Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Wake In Progress
October 25, 2010 8:38 PM   Subscribe

Wake In Progress: Illustrations to Finnegan's Wake [via]
posted by brundlefly (17 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Argh. That apostrophe is not supposed to be there.
posted by brundlefly at 8:45 PM on October 25, 2010


Argh. That apostrophe is not supposed to be there.

But it is, so I'll just assume this is a post, and thus all following comments, are about the song and not the book.

In which case: why are people always bitching about how difficult Finnegan's Wake is? I understand, like, the majority of those lyrics, no problem. I am clearly super smart.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 8:51 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


this is a post= this post
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 8:51 PM on October 25, 2010


Those illustrations are fucking awesome.
posted by twirlip at 8:52 PM on October 25, 2010


Ah, this is an awesome project and one that I'll be spending some time reading and enjoying. Thank you.
posted by rmmcclay at 9:11 PM on October 25, 2010


no.please.
not in one day.
posted by clavdivs at 9:57 PM on October 25, 2010


I appreciate any and all excuses to dip back into into Finnegans Wake. So thanks for this.
posted by chavenet at 3:45 AM on October 26, 2010


For a few years, Finnegans was my bathroom reading. It's nothing that I'd ever try to read cover-to-cover but in 10 minute sessions the ratio of "hey cool puns" to "why am I bothering?" is high enough to enjoy it.

But in general I have less patience for big academic tomes than I used to pretend to. I really tried to read Gravity's Rainbow (I made it all the way through, in fact, but I wouldn't say I got enough of it to claim that I've really "read" it) and Ulysses (no such luck). Now that I'm far enough away from my days of pretending to be an intellectual in college, I prefer books that are meant to be enjoyed rather than books that are meant to be studied.

Not to say I'm calling anyone out on pretension. It's perfectly possible to genuinely enjoy studying and criticizing books as much as others enjoy easily engaging plots and untaxing narrative.

And yes, the print-like illustrations in the post absolutely rule.
posted by keratacon at 3:47 AM on October 26, 2010


I prefer books that are meant to be enjoyed rather than books that are meant to be studied.

I understand this sentiment, but sort-of reject the notion that people write books "to be studied". I mean, I know some do, that's their motivation, but I reject that idea for the vast majority of books, those that are studied as well as those that aren't. Unfortunately, some very great books get slapped by the "Suck Fairy's" sucky sister, the "Thesis Fairy"; more people are forced to study them than actually just read them.

People also get all hung up on should-have-readitis; Guess what? There simply aren't enough hours in life to read everything you should-have read.

Read what you like!
posted by chavenet at 4:26 AM on October 26, 2010


Yes. I'm cautiously giddy at the prospect of getting more than a few paragraphs deep into FW with these great visuals. I've somehow always known I would never climb that mountain through reading. Someone once said the secret was to -hear- it, read out loud, if I remember correctly in bed by a beautiful Irish babe. Unless I just made that last part up.

Ulysses on the other hand is a great read. I do it every decade.
posted by ecourbanist at 7:00 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


For folks frustrated by Finnegans Wake (and I'm certainly one of them), you might want to check out A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake by Joseph Campbell & Henry Morton Robinson.

I've pretty much given up any thought of actually reading the whole of FW. I can't help loving and deeply admiring the concept and the work that went into it, though.

keratacon, I know what you mean about "books that are meant to be enjoyed rather than books that are meant to be studied" - but having recently taken up a serious "project" to actually read a lot of those "big books" I always wanted to, even the "difficult" ones, sometimes they're not as bad as their reputations. Proust, for example. Ok, yeah, the first time I tried Proust I barely finished volume one and hated it. But after a few years, having read a bit more about it, I tried again and suddenly "got" it - finished the whole thing (well, ok, almost, skipped half of volume 5 on recommendation of several experts) and loved it.

But I'm totally with you on Gravity's Rainbow. Read it this spring & summer and just...just...wtf, did. not. get it. Even bought a companion book of annotations, and while the wealth of historical details thrown in is impressive, I still never felt like the underlying "point" of the book was ever clear within the book itself. (Never would I have got that there's supposed to be some big multinational consipracy centering around German chemical company I.G. Farben without the annotations, for example).

Currently reading War and Peace, and just this morning on the bus was thinking how refreshing it is, after Pynchon, to read a book where the author just plainly tells a good story.
posted by dnash at 9:02 AM on October 26, 2010


I bought Finnegans Wake after hearing the reading Joyce did of part of the Anna Livia bit. I dip into it now and again, and I reckon I've read all of it, because I haven't found any new bits lately. I found it immensely enjoyable, and never got the formidable/difficult reputation it has. I just picked out the bits I got and let the rest wash over me.

I do feel that a lot of it is fairly culturally specific, though, and speaking Irish and living in Dublin ten years and knowing a bit of Viking history etc. helped me a lot.
posted by kersplunk at 9:39 AM on October 26, 2010


Just to share my experience, I read and enjoyed Gravity's Rainbow about a decade ago, and didn't find it all that rough . . there are a lot of tangents to keep track of but most of the writing struck me as fairly breezy and lucid, and read mostly as a zany globe-trotting adventure yarn, with some very weird twists and set pieces. There's a lot of stream-of-consciousness, but it's mostly isolated in certain scenes, for effect. It's a bummer to me that it has a rep as a difficult book to read, I think more people should try and they'll be surprised.

Finnegans Wake on the other hand, tried several times, never got more than a few pages in. To me it's absolutely impenetrable. Just looking at the text in the drawings gives me a mild headache.
posted by chaff at 9:56 AM on October 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


To elaborate on the culturally specific part, I can spot in hindsight major threads of the novel using only stuff I would have learned in primary school (i.e. by age 12). Why Howth and Chapelizod for example? Well, Howth/Binn Éadair -> Diarmaid agus Gráinne (we even learned a song about it, aged 8) -> Tristan and Isolde -> Isolde's Chapel/Séipéil Iosóid/Chapelizod. Simple really :)
posted by kersplunk at 11:28 AM on October 26, 2010


Awesome.

Fwiw, I'm with chaff.

Never would I have got that there's supposed to be some big multinational consipracy centering around German chemical company I.G. Farben without the annotations, for example

C'mon, the whole part about Slothrop's dad and baby Tyrone? Impolex G?

Finnegan's Wake is hard. These illustrations are fucking awesome though.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:34 PM on October 26, 2010


Currently reading War and Peace, and just this morning on the bus was thinking how refreshing it is, after Pynchon, to read a book where the author just plainly tells a good story.

Heh. I read War and Peace last year. A good read, but I can't say I liked it that much.

Les Miserables. There's a great story.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:51 AM on October 27, 2010


Oops, totally forgot that I came back to post a link to a CC version of the text of Finnegan's Wake.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:52 AM on October 27, 2010


« Older Rob Ford (previously, sort of previously) has won ...  |  Dogs Gods, great portraits of ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments