Anna Livia Plurabelle is the heroine of James Joyce's monument to encyclopedic knowledge and pre-computer noding, Finnegans Wake.

She is the devoted wife of Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker (a tavern-keeper with political aspirations), and the loving mother of the Twins, Shem and Shaun, and their younger sister Issy.

In the Joycean Grand Scheme for the Wake, Anna Livia Plurabelle (ALP) represents the River Liffey as well as most of the other rivers of the world whose names also appear throughout the book. Thus she is the symbol of life and constant renewal, the mature female archetype, Eve, the Mother of All.

Just as Joyce reflects and refracts Earwicker, the Male Principle, into a myriad of forms, ALP, the all-feminine, also transmutes into Isis, retrieving the bones of her brother-husband, Osiris; Iseult or Isolde, the Irish princess who falls in love with Tristan; a grandmother who serves the feast at the Wake; an old barnyard hen who scratches up the scraps of a mysterious letter containing all the secrets of a woman's heart. She is a passing cloud, a flowing stream, a memory of girlhood, a premonition of life's passing.

But always and forever, Anna Livia Plurabelle is a river—time, the principle of vivid movement, changing yet unchanged, the beginning, the middle and the end, converting the past into the future.


tell me all about

Anna Livia! I want to hear all

about Anna Livia. Well, you know Anna Livia?

Book I, Chapter 8 of Finnegans Wake

Shades of Joyce:

a nice cool glass of Joyce
Anna Livia Plurabelle
Cashel Boyle O'Connor Fitzmaurice Tisdall Farrell
Finnegans Wake
Finn MacCool
Garry Owen
Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker
Issy the Teenage Rainbow
Lucia Joyce
Mina Purefoy
Our Exagmination Round His Factification for Incamination of Work in Progress
Shem the Penman
Ulysses is not pornography
Volta Cinema

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