Clifford Kaho Mak Humanities and Social Science
The Joycean Re-imagining and Revolution of Heaven and Hell in Finnegans Wake
Joyce’s Wake is many things (understatement of the year): as a wake, it is an initiation and a journey into the world of eternal sleep and all the fabulous events therein, and as such, the Wake is a meditation upon Joyce’s vision of the afterlife. Joyce, however, was not the first to explore in art the idea of an afterlife; his admiration for Dante is well known, for example, and the latter’s own intricately-structured apocalyptic vision is appropriated and reinterpreted by Joyce in many of his works. I would like to tease out these sorts of appropriations as much as possible in order to see how Joyce subverts and transforms the “traditional” Christian vision in the Wake, examining both classical and medieval allusions, as well as wider literary tropes and structures.