New Monthly Edition

New Monthly Edition of Hypermedia Joyce.

Featured Essay: 

Bridget O’Rourke and James Shaw’s

The Yoga of Finnegans Wake: Pulling on a Tantric Thread

Introduction:   The editorial board of Hypermedia Joyce Studies in a recent meeting decided that the online platform should be made into something with a bit more life. Given that many literary journals only produce on an annual or quarterly basis (particularly those concerning Joyce), the decision was made to highlight a particular essay each month. This month we are happy to present Bridget O’Rourke and James Shaw’s project that is not simply an in-depth text, but also a multimedia piece, a well-developed video with readings, explanations and even music appropriate to the theme.

O’Rourke and Shaw start with the recitation of Sandhyas! Sandhyas! Sandhyas! (593.1)” at the opening of book 4 of the Wake and delve into the direct and oblique meanings of Joyce’s use, and apparent use, of Sanskrit, Tantric and Hindu references throughout. The authors utilize especially the texts with which Joyce acquainted himself with Eastern thought, namely those from  Heinrich Zimmer and  H.P [Madame] Blavatsky. 

Many references tie directly to various gods and teachings in Hindu/Vedic mythology, and O’Rourke and Shaw not only explicate the mentions of such figures as Shiva, Shakti and Lakshmi as they relate to the teachings of the Hindu self and certain Buddhist tenets, but also how they overlap with other faith figures, such as St. Kevin. One particularly interesting element is Joyce’s use of “tat tvam asi, something which provides, along with several other phrases, an uncanny overlap between Freud, Kant and characteristics of Vedic mythology.

As much as they focus on the language, O’Rourke and Shaw’s investigation provides another interpretation of the numerology and movements in the Wake, particularly as the cycles and return correlate to the Four Yugas, or the great ages of Hindu/Vedic mythology. Through this discussion of the cycles comes a look at the Tantric elements, which then lead further into the central element of the title of the piece, yoga, and the chakras. Towards the end O’Rourke and Shaw actually return to the early parts of the Wake to show how Joyce calls to Hindu tradition early on, and makes yet another kind of return in the final section of the Wake. 

Please take in Bridget O’Rourke and James Shaw’s video and then delve into their well-researched and fascinating text!

“The Yoga of Finnegans Wake: Pulling on a Tantric Thread