A Dream Before the Dawn of the Digital Age? Finnegans Wake, Media, and Communications
CitationShen, Emily. 2020. A Dream Before the Dawn of the Digital Age? Finnegans Wake, Media, and Communications. Bachelor's thesis, Harvard University Engineering and Applied Sciences.
AbstractThis thesis looks at James Joyce's genre-shattering terminal work Finnegans Wake and the ways in which its interrogation of literary and linguistic communications anticipated future developments in the field of information theory. Prompted by Joyce's interest in the productive nature of miscommunication as well as his interest in humor, the thesis also offers an operational model for understanding humor as a communications problem by adopting an information-theoretic framework: principles of compression and surprisal are integral to humor. Finally, this thesis explores a few different examples of jokes with varying levels of surprisal, proposing that world-building in joke setup can be modeled as Bayesian updating where the goal of the comedian is to minimize the KL-divergence between their context (prior probability) and that of the audience's.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37367286
- FAS Theses and Dissertations