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Finnegans Wake, Ulster and Partition


23 April 2024 at 6:30pm

‘Lambeg Drums and Pipes on the Way to the Field on the Glorious 12th of July, Ballymena 1910’ by Robert D. Beattie

Please join us for a presentation about James Joyce’s interrogation of Ulster and partition in Finnegans Wake by Dr. Donal Manning on Tuesday, 23 April 2024 at 6:30pm.

Although Joyce is mostly associated with Dublin, there is a wealth of references to Ulster in his work, particularly in Finnegans Wake: its topography, its myth and legend, and its history. Joyce’s portrayal of Ulster is a characteristically complex amalgam of difference and inclusion. Joyce began to write the Wake, provisionally called Work in Progress, in 1923 and he published the novel in 1939. He was, therefore, ideally placed to interrogate partition and the growing pains of the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland. His portrait is tinged with disappointment and regret. A century after partition, and in the aftermath of Brexit, borders are again physical and symbolic markers of difference and exclusion. Joyce’s critique of intolerance and separatism is as pertinent today as when he embarked on Finnegans Wake a hundred years ago.

The event is free but booking is essential. For tickets, click this link.

Dr. Donal Manning completed his PhD at Liverpool University. His thesis was on Ulster and unionism in Finnegans Wake. He has presented peer-reviewed papers on Finnegans Wake at conferences of the International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures at University of Cork (2018), University of Nijmegen, Netherlands (2018), and Trinity College Dublin (2019) and delivered three courses on Joyce’s fiction (two of which covered Finnegans Wake) at the Continuing Education Department, Liverpool University. His book Finnegans Wake, Ulster and Partition: The Sanguine Boundary Limit was published last year by Cork University Press. It can be purchased via this link:

The James Joyce Centre is supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.

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