Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


This study investigates the colour-patterns to be found in Finnegans Wake. It argues that Joyce deliberately employed patterns of colour-association in structuring and elaborating the themes of his last great work and that the tracing of those patterns helps to clarify the themes and the manner of their articulation.;Chapter One examines the colours in Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses. Increasingly through the three works the juxtaposition and opposition of colours attend the struggles of the protagonists and indicate the range of perceptions through which those struggles may be viewed. Colour-patterns in Ulysses are especially significant in shaping the "radical ambiguity" of that work.;Chapter Two begins by presenting the present writer's reading of Finnegans Wake, a reading that emphasizes the suspension of meaning between certainties. Chapter Two goes on to assess the patterns of colour associated with the theme of native vs. invader. The clashing and mingling of partisan colours undermine the pretensions of great causes and reflect the eternal ambivalences within the human psyche.;Chapter Three traces the colours associated with the protagonist, HCE, and his dream-personae. Concentrations of colour, and especially rainbows, signal the emergence in the dream-thought of the dreamer's most deeply repressed conflicts. Colour-patterns elucidate not only the deep rifts within the psyche but also its tremendous drive towards reintegration and wholeness.;The colours associated with woman are considered in Chapter Four. The colour white symbolizes for the dreamer woman as object of desire and as threat. The traditional symbolism of purity and innocence ascribed to white is undermined by persistent scatological associations to reflect the dreamer's ambivalent vision of woman as Virgin and Whore.;Chapter Five outlines in chart form the major strands of colour-associations in the Wake and concludes that they play a significant part in creating the suspension of certainty and polyvalence of meaning that are at the heart of Finnegans Wake.



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