Connoisseur of Chiasmus: Inversion and Subversion in 'Finnegans Wake'
|Connoisseur of Chiasmus: Inversion and Subversion in 'Finnegans Wake'
|Year of Publication
|Irish Studies Review
In this study I examine the trope of chiasmus as it appears in Finnegans Wake. I cover such subjects as the relation between chiasmus and sexual inversion in the figures of Vesta Tully, Lewis Carroll, and Jonathan Swift; the relation between chiasmus and political subversion in the troubadours and the Tristan myth; the relation between chiasmus and split personality in the story of Christine Beauchamp. Chiasmus, as it appears in the Wake, is both a trope of war and a trope of reconciliation. The Wakean formula ‘Som's wholed, all's parted’ – each part (some) will be made whole; each whole (all) will be parted – is a key to the Wake's dual tendency toward chaos and cosmos. As a reconciler of opposites, chiasmus is able to accommodate and structure these opposites in a ‘chaosmos’ that is both entropic and evolutionary.