The Triptych Vision: Joyce
Roy A. Benjamin
Advisor: Edmund Epstein
Source: DAI, 63, no. 09A (2002): p. 3202
No: ISBN: 0-493-82737-4
This dissertation examines Finnegans Wake from the
perspective of Peirce's categories of firstness, secondness, and thirdness. The
basic story of the Wake—the old story ofunity, duality, conflict, and
reconciliation—was also told by Peirce, utilizing a philosophical, logical, and
is that whose being is completely in itself—what the Wake calls that which "in idself
id est." As a category of the virtual, it pertains to the "not yet"
theme introduced in the opening page of the Wake. As the hesitation before the
act, it illuminates the theme of hesitancy and delay. Finally, as a category of
pre-rational sensation, it helps us to apprehend what the Wake calls "all
this our funnaminal world."
is that which has its being in something other than itself. It pertains to the
actual rather than the potential, action rather than dream, relatedness rather
than self-sufficiency. In theWake it refers to the cosmic doubling in which "primal
made alter in garden of Idem." As a category of
otherness, secondness subverts the solipsism, promoting an encounter with "odd
sorts of others." As a category of minute particularity it explodes empty
generalities and descends "from the asphalt to the concrete."
is that which mediates and stands between. As a category of process and
progress rather than actual result, it is relevant to Joyce's great "work
in progress" which occurs "at no spatial time processly." As a
principle of mediation, thirdness brings about the reconciliation of Shem and
Shaun, by means of a tertium quid. As a principle of synthesis and continuity
it brings together such diverse themes as the alchemical conjunctio and Ibsen's
third age. Finally, thirdness is a
category of sympathy which promotes the recognition of humanity's common
phenomenology of the ordinary is analogous to Joyce's mythology of the everyday
which finds its culmination in the ubiquitous "Here Comes Everybody."
Peirce's agapism which claims that love is an active force in the evolution of
the universe, is analogous to the Wake's affirmation of love as the binding
force which "hath been,…tis tis: and will be."
Descriptor: LITERATURE, ENGLISH