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Finnegans Wake Paperback – Dec 1 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reissue edition (Dec 1 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141181265
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141181264
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 3.8 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (154 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #518,430 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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.

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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

3.8 out of 5 stars

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By patrick bateman on 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 By Ookie Cookie on Feb. 8 2003
Format: Paperback
When you get past all the strange words and polyglot puns, Finnegans Wake just isn't that interesting of a book. The ideas expressed are contrived and uninteresting, and many have been already been treated, better, in Ulysses. "But how do you get past the language?" is the rejoinder I'm expecting to hear. It's true that very few people understand every word in the book. However I refuse to suscribe to the school of thought that states that FW is a great book just because its hard to understand and nobody will ever "get" all of it. Some people have come pretty close- MacHugh's "Annotations" goes a long way with individual words, and Campbell's "Skeleton Key" well give you the overarching meaning (yes, there is meaning) if you read it with a critical eye. These two books pretty much have FW cracked, end of story.
Now many people will also argue that one shouldn't read FW for the meanings or ideas, like other books, but rather that simply the sweet sounds of the language are enough to give it value as a literary object- essentially, even if we don't understand a word, it sounds nice. This is just silly. If you want an auditory experience listen to music or the sounds of nature. If euphonious words is your thing, read some poetry. But for heavens' sakes don't spend the time required to read 680 pages of garbled words simply because they sound cool. My point is that there are already artistic and, in my view, far more enjoyable ways to go about getting a cathartic auditory experience. FW has neither the mellifluosity of The Raven or a Spenserian sonnet, nor obviously can it provide the sonic intensity of a symphony. Books, ultimately, are read for the quality of the ideas they express, and the quality of the style used to express them.
The style of FW is idiotic.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Gilmore on July 29 2002
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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By A Customer on May 19 2004
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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