chapter  7
22 Pages

Unpacking the Portmanteau; or, Who's Afraid of Finnegans Wake?

Unpacking the Portmanteau plays a crucial part in the argument for a distinction between deep and surface structures which is central to transformational-generative syntactic theory. Mitsou Ronat usefully relates the portmanteau word to folk etymology in "L'hypotexticale." Unpacking the Portmanteau pun with a feature especially characteristic of literary language. Unpacking the Portmanteau displays a detailed point-by-point fidelity to Joyce's early experiences without reflecting-as do Portrait and Ulysses-a full sense of the reality of those experiences. The Power of the Portmanteau mosTof the associations that individual words might evoke-though an individual reader could not be expected to grasp them all. The enormous difference between Finnegans Wake and other literary works is, perhaps, a difference in degree, not in kind. The portmanteau word, and Finnegans Wake as a whole, refuses to establish a hierarchical opposition, for anything that appears to be a metaphor is capable of reversal, the tenor becoming the vehicle, and vice versa.