Finnegans Wake

First Published 1939 – This edition 1975



11 responses to “Finnegans Wake

  1. –> Page 55
    “Life, he himself said once, (his biografiend, in fact, kills him verysoon, if yet not, after) is a wake, livit or krikit, and on the bunk of our bread-winning lies the cropse of our seedfather, a phrase which the establisher of the world by law might pretinately write across the chestfront of all manorwombanborn.”

    Seems a significant keynote passage, so far.
    As well as a blend of Professor Stanley Unwin, Gerard Manley Hopkins, John Cowper Powys and the earlier Joycean stream-of-consciousness, I now think that FINNEGANS WAKE also has captured my childhood’s Nursery Rhymes, Lewis Carroll, Russell Hoban, Laurence Sterne’s ‘Tristram Shandy’, TS Eliot’s poetry and much of the literature published in recent years by Ex Occidente Press and other ‘High Weird’ fiction, say, as published by The VanderMeers’ massive ‘The Weird’… And more yet to be identified…

  2. Page 58: “They have waved his green boughs o’er him as they have torn him limb from lamb. For his muertification and uxpiration and dumnation and annuhulation.”

    Sic: ‘lamb’. The Yieldingtree?

  3. There is a plot to this book that several have tried to adumbrate over the years, a special Joycean language that others have tried to nail down with a single word of description, characters that chop and change, themes and threads that also chop and change, all of which elements the critics have tried to plumb (see the book’s Wikipedia if you must)…..But I contest that any attempt to plumb these things will come back to choke you. So I won’t. I just know there is an experience to be had here and I hope by the time I reach the end such an experience will have become the whole of me rather than a part of me that I try to examine from outside.
    Examining life from within the same life, the mind from within the same mind, all doomed to failure – but Finnegans Wake itself is the only ‘death’ we shall know retrocausally. Our own death experienced after it has happened? We shall see or, at least, I hope, I shall see:

    “For dear old grumpapar, he’s gone on the razzledar, through gazing and crazing and blazing at the stars.” (Page 65)

    Now reached page 69.

    A startling realisation following what I just wrote above – has anyone, other than myself, noticed before that the name Finnegan has ‘finish’ and ‘began’ embedded?

  4. And so, almost as if predetermined, I am surprised, but pleased, to reach, on page 77, an itemised eschatological passage “rich in death anticipated” at the end of it:
    “Show coffins, winding sheets, goodbuy bierchepes, cinerary urns, liealoud blasses, snuffchests, poteentubbs, lacrimal vases, hoodendoses, reekwaterbeckers, breakmiddles, zootzaks for eatlust, including upyourhealthing rookworst and meathewersoftened forkenpootsies and for that matter, javel also, any kind of inhumationary bric au brac for the adornment of his glasstone honophreum, would, met these trein of konditiens, naturally follow, halas, in the ordinary course, enabling that roundtheworlder wandelingswight, did suches pass him, to live all safeathomely the presenile days of his life of opulence, ancient ere decrepitude, late lents last lenience, till stuffering stage, whaling away the whole of the while (hypnos chilia eonion!) lethelulled between explosion and re explosion (Donnaurwatteur! Hunderthunder!) from grosskopp to megapod, embalmed, of grand age, rich in death anticipated.”

    Meanwhile, two other authors have come to mind to add to my earlier list of the Finish-Began captives, viz: Elizabeth Bowen and Lawrence Durrell.

  5. Thanks to gveranon, here is Joyce reading aloud a section of FW:
    The text he is reading there is shown on this page:

  6. So far, I see I have instinctively used the terms ‘capture’ and ‘captive ‘ above. In fact, the text reminds me of the ‘captcha’ codes we are often presented with as necessary bot-proof gateways for you being able to ‘manipulate’ sites on the internet. And these codes are real words changed or confused by Joyce (like the characters themselves) into such captcha codes – gateways to what I mentioned earlier regarding the manipulation of death? The ‘finegan’ wake after death – a way out of death? In this light, I again wonder how anyone has not noticed — except me? (please tell me here in reply to this comment if I am wrong about being the first to notice) — that Finnegan as a word is a blend of Finish and Began, and this also ties in with what appears to be generally accepted, i.e. that the Finish of this massive book runs into the ‘riverrun’ of where it Began!

  7. image

    –> Page 82
    “the spearway fore the spoorway.”

    “(the cradle rocking equally to one and oppositely from the other on its law of capture and recapture)”

  8. –>Page 94
    “situate at Nullnull, Medical Square,…”
    Null null Immortalis, or weird weird, one cancelling out the other. The ending never ending by its start?

    At the end of this section, Joyce seems to be describing himself in writing this book:
    “Crackajolking away like a hearse on fire.” !! (My exclamations)

    Or did John Cowper Powys manage better to describe Finnegans Wake inadvertently six years before it was published, with his concept of the ‘Malebolge’ from his Glastonbury Romance novel in 1933:
    All human minds, as they move about over the face of the earth, are in touch with a dark reservoir of our race’s psychic garbage. Just as all the thrilling and vibrating thoughts that have animated human organisms survive the deaths of those organisms, so all the heavy, cloddish, murderous, desolate thoughts, in which free will and faith and happiness perish like asphyxiated gnats, roll themselves in a foul torrent into a great invisible planetary Malebolge. This Malebolge is always present and near, a little way below the surface, for all our human minds; and it only needs certain occurrences, or certain arrangements of matter, to cause an odious and devastating effluvia from its surface-scum to invade the arteries of our consciousness.”

  9. This review will now continue in the comment stream HERE

  10. Anyone who simply confirms that they have read and enjoyed the ‘Finnegans Wake’ real-time review from beginning to end will, upon request to me, receive a free signed copy of one of ‘Weirdtongue’, ‘Agra Aska’ or ‘Real-Time Reviews Vol. 1′, until further notice or current supplies of these books end.

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