Presents an experimental novel depicting a dream of world history, with characters from literature and history appearing and disappearing, written in a dream language that is a comical mixture of all the languages of Europe.
James Joyce's last work (1939), and by far most difficult (if not impenetrable) novel, is a long, gorgeous flow of words that has been described by some critics as the dreaming life of a man named Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker. Others believe that the dreamer is actually Leopold Bloom, the hero of Joyce's ULYSSES. According to Joyce himself, FINNEGANS WAKE does nothing less than tell the history of humankind by means of the story of an "everyman" and his family, in particular his sons. In FINNEGANS WAKE, Joyce indulged his fondness for wordplay and puns, virtually creating his own version of the English language not only with new meanings for familiar words but with words he made up. The result is a polyphonic, oddly lyrical, often humorous and bawdy work of genius that opens up new vistas into language, consciousness, and the ever-inventive creative mind of James Joyce. During the 1920s and '30s, when he was writing his novel, Joyce always carried a notebook with him in which he compulsively jotted down ideas for his book. Critical study of these fascinating documents, many of them semi-coherent scribbles, and of the various drafts for the novel, is a major industry for Joyce scholars. The book's title--which is correctly rendered without an apostrophe--is both an allusion to the familiar Irish song "Finnegan's Wake" about the hod-carrier who rises from the dead (just one of the novel's many musical/religious allusions), and an exhortation to the Irish (the Finnegans) to wake up to what Joyce considered the destructive reality of their heritage--as he himself did by becoming an expatriate, returning to his native land only in his books.
- Fiction + Literature Themes, Fiction + Literature Genres, Juvenile Fiction
- Settings, Conflicts + Dualities, Psychology, Types of Characters, Classics, Literary Genres + Types of Novels, General
- December 1, 1999
- December 1, 1999
- James Joyce