Friday, 27 February 2015

Describing Finnegans Wake

Derek of the Waywords and Meansigns project just asked our reading group for quotations describing Finnegans Wake. I was reminded of Finn Fordham, who opens his great book, Lots of Fun at Finnegans Wake, with this 'easily extendable reel of descriptions'.

In the appendix, he lists all the sources of these quotations

We could extend this with Frank Delaney's recent rapturous description in his Ulysses podcast, which PQ has transcribed for us on his excellent Wake blog:

Finnegans Wake is not a novel....No! No! Finnegans Wake is a poem, it's a symphony by a modern atonal composer. It's an assembly of language tying together floating evanescent ideas. It's a long rapid eye movement dream, it's a marathon technicolored musing that might have been induced by mescaline or LSD...It's a seemingly reckless careening through English and other languages. Yet you know that every word has been considered in this hodgepodge potpourri of miscellaneous and not always aligned thoughts and ideas, in this flamboyant and brilliant linguistic exercise that mimics the intensely illustrated pages of a medieval Irish manuscript. It's a massive rap, as in rapper, as in street talk, as in lingo, as in the heat of the day and the cool of the night captured dreamily and melodiously in words of all shapes and sizes. It's a mirage.

Do not read FW. Feel it. Dip into a page, any page, and if you find something that lights up your synapses, enjoy it... Read Finnegans Wake on any page at any time, and listen to it. Feel the words in your mouth and smile. But above all else: feel it in your spirit.

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