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Book Reviews, 32:2, 1988 clarity with which Mahaffey presents her arguments, even those which stress ambiguity and fluidity, it makes for fascinating reading even for those with minimal familiarity with contemporary criticism. Her chapter on the Portrait is convincing and her analysis of the interaction between the reader and authorial intention seems to me right on the money. The section on the geography of the Wake dramatically revises and improves on Margaret Solomon's landscape, which has until now withstood the test of so many years. Mahaffey^ last chapter, on Penelope, is a fitting climax to the book. Alone it is worth the price. The Biblical grounding and the weaving metaphor with its connotations of structuralism and deconstruction, and its interaction among author, text, and reader, as a part of a seamless process, provide one of the best analyses of Penelope yet, and a fitting conclusion to one of the most thoughtful and comprehensive interpretations of Joyce's work in years. It is also eloquent testimony to the contribution feminist criticism can make to the understanding of a great work of literature. Zack Bowen _______________________________University of Miami________________ FINNEGANS WAKE John Gordon. Finnegans Wake: A Plot Summary. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1986. Cloth $37.50 Paper $17.50 John Bishop. Joyce's Book of the Dark: Finnegans Wake. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1986. $25.00 Even if, as the cynics maintain, Finnegans Wake scholarship isn't going anywhere, it may well have rounded a corner with these two authoritative books. As we approach the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of the Wake (a long time not to be going anywhere), many Wakists have become gun-shy and battle-weary, but there are directional signals occasionally being offered. We are aware that we read the text differently (if at all) from other "fictional" texts, and several schemes for reading the Wake suggest themselves: (1) The Linear: a continuous narrative, the language of which requires "translation" so that a consecutive plot can be allowed to unfold; (2) The Interrupted Linear: the narrative line exists despite numerous interjections of commentaries and asides; (3) The Mosaic: multiple narratives are imbedded in each other to provide a "crazy-quilt" system of stories; (4) The Referential: a thematic structure dominates by way of a continual series of narrative analogues; (5) The Nodal: various points of reference create a web to contain interacting concepts and narratives; (6) The Combinational: a narrative thread exists in relation to a plethora of 264 Book Reviews, 32:2, 1988 near-narratives interlarded with commentaries. John Gordon classifies as a Master of the Linear School much of the time; John Bishop weaves in and out of several of the classifications. There are some surprising junctures in these two dissimilar confrontations with Finnegans Wake where Bishop and Gordon intersect, perhaps most notably in terms of a "basic stand," as Bishop moves intricately on a chess board of his own devising and Gordon maps out strategy to relieve a city under siege: each begins with a nod toward Joyce's position as a realist. "I work from the hypothesis that the Joyce of Finnegans Wake had not turned his back on the aggressive realism of the earlier books," Gordon announces. Bishop is almost as quick to acknowledge "a writer of Joyce's realist allegiances," later explaining: "A writer of strong realist allegiances, as the evidence of everything he wrote before Finnegans Wake attests, Joyce would have beheld in the darker parts of sleep the paradoxical spectacle of an undeniably real human experience." By this time Bishop is well into his Book of the Dark, night and its darkness, sleep and the perchance to dream, as well as its analogue in death, asserting themselves as the referential grid of his reading of the Wake. As such Bishop is not quite analyzing all of the text, although he fixes his grid to capture something that can serve as all of it. Gordon, on the other hand, seems intent on total retrieval, sewing up the monster in a seamless bag. A Plot Summary marches toward summation by way of an Introduction: "Mimesis" (for Linear read Literal), chapters on "Place," "Time" (is it significant that Place precedes...


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pp. 264-268
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