Joyce on Joyce? Or rather not?

This article from the Guardian claims to have letters from Joyce and Pound on the Wake.  Perhaps so, and if so, it just confirms my thoughts in the matter.  But if not, well, the thought's in the right place--and I say that as one who profoundly loves the play of the Wake.


  1. Steven,

    Thanks for posting the article. I have occasionally browsed FW. I agree that there is probably nothing anyone can do to make it readable in the same way other works are readable.

  2. Dear Fred,

    Ah no. But it is uniquely unreadable, and remarkably quotable, and the night imagery and the constant presence of Anna Livia Plurabelle and. . . I could go on. No, it is not readable. I do not recommend it even to the most ardent lovers of Ulysses, but I myself love it and have read it over and over and can't wait until these tomes become something I can afford. I seriously doubt whether I would notice any difference whatsoever in my reading. But one doesn't read Finnegans Wake for the same reason one reads many other books--one reads it to encounter the longest, most enjoyable poem and language game composed in something approximating English.

    I love it but do not recommend it--an odd paradox, but you must have a certain kind of mind and a certain laxity of narrative sense. (And I don't mean that in the elitist sense of a "fine mind" or a highly intellectual way or reading. In fact, if anything I mean exactly the opposite--the mind of one who hasn't quite grown up and refuses to do so--one whose chief joy is making up words as you go along to express what the situation means--even if unintelligible to everyone else--the Humpty-Dumpty mind as opposed to the hard and fast school of one-word one-meaning.)

    If one can read Nadja, Les Chants de Maldoror, and St-John Perse and make anything of them, enjoy them, then Finnegans Wake is a possibility. Perhaps I should post more on it--make my reputation as a blogger on being the one who says, "Anyone who really wants to do so can read Finnegans Wake and get something out of it. What they're likely to get, I can only speculate, but I hear the river running through the entire work--from bend of bay to swerve of shore. . .



  3. Steven,

    Post the first paragraph and see what happens?

    Verification word: ingsber

    That looks/sounds like it might actually be in FW.


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