Finnegans Wake

Finnegans Wake


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Finnegans Wake by James Joyce

Having done the longest day in literature with his monumental Ulysses, James Joyce set himself even greater challenges for his next book — the night.

"A nocturnal state...That is what I want to convey: what goes on in a dream, during a dream." The work, which would exhaust two decades of his life and the odd resources of some sixty languages, culminated in the 1939 publication of Joyce's final and most revolutionary masterpiece, Finnegans Wake.

A story with no real beginning or end (it ends in the middle of a sentence and begins in the middle of the same sentence), this "book of Doublends Jined" is as remarkable for its prose as for its circular structure. Written in a fantantic dream language, forged from polyglot puns and portmanteau words, the Wake features some of Joyce's most brilliant inventive work. Sixty years after its original publication, it remains, in Anthony Burgess's words, "a great comic vision, one of the few books of the world that can make us laugh aloud on nearly every page."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780141181264
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/01/1999
Series: Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin Series
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 672
Sales rank: 138,954
Product dimensions: 5.44(w) x 8.37(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

James Joyce (1882–1941), an Irish poet and novelist, was one of the most celebrated writers of the twentieth century. His works include UlyssesFinnegans Wake, and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

Date of Birth:

February 2, 1882

Date of Death:

January 13, 1941

Place of Birth:

Dublin, Ireland

Place of Death:

Zurich, Switzerland


B.A., University College, Dublin, 1902

Table of Contents

Introduction vii
A Note on the Text xxix
Book I
Book II
Book III
Book IV

What People are Saying About This

Anthony Burgess

The age between the wars comes to an end with Joyce's Finnegans Wake, in which the author's interest in the deeper regions of the human mind leads him to the kingdom of sleep. The book is a dream of world history and it is couched in a new language, a comic mixture of all the tongues of Europe. Fictional experimentation could not well go further. To many readers Finnegans Wake mirrored the European chaos to come, but others saw a secret blueprint for rebuilding a civilization that was on the brink of destroying itself. (Anthony Burgess, from One Man's Chorus)

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Finnegan's Wake 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome and worth reading! Actually found that I liked FW much more than expected and Ulysses somewhat less (though still a great book). It surprised me. Hey, at 628 pages (long but not onerous), if you love literature, you should defintely sit down, read it, and see what all the fuss is about. My experience: am a self-taught lit reader, reading my way thru the classics, but by no means an "expert". After reading Ulysses, I thought I would just dip into FW, expected not to understand anything, and at least be able to say that I too read FW and found it awful. Surprise. It is indeed very, very opaque. Somehow, though, by puzzling thru what Joyce is trying to say, you "connect" with the book and writer and it springboards your own thinking. The themes are universal and thought-provoking: e.g., the cyclicality of night/"waking", death/rebirth, the "good" twin/"bad" twin archetypes, etc. There is also the whole puzzle of the "plot", puns, wordplays, and references to the Bible, numerology, fables, and even Alice in Wonderland! Btw, the intro to this edition is really good and clarifies many of these things and what to look for - all a 1st time reader really needs. Joyce considered this his masterpiece. Many of the themes begun in Ulysses (transmigration of souls, etc.) are developed here. Ulysses is a grand, intellectual masterpiece, but I think that it's in FW that you really understand this writer's heart and soul.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Finnegans Wake (no apostrophe!) takes Joyce's linguistic experiments to a logical conclusion. The strange and malleable quality of the writing is all but overwhelming (and for most people incomprehensible), and what scraps of setting, character and plot remain are swept away by this constantly-changing dreamscape. Probably the best way to enjoy this book is to keep in mind that, like Ulysses, it is primarily a comedy. Puns and jokes abound, and that can prove very amusing even for those of us that can't begin to fathom the 'real meaning' of the text. No one has attempted a linguistic experiment on this scale since, so this remains probably the most radical 'radical text' in existence.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's a hard book to read yet I can't stop reading it. When I read part of a section of 50 pages I didn't realize it was about to men shaking hands. But I think this is a good book to read.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
guitaoist3 More than 1 year ago
brilliant tho i suggest the annotations to help along with the infinite variety of meanings within each word
Guest More than 1 year ago
i can only add my voice to those encouraging the wary to dip into this compendium of joy
Guest More than 1 year ago
You will probably consider this novel to be difficult. I agree with anybody who thinks so. It is very difficult. It certainly is hard to grasp, but once you get into it, that is it. James Joyce stretched the language and brought the book to a far higher form of writing that is uncommon around. Uncommon in the sense that you have to get into it to love it. For easier, compelling reads, I recommend the works of Janvier Tisi, James Carrol ans Sydney Sheldon.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have just finished the first four chapters of this book and I can't tell you one thing that it is about. I can tell you that it is a combination of the 'boringness' of the begat chapters from the Bible, and the fascination of Revelations. This book is like listening to a great piece of music or overhearing a conversation that is in a foreign language. No one knows the meanings of these things, but everyone enjoys eavesdropping or being seduced by Beethoven. This book is Joyce's personal language, albeit pompous for Joyce to presume that it would become great, it is a circus--a circus of monkeys or soothsayers is for you to decide.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This relentingly strange work of fiction was the last and i think best by the finest writer of the first half of the prior century,-people feel it to be a work of madness,-but i know not of a better work of the history of the universe,-for the discerning reader of modernist texts,-
stareid More than 1 year ago
so, not a review. But I am a fan of Joseph Campbell and he walked around with this book under his arm for years. His wife jokingly called it her competition. I just ordered it but the reviews have me a little scared!! Not exactly a summer read I guess.
Jon_B More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Try reading the last line of the book then read the first half sentence of the book then it seems to make the most sense of anything in the forsaken book, but all in all, by trying to confuse the reader Joyce has liberated us writers to step outside are lines and really write. Yay Joyce. "TO CLAY TAMOR" and "whew!" as its own para. thats amazing !!!!! sir.charles
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
To make a short story long, while I was reading South of Broad by Pat Conroy, I ran across a reference to Ulysses and Bloomsday. I thought I'd be really "cool" and get Ulysses from B and N and read that. Well, at the same time, why not get Finn also. Truth be told, I couldn't make head or tale out of either of them. Sorry. EEL