How Joyce Wrote Finnegans Wake

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In this landmark study of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, Luca Crispi and Sam Slote have brought together fourteen other leading Joyce experts in a genetic guide to one of the twentieth century’s most intriguing works of fiction. Each essay approaches Finnegans Wake through novel perspectives afforded by Joyce’s preparatory manuscripts. By investigating a work through its manuscripts, genetic criticism both grounds speculative interpretations in an historical, material context and opens up a broader horizon for critical and textual interpretation.

The introduction by Luca Crispi, Sam Slote, and Dirk Van Hulle offers a chronology of the composition of Finnegans Wake, an archival survey of the manuscripts, and an introduction to genetic criticism. Then, the volume provides a chapter-by-chapter interpretation of Finnegans Wake from a variety of perspectives, probing the book as a work in progress. The fruit of more than two decades’ worth of Wakean genetic studies, this book is the essential starting point for all future studies of Joyce’s most complex and fascinating work.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The most complete and accurate account to date of the composition of James Joyce's greatest work."—Roland McHugh, author of Annotations to Finnegans Wake

"A major step forward in the critical history of the book that is Joyce's most challenging work and one of the twentieth century's most significant artistic productions."—Derek Attridge, University of York

 "Insightful and relevant, this volume significantly advances the explorations of earlier studies. It is the first comprehensive genetic discussion of Finnegans Wake chapter by chapter, and anyone seriously interested in Joyce and the Wake will benefit from reading it."—A. Nicholas Fargnoli, Molloy College

“In total, the essays in this collection make a compelling case about how the Wake can be better understood by seeing it through its ‘work in progress’, that is, through its seventeen-year gestation. . . . How Joyce Wrote Finnegans Wake is a major achievement and represents a significant advance in genetic studies.”—Year’s Work in English Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780299218645
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2009
  • Series: Irish Studies in Literature and Culture
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 544
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.21 (d)

Meet the Author

Luca Crispi is James Joyce Research Fellow at the National Library of Ireland. He was cocurator of the National Library's Ulysses exhibition, which featured more than a dozen newly uncovered Joyce manuscripts. Sam Slote is the author of The Silence in Progress of Dante, Mallarmé, and Joyce and the coeditor of Probes: Genetic Studies in Joyce and Genitricksling Joyce.

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