Monday, April 22, 2013

Tell me all. Tell me now. You'll die when you hear.

photo of a quilt hanging on the line in our back yard, by Mighty Reader

I have begun reading critical commentary on Finnegans Wake. That can't be a good thing. I had orginally planned to just experience the book as witness to Joyce's performance, but I find myself increasingly caught up in various annotations and interpretations, finding that there is very little agreement among the Joyce authorities. I like that lack of agreement. It reminds me of when I first started reading "Hamlet" criticism and found that there is a multiplicity of interpretations of every scene in that play. The best works of art, I tell you and not for the first time, resist our attempts at decoding. But I will not go out and buy any of the standard critical texts about Finnegans Wake. No, I won't. I'll just read the damned book, I will.


  1. Not that it's anything by comparison, but I loved The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown and it was trashed by the writing community. Sure it needs work, but hey, it made a gajillion dollars so who am I to judge. If I could pen something and make a gajillion dollars then I wouldn't care who said what about it.

    And commentary isn't like a review, but then again it is. So, we're all entitled to our opinion. But don't let that stop you from reading Joyce and enjoying it.

    BTW, love that quilt! Did Mighty Reader craft that herself? I love the colors. So bright and yummy.

  2. I am not qualified to comment on anything re Dan Brown, having not read a word of his nor seen the film neither. Finnegans Wake sort of did the opposite of making a gajillion dollars, and it's one of those books that is supposedly so difficult that people claim no one ever reads it. It's always the first book up against the wall when the firing squad of people who hate "literature" get up in arms. There are a lot of people who have read Finnegans Wake, however, and some of the smartest (or at least the most motivated) have written exhaustive works attempting to explain the symbolism and story of the novel. At lunch, for a few moments, I held in my hand a copy of Joseph Campbell's A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake but put it back on the shelf. So I'm not reading reviews, but examinations of the book, all because I really am enjoying the novel and it becomes increasingly fascinating. Blah blah blah.

    Mighty Reader made that quilt, yes! I was present when the fabric making up most of the top was purchased (a "layer cake" of 42 10" squares, I think), so Mighty Reader allows me some small credit I don't deserve, but the whole thing was her work and she was pretty single-minded while putting it together. I like her when she's like that, so hopefully she'll sew another quilt sometime.

  3. It's funny how you say Finnegan's Wake is one of those books no one reads. However, everyone discusses. The same as Dan Brown, or 50 Shades of Grey. Lots of people claim to be "experts" on something when all they really do is just like to hear themselves talk.

    You read Finnegan's Wake and enjoy yourself. That's what books are for.

    And yay for you for helping Mighty Reader buy the fabric for the quilt. I've been saving flannel for years intending to make a quilt someday. I always picture myself in a comfy chair, by a fire, putting my squares together and pinning my pieces. I probably should get a move on that since today is my birthday and I'm not getting any younger. Bucket list and all that. Funny how making a quilt is on my bucket list...shouldn't it be reading Finnegan's Wake? lol

  4. Anne, happy birthday! I didn't even get you a card.

    Mighty Reader really enjoyed the quilt project. She also made noises about sitting in a chair with her pieces and sewing basket, but sewed most of it by machine. The edging is hand-stitched on the backside and some bits of hand quilting can be seen, but most of it was on the Singer or whatever it is. Probably not a Singer. I have no idea, I admit.

  5. The quilt is beautiful. They are some of my favorite things in the world, and I once had a goal to make a quilt before deciding to embrace the fact that my personality is not at all suited to such a task. I admire Mighty Reader even more now.

    And Happy Birthday Anne!

    And I would love to write something that can't be decoded but that still feels great.

  6. Thank you for the birthday wishes, Davin!

  7. I think I might have glimpsed that quilt when we were over there, but I'm not sure. Was the cat lying on it? Possibly. :)

  8. I'm sure I remember you and Mighty Reader talking about it, but I can't remember any specifics.