Finnegans Wake

Finnegans Wake

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Having done the longest day in literature with his monumental Ulysses (1922), James Joyce set himself an even greater challenge for his next book -- the night. "A nocturnal state...That is what I want to convey: what goes on in a dream, during a dream". The work, which would exhaust two decades of his life and the odd resources of some sixty languages, culminated with the 1939 publication of Joyce's final and most revolutionary masterpiece, Finnegans Wake.

A story with no real beginning or end (it ends in the middle of a sentence and begins in the middle of the same sentence), this "book of Doublends Jined" is as remarkable for its prose as for its circular structure. Written in a fantastic dream-language, forged from polyglot puns and portmanteau words, the Wake features some of Joyce's most hilarious characters: the Irish barkeep Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker, Shem the Penman, Shaun the Postman, and Anna Livia Plurabelle. Sixty years after its original publication, it remains in Anthony Burgess's words, "a great comic vision, one of the few books of the world that can make us laugh aloud on nearly every page".

Publisher: New York : Viking Press : Penguin Books, 976, c1967
ISBN: 9780140062861
0140062866
Branch Call Number: JOY
Characteristics: 628 p. ;,20 cm

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scribby
Mar 26, 2017

Unreadable nonsense or an epic/mythic/philosophical/comic masterpiece? Answer to both: yes. If you try to read it as a "regular" novel, it may seem too dense to bother. Or not. If you read it out loud, it transforms into an epic, poetic masterpiece. If you try to analyze it and pick apart its multiple puns, neologisms, and other wordplay, it'll keep you interested for longer than Joyce took to write it. The critique of Anna's letter (which is also the Book of Kells), wordplay in the museum, character sketch of Shem the Penman, and the fate of the Russian general made me laugh out loud (though it took me a while to find the latter); the Mookse and the Gripes, and Yawn at the inquest sequences contain some of the most beguiling dream imagery I've ever encountered in a book. "There's a lot of fun at Finnegan's Wake."

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nsystems
Dec 02, 2014

You have to read it aloud. It helps if you've read earlier Joyce. "A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake," by Joseph Campbell and Henry Morton Robinson, helped a lot, too. After I read Finnegans Wake, I found other fiction bland for a long time. Years. It's a masterpiece.

dsbarclay Sep 02, 2014

There's a reason that we needed to invent grammar; it conveys relationships between vocabulary and communicates more meaning than just words.
Even poetry has rhythm, cadence and has intuitive structure however free-form.
I'm just not a fan of stream of consciousness. But if you are, that's great, I envy you.

gdifranco Jul 31, 2014

I made it to page 8 then gave up. I need a story with structure. It was like reading a Dr. Suess novel for adults. Just not what I'm looking for in summer reading.

d
DellaV
Aug 27, 2012

I thought this was great fun, especially figuring out all of the little "insider" things about the writing. Like running a reading marathon-and winning! Those who love to read, will love this book. If you are not a word lover, you will despise this book and toss it away after a few lines. If you are a middle of the roader, use Cliff's Notes along with it, or something like that. Not for the faint of heart, definitely, but worth it? MOST DEFINITELY.

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NMiskey
Feb 26, 2011

It's sad how even today the ignorant, uneducated literature tourists will complain that they "can't read this book" and give up after a few pages. Amazing how a book so important to language, literature and writing goes largely unappreciated.

l
lslobod
Mar 08, 2010

Unreadable rubbish.

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Black_Cat_355
Jun 25, 2013

Black_Cat_355 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

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Bokks
Aug 15, 2012

Bokks thinks this title is suitable for 4 years and under

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