The University of Wisconsin Press

Literature & Criticism / Irish Studies


Joyce’s Book of the Dark
Finnegans Wake
John Bishop

“This magnificent, exhilarating book advances the state of the art of Joyce study. Bishop gives us a meaning for the Wake that is in many respects truer and more delightful than any we have had. Moreover, he presents a cornucopia of specific insights, and does so with a stylistic method as original as his ideas and as well suited to Wake criticism.”
—Sheldon Brivic, James Joyce Quarterly

Mr. Bishop has ventured on the process more boldly, more thoroughly, more imaginatively and more informedly than any of his predecessors. He makes the text comment on itself, as it was constructed to do; but, knowing the whole thing by heart (as I surmise), he is able to multiply a thousandfold the concords and discords of which a reader is aware, and to amplify them through an impressive array of theoretical circuitry.”
—Robert M. Adams, New York Times Book Review

Joyce’s Book of the Dark gives us such a blend of exciting intelligence and impressive erudition that it will surely become established as one of the most fascinating and readable Finnegans Wake studies now available.”
—Margot Norris, James Joyce Literary Supplement

“Though it is well known that Joyce claimed that his intention in Finnegans Wake was to ‘reconstruct the nocturnal life,’ Bishop is the first scholar to see in this notion the key to Joyce’s wildly obscure masterpiece. His reading of Finnegans Wake as a night-book produces a new sense of the book’s form, shape, and structure. In his reading, Freud, Vico, and the Egyptian Book of the Dead take on new meaning, and his accounts of the geography and sexuality of the Wake are fascinating. Bishop brings a rare command of the text to his difficult enterprise, and the organization and prose are models of clarity. ‘You is feeling like you was lost in the bush, boy?’ Joyce’s Book of the Dark will help all serious readers of the Wake get their bearings.”
—Keith Cushman, Library Journal

John Bishop is associate professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley.

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Joyce's name written in chalk on a black background

December 1993
LC: 86-040045 PR
496 pp
.   8 x 10

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Paper $32.95 x
ISBN 978-0-299-10824-3
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The cloth edition, ISBN-10: 0-299-10820-5, is out of print.

Bishop shows a masterful command of the text and its nuances; but of even greater importance is his sense of the comic flair and wit that so distinguishes this ‘funferall’; it is the mark of a true Joycean. Because of its freshness of approach and positive contribution, it belongs in all libraries housing even a preliminary Wake collection.”

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