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Finnegans Wake (Vintage Classics)

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  9,762 Ratings  ·  698 Reviews
The Finnegans Wake Notebook Edition is a fully integrated and cross-referenced edition of all the extant work-books compiled by Joyce after the completion of Ulysses. It will be published as a series of fascicles, one per authorial notebook, three per scribal notebook, fifty-five in all. This will make individual notebooks available to scholars as they appear and allow cri ...more
Paperback, 628 pages
Published June 2nd 1992 by Vintage (first published May 4th 1939)
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MJ Nicholls
Let me explain the five-star rating. When I was teenager I was ludicrously shy. I was the son and heir of a shyness that was criminally vulgar. My all-conquering shyness kept Morrissey in gold-plated ormolu swans for eight years. Any contact with human beings made me mumble in horror and scuttle off to lurk in dark corners. But I developed this automatic writing technique in school to ease my mounting stress whenever teachers were poaching victims to answer questions, perform presentations or ge ...more
Finnegans Wake is Joyce’s masterpiece, the culmination of his life’s work, the apex of his art, the tremendous final achievement of the 20th century’s greatest prose stylist. To ignore Joyce’s masterpiece is to miss out on one of a handful of great events in literary history. Dubliners anticipated A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, A Portrait of the Artist… anticipated Ulysses, Ulysses anticipated Finnegans Wake. Joyce’s individual works are particularly momentous set side by side, as the ...more
This review was on loan to Verbivoracious Press for the last year or so.
Today, Easter 2016, seems like a good day to reinstate it on goodreads.

The Slalom of Joyledge

Howto scaledown this Beschova finntail
This filletov beginnings that sings of all endings,
This pest of a pal in jest
And bad cess to you, Joyking
For the reeding is tufftuff
But the prize is the laffing
Tho low in the belly
It sores with the learning
Of finnglish and jinglish
Pigeon linguish and djoytisch

Ten stories tall
And twenty the dee
Nicholas Karpuk
Mar 29, 2009 Nicholas Karpuk rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: surrendered
This is not a fair score, I'll admit it right up front. This book affirms my reasoning for reading the first few pages of a book before buying it. This I bought because I've been trying to read more classics, but my experience has shown me that classics shouldn't be exempted from the first few page practice.

Here's the second paragraph of the book:

"Sir Tristram, violer d'amores, fr'over the short sea, had passen-core rearrived from North Armorica on this side the scraggy isthmus of Europe Minor t
K.D. Absolutely
Nov 10, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2012)
Looks daunting, unintelligible and incomprehensible at first. However, read it aloud and with open mind and the meaning might come down on you. I said "might" because no matter how much thinking I put on some of the paragraphs or lines, some meanings seemed so obscure and I had no choice but to let them stay that way.

Still I found this book amazing. It is one of its kind. What amazed me really was its play of words. Unmatched. Never seen before. Close to it so far is Anthony Burgess's Clockwork
"Wipe your glosses with what you know."


I tend never to retread the same book twice. I finish a novel or a book, digest it, then move on. Having just finished 'Finnegans Wake' I'm not sure that approach is even possible. This is a book that is simply impossible to really finish. Yes, I read from the beginning to end. Yes, I listened to it while reading. Yes, I spoke sentences out loud. Yes, I shouted words. Yes, I underlined phrases that tickled and rhymes that ringed. But, I feel like I've scrat
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Was bin you? ::
Ein luger ; faelscher ; Father of ; flibber flabber ; Miss MacLeader ; desimulate ; hazug ; trick a her stir ; leogere ; false wit ; phonitical ; cheet a puma ; con ; equal vadar ; story hearer ; promotorcross ; mensoganto ; rascal ; hṛṣi ; hyper cryter ; Hair Pseudo ; mwongo ; path and logical ; dish o nest and storter ; libel and label ; not a squarestraight shooter ; counterfèting ; defamé ; calumniacator ; ;

Porce? Vava Varoom? Howso? ::
I say I confirm I assert I am truthtosa
Paul Bryant
Nov 14, 2011 Paul Bryant marked it as assorted-rants-about-stuff  ·  review of another edition
Stealing an idea from Manny's review, here's part of the (British) Highway Code if it was written by James Joyce any time during the last 17 years of his life. This is the section called


Swarn and inform other roadusers aminxt that nombre of evelings, including pedestrigirls and jumbleboys (see 'and twinglings of twitchbells in rondel’ section twoozle para fleeph), of your inbended actions. You should have a kelchy chose and clayblade and at all times make prayses to the three of clu
Oh James, you crazy fucking Irishman.

I am tempted to leave my "review" of the Wake (as it is commonly known) as just that one thought. It just about sums up the thought-process of every person who has ever read the Wake (and depending on the person it could be meant positively or negatively). But I decided that I would try to "review" this novel, for some strange unknown reason.

What can you say about Finnegans Wake? No, really. What can you say?

It is: astonishing, astounding, baffling, bamboozl
Sep 23, 2014 Manny rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The other day we saw The Ghost, the rather fine new movie by Polanski. Ewan McGregor plays a ghostwriter, who's been brought in to fix up the memoirs of a British ex-Prime Minister who absolutely isn't Tony Blair. He's given the manuscript, and groans in pain.

"That bad?" asks the woman who isn't Cherie Blair.

"Well it's got all the words," says McGregor. "They're just not in the right order."

This suggested to me the following simple experiment with Finnegans Wake, one of the greatest etc etc in t
Ian "Marvin" Graye
Prelured to a Nocturnal Pleasure

"It isn't a matter of submitting uncritically to a difficult work; it's about trusting that the artist knows what he/she is doing, even if you don't apprehend it right away. Just keep reading: even the most difficult novel will eventually make some sense, and if you realise you've missed things, you can always go back for a second try if still curious...some people like a challenge...some people are open to new, initially puzzling experiences...": Steven Moore

Oct 22, 2007 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Curious Types, Mystics, Academics, Small Children, People w/Psychosis, Students, and Drug Addicts
Shelves: favorites, modernist
Many people find this book perplexing, but I find it’s something like a magic hat crossed with a hall of mirrors. You can pull almost anything out of it, but usually you'll get a twisted reflection of your own ideas, obsessions, or hidden fantasies. Perhaps that's the cause for perplexion, but I think its good to dig all that stuff up.
I love this book for its tangled etymologies, and the way these pieces of words delve so deeply into a common mystical, lingual history that spans nations and cul
Leo Robertson
Why you will read Finnegans Wake:

The short of it is this: have a think about all your greatest achievements, the accomplishments you’re most proud of. What they have in common is hard work and originality. Read Finnegans Wake. Fine, you know what? If you’re even in this review for the short term, chances are you won’t read it. If anyone’s still interested, please let me convince you further.

Michael Chabon, Pulitzer-prize winning author, wrote a big article for The New York Review of Books on why
Jun 24, 2014 Jonathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Our Wake Reading Group, which is full of all sorts of helpful odds 'n sods:

Ay Hell[p]-full Qwroat from Jamesy

"[A]nyone who reads the history of the three centuries that precede the coming of the English must have a strong stomach, because the internecine strife, and the conflicts with the Danes and the Norwegians, the black foreigners and the white foreigners, as they were called, follow each other so continuously and ferociously that they make this en
David Lentz
Jun 09, 2012 David Lentz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Tim Finnegan’s Wake"
by David B. Lentz

When God reeled in good auld Tim Finnegan,
And looked into his green Irish peepers,
Said He, “Now, what was I thinkin’?
Poor lad, he ain’t one of the keepers.”

To hell Tim descended without any fear,
To the devil, whom not much is lost on,
Said he, “I’m sure you’ll be comfortable here,
Among all your old friends from South Boston.”

Tim’s jokes night and day caused Satan to swear,
As migraines crept behind blood red eyelids,
“An eternity with you is just too much
Mar 08, 2012 Lara rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: post-modernism, yuck
In What Is Art? Tolstoy unleashes criticism on all things artistic, sparing no one. His main argument is that art--whether literature, paintings, music, or drama--should be accessible to everyone. He says anything that the common man cannot understand or that does not represent the common man is actually a form of war on the common man. All art must teach; all art must be accessible; all art must tell the common man's story. Else, it is not art but an elitist manipulation--a dangerous one, at th ...more
Did I finish reading The Restored Finnegans Wake? Nope. I read this one. Am I going to finish The Restored Finnegans Wake? Yep. I pick up the Wake at odd moments invisibly lapsing between other moments, and flip to random pages, and one would be surprised how detailed one's recollections can be of specific passages within this vortext. This thing only grows and expands and whirls about its own gyre, creating itself always while I look away, for weeks at a time it sits there generating itself sil ...more
Ed Smiley
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
Sir Francis Bacon (1561 - 1626)

Fourth time through! The date is set to the date I read the final word "the".

(Read twice before and a third time selected passages.)

This is my favorite book of all time. Admittedly it is challenging, but what it does is sim
Nick Black
Major life admission: I've never actually finished this book. Let me explain.

I first came across Joyce in the spring of 1996. When "Araby" was assigned for an evening's BritLit homework, I was fifteen and still playing Final Fantasy Legend on my Gameboy from that Christmas ; up until that MARTA ride home, The Catcher in the Rye had seemed the most meaningful and personally evocative thing around. The last line almost blinded me:

Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and de
-- "He spillyspilled the javagroundsdowndown down on the dillyportportmanteau dallyrig and spiedeyed the bigbuggered werdybirdys tome and glazed himself cataractous and craniallyabled himself away along the ruttedroad to the pubbubbly where Evesapples temptation restor'd his senseandsensibility."
-- Evan Gilling, from a never-to-be written opus

That is my answer to Finnegans Wake -- a book I've sampled and thereupon decided to not spend further precious minutes of my fleeting life on.

Before I say
Dec 20, 2012 Warwick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A sort of triumph, a sort of failure.

It's impossible to rate, really, but it's not remotely like anything else in English literature so in that way it's certainly impressive.

On one hand it's outrageously pretentious. But even if you want to hate it, there's no denying you can get enormous enjoyment from going through some of the passages here. A sentence can be read in as much detail as some entire books. You can reread the whole thing and it'll be completely different. Some bits are very funny,
Jun 19, 2007 Charlie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lorry drivers
Since this book is an anomaly unto itself, I will review it with a true story that I made up. There's a custodian in my apartment complex i've become friendly with named Red. One day, I noticed Red eyeing me up while I sat reading my copy of Finnegan's Wake and asked him if he was familiar with it. He replied "Yes" in his kindly old Red way, and launched into a breathless, half hour criticism of Joyce as a literary thief, "Picasso of letters" he called him, convincingly accusing him of cobbling ...more
Scribble Orca
May 07, 2015 Scribble Orca is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Scribble by: Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
update: Joyce' Finnegans Wake is given very interesting treatment in Verbivoracious Festschrift Volume Three: The Syllabus

The problem with Finn Egan[apostrophedie]s Splashy Fest-o-the-Dye Inn is muchly how there is to admire and lake, and how much to make and add lyre that nary a chary chance haven't a nanobreadth's posse and abillybongabitty in all of onrushininginfinity to Die Cifre.
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Seventh printing.

And I'm going to read it. Not fake=read it like some people!!!! People who fake=read Finnegans Wake are fAke=peoples. Those kinds of people are the WORST!!!! (!)
Ian "Marvin" Graye
“Fabulous Pub Fare”

Australians all let us read Joyce!
Though we are liter’y,
We dread the trouble and the toil.
He’s not our cup of tea.
His works abound unread on shelves
In bookstores everywhere.
It’s time we tried Finnegan’s Wake,
Dubliners and Ulysses.
In Joyceful ways, then, let’s consume
This fabulous pub fare!

(Extract from “Proposal for a Chair in Joycean Studies”
By Professor Bruce Bloomsday,
Poet Lorikeet and Larrikin,
Department of English, Scottish and Irish Studies,
Finnegan’s Tavern Campus,
Mar 29, 2012 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Finnegan's Wake is the night to Ulysses' day. It is riddled with obfuscatory language to separate the reader from the events described as a sleeper is separated from his waking consciousness. If anyone has captured the language of dreams it would be Joyce. It is often playful and insightful and other times it is aggravating and loathsome. I, like many others, had a Joyce phase once, where reading his works was akin to eating ambrosia; I could not put his books down for fear of losing my grip on ...more
Nov 12, 2016 sheep rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
final boss down
>tfw beat literature
Finnegan's Wake forum (Thanks, Nathan!):

Finnegan's Wake audio available for free at UbuWeb to listen to as you read along with the book. Highly recommend for non-Irish folks like me:

Anna Livia Plurabelle:

James Joyce reading Finnegan's Wake. Animation but I think it's his voice:

From The Role of Thunder in Finnegans Wake:

1. The First Thunderclap
May 07, 2009 Anthony rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A lot of people disregard Finnegans Wake as incomprehensible, and some people even get angry, as if the book has somehow wronged them. The text, being as it is infinite, requires you to ditch your notions of "mastering" the text and accept that you will never get to the bottom of Finnegans Wake. however, with some patience and perhaps the consultation of a resource or two, it's not difficult to really get into it...

In many ways it is the booklength night to Ulysses's booklength day, full of circ
Apr 04, 2009 Jimmy marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: partially-read
I remember this being fun to read up about until I started having really weird nightmares (technically, the novel is supposed to mimic the language of nightmares and dreams in general). Also, I remember just feeling awkward about language in idle conversation. Someone would start talking to me, about anything, and I had a hard time suppressing my laughter. That in mind, the effects that this book had on me were about as ridiculous as it actually is. I like Ulysses, but this is clearly the work o ...more
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Bottom's Dream: Finnegans Wake 3 45 Sep 10, 2016 06:21AM  
Finnegans Wake Gr...: p78 - lethelulled 5 20 Aug 30, 2016 09:24AM  
Restored Finnegans Wake 5 67 Jun 01, 2016 09:34AM  
Lots of Hate on Finnegans Wake! 14 183 May 28, 2016 07:04PM  
Looking for experimental/post-modern/avant garde books... 7 29 Feb 24, 2016 06:52PM  
Finnegans Wake 1 11 Apr 18, 2015 07:18AM  
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James Joyce, Irish novelist, noted for his experimental use of language in such works as Ulysses (1922) and Finnegans Wake (1939). Joyce's technical innovations in the art of the novel include an extensive use of interior monologue; he used a complex network of symbolic parallels drawn from the mythology, history, and literature, and created a unique language of invented words, puns, and allusions ...more
More about James Joyce...

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