Joyce's Kaleidoscope

Joyce's Kaleidoscope : An Invitation to Finnegans Wake

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Description

James Joyce's Ulysses, once regarded as obscure and obscene, is now viewed as one of the masterpieces of world literature. Yet Joyce's final novel, Finnegans Wake, to which he devoted seventeen years, remains virtually unread, except by scholarly specialists. Its linguistic novelties, apparently based on an immense learning that few can share, make it appear impenetrable.

Joyce's Kaleidoscope attempts to dissolve the darkness and to invite lovers of literature to engage with Finnegans Wake. Philip Kitcher proposes that the Wake has at its core an age-old philosophical question, "What makes a life worth living?", and that Joyce explores that question from the perspective of someone who feels that a long life is now ending. So the complex dream language is a way of investigating issues that are hard to face directly; the reader is
invited to struggle with the novel's aging dreamer who seeks reassurance about the worth of what he has done and been. Joyce finds his way to reassurance. The sweeping music and the high comedy of Finnegans Wake celebrate the ordinary doings of ordinary people. With great humanity and a distinctive brand of humanism, Joyce points
us to the things that matter in our lives. His final novel is a festival of life itself.

From this perspective, the supposedly opaque, or nonsensical, language opens up as a rich source for the reader's reflections: though readers won't all approach it the same way, or with the same set of references, there is meaning in it for everyone. Kitcher's detailed study of the entire text brings out its musical resonances and its musical structures. It analyzes the novel overall while bringing deep insight to the reading of key individual passages. This engaging guide will aid readers not
just to make sense of the novel, but to relish the remarkable accomplishment of Joyce's least appreciated work.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 336 pages
  • 165 x 240 x 25mm | 608g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195321022
  • 9780195321029
  • 1,593,521

Table of contents

Acknowledgements
Awakening
1: So soft this morning, ours
2: His reignbolt's shot
3: Respectable
4: Nayman of Noland
5: Crossmess parzel
6: Life's robulous rebus
7: Three score and ten toptypsical readings
8: The hubbub caused in Edenborough
9: The unfacts, did we possess them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude
10: Everybody heard their plaint
11: Tell me more
12: Loud, heap miseries upon us
13: The tasks above are as the flasks below
14: From Liff away
15: The four of us and sure, thank God, there are no more of us
16: A picture primitive
17: Lightbreakfastbringer
18: Arise, sir ghostus!
19: Male and female, unmask we hem
20: The keys to. Given!
21: Aisy now, you decent man
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Review Text

Philip Kitcher is just the person we need to rein in a virtuoso performance that threatens at every turn to spin out of control. There's no novel more in need of, and more worthy of, a philosophical perspective, and Kitcher, himself a virtuoso devotee of literature, will henceforth have provided Joyce's summa its firm foundation. Paul Fry, Yale University
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Review quote

Philip Kitcher is just the person we need to rein in a virtuoso performance that threatens at every turn to spin out of control. There's no novel more in need of, and more worthy of, a philosophical perspective, and Kitcher, himself a virtuoso devotee of literature, will henceforth have provided Joyce's summa its firm foundation. * Paul Fry, Yale University * In this stellar book, Karen Zivi realigns the theorization of rights with 'agonistic' theories of democracy that have put traditional liberalisms under scrutiny. Using Judith Butler's concept of 'performativity' she takes issue with Wendy Brown's critique of 'rights-politics,' writing in very clear language and deploying intriguing and controversial case studies. Unusually, Zivi starts the story with a pertinent and easy-to-read survey of the analytical tradition of
rights-analysis begun in the 1960s. This is an invaluable work on the most important topics today in political theory and practice. * Terrell Carver, Professor of Political Theory, University of Bristol * This book performs the remarkable feat of making the pleasures of Finnegans Wake enticing to the general reader. Philip Kitcher shows that Joyce's last masterpiece, rather than an esoteric word game, is a heartwarming portrait of the aging artist in his family, as sad and funny as the portrait of Leopold Bloom in Ulysses. An irresistible invitation to Finnegans Wake, Joyce's Kaleidoscope also appeals to experienced readers by illuminating the humanity of Joyce's
vision. * Maud Ellmann, University of Notre Dame * Kitcher begins Joyce's Kaleidoscope by asking the right question: not 'What does each word mean?' but 'What meaning does our experience of reading convey?' This will find an elegant and satisfactory answer if we accept this invitation to a spiraling tour of the book. The 'passkey' has been given, just 'mind your hats goan in!' * Jean-Michel Rabate, Princeton University * Kitcher begins Joyce's Kaleidoscope by asking the right question: not 'What does each word mean?' but 'What meaning does our experience of reading convey?' This will find an elegant and satisfactory answer if we accept this invitation to a spiraling tour of the book. The 'passkey' has been given, just 'mind your hats goan in!' * Jean-Michel Rabate, Princeton University *
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About Philip Kitcher

John Dewey Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University
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Rating details

20 ratings
4.1 out of 5 stars
5 40% (8)
4 35% (7)
3 20% (4)
2 5% (1)
1 0% (0)
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