Let Me Be Los

Let Me Be Los

Frances Phipps

A guided reading of Finnegan’s Wake, with 135 illustrations, showing the book’s simple and elegant pattern inspired in Joyce by two visionary cosmologies: the poetic Prophecies of William Blake and the Egyptian Myth of Osiris.

In this book Frances Phipps has marshalled an impressive array of primary and scholarly/critical resources that provide exciting, often eccentric, but always illuminating perspectives on the complex relations between Blake and Joyce. Recognizing both the limitations and the possibilities of typography and visual illustrations, Phipps has converted these dimensions of conventional bookmaking into a veritable kaleidoscope of Egyptian iconography, explanatory diagrams, and imaginative juxtapositions of texts in an unprecedented book form, whose appearance should be seen as a major publishing event.” -Donald Ault, author of Visionary Physics: Blake’s Response to Newton and Narrative Unbound: Re-Visioning Blake’s THE FOUR ZOAS

“Through her ingenious explication and illustration of the cosmologies of William Blake and the Osiris myth of ancient Egypt, Frances Phipps reveals the formal mysteries of Joyce’s great dreambook as being founded in the notion of Contraries. She states that, while Finnegan’s Wake does not copy Blake, it establishes Joyce’s own “myth of the history of the world as representing a battle of contraries in which he used the Egyptian religion….” Whereas the Egyptians had Osiris and Blake had Albion, Joyce had the Irish mythological giant Finn and his mundane form of Tim Finnegan. And whereas the contraries of Night and Day, Darkness and Light, are necessarily embattled in Egyptian and Blakean systems, Joyce also historicized this perpetual cosmic strife in terms of the Battle of Contrarf, with Danes versus Celts, the result of which was Dublin, his micro-cosm.

For this newly explicated approach to the structure of Finnegan’s Wake, Phipp’s study deserves to have its place on the shelf of every serious Joycean alongside such classic commentaries as those of Clive Hart and Adaline Glasheen.” -Alison Armstrong, Irish Literary Supplement, Author of The Joyce of Cooking and co-editor of James Joyce Broadsheet and I.L.S.

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