Anna Livia Plurabelle

The Making of a Chapter

Fred H. Higginson, editor

Anna Livia Plurabelle: The Making of a Chapter was first published in 1960. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

This volume traces the development of “Anna Livia Plurabelle,” the most famous chapter in James Joyce’s book Finnegans Wake. Mr. Higginson has collated all the extant drafts of the chapter, both published and unpublished, notably those in the manuscript collection of the British Museum. He has condensed this extensive material into six texts and has used a system of brackets which will enable scholars to reconstruct all of the known drafts from the texts given here. Readers who are interested principally in the major steps of the revisions or in gaining some insight into the larger developments of the work may do so by simply reading the six texts.

This book provides the first substantial publication of material from the British Museum collection. While he was working on Finnegans Wake, Joyce sent his manuscript drafts to Miss Harriet Weaver, whom he regarded as the book’s patron. Miss weaver gave the drafts to the British Museum in 1951.

In addition to the texts themselves, Mr. Higginson provides an introduction and editorial, bibliographical, and textual notes. In his introduction, he presents a theory of the techniques Joyce used in revising Finnegans Wake. He stresses the obsessive care with which Joyce revised and argues that the revisions produce a concentration, rather than a diffusion, of implication. He believes that both the tedious and the inspired revisions strengthen the structure of the book.

Students of Joyce will find this book indispensable. It is of interest also to students of the creative process in general -- writers, critics, and aestheticians -- and to all readers who admire Joyce’s lyrical invocation of Dublin’s queen of rivers.

Fred H. Higginson was an associate professor of English at Kansas State University.

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