Dublin. Capital of Ireland in which the events of the novel that take place in the “real” world are set. Major city landmarks, such as Howth Castle, the Liffey River, and Phoenix Park are used symbolically as points of departure into the fantastic dreamworld that parallels the narrative.
Bedroom. Upstairs, above a public house in Chapelizod, a suburb of Dublin, Mr. and Mrs. Porter, their waking names, are asleep in their bed. In the novel’s dreamworld they are known as Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker and Anna Livia Plurabelle, usually as HCE and ALP respectively. Down the hall are the bedrooms of their children, twin boys Kevin and Jerry and daughter Isabel, or Issy. These characters also take different names during the dream narrative. The “real” setting of Finnegans Wake—that is, the location in the waking world—is one of complete normality, even banality, and so stands in deliberate contrast to the fantastic settings of the dream actions of the novel. Almost all of these scenes and many of the characters are drawn from the domestic setting of the middle-class Irish bedroom. For example, the four posts of the bed become in the dream the four authors of the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, who sometimes merge into a single figure, Mamalujo. Throughout the novel fantasy retains firm, if slight, connections with reality.
*Howth Castle. Hill and medieval fortification overlooking Dublin harbor. In the novel this area becomes the setting of many of HCE’s early, mythic adventures; later,...
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