This article discusses James Joyce’s peculiar use of contemporary technological devices for telecommunication in his last and most compelling novel Finnegans Wake (1939). Joyce employs telecommunication within the plot (provided that such a term still means something in the Wake) through his characters – in particular HCE, the Chapelizod pub-owner, and his twin sons (Shem and Shaun) – and at a linguistic level, by mimicking the codes and communication modalities of radio transmitters, telegraphs, telephones, and other technological tools. In the Wake technology becomes consubstantial with characters and language, so that HCE does not only morph into a radio transmitter in II.3, but he also changes the semantic value of his utterances in accordance with the jargon of radio communication. Therefore, HCE undergoes a fascinating process of bio-mutation which changes his very meaning and function in the text. In its highly experimental structure, the Wake proves to be a magnificent example of the impact that the technological development of the first half of the twentieth century exerted on Modernism and its writing.
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