James Joyce’s final and experimental novel "Finnegans Wake" is considered a revolutionary masterpiece. First published in 1939, this comic novel is a classic of modern Irish literature. Written over the course of nearly two decades, Joyce attempted to create a nocturnal, dreamlike state. The dreams relive major conflicts from both history and mythology. "Finnegans Wake" is considered one of the most difficult works of fiction written in English.
"Finnegans Wake" is a complex novel that blends the reality of life with a dream world. The motive idea of the novel, inspired by the 18th-century Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico, is that history is cyclical. To demonstrate this, the book ends with the first half of the first sentence of the novel. Thus, the last line is actually part of the first line, and the first line a part of the last line.
The plot itself is difficult to follow, as the novel explores a number of fractured story lines. The main tension, however, comes from the juxtaposition of reality and dream, which is achieved through changing characters and settings.
During the day, Mr. and Mrs. Porter live above their pub in Chapelizod, a suburb of Dublin. They live a normal, boring life. They are the parents of twin boys named Kevin and Jerry. They also have a daughter named Isabel, nicknamed Issy.
The characters’ names and the setting change when Mr. and Mrs. Porter enter their dreamworld. Their fantastical dream life sharply contrasts with their banal daytime existence. The land of dreams starts in the upstairs bedroom of Mr. and Mrs. Porter’s home in Chapelizod.
In the dreams, the family becomes the Earwicker family and takes on many different names...