James Joyce, Finnegans Wake

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Among the most important literary experiments of twentieth-century literature,

Finnegans Wake

is probably also the most substantial. James Joyce worked seventeen years on this last work, which stretched the boundaries of the English language more than any other literary text before and since.

In 1922, shortly after the publication of Ulysses, when Joyce was asked what his next book was going to be, he answered that he wanted to write a history of the world; in 1939, when the book was published, his view of history appeared to be circular. Finnegans Wake famously opens with the second half of the sentence that starts at the very end of the book. This circular view on history was inspired by the Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico (1668-1744), as is suggested in the novel: “The Vico

2123 words

Citation: Van Hulle, Dirk. "Finnegans Wake". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 October 2002 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=5163, accessed 16 July 2024.]

5163 Finnegans Wake 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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