Research /

Michelle Witen publishes «James Joyce and Absolute Music»

Drawing on draft manuscripts and other archival material, James Joyce and Absolute Music (London: Bloomsbury, 2018), explores Joyce's deep engagement with musical structure and his participation in the growing modernist discourse surrounding 19th-century musical forms.

Michelle Witen examines Joyce's claim of having structured the “Sirens” episode of his masterpiece, Ulysses, as a fuga per canonem, and his changing musical project starting from his early works, such as Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Informed by a deep understanding of music theory and history, the book goes on to consider the “pure music” of Joyce's final work, Finnegans Wake. Demonstrating the importance of music to Joyce, this ground-breaking study reveals new depths to this enduring body of work.