Posted by: Mark | February 10, 2016

Finnegan’s Wake Ch. 1

When I taught literature, when I felt particularly sadistic, during the section on plot, I’d have a student read from Finnegan’s Wake.

“Just turn to a random page and read,” I’d tell them.

Sometimes the student would flip the book open, look at the page, turn a few more pages, and repeat four or five times before stumbling through a few paragraphs.

Some students seemed to know what they were in for and read the first passage they turned to.

The results were pretty much the same.

After doing this, I always attempted penance by reading the entirety of Finnegan’s Wake myself. I did this at least 14 times but never got more than five or six pages.

Today I read the first chapter, about 23 pages. I needed to consult outside sources to make sense of it but it’s the best I’ve done so far with the book.

Ulysses starts out relatively easy for the first two chapters but that doesn’t seem to be the case here.

It looks like the saving grace is that so many people disagree about what Joyce was saying that even if I’m completely off base, I won’t be the only one.


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