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Thread: the best supplementary book on finnegan's wake?

  1. #1
    Registered User
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    Apr 2008

    the best supplementary book on finnegan's wake?

    I suppose there has always existed a slight debate over whether Joyce's Finnegan's Wake holds any real importance behind it's text or not. I personally prefer to investigate that Joyce did not work so long and hard for it to mean nothing, and intend to study it.

    However, I was a bit overwhelmed at the skeleton key and annotated books etc. concerning Finnegan's wake, and would love if anyone who has ventured down this path, could be kind enough to recommend one that they found with much lucidity and commentary?

    Thank you all!

  2. #2
    Inexplicably Undiscovered
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    Jun 2007
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    RE: Joyce by Anthony Burgess.

  3. #3
    My "fear" is my substance kfan's Avatar
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    May 2010
    Washington, DC

    I have found Tindall's A Reader's Guide to James Joyce to be helpful without the "overwhelmed" factor. In fact, the entire guide approximates three-hundred pages with about eighty devoted to FW. It may seem sparse but it is packed with interesting ideas, allusions, relationships, etc.

    The preface states, "This book is intended for general readers - for those who, attracted and puzzled by Joyce's books, want to know more about them." Tindall goes on to say, "My job as I see it, is pointing to things in the text: details that might escape notice, relationships among parts and books. My job is asking questions, hazarding guesses, and, sometimes, when almost sure of something, announcing it. Displaying the text, I invite others to go further into it than I. Not as a critic here, still less as a scholar, I think of myself as a teacher."

    I apologizing for so liberally quoting the preface, however, it captures the spirit of the guide better than I can. I think Tindall ultimately accomplishes what he sets out to do, namely, teach. I read FW with this book and Skeleton Key at my side and enjoyed it very much. I read parts of FW aloud with someone and it increased the enjoyment immensely.

    If you do end up using The Reader's Guide, I would love to hear your opinion. I am just a layman but if you would like to discuss FW, I want to read it again.


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