Finnegans Wake Grappa discussion

James Joyce/Finnegans Wake: Our Exagmination Round His Factification for Incamination of Work in Progress
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message 1: by Nathan "N.R." (last edited Feb 05, 2014 10:37AM) (new) - added it

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 414 comments I was just remindEd about my own reviewing brilliance via a (well placed) Like to my reView of this fanstasmashably=good little treasure volume . My genius consists in this :: I reProdDuced a litter written by none other than a thinly veiled JJ.

James Joyce/Finnegans Wake: Our Exagmination Round His Factification for Incamination of Work in Progress. Give me my=well earned Like and then read the Beckett eassay.

message 2: by Nathan "N.R." (last edited Feb 22, 2014 08:01AM) (new) - added it

message 4: by Elizabeth (last edited Mar 13, 2015 02:22PM) (new) - added it

Elizabeth Madden (elizabethmaddenreads) | 6 comments Great stuff, Nathan! Keep it coming, please. My husband & I are currently reading F.W. together and discussing our impressions/ideas/reactions, so all such additional helpful information is of enormous value to us, especially as my husband is a relative "virgin" in terms of reading and studying Literature in general, and the writings of James Joyce in particular. Prior to his retirement from work, he was an accountant, whose principal reading fare was mainstream popular fiction and books about business management- i.e. a world away from all of this!!!- but he has always enjoyed reading & writing poetry, and now he has time to do so, wishes to explore the world of Literature and tackle some of the more "challenging" works. As an ex-teacher of Literature and devotee of Joyce's writings, this is proving to be an exciting and worthwhile way of spending our time together.
Having already read and discussed the other major texts by Joyce in some depth with me, he is definitely becoming something of a Joycean himself, but is, inevitably, finding F.W. very challenging-isn't it so for practically everyone, even seasoned readers of the work like ourselves? There's always something new to discover, in every line on every page,maybe, even, in every single word, so re-reading this book with someone who is so keen to discover why I am such an enthusiast is a learning experience, as well as a great delight, for me.

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 414 comments Elizabeth wrote: "a relative "virgin" in terms of reading and studying Literature in general, and the writings of James Joyce in particular."

I've often said that one needn't bother with The Wake unless and until they've bothered with Ulysses ; but I'm not so sure anymore. The Wake can pretty much be picked up by any Innocent. In Twelve and a Tilly: Essays on the Ocassion of the 25th Anniversary of Finnegans Wake there's an essay on teaching The Wake which begins with, "We must become as little children, for they have no difficulty with Finnegans Wake. They have no taste: they can enjoy good writing as well as bad. Only with time and teaching do they learn to prefer the bad. Our first job as college teachers is to unteach them: to restore their innocence: and for this purpose Finnegans Wake is uniquely effective."

There's definitely something definite in The Wake (ie, plot, characters, themes, 'message', and all that) but the method of going about getting at those definite things requires a rather unrestrained child-like curiosity, prepared to invent. One's first foray may not be successful, but then again, none of one's forays will be successful until one learns what a foray into The Wake itself might mean, and that such a foray may be a very different kind of foray than that into a, say, War and Peace.

It is fun, Finn!

message 6: by Elizabeth (last edited Mar 14, 2015 10:09AM) (new) - added it

Elizabeth Madden (elizabethmaddenreads) | 6 comments Indeed 'tis!!! Thank you for the link to the essays, Nathan, and for the encouragement. I'm afraid my husband, aged 62, can hardly be said to still have "a rather unrestrained, child like curiosity"- rather the reverse, to be honest, he's very solemn and reserved- but luckily, he is still curious about Literature and how it "works" and is sticking with The Wake in an admirably persevering manner, because he really enjoyed all of the earlier works by J.J.and is sure that he will, eventually, feel the same way about this one.

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 414 comments Elizabeth wrote: "he's very solemn and reserved"

Then I do assume he has at the ready already the inimitable Annotations to Finnegans Wake?

The Wake seems to attract both crowds -- both the Pantagruelians and the dusty ghosts of the library stacks.

message 8: by Elizabeth (new) - added it

Elizabeth Madden (elizabethmaddenreads) | 6 comments No- but he has tried, in both libraries and online bookshops-it's no longer in print, and prohibitively expensive to buy second hand. Is your description of it as inimitable positive, or negative?

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 414 comments Elizabeth wrote: "Is your description of it as inimitable positive, or negative? "

There's nothing like it. Really kind of a genus thing. And a really good jumping off point for seeing how all kinds of stuff is packed into each sentence/word.

The third edition (2005), the one you want, appears to still be in print, but does seem to cost a pretty penny ::

message 10: by Fionnuala (new) - added it

Fionnuala | 45 comments Elizabeth, I could post you my copy - it's taking up quite a wedge of space on my bookshelf...

message 11: by Gregsamsa (new)

Gregsamsa | 50 comments I agree heartily on the child thing, having tested it out on actual living children. There does seem to be a cut-off age, though. In my experience, it's nine for boys and 7 or 8 for girls.

message 12: by Harry (new) - added it

Harry Collier IV | 119 comments I read a small blurb about how the 12 in FW share features of the 12 different authors who wrote this. As this book pre-dates the release of FW it is quite possibly true.

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