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Title: Whetstone : Stanislaus Joyce and the fraternal relationships in 'Finnegans Wake'
Author: Farrell, Melissa
ISNI:       0000 0005 0288 1881
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2021
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This thesis examines Finnegans Wake (1939) by the Irish writer James Joyce (1882-1941). By first tracing the familial, spiritual, and financial relationships Joyce had with his brother Stanislaus (1884-1955) and identifying early references to Stanislaus in Joyce’s writings, this research shows how the fraternal relationship was incorporated into the Wake by examining five passages therein. Over the course of their lives, Joyce and Stanislaus’ relationship was subject to the stressors of abuse, poverty, and death which followed them from Dublin to Trieste. Their differences, eventually, were greater than their similarities, and Joyce explored this dichotomy in his writings. Fundamentally, this thesis argues that Joyce’s relationship with Stanislaus is the primary influence on the interactions between Shem and Shaun in the Wake. One of the key innovations of this thesis is its methodology. Throughout, archival materials are used to show the parallels between Joyce’s relationship with Stanislaus and that of the brothers in the Wake. Analysis of the process of authorial revision shows how, by editing and expanding his previous drafts, Joyce used the book to respond to real-life events. Each chapter of this thesis scrutinises extracts of the Wake to show the influence of history, literature, and popular culture on the composition of his fraternal characters. In so doing, the research expands on Joyce’s reactions to contemporary philosophy and personal criticism, and his interest in subjects diverse as French art, Irish geology, and Viking settlers – and how he uses all of these to provide a thematic backdrop for the story of the brothers. In showing the direct influence Stanislaus had on Joyce’s early writings, this thesis examines from a new perspective the contested topic of authorship in the latter’s work. It brings together the story of how Stanislaus contributed titles, names of characters, ideas about structure, and eventually his own personality to his elder brother’s texts. By demonstrating the imbalance that Joyce perpetrated and perpetuated in his relationship with his brother, and the way he used that imbalance to furnish his own books, this research lays the groundwork for further scholarly examination of the interplay between the various members of Joyce’s family and the role of the family in his works. Finally, by demonstrating the symbols, patterns, and structural models Joyce uses to refer to Stanislaus, and the ways he embeds them in the Wake, this thesis suggests ways in which Stanislaus himself might be reassessed considering Joyce’s writings.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral