The Ondt and the Gracehoper is James Joyce's peculiar and hilarious re-telling of Aesop's ancient fable of The Ant and the Grasshopper. Joyce's version is presented in his last great work, Finnegans Wake (Book III, Chapter 1). Although Aesop's fable has been illustrated many times over the centuries, Joyce's unique take on it has never been interpreted. This book consists of a series of colour illustrations by Irish artist Thomas McNally alongside Joyce's text. Each picture is based on a line from the fable and, taken together, they illuminate Joyce's re-telling. This edition of Joyce's fable offers readers a fantastical and much-needed entry point into Finnegans Wake. Although Joyce's vel is often described as one of the most impenetrable literary works ever written, there are great riches and humour beyond its difficult surface that everyone can enjoy. By reading Joyce's fable alongside the illustrations, readers will be given an ideal entry into Finnegans Wake and get a clear sense of the humour that is an intrinsic feature of Joyce's highly inventive use of language. The fable and its drawings are augmented with an Introduction by the artist and an accompanying essay by Finnegans Wake textual scholar Danis Rose.
The artist: Thomas McNally is an Irish artist and philosopher. He works as an adjunct assistant professor in the philosophy department at Trinity College Dublin, specializing in the philosophy of language and Ludwig Wittgenstein. His work as an artist has developed in conjunction with his philosophical training. This is his first book of illustrations.