Ecological-Artistic Interpenetrations on a Damaged Planet: Invoking James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake

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Due to the increasing acceptance that we are now living in an age of radical environmental catastrophe, various innovative ecological-philosophical-artistic texts are being published, dispersed and discussed in attempting to transform our consciousness into ecological selves immersed in the ecological thought. In this essay, I present James Joyce’s final exasperating work Finnegans Wake as a supreme text of experimentation and dissidence and how it both links and articulates in dazzling new ways the contemporary ecological thought. Joyce’s art offers us ways and visions to constantly realign and transform our relationship to each other and all animate and inanimate things, and incorporates and interpenetrates all human and natural history and experience in this “timecoloured place” propelling us into the reality of the present which is the ecological thought. It is without a doubt one of the most difficult and impenetrable ‘novels’ ever written, but I propose that is only now that we are ready to enter this ‘book of the dark’ and understand it within a present-orientated Chthulucene (Donna Haraway’s neologism) rather than an Anthropocene epoch. I argue that Joyce’s ‘explosition’ demands the reader’s participation as an endlessly experimental, dissident, problematic, destabilizing and subversively joyous work of art, and as a philosophical vision for multispecies storytelling and entangling encounters. The final part of this essay demonstrates briefly that there is a profound ecological thought at the heart of the book via at least two aspects: i) ‘Wrunes’—in the ruins, recycling and renewal of human history and the natural world; and ii) ‘Explosition’—in the experience of interpenetration and entanglement of language and of animate and inanimate things and beings.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhilosophy as Experimentation, Dissidence and Heterogeneity
EditorsJosé Miranda Justo, Elisabete de Sousa, Fernando Silva
PublisherCambridge Scolars Publishers
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)978-1-5275-7235-5, 978-1-5275-9843-0
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2021


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