a stagecoach instead of using a car or a plane.
(Thanks to Mike Quest of the Ulysses-List 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 library's worth of auxillary novels, prequels, and nonfictional explications. (Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum is in the exact same vein -- albeit more literary in tone -- as Wilson's "Illuminati" works.) As with most of Wilson's 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." -- I've still got Joyce on my mind, I decided. (p 74). [It was actually "Ewige Blumenkraft, or "Eternal Flower-Power.]
Were we all in Jarry's mind, or Joyce's? (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 Joyce's 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 hour's 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, Samule 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, misfortune's cookie. (p 272) [A Finnegans Wake style pun]
"Kevin" of the FW-List also writes: "In the sci-fi 'cult classic' Illuminatus!, there's a long female monologue ending 'No I won't 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. However, while certainly part of this milieu, Masks of the Illuminati stands very easily on its own, and is in fact of one Wilson's more earnest novels -- a piece of occult fiction which doubles as a secret work of anarchistic philosophy.
It stars as main characters Albert Einstein and James Joyce, who meet in Switzerland at a pub. There, they encounter a strange Englishman with a riddle to solve -- and so they begin a twisted quest through the very nature of reality itself, entering a convoluted world of conspiracies, ancient religions, cults, and even a meeting with Aleister Crowley. It is both a hilarious and an unsettling book, written in a narrative style that combines Burroughsian "screenplays" with direct parodies of Joyce in all his forms, including the wordplay of Finnegans Wake and Ulysses. (The book introduces Einstein with: "Stately, plump Albert Einstein came from the gloomdomed Lorelei barroom baring a paleyellow tray on which two mugs of beer stood carefully balanced, erect.") Like much of Wilson's fiction, the investigators uncover plots within plots, wheels within wheels, and learn a few important lessons about belief, faith and doubt.
I highly recommend this book to any Joyce fan with even the slightest interest in conspiracy theories, secret societies, or the occult. It is quite a thought-provoking book, with many of Wilson's theories on magic and reality underpinning the satire and providing a serious foundation. And of course, it's always a delight to see Joyce, who parodied so many others in "Oxen of the Sun," himself become the object of parody.