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Modern Classics Finnegans Wake Paperback – Jun 29 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classic (June 29 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014118311X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141183114
  • Product Dimensions: 3.3 x 12.5 x 19 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 476 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (154 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #171,905 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs. Read the first page
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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 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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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By greggory@earthlink.net on March 17 1998
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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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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