Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 September 2019
“Paris Compounded” argues that the text of Finnegans Wake prompts readers to engage in sentient thinking. Joyce’s last work stages a heterogeneous and potentially limitless profusion that resists any preconceived order and disallows the passive reception associated with the commodity and with authoritarian discourse. The chapter situates the Wake’s textual assemblages within the literary practices of Paris of 1910 and 1920, showing that Joyce’s problematization of value and meaning are indebted to Apollinaire’s verbal montages but also, and more particularly, to Alfred Jarry, whose pataphysics deploys scatology, Lucretian materialism, and coincidentia oppositorum in an avant-garde mode. The chapter draws on the aesthetic theories of Benjamin, John Dewey, Theodor Adorno, and Jürgen Habermas to argue that, as the Wake compounds the city under capitalism, it calls for ideal communities that respond to its material features with imagination, spontaneity, and joy.