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"Shem the Penman" is the title James Joyce gave to Book I, Chapter 7 of Finnegans Wake, his final masterwork, eighteen years in the making.

Shem is one of the two embodiments of the young male principle in this protean work. He is the less-favored son of the book's patriarchal figure, Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker (HCE, Here Comes Everybody) and its matriarch, Anna Livia Plurabelle (ALP, the personification of the River Liffey, of life energy and its renewal), and the twin brother of Shaun.

Representing the artist archetype, Shem is imaginative, dreamy, and a failure. He is his mother's pet. He is in constant conflict with his brother Shaun, who is pragmatic, materialistic, successful, and the full expression of their father's aspirations for overcoming his own failures in life.

The rivalry between Shem and Shaun is a major theme 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
June 16, 2001
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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