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Thread: Finnegans Wake

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    Finnegans Wake

    Plan on reading this, or at least trying.

    Should I read it cold or with a guide? Might be too difficult cold but generally I find guides irritaing because I need to have 2 books to read one. I don't mind using a guide/annotations the second time around but would rather try it cold first.

    Any experiences with this book?

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    Registered User ashulman's Avatar
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    I got about 100 pages into it. It's amazing but mere humans aren't equipped to deal with the meaning and resonances of its puns and allusions.
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    Is it really that bad? I imagine the answer is yes. Just as a barometer, how much of a slog was ulysses for you?

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    Registered User ashulman's Avatar
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    Ulysses is one of my favorite books. It was tough but I reveled in it. I'm also a big Pynchon fan so there's that. The Wake is just too learned and too deep, for me anyway. I'm fairly well read by today's standards - not like Harold Bloom or someone who does it for a living, but for an amateur. I think it requires a deep understanding of literary history, particularly the Classics and mythology. I just don't have it. But the pleasure of the language is there no matter what. I do hope to tackle it whole one day
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    confidentially pleased cacian's Avatar
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    Ever wondered what FINNEGAN mean? It sound like VENGANCE to me. The wake of the VENGEANCE or the perhaps the Avengers.
    it may never try
    but when it does it sigh
    it is just that
    good
    it fly

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    Quote Originally Posted by ashulman View Post
    Ulysses is one of my favorite books. It was tough but I reveled in it. I'm also a big Pynchon fan so there's that. The Wake is just too learned and too deep, for me anyway. I'm fairly well read by today's standards - not like Harold Bloom or someone who does it for a living, but for an amateur. I think it requires a deep understanding of literary history, particularly the Classics and mythology. I just don't have it. But the pleasure of the language is there no matter what. I do hope to tackle it whole one day
    A fair appraisal! Never read Pynchon yet. I'd be similar to you, well read but never studied literature formally. If the pleasure of the language is enough to keep me going then I'll keep on trucking, but that's unlikely.

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    Finnegan is an irish surname, but i take it you mean what it means on a deeper level?

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    confidentially pleased cacian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yulehesays View Post
    Finnegan is an irish surname, but i take it you mean what it means on a deeper level?
    Yes I do. Every word has a meaning. For example POTTER from Harry potter. It means loopy from potty. Harry can be slightly hairy haha.
    it may never try
    but when it does it sigh
    it is just that
    good
    it fly

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    Registered User Jassy Melson's Avatar
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    Does he mean this, or does he mean that? Joyce was an exception, in every sense of the word. His writing does not make sense to the "uninitiated." You have to be "especially equipped" to understand Joyce. Give me a break. Joyce was a sloppy slobby writer whose fans go out of their way to find all kinds of meaning in his writing.
    Dostoevsky gives me more than any scientist.

    Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. - Albert Einstein

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    Quote Originally Posted by cacian View Post
    Yes I do. Every word has a meaning. For example POTTER from Harry potter. It means loopy from potty. Harry can be slightly hairy haha.
    Well Finnegan is a diminutive of the Irish name Fionn, which means fair. The book is named after the 1850s Irish ballad Finnegans Wake. It has also been suggested hat the name is a pun suggestng the cyclical nature of history. Fin being french for finished, egan meaning again, and wake meaning awakening. So finished and then awakening again.

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    confidentially pleased cacian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jassy Melson View Post
    Does he mean this, or does he mean that? Joyce was an exception, in every sense of the word. His writing does not make sense to the "uninitiated." You have to be "especially equipped" to understand Joyce. Give me a break. Joyce was a sloppy slobby writer whose fans go out of their way to find all kinds of meaning in his writing.
    Interesting and I think and a for minute Joyce would have understood it himself. It is anybody guess.
    I think is like the casanova of his time. At some stage in time he needed to redeem himself having felt under pressure from leisure and so he tossed a coin and decide to write a wake that may never happen. It is like a preceding of something. If you write about you would wish it to be.
    The more there is to the piece and the more condensed the ideas written becomes. It is not about a dream but about a wish that eventually should turn out to be true. Only a dream is usually after you wake up and not before. This wake is after he has woken up meaning the dream would have to happen after he has written about it. We all know realisty it is not going to and so it stagnates and the longer you live and the more it will turn back and haunt whatever whoever wanted to understand it. Let's call the nightmare. It is the curse of the dubby dubious. It is better left to it I say.
    After Ulysses one is not expected to write another epic. One writes epics once and that Ulysses for Joyce.

    to quote this from Google:
    a letter from his patron Harriet Weaver:
    Having completed work on Ulysses, Joyce was so exhausted that he did not write a line of prose for a year. On 10 March 1923 he wrote a letter to his patron, Harriet Weaver: "Yesterday I wrote two pages—the first I have since the final Yes of Ulysses. Having found a pen, with some difficulty I copied them out in a large handwriting on a double sheet of foolscap so that I could read them."[17] This is the earliest reference to what would become Finnegans Wake.[18]
    He mentions ''completing the work''. Should he not have said completed the story? the work usually means a job.
    ''A line of prose'' means poetry in this context . One speaks of lines when one speaks of poetry. Why is he mixing prose and poetry together?

    Why was he exhausted? writing is a hobby is not a marathon and it feels already that he was under some pressure. He did not write for a year. And then he wrote Finnegan. Does that mean he was under a haze a dream for a whole year and then after that he woke up from it with a finnegan wand?

    He then says: ''he wrote two pages''.
    But that is not right because he has to take into account that he has written already ONE letter on top of the TWO Pages. That makes it total THREE pages.
    He then mentions he found a pen. Does that mean he only had one pen? for a writer it sounds rather random.
    Or does it mean he stumbled on a pen it was by accident that he found a pen which could mean that he was not thinking of writing anything. Had he said I took the pen or picked a pen then that would have given the idea that he was intending to write.

    the he mentioned copying the two pages in a large handwriting. Is he saying that that was not his work and that what he had found was not handwritten? Ah it was photocopied from another source.
    Then he mentions he had to handwrite them in order to be able to read them. But one cannot copy what one cannot understand? one must understands what one copies if he is to read them aLL. This makes no sense.
    The other thing is what did he mean by the 'final yes' of Ulysses?

    In the quote he says he wrote a letter to his patron who happens to be a female. All patrons in Ireland are men.
    Last edited by cacian; 03-16-2013 at 03:22 AM.
    it may never try
    but when it does it sigh
    it is just that
    good
    it fly

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    The Ghost of Laszlo Jamf islandclimber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jassy Melson View Post
    Does he mean this, or does he mean that? Joyce was an exception, in every sense of the word. His writing does not make sense to the "uninitiated." You have to be "especially equipped" to understand Joyce. Give me a break. Joyce was a sloppy slobby writer whose fans go out of their way to find all kinds of meaning in his writing.
    Well this is one of the more absurd statements I've read. A "sloppy slobby writer"? You might say that Joyce wove labyrinths far too confusing and arcane with his writing; that he was purposefully obfuscatory; that he spent years hiding his meaning behind layer upon layer of language; you might say all this... However, to suggest that a man who spent 17 years carefully crafting one of the most unique, profound and multilayered narratives ever written, well, this is entirely inane. Congratulations on that.

    I suggest such statements would fit better in that rather amusing thread about a make-believe world where Hidy the Clown has actually been published.

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    In the fog Charles Darnay's Avatar
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    What the **** did I just read? No, that's not my reaction to reading Finnegan's Wake, it's my reaction to reading this thread up to this point.
    I wrote a poem on a leaf and it blew away...

  14. #14
    The Ghost of Laszlo Jamf islandclimber's Avatar
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    Cacian. Have you read Ulysses or Finnegan's Wake? If not, what version of reality are your statements arriving from?

    All patrons are not male. Joyce is referring to a "patron of the arts" which can be a male or a female.

    Charles, this thread might be more incomprehensible than the Wake itself!

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    Quote Originally Posted by islandclimber View Post
    Cacian. Have you read Ulysses or Finnegan's Wake? If not, what version of reality are your statements arriving from?

    All patrons are not male. Joyce is referring to a "patron of the arts" which can be a male or a female.

    Charles, this thread might be more incomprehensible than the Wake itself!
    Well, there is no in-itself. But this thread is garbage compared to Joyce's carefully crafted writings.

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