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?
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.
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)
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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