Posted by: Lisa Hill | December 22, 2017

I’ve finished Finnegans Wake!

Well, it’s taken me nine months, but I’ve finally finished James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake.  I think it’s the most difficult book I’ve ever read, and it’s the only one where I’ve depended on guides to make any headway in understanding it.  The books I used were:

  • A Reader’s Guide to Finnegans Wake by William York Tindall, Syracuse University Press, 1969; and
  • A Skeleton Key to Finnegan’s Wake, Unlocking James Joyce’s Masterwork, by Joseph Campbell and Henry Morton Robinson, Collected Works Edition, New World Library, 2005

I would have been completely lost without them!

I’d like to thank everyone who’s stayed with me for the journey… although I enjoyed FW for much of the time, there were also times when I might well have given up without your encouragement!

Here’s a link to each chapter, as I read it.

 


Responses

  1. Congratulations. I’m afraid I didn’t keep up at all. I decided that if I ever decide to read it I’ll come read your posts as I do, but I’m not sure I feel driven to read a book that takes so much energy. My bad!!

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    • Oh, I don’t think so. I don’t think there’s any reason to read it unless it really intrigues you. For me, it was just unfinished business:)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I think you’re right re intriguing one. It intrigues me to a degree, but not enough. I think Ulysses, The Dubliners and Portrait of the artist as a young man, all of which I loved, probably satisfy my Joycean desires. But, you never know how I might feel another year.

        Like

        • And there’s always Bottom’s Dream which Tony Messenger is reading!

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! Thank goodness 😁 haha

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  3. You deserve a medal!

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    • Just a rest for the brain, I think…

      Like

  4. Ulysses next, as a palate cleanser?! Congratulations

    Like

  5. Well done! :)

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  6. ‘Tis a miracle to be sure, to be sure. Congratulations! I do wonder what kind of comment you might have got from Joyce – maybe your devoted followers would like to have a crack at making up something appropriate??

    A friend in Brit wished me a ‘cool Yule’, and I will ‘re-gift’ the sentiments to all the Lovers of Oz Lit.

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    • The only thing I could say with any confidence is that Joyce would have been pleased that I read it at all: he apparently thought that his work could be read by ordinary readers such as myself…

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  7. Congratulations!

    C

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  8. Congratulations. I gave up after a few chapters as I didn’t see the point in continuing with it. Surely reading a book in French is easy by comparison?

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    • Bien sûr! And now that I’m finished I’m going to pick up where I left off with En l’absence des hommes.
      But you know, some people like to pursue a PB in sport or climbing mountains, while others create cakes of death-defying complexity. I’d rather play a fiendishly difficult Bach contrapuntal on my piano than a gentle Strauss waltz, and FW has been on my list of personal challenges for ages…

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Bravo

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  10. *standing ovation* – a massive reading achievement.

    So what have you got planned for 2018? ;-)

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    • Nothing big and incomprehensible!

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  11. […] I’ve owned Langland’s Piers Plowman since my student days but I think I’d rate it as even more difficult to take in than Finnegan’s Wake. […]

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    • Gosh… well, maybe I can add that to my list of difficult books to try one day! Thanks for the mention:)

      Like


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