Note: If you see this text you use a browser which does not support usual Web-standards. Therefore the design of Media Art Net will not display correctly. Contents are nevertheless provided. For greatest possible comfort and full functionality you should use one of the recommended browsers.
James Joyce «Finnegans Wake»
James Joyce, «Finnegans Wake», 1923 – 1939
© James Joyce
Open as full size image
Finnegans Wake, London, 1975, p. 272

 James Joyce
«Finnegans Wake»

«Finnegans Wake,» Joyce’s final work was created over a period of fifteen years with composition starting in 1923. It was finally completed in 1938. Joyce celebrated its eventual publication on February 2nd 1939. Like all of Joyce’s works Finnegans Wake was dogged by publication controversy. He found, due to the perceived obscurity of the text that even his closest allies lost faith in his last artistic venture, finding it too obscure and occluded to penetrate. The title came from the popular Irish ballad about a hod carrier called Finnegan who falls to a supposed death from a building but is revived by a skite of whisky which is thrown in the drunken melee that ensues at his wake. Joyce kept the title of the work a closely guarded secret for many years whilst issuing sections of the work for publication entitled «Work in Progress.»
«Finnegans Wake» is a novel written using the dream form as a device to tell the universal story of Everyman, Humprey Chimpden Earwicker, his wife Anna Livia Plurabelle and their children, twins Shem and Shaun and sister Isabel.
It also tells the history of Ireland and the world as well as telling the tale of a river rising in Poulaphouca and flowing in through the heart of the city of Dublin out to meet the ocean in Dublin Bay. The dream form was ideal in that it allowed Joyce the space and freedom to introduce unfettered , myriad strands of material into the language of the night or the unconscious.
The novel is divided into four main parts called «books» numbered one to four in roman numerals. These in turn are subdivided into 17 «chapters.» The language of the novel employs multilingual puns, songs, jokes, polyglot portmanteau words, allusions and scientific information, myths and legends. The content is vast. FW was created in part from pieces of text Joyce composed himself. These he augmented with text drawn from copious notebooks in which were collected fragments of information, passages of text drawn from books, magazines, journals and ephemera Joyce had come in contact with over his reading life.