Few animals can be met through the works of James Joyce. An unnamed cat and threatening dog in Ulysses, a deceitful feline in the short story The Cat and the Devil, some insects (earwigs, ants and grasshoppers) and an inquisitive hen in Finnegans Wake. But animality plays a crucial symbolic role in the late joycean poetics. Starting from The Oxen of the Sun, generally known as one of the most complex episodes of Ulysses, in which human evolution is described through the disgregation of language, the symbol of the ox is taken as a synthesis of the human ability to think and communicate. And the analysis of the message found by the hen Biddy Doran on a pile of dung in Finnegans Wake brings to an experience of the wholeness of meaning: referring to the cabalistic triad of the ox, the house and the camel (alpha, beta and gamma), its interpretation could develop through eternity, but the final wisdom is «as semper as oxhousehumper» (FW, 116): it’s already known from the beginning. My contribution will propose a close analysis of these and of some other passages in Finnegans Wake (e.g. the two tales called «The Mookse and the Gripes», FW, 152-155, and «The Ondt and the Gracehoper», FW, 414-418, satirical adaptations of the well-known Aesopian fables), stressing the importance given to physiological functions (the most basic, which associate man to animals) in the acts of communication and interpretation. The theoretical ground will be cast through the philosophy of Giambattista Vico (explicitly quoted, but freely used by Joyce) and of the late Ludwig Wittgenstein, who suggested the power of communication “beyond words”.
|Titolo:||‘It’s as Semper as Oxhousehumper!’ James Joyce’s Animalization of the Human|
Rebora, Simone (Corresponding)
|Data di pubblicazione:||2018|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||02.01 Contributo in volume (Capitolo o Saggio)|