A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake (Book Acquired, 8.18.2012)



A few weeks ago, for some reason beyond my ken, I stumbled into Finnegans Wake, read on the gentle glow of my Kindle Fire. I’ve been poking into the book for years now, but that particular night I read it with an ease—not an ease of understanding, but an ease of spirit, or of mind. Or ear, really. I had fun with it. I went back each night since then, sometimes only going through a page or two before slipping into slumbers.

Anyway, I’ve been searched for a used copy of Joseph Campbell’s Skeleton Key to the Wake for years, but I finally just broke down and ordered a new copy through my bookstore.  My plan is to read Finnegans Wake next year. It’s not a plan, so much as something I’ve just typed.


4 thoughts on “A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake (Book Acquired, 8.18.2012)”

  1. I think Finnegans Wake is just one of those things, when making the (sincere) decision to read it is actually the most difficult step, because anything that comes after is necessarily just chaos…. Campbell’s lectures on Ulysses are more anecdotal, though, so I hope for your sake that the Skeleton Key is more direct/informative. And: best, best of luck.


  2. John Bishop’s ‘Joyce’s Book of the Dark’ is a far more thorough companion to the Wake, I think. Grab it if you have the chance.


    1. Thanks (as always) for the recommendation, FH — I’ll keep an eye out. For now, JC’s deal is doing more or less what I need. I have a few other Wake companions that I’ve picked up over the years, like the New Directions’s Our Exagmination round his Factification for Incamination and McHughes’s Annotations. I’m still moving *very* slowly through the book, but I guess that’s fine. I’m reading it everyday…(FW, that is . . .)


  3. I had similar experiences to what you describe of tuning in at finnegan’s pace over several years, and then eventually dove into it for two straight months a few years ago. It’s very rewarding, far more so than ulysses.


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