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Finnegan's Wake by James Joyce (1 Viewer)


Senior Member
So I picked up Finnegan's Wake at the book store the other day. Has anyone read through this? It's on my summer reading list, but upon glancing at the first couple of pages, I'm not sure if I'll be able to make it through without throwing it down in frustration. I will give it a chance though.

So has anyone read it? What did you think? I picked this over Ulysses, good or bad choice?




Senior Member
I think it was a very bad choice.

The only thing I think Finnegan's Wake is good for is as a test of just how much torture you can take before you kill yourself.

I'm ashamed to say that I took it all the way, toothpicks under the fingernails and electric shock can't hurt as bad as finishing this book did.

After about 50 pages of this blather that demands constant attention to detail just to comprehend you start thinking to yourself, "there HAS to be a point to this otherwise he wouldn't have gone to all the trouble," but there never is.

It's like a horror story and you're the unwitting victim of intellectual murder.

Umm, sorry to blast it so hard if anyone liked this book I intended no offense in giving my biased opinion on Finnegan's wake.

On the other hand I thought Ulysses was great. I don't want to say it mirrored his Portrait novel but there were a lot of similarities. That's a good book and much easier to work through.


Senior Member
Thanks for the review!

Yeah i'm starting to think Ulysses might have been a better choice.

Ah well.


Read it simply for the experience. You'll probably learn more reading and not understanding Finnegan's Wake than you would reading and understanding most other books. Soak in the inventiveness of Joyce's style and language, even if you must sacrifice comprehending the meaning.

But in no way is Joyce mandatory reading. Don't feel as if his work is required, and that to understand literature you have to read Finnegan's Wake. That's why most people read it, I think - to show how intelligent they are, or how much they know about literature. This of course is nonsense. One can't possibly read every book, so how can one say "these are the books one must read"?

I have no idea as to your motives for reading FW, however. I do recommend the book, but don't turn it into a daily torture exercise. If you find you are not inspired by something in the text - whether it be the language, the characters, the themes - why keep reading it? Would you keep reading a contemporary author whose prose made you suicidal? Why should Joyce be any different? Because he's celebrated? Leave painful reading to the university bookchat crowd and others who enjoy literary masochism.


Senior Member
ghostman said:
I have no idea as to your motives for reading FW, however.

There's a bookstore at my University and consequently, I've developed a habbit (or addiction) of buying books for reasons that now escape me. It's a bad habbit and I've wasted a lot of money, but I do have some good reads. I picked up FW because the first page just fascinated me, and that was a good enough excuse to buy it. :wink: