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Finnegans Wake: Centennial Edition [Paperback]

James Joyce
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (154 customer reviews)

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Paperback CDN $14.43  
Paperback, Jan. 1 1982 --  
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Audio, CD, Audiobook --  
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Book Description

Jan. 1 1982
Presented as the story of Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker, a Dublin tavern-keeper, this novel has as its theme a cyclical pattern of fall and resurrection. It takes the form of a dream-sequence representing the stream of Earwicker's unconscious mind through the course of one night.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Review

'Listening to Jim Norton and Marcella Riordan is a lot easier than trying to read the book.' (The Guardian) 'It's estimated that a complete recording of this eccentric masterpiece would run to about 20 CDs, but Naxos has made an attractive abridgement in four, recorded with wit and clarity by Jim Norton and Marcella Riordan. I've never met anyone who has actually managed to read every page of this extraordinary book...and there can be little doubt that Joyce intended his work to be listened to as much as read. This brilliant recording is the perfect short cut for slackers, poseurs and insomniacs.' (Robert McCrum, The Observer)

About the Author

James Joyce was born in Rathgar, Dublin, in 1882. In 1904 he and Nora Barnacle (whom he married in 1931) left Ireland for Trieste. Abroad, free from the restrictions he felt in Ireland, Joyce felt compelled to write of his native land, producing Dubliners (1914) and A Portrait of the Artist as Young Man (1916). During World War I, he lived in Zurich from 1915 to 1919, and in 1920 moved to Paris, where he spent most of the rest of his life. Towards the end of December 1939 James Joyce and Nora Barnacle left Paris for a small village near Vichy and ultimately settled in Zurich, where he died in January 1941. His major works, pioneering the 'stream of consciousness' style, are the novels Ulysses (1922) and Finnegans Wake (1939). --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
riverrun,past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend if bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs. Sir Tristram, violer d'amores, fr' over the short sea,had passencore rearrived from North Armorica on this side the scraggy isthmus of Europe Minor to wielderfight his penisolate war: nor had topsawyer's rocks by the stream Oconee exaggerated themselse to Laurens Country's gorgios while they went doublin their mumper all the time: nor avoice from afire bellowsed mishe mishe to tauftauf thuartpeatrick: not yet, though venissoon after, had a kidscad buttended a bland old isaac: not yet, though all's fair in vanessy, were sosie sesthers wroth with twone nathandjoe. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars not yet finished. July 4 2005
Format:Paperback
i haven't yet finished my first read through of this book, but even now i think it's fair to say that this is an amazing piece of work. i just want to reiterate what a couple of people have said. firstly this is not literature, as such, it shares far more with music than it does with literature, and secondly, it should be read as you would listen to music, letting it wash over you, not trying to control any of it, not trying to realize what is happening. you should realize that after a while things will make sense, and even if the book never makes sense to you entirely it doesn't matter. to view this book as beautiful nonsense does no disservice to it, i think, because it is definitely the ultimate in beautiful nonsense if that's the way you want to see it.
and really, if you're going to write this off as gibberish, realize the man spent 17 years of his life perfecting this book. he went blind while writing it. his daughter was put into a mental asylum and europe was in the begining throes of world war II and still he wrote this book. more work has been lovingly poured into these pages than most writers put into their entire career. if you don't like it, fine, but calling this book gibberish is doing a huge disservice to the author and only making yourself look stupid. just say you don't like it, that's all you need to say.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I just finished reading FW last night after almost six weeks of thorough plowing-ahead through it. I don't know where to begin in my review of it. I would start by summing it up in the word amazing. This book reinvents language. All through school, we're taught grammar, spelling, punctuation, the format for writing essays, letters, etc., but Joyce rejects that education, says the hell with it and does his own thing. What interpretation of a word is right? Is there a correct interpretation to be conceived? Is there any possible way to wrestle the magnitude of this book to the ground and pin it down to really understand what's going on?? Who knows. Joyce has the reader in the palm of his hand, and it's frightening what FW can do to one's mind. I'm sure that now everything else I read will make me think of Joyce in one way or another. I probably don't know 2% of the amount of foreign languages, literary, geographical, historical and mythological allusions and references which are crammed into the book, but the parts that I CAN decipher are very clever. It's not an interesting "story", but it's captivating simply because it's such an enigma of a book.
There is not so much a story here as there is a SERIES of stories or vignettes parodying various myths, historical events, etc. But several patterns occur and reoccur. Variations of the initials H C E and A L P (What does Joyce achieve with FW? Why, He Confuses Everyone! All Living Persons!), rearrangements of the name of Finn MacCool, the mythological Irish hero, and the predominant Vicoian theme of history repeating itself. H C E is born and reborn as Adam, as Humpty Dumpty, as Finn MacCool himself.. ad infinitum.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I firmly believe that most who have read -- or so they say -- "Finnegans Wake" extoll its virtues because, to coin a phrase, its reputation precludes it. I am only aware of one detractor: Vladimir Nabokov, who, while considering "Ulysses" one of the four greatest works of the 20th century (a view which I don't share, incidentally), described labelled "FW" only a blot on his memory. (Note: not offered as a proof.) What is "FW", what is it really? Ultimately, I declaim it a failure -- not because I don't like it (an understatement!), but a failure on its OWN terms; and these, after all, are the only terms which any given work of art is obligated to fulfill. I offer one example of this failure -- an example which, however, is crucial to the entire structure of the book. "FW" is, within the story (such as it is) of one man, one family, supposed to represent the history of all of humankind. The history, of course, is relatively easy to represent, with its contextual Vico-ian circularity &c.; but the humankind is a foundering point (no pun intended). Joyce portrays this omnium gatherum of humanity through the meduim of what is commonly referred to as "dream consciousness," the collective unconscious of history, and he exemplifies this through a gallimaufry of languanges: all people, all languages. Fine, makes sense. And it also makes sense that there is a predominant language: English (alright: a very broguish Irish-English), because Finnegan/Humphrey/et al. is/are Irish. But we've glossed over the problem: all people, NOT all languages. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Wrath of the Understanding May 19 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The phrase that I've used to entitle this review is from Hegel, "Wut des Verstehens." It refers to the human drive to want to understand everything---and the irritation that human beings feel when something slips from their intellectual grasp.
FINNEGANS WAKE is a ceaseless flow of language... It has neither beginning nor end... It is without sentences... Perhaps it doesn't even enfold words...
Give up the attempt to understand FINNEGANS WAKE. Glide along its multitudinous surfaces. Bask in its language. Read it silently. Read it aloud.
Read without trying to understand any of it.
The reviews that surround this one may be used by a future scholar who would like to track down the misreception of FINNEGANS WAKE in the United States in the early twenty-first century. Again and again, Joyce is lambasted for not common-parlying. The apostles of commonsense want to hear only what they think that they already know. When a writer comes along and says something in a new way, they balk and coil.
This is not a book to be understood. It is a book of darkness, of ciphers, of dreams.
I will leave you with a brief excerpt from FINNEGANS WAKE, Part III. It is a description of hellos:
"...after their howareyous at all with those of their dollybegs (and where's Agatha's lamb? and how are Bernadetta's columbillas? and Juliennaw's tubberbunnies?..."
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice story
You will probably consider this novel to be difficult. I agree with anybody who thinks so. It is very difficult. Read more
Published on Jan. 26 2005 by John Egbe
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguiing
You will probably consider this novel to be difficult. I agree with anybody who thinks so. It is very difficult. Read more
Published on Jan. 21 2005 by Mike
5.0 out of 5 stars the novel that wasn't
Hep the noodle went the proprietor, laugh, crafting laughing, spinning face on touchtop of oats and wheat in the grange. Read more
Published on June 15 2004 by Steve Thulen
1.0 out of 5 stars art house intellectuals
I could take in a dump in a fancy looking box and some of you people would probably label it as "The greatest singularization of Drama, Vision, Madness and Awe ever conceived... Read more
Published on April 2 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars this is the book that never ends.
"This is the book that never ends it goes on and on my friends. Some people started reading it not knowing what it was and they will continue reading it because this is the... Read more
Published on March 23 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars The philological scourge of our language
"Finnegans Wake" is a novel for people who are tired of reading novels. The chapter summaries in the table of contents, and not the body of the novel itself, give... Read more
Published on March 22 2004 by A.J.
1.0 out of 5 stars Meaningless gibberish
There is nothing worse than an illiterate writer.
Published on March 13 2004 by David Gulbraa
5.0 out of 5 stars Circle within circles...
What can actually be said about Finnegan's Wake that would be coherent? Well, not much unless one is willing to spend a great deal of time atempting to decipher speakers from... Read more
Published on Feb. 25 2004 by Jean
5.0 out of 5 stars "...jigging ajog, hoppy on akkant of his joyicity"
Fun words aplenty
Give meaning to.
Eagerly awaiting movie.
Published on Jan. 25 2004 by --
5.0 out of 5 stars one book compactification of the world
you will, not likely, ever "read" the wake in any average sense of the word. joyce has created something amazing, a book that, rather literally, has something for... Read more
Published on Jan. 22 2004 by Charlie Mcintosh
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