Dr. Robert Brazeau
University of Alberta
For the first many years of its life, Finnegans Wake was thought to have too few prescient and informing contexts. The “unreadability” of the work was deemed to derive, at least in part, from the general absence of other, proximate works that might allow access to the linguistic density and sprawling encyclopedic range of the novel. Because the Wake itself never stopped radiating outward of its own accord, or turning back into itself, critics could not find the borders where other works might shore up our understanding of Joyce’s mammoth and totalizing narrative.
But contemporary scholarship has sought out, and found, compelling and numerous literary and cultural contexts for the Wake, and the novel is now seen as replete with and responsive to the discourses that populated Joyce’s world. Whether viewed from the perspective of Irish social, cultural, economic, or political history, or as a formidable text in world literature, or, indeed, from the perspective of its engagement with philosophy, science, medicine, technology, psychoanalysis (to name but a few of the characterizing discourses of modernity that were both emerging and established as Joyce was writing) the Wake is now regarded as a book that we can, if somewhat guardedly then no less fruitfully, contextualize.
This special issue of the James Joyce Quarterly engages the novel explicitly from the perspective of its many salient and informing contexts. Writers are encouraged to interpret the term “context” as broadly as they wish as they reflect on the diverse and important array of contextual material that fruitfully informs our reading of the Wake.
Proposals on any topic related to the theme are due July 1, 2022. Completed essays are due March 1st, 2023. Potential contributors are encouraged to contact the editor, Dr. Robert Brazeau (firstname.lastname@example.org), with a proposal and short bio in advance of submitting their completed paper, but final decisions can only be rendered on completed essays. Contributions will be vetted by the journal prior to final acceptance. Please consult the journal’s page for contributors for information about essay length and format (https://jjq.utulsa.edu/submissions/).
(proposals: July 1, 2022; completed papers: March 1, 2023)