Has anyone ever completed the reading of Finnegan's Wake?

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  1. Dean Traylor profile image94
    Dean Traylorposted 2 years ago

    Has anyone ever completed the reading of Finnegan's Wake?

    James Joyce has written a few complicated books. Finnegan's Wake is by far his most complex (and complex feels like a light word to describe it) On numerous occasions I've tempted, but failed, to get passed the first twenty or thirty pages. I'm not alone, either. Thus, I suspect that a very small group of avid readers have actually completed the book. For them, my question would be: What is it all about?


  2. chef-de-jour profile image97
    chef-de-jourposted 2 years ago

    Good question! Not many have and most of those are academics studying the text for exams and research papers. I did try to read it in one go but found it too hard a slog - this was way back when I was young and wanting a little more than Kerouac's juvenile sorties into a kind of stream of consciousness. Joyce's FW is just too much of a leap into the dark.

    But I do think it's readable - you have to approach it with a different mindset. What about these ideas:

    * I'd say it's better to think innovative poetry than prose. FW is full of layers and distractions and symbols all flowing together.Don't dive in but tiptoe alongside to start with, then go deeper.

    * Join a reading group. As someone said about FW - join a hunting party and hunt it down as a group rather than as a solo stalker.

    * Do it bit by bit, page by page if necessary.

    Many hate FW, a few love it for its groundbreaking experimental style. It is not a normal novel, doesn't have a plot or sub-plots. Joyce wanted to challenge the reader's sense of story and my heavens does he do that.

    You can get help here - Stephen Crowe (Wake in progress website) or
    fwakeorigins.blogspot.com  and http://fweet.org.

    I have a hub that goes some way into Joyce's stream of consciousness writing and influences.

    Best of luck.

    1. Dean Traylor profile image94
      Dean Traylorposted 2 years agoin reply to this

      Sometimes, i will read it bit-by-bit and I will discover a few things that indicate there are some aspects of myths he incorporated or that characters from previous stories are in there. And then, I'll read further and have those rules squashed.

  3. ptosis profile image80
    ptosisposted 2 years ago

    I heard the song played by Dropkick Murphy's    ... but I guess that doesn't count. I didn't even know there was a book (shamefaced)

    1. Dean Traylor profile image94
      Dean Traylorposted 2 years agoin reply to this

      Oh yeah! I'm certain that they based their song on this book or the possible Irish folktale that title came from. Somebody told me it was supposed to be a dream. Then again, I've heard it was a joke.

  4. Stella Kaye profile image88
    Stella Kayeposted 2 years ago

    I tried and failed dismally as I constantly had the urge to correct the spelling, the grammar, the punctuation and just about everything about it.

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