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The Mystery of the Muse: Anna Livia Plurabelle Uncovered

Publication Date: 
March 27, 2007
Source: 
The Independent
Author: 
Andy McSmith

The Independent covered the settlement between the James Joyce Estate and Stanford scholar Carol Shloss, who won permission to publish excerpts of family correspondence and other material to support her scholarship which suggests that the woman who " inspired Irish author James Joyce's most impenetrable work" Finnegans Wake was his daughter, Lucia Joyce. Shloss was represented by a legal team from Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society, Cyberlaw Clinic, and Fair Use Project. The Independent reported:

"So who was she, Anna Livia Plurabelle, the lady of the river, the heroine of one of the most impenetrable novels of the 20th century?

An American academic thinks she is modelled on Lucia Joyce, the disturbed daughter of James Joyce, the secret inspiration for his last and least intelligible work, Finnegan's Wake. And, now that a row over copyright has been settled, she should be better placed to prove her point.

Carol Loeb Shloss, a specialist in English and Irish literature at Stanford University, has won the right to publish extracts from letters between James Joyce and the daughter he described as having "fire in her brain". She claims they add credibility to her theory that Finnegan's Wake, published in 1939, is "an elaborate, coded mystery of an actual family". At the centre of this coded mystery, she claims, is the half-hidden figure of Lucia.