Hart, Clive / Structure and motif in Finnegans wake
Chapter one: some aspects of Finnegans Wake, pp. 23-43 PDF (1.4 MB)
CHAPTER ONE 23 SOME ASPECTS OF FIXXEGAXS WAKE I: NEW IRISH STEW (190.09) our fascinating best-sellers brilliantly edited and condensed for your greater enjoyment, and all bound together in one luxurious volume.' So runs a recent advertisement for a collection of ' condensed books', but it also does very well as a description of Finnegans Wake, unless four be too low a figure. Even the word ' best-sellers' is not so wide of the mark as it would have been a few years ago. The novel of which Mr. J. I. M. Stewart has written: ' it is in the main a closed book even to most persons of substantial literary cultivation" has recently been issued in a low-priced paperbound edition of 20,000 copies, and I am told that a further printing is already projected. It may be that the number and variety of the ' condensed books' contained in Finnegans Wake accounts for the growing popularity of what must by any estimate be accounted an extremely difficult work to penetrate, for once a break-through has been achieved, the reader can find in it, according to taste, a history of Ireland, a survey of English literature, a universal mythology, a naturalistic novel, an autobiography of James Augustine Joyce, a summary cosmology. Whether this impress as intriguing, pretentious, annoying, repellent, beautiful, dull or brilliant, all must agree that Finnegans Wake is a quite extraordinarily rich production. Joyce claimed to have discovered that he could do anything with language,2 but even more impressive than his undoubted 1 J~ I. M. Stewart, James Joyce, London, 1957, p. 37. 2 Givens, p. 13.
Copyright © 1962 by Clive Hart.| For information on re-use see: http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/Copyright