In his latest novel, Finnegans Wake, James Joyce writes about a dreamlike vision without a beginning or an end. The story is set in the village of Chapelizod, near Phoenix Park, in the suburbs of Dublin. The story, which is a dream of the main character, takes place entirely in one night. The author’s stream of consciousness becomes a dreamlike expression.
Indeed, Joyce, by abolishing the typical grammatical and orthographic rules, creates a new language that cannot be translated, or, rather, which is available to an indefinite number of interpretations. The reader, dealing with obscure words, is part of a universe in which any subject is apparently identical but always different from himself. The several and personal interpretations of the meaning of the words, taking place in indefinite times and sets, lead back to the reader’s oblivion. All the interpretations together compose a universal story: a cyclical text that defines itself uninterruptedly.
By manipulating the letter shapes, set in GT America Mono, the narrative is partially compromised in its understandability. This makes the reader having to deal with the signifier, something which leads to even more interpretations.
Furthermore, new meanings of the text appear in the space-time coordinates. The link space/time is found several times in paradoxical form in the text. These elements, capable of leading the reader back to a tangible space, are actually destabilizing. A cyclical disorientation reproduced in the creation of unique copies, book by book, page by page.
The darkness created by Joyce is not only a useful key for the reading of the text, which allows the unhinging of certain linguistic rules — adapting his lexicon to a dreamlike environment — but it is also necessary to transform the simple reading in an action of active participation to the story. This is how Finnegans Wake blurs the boundaries between translation and interpretation, general and particular, author and reader.
Student project for ISIA Urbino, MA Communication and Design for Publishing
Supervision: Davide Riboli