"A Static That Contains All the Messages Ever Sent"

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  • Title: "A Static That Contains All the Messages Ever Sent": Tom McCarthy’s "C", James Joyce’s "Finnegans Wake", and Nonlinear Literary HistoryTom McCarthy’s C, James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, and Nonlinear Literary History
  • Author(s): Sean Seeger
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: The Arts in Society
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Arts Theory and History
  • Keywords: Tom McCarthy, James Joyce, Finnegans Wake, Nonlinear, Literary History
  • Volume: 13
  • Issue: 4
  • Year: 2018
  • ISSN: 2326-9952 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2327-1779 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2326-9952/CGP/v13i04/23-32
  • Citation: Seeger, Sean . 2018. ""A Static That Contains All the Messages Ever Sent": Tom McCarthy’s "C", James Joyce’s "Finnegans Wake", and Nonlinear Literary HistoryTom McCarthy’s C, James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, and Nonlinear Literary History." The International Journal of Arts Theory and History 13 (4): 23-32. doi:10.18848/2326-9952/CGP/v13i04/23-32.
  • Extent: 10 pages

Abstract

This article considers the relationship between Tom McCarthy’s novel “C” and James Joyce’s “Finnegans Wake.” Drawing on McCarthy’s criticism and theory, it argues that “C” offers both a creative reworking of elements of the “Wake” in a new fictional context, and an enactment of what McCarthy takes to be the implications of the “Wake” for our thinking about the nature of literary history. These two aspects of “C” come together, the article argues, in its final act, during which the death of its protagonist, Serge Carrefax, serves as the focal point for a number of literary-critical possibilities which McCarthy locates in Joyce’s work, most notably a nonlinear conception of literary history.