While on the faculty of the University of Buffalo, Peter Spielberg devoted nearly three years to the task of cataloguing the manuscripts and letters of James Joyce held in the collection of the Universitys Lockwood Memorial Library. A full and true appreciation of the collection will come to light only through its continued use by Joyce scholars, he says. With this aim in mind I have undertaken the task of briefly charting and laying out for inspection a portion of the Joycean labyrinth.
Born in Vienna, Dr. Spielberg came to America in 1940, a refugee from the Nazis. He earned his bachelors degree at the College of the City of New York and his masters at New York University. From 1958 to 1961 he was an instructor in English at the University of Buffalo, where he took his Ph.D. He is now an instructor in English at Brooklyn College.
'riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs'
Joyce's final work, Finnegan's Wake is his masterpiece of the night as Ulysses is of the day. Supreme linguistic virtuosity conjures up the dark underground worlds of sexuality and dream. Joyce undermines traditional storytelling and all official forms of English and confronts the different kinds of betrayal - cultural, political and sexual - that he saw at the heart of Irish history. Dazzlingly inventive, with passages of great lyrical beauty and humour, Finnegans Wake remains one of the most remarkable works of the twentieth century.
James Joyce (1882-1941), the eldest of ten children, was born in Dublin, but exiled himself to Paris at twenty as a rebellion against his upbringing. He only returned to Ireland briefly from the continent but Dublin was at heart of his greatest works, Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. He lived in poverty until the last ten years of his life and was plagued by near blindness and the grief of his daughter's mental illness.
If you enjoyed Finnegans Wake, you might like Virginia Woolf's The Waves, also available in Penguin Classics.
'An extraordinary performance, a transcription into a miniaturized form of the whole western literary tradition'