"Breaks new ground for Joyceans. . . . Weaver's work embodies a perceptive, believable explication of Joyce's interpolation of verbal and musical modalities, and in the process makes the reader eminently aware of the interlocking nature of the two art forms."Zack Bowen, University of Miami
Jack Weaver explains all of Joyce's writing in terms of music and evaluates the musicits form, kind, and techniquein each work. Using Joyce's own rhetoric of theme and variation, Weaver moves from one character to another, through the poems, fiction, and drama, noting improvisations and finding intricate musical patterns throughout the canon.
As Joyce's work grows in philosophical complexity, Weaver says, its music becomes more recognizable. In Chamber Music and part of Dubliners, Joyce at first merely mentions musical titles, instruments, and forms. In other stories in Dubliners, he alludes to them. His writing in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man begins to approximate musical techniques, and music reflects and dominates its story and characters. By the time of Finnegans Wake, it replaces both. Within the works, Weaver cites examples of musical augmentation, diminution, harmony, counterpoint, and key signatures, showing how the works become more experimental and increasingly dissonant in the manner of avant-garde composers.
Exploring fresh territory in the study of Joyce and music and of music and literature, Weaver argues that Joyce's characters and works operate between the extremes of order and disorder, harmony and chaos, music and noise, and that these polarities both signal and contribute to the rhetoric within the texts. Finally, he says, Joyce's rhetoric itself becomes music.
Jack W. Weaver, professor of English at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina, has written numerous articles and book chapters on Joyce, music, and Irish literature.