Welcome to the Finnegans Wake Reading Group!

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Welcome to the Finnegans Wake Reading Group!

Post  Admin on Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:29 am

The purpose of the group is to better understand a generally misunderstood work of art that enables the reader to change the manner in which they view the common sentence, as well as their own semantic thought process, or literary form.

One of the things I've noticed from what I have read of Finnegan's Wake, is that it's "gibberish" feel which most complain about--the ambiguity of which could be slightly disposed of if one reads it aloud--forces the reader to interpret the work even more subjectively than they would any other work of art. (this notion is from my personal vantage point, and may be criticized and deviated from as much as one wishes) What I mean to say is that one has to delve into a deep personal psychoanalysis when they think they have found a linear plot line, or characters or story, because though those devices may have been intentional on Joyce's part, they are also more likely the invention of the reader.

The implications of this are pretty fucking rad, if you think about it. One almost creates their own story of self from the riddle-ridden pages of Joyce's work. The importance of a painting, or film, or book, does not merely stem from the author's creations and intentions or even final product, but rather, from the interpretation of it from each individual who spends time with the work. To put it more mystically, art is both self and absence of self. It is both the author's creation, as well as the reader's interpretation. What this boils down to is direct experience and contemplation with another's representation of the human experience, which in effect, sheds light on our own experience as a human.

Though the Freudian/Jungian aspects of becoming involved with the Wake are quite relevant to how you interpret the work itself and how it changes you afterwards, the reading group will of course focus on not just your own interpretation of the Wake, but also Joyce's intentions, scholar's interpretations, like Joseph Campbell and Anthony Burgess, in order to feel the whole of what is Finnegan's Wake.

At it's best, this group will understand (in so far as understanding applies to dream logic) the Wake and it's many contexts and interpretations; at it's worst, the group will learn more about themselves from what I consider literary Gnosis.

More will be posted later tonight, but for now, enjoy this:

http://www.arlindo-correia.com/joyce.html

ubu.com/sound/joyce.html

www.ubu.com/film/joyce_wake.html

Here's a selection of Joyce's Letters, an audiobook of the Wake, and a film Mary Ellen Bute, Passages From Finnegans Wake.

It should be noted that as much discussion of Ulysses as well as the Wake should be discussed.

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Anthony Burgess' ReJoyce

Post  Admin on Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:16 pm

Anthony Burgess pointed out in the first chapter of ReJoyce that the difficulty of language which surrounds Ulysses and Finnegan's Wake is not necessarily meant to be "unlocked," so to speak, and is intentionally complex because that which surrounds our ordinary lives is infinitely complex.

For me, Ulysses is a reminiscence of all that is joyous and aesthetic in life--the "Isness" Huxley refers to in the Doors of Perception "A rose is a rose is a rose. But these chair legs were chair legs were St. Michael and all angels."--but this is a very simple expression which one can experience after say, taking psychedelic drug (the post-trip, every little detail and fiber is important bit, etc.), meditate, smoke a lot of dope, or simply just enjoy the very breath that keeps their times ticking.

The simple aspect of our life is universally microcosmic; something contained in the essence that permeates being human. But like most conceptualizations, this simplicity contains also an opposite, and the opposite contains the simplicity. Beyond the simplicity, the everyday man aspect of Leopold Bloom or Henry Chimpden Earwicker, and the everyday woman aspect of Molly Bloom or Anna Livia Plurabella, lies an infinite complexity that is the macrocosm: the cosmos themselves.

The complexity of the language is the representation of the mythic and enigmatic veil that does surround the simplicity we experience. By placing a plethora of mystery around quite simple things, Joyce is taking the modern novel a step further by representing the human experience more truthfully--which I feel serves as the basis on which the artistic creation rests: what we experience everyday and all that that may entail.

Burgess suggests that by Joyce portraying the ordinary man in his works, so are they--or should be--accessible to the everyman himself. Beyond the complexity that surrounds Joyce's towering tomes is the Isness of existence which isn't something that can so much be described in words--at least in so few--but better seen and felt. The ode to being human that is Ulysses--and the darker, later half of the whole, Finnegans Wake, being the 1/3 of our existence, the dream--are perhaps amongst the greatest works of art not just because some literary elitists consider Joyce canonical--but because they best represent what we spend our lives doing, but amplifies it with the Homeric heroism that drapes over something as simple as defecating, a penis floating in water--or more humorously, human corpse used as mulch in a garden.

Does anybody else feel this way, and if so, how does Joyce do this for you. If not, why are Ulysses and Finnegan's Wake important to you?

And for all, what do you have to say about the first chapter of Finnegan's Wake, (or Ulysses).

P.S. I am pressed for time now (have to watch a film--Metropolis by the way, an Eisensteinian montage of madness-- and write an essay on it for a course I'm taking) so I will post my impressions sometime tomorrow or Monday.

Bon Voyage!

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Re: Welcome to the Finnegans Wake Reading Group!

Post  Admin on Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:18 pm

Ha, don't know what I was thinking with Henry chimpden earwicker. Should have been Humphrey.

Humphrey: Humpty Dumpty? He fell too.

Chimp-den: the den of chimps? The housing of Everyman?

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Care to set a number of pages?

Post  tony smyth on Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:49 am

Care to set a number of pages to be read read by a certain date? Otherwise seem to be very haphazard. Mind you many would say FW is haphazard!!
How many people have we got to commit to this? just curious. clown clown

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Re: Welcome to the Finnegans Wake Reading Group!

Post  Admin on Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:13 pm

Yes, I was going to aim for maybe the first chapter done by next week (like Monday or Sunday).

A good set up for this would be to read it, develop your own interpretation of it, and then see what others who have written on the subject think about the first chapter as well.

As of now, there seem to five or six people, and others may join in whenever they wish.
The uncertainty as to the size is why I had not yet posted when we should be finished the first chapter, but next week seems to be a good enough date.

Does this work for everybody else?

Later on today I will be posting a new form of the prose poem that mixes Ezra Pound's Ideogrammatic Method with the wordplay of Joyce which is representative of the complex montage of film translated in to the written word.

For now, dig this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Cwse1G5E3A

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Re: Welcome to the Finnegans Wake Reading Group!

Post  tony smyth on Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:43 am

Hi all. I've started our little (HUGE!!) project, but there no way I can finish a chapter a week and do the thing justice. The way I'm working on it now is read paragraph of the original, see what I can make of it, then delve into 'A readers guide to Finnegans Wake' by Tisdall. I also have the Campbell companion, but cant really carry 3 books, + alpha, with me when I go out. (I read on trains or in cafes).
Does anyone else feel that a chapter (in this case 28 pages) a week is a bit much? I'd like to go slower and in a bit more detail. Anyone??

Also does anyone know a companion that is written by someone Irish? I ask this because they'd be more likely to know the Irish references in this book> For example, there's references to Kish and Poolbeg in the first chapter. I know these names as they were often referred to in Irish weather forecasts on the radio when I was a kid, but a non-Irish person probably wouldnt know them.

Meanwhile, the companion 'Joyces book of the Dark' by John Bishop looks good. Cant post a link at the moment

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Reading Pace and Holographic Prose

Post  Zenjew on Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:25 pm

A chapter a week is excessive, folks. Very excessive. My NYC reading group did 12 pages last YEAR (they've been at it for 20+ years). Granted, that was in 11 2-hour meetings, but the point, I think, is not to go through the entire book here, but to bite a bit at a time, and then chew, chew, chew. The prose, as Robert Anton Wilson observed, is holographic, in that any one sentence or so (sometimes just a few words!) contains the whole book, so there's no need to rush. It ain't a crime thriller (well, actually it is, heh heh, but so much more, too). The pagination is standardized (except for the "corrected" FW that came out a year or two ago), so we can always be on the same page, so to speak, if we take, say, one page per week? Just a suggestion, of course, but there's no way we can do the book justice with a chapter-at-a-time approach. We can, of course, include a chapter "summary" in the beginning of each discussion, and then take the approach I've outlined. That way, we can have a general feel for what's happening so that no one feels lost. (Oh, who am I kidding, we're all gonna feel lost sooner or later, but hopefully the mindgroup here will help get us back on track if that happens.)

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Re: Welcome to the Finnegans Wake Reading Group!

Post  tony smyth on Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:00 am

ah a voice of reason! Well, from what I've read, a lot of groups seem to take about 2 years to complete FW. So taking that as a rough benchmark, if we take out say 4 weeks of each year for holidays etc (plus giving people time to catch up if behind) and aim for 2 yearish completion, that would mean about 6 pages a week. How does that sound?

Also about standardisation: I'm using Tyndalls companion, and the page references don't match up to the Penguin paperback version of FW. Its not a major problem, though sometimes you get a bit lost.

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Re: Welcome to the Finnegans Wake Reading Group!

Post  tony smyth on Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:05 am

Sorry, just reread your post. A page a week? 620 pages.... that would take 11.9 years to complete if we didnt have any weeks off. I may not be alive in 11 years!!! Shocked Shocked Shocked

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Re: Welcome to the Finnegans Wake Reading Group!

Post  tony smyth on Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:29 am

Is it possible to post photos on here? Just by coincidence, I was in Dublin at Xmas and took photos in and around Joyces Tower, and also the street that RAW used to live in, which is close nearby.

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Re: Welcome to the Finnegans Wake Reading Group!

Post  Zenjew on Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:40 pm

tony smyth wrote:Sorry, just reread your post. A page a week? 620 pages.... that would take 11.9 years to complete if we didnt have any weeks off. I may not be alive in 11 years!!! Shocked Shocked Shocked

Ha, indeed! I just posted something ("Reading Pace and Holographic Prose II") that sort of answers your post, but what do you think of this forum simply being an ongoing discussion/reading of the book, with no specific end date? No pressure, no one feeling like they're "behind" or whatever...? Just drop in any time, see what page we're on (I do like my random page reading order idea, outlined in the above-mentioned post, but it may be a bit too far out for you, and that's fine Smile read the brief summary that gives that page context, and then contribute whatever insights/interpretations they may have about the actual page's text? It's likely we won't all be here 11.9 years from now, but new blood can continue this for a long, long time.

--Roman

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Re: Welcome to the Finnegans Wake Reading Group!

Post  tony smyth on Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:07 pm

Well. I'd like to complete it. Its been a little mission of mine since RAW passed on. I am Irish too. I think I'll just start off, maybe do 5-6 pages a week, make comments and see how that goes. Problem is, I'm writing a book at the moment, so theres a limit on how much time I can devote to this (as everyone of course).
I'd really thought the idea of a group FW is that we'd be doing the same pages at the same time, and then each could give insights and bring up elements that maybe we'd not have noticed.
Anyway I'm going to start posting today, using Dragon Naturally to voice in comments under the text. At least lets get started. Very Happy Very Happy

Not in favour of random pages because you lose the flow of the book, which as I understand it has repeated themes and cycles based on Vico etc.

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Re: Welcome to the Finnegans Wake Reading Group!

Post  tony smyth on Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:52 am

Is anyone else going to take part in this? Arrow Arrow Idea Idea Anyone out there??

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Re: Welcome to the Finnegans Wake Reading Group!

Post  tony smyth on Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:34 am

Bits I just found out. Apparently HCE and Annie/ Alp have three children Shem and Shaun and also a daughter Issy. Issy is based on Joyces daughter Lucia who had schizophrenia. Havent really noticed her in the book yet though. After Joyce died Nora and son Gorgio basically abandoned her, and for a while she was looked after by Harriet Weaver. H'mm javascript:emoticonp('scratch')

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