The Fashions of Joyce’s Last Mode

The Vestimentivorous Chlamydophagian Text
  • Jean-Michel Rabaté


My aim in this chapter is to trace two series of interconnected metaphors revolving around food and clothes, so as to reach the juncture at which the Wake allegorises its signifying process. Finnegans Wake keeps veiling itself, as we have seen, but also keeps ingesting what it uses as a cover. It is a machine which feeds on everything, provided the food can be used as a lure for the eye and the ear. Such a machine can be described as being like Alphonse Daudet’s famous Tartarin de Tarascon to whom the text alludes in II.1, and who is seen as eating clothes through both Latin and Greek etymologies, ‘a Tartaran tastarin toothsome tarrascone tour-toun, vestimentivorous chlamydophagian’ (227. 35–6). This seemingly paradoxical activity obeys, in fact, semiological logic which the entire drift of Joyce’s corpus seems to authorise.


Oedipus Complex Sexual Guilt True Friend Naked Body Personal Touch 
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Copyright information

© Jean-Michel Rabaté 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Michel Rabaté
    • 1
  1. 1.University of DijonFrance

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