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Joyce's KaleidoscopeAn Invitation to Finnegans Wake$
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Philip Kitcher

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195321029

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195321029.001.0001

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Life's Robulous Rebus

Life's Robulous Rebus

(p.51) 6 Life's Robulous Rebus
Joyce's Kaleidoscope

Philip Kitcher

Oxford University Press

Reading the Wake, as one begins to feel that not a single syllable makes sense, a natural first question is to ask what is going on. Derivatively, one may wonder who is speaking and how the characters mentioned relate to one another. This chapter recommends starting with a different query: Why is this material occurring here? What purpose is being served for the dreamer by the elaboration of a vignette of this particular form? Who is this dreamer? Because HCE is so dominating a presence in the vignettes, it is tempting to apply his name to the dreamer as well; this, however, might blind one to the ways in which the dreamer's response to the vignettes can depend on identification with figures distinct from HCE. Instead, the discussion proposes that the dreamer is any man of a certain sort, more specifically an aging man.

Keywords:   dreamer, Wake, male sexual urges, night dreams

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