I Read Finnegans Wake So You Don’t Have To!
But, let me tell you now, this is no insightful academic assessment of what is perhaps the most perplexing, ambiguous and downright impenetrable work of literature known to man. One summer a couple of years ago, in-between writing my own novels of dubious quality, I fancied a bit of a literary challenge. I had participated in Bloomsday – an annual celebration of James Joyce’s other famed work, Ulysses – a few times and it struck me that maybe it was time to tackle the mighty Finnegans Wake. The idea of attempting an idiots guide (or, more appropriately, a guide by an idiot) came about after discussing my attempts at comprehension with friends.
And so this, Finnegans What?, a plaintive effort to decipher the indecipherable, was born. My method was a to read a chapter and then make notes about what I thought might be happening. These were originally posted weekly on my blog for the benefit of curious readers. So what we have here is a chapter-by-chapter explanation, as I read each in turn. This is my interpretation and musings on Joyce’s eponymous work, rather than any kind of instructional companion or serious analysis. Goodness knows, I’m not capable of that kind of high-minded literary endeavour. I’m just an ordinary person, reading Finnegans Wake.
And this is what I came up with.