Genetic Joyce Studies

"Joyce started the chapter in the spring of 1927. Book I was by then already well under construction, as well as Book III, the Four Watches of Shaun with the delivery of the letter that was dug up earlier, in chapter I.5, but will be dug up again and again. In December 1926 Joyce met Eugene Jolas, the aboriginal axe from Babel in Lorraine, who kindly offered to publish Joyce's Work in Progress piecemeal but on a regular basis in his brand new magazine for the benefit of the revolution of the word and of fields of knowlegde of interest. The first issue of this magazine, transition, was issued on March 13, 1927, and in it shone the first installment of Work in Progress, the Ouverture, chapter I.1. And already that same seminal spring of 1927 Joyce was very very busy with the preparations of the first five chapters for publication. They appeared seriatim like clockwork from the orangerie, every month from March to July 1927.

Then, after revising the first four chapters of Book I, Joyce collapsed. He wrote to Harriet Weaver: "I finished my revision and have passed 24 hours prostrate more than the priests on Good Friday." (16 April 1927, Letters I, 251) When he got up or was resurrected (our sources differ on this matter), he decided, not to continue revising the remaining two chapters of Book I, Shem and Anna Livia, but instead to launch a whole new chapter into orbit, as a sequel to I.5 The Letter."


Oversystematizing the Wake: The Quiz Chapter as the Key to a Potential Schema for Finnegans Wake

Robbert-Jan Henkes & Erik Bindervoet