Date of Award


Department or Program

Comparative Literature Program

First Advisor

Lawrence D. Kritzman

Second Advisor

James Dorsey


As an example of limit literature (literature that exhausts the entirety of what is possible in a given form), Finnegans Wake has been an inspiration for the theories of figures like Kristeva and Derrida to reveal the structural and linguistic operations of texts generally. In defamiliarizing the processes of word formation, the Wake compels us to attend to morphology’s structuring role in a work. My project focuses on Phillipe Sollers and Stephen Heath’s French translation of part of the concluding section of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake to observe how the attempt to approximate Joyce’s interlingual morphology in translation contributes to reshaping the text’s arrangement of parts. The fact that the most minute level on which units of meaning in a text relate (morphology) of the Wake’s invented words has consequences magnified at larger levels of structure, leads us to attend to the totality of a text’s internal relations (topology). Morphology might thus be understood alongside other conceptualizations of the structure of texts and in relation to post-structuralist theories of language and narrative.