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Finnegans Wake (Modern Classics) Audio CD – Audiobook, 31 Oct 1998
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'Listening to Jim Norton and Marcella Riordan is a lot easier than trying to read the book.' --The Guardian
It's estimated that a complete recording of this eccentric masterpiece would run to about 20 CDs, but Naxos has made an attractive abridgement in four, recorded with wit and clarity by Jim Norton and Marcella Riordan. I've never met anyone who has actually managed to read every page of this extraordinary book...and there can be little doubt that Joyce intended his work to be listened to as much as read. This brilliant recording is the perfect short cut for slackers, poseurs and insomniacs. --Robert McCrum, The Observer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Finnegans Wake, by James Joyce, is one of the central texts of twentieth-century literature, now in an edition incorporating Joyce's own alterations and corrections to the first printing in 1939. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
Fifty years ago as an undergraduate I read Joyce’s novel and vowed that one day I’d read it again. Well, that day has arrived and gone and I’m proud to say I was not wrong in my original baffled reception of the book - or should I say The Great Book? First, it’s still not an easy read, but then who wants an easy read? For those who love language and literature it is surely the one crucial text that must be read through attentively over a period of time, say, as in my case, one month. Another crucial text for me is the English translation of Proust’s massive novel, correctly named, as in the Kilmartin translation, In Search of Lost Time. But that was in another country ... a word I originally mis-spelt, giving rise to a Freudian slip, under the spell perhaps of Joyce!
It would be difficult to give a plot summary of the book, but it is basically the story about a son, Stephen Dedalus, looking for a father (although he, rather than the reader, doesn’t know it) and a father Leoplold Bloom looking for a son, likewise unconsciously. The two men wander through the meticulously detailed streets of Dublin in 24 hours, the ‘real’ time of the book. So this, rather than the frequently detailed critical apparatus suggested as a guide by academics, is the thread around which all the other ventures and adventures the men encounter is the essential thread around which the book is woven. If you like to trace the relationship between Ulysees and Homer’s Odyssey, good luck to you. Me, I preferred to read Joyce, his definitive voice, or rather voices, overwhelming all others, especially its swarm of critics and commentators.
Ulysses is a multi-dimensional novel. Critics and readers in general talk of its ‘stream of consciousness technique,’ as if Joyce was the inventor or this method of narration. This is certainly not the case. The inner voice, including the subject’s irrelevancies and distorted syntax, has been part of the novelist’s armory for centuries, long before Joyce appeared on the scene. In fact poetry, humorous soliloquies and dramatic scenes are sprinkled regularly throughout the book. Take this section for example from the Night-town sequence in the book, in which all the characters in the book make an appearance, including Stephen’s dead mother:
STEPHEN: Struggle for life is the law of existence but modern philirenists, notably the Tsar and the king of England, have invented arbitration. (He taps his brow) But in here it is I must kill the priest and the king.
PRIVATE CARR: (Pulls himself free and comes forward) What’s that you’re saying about my king?
(Edward the Seventh appears in an archway. He wears a white jersey on which an image of the Sacred Heart is stitched, with the insignia of Garter and Thistle, Golden Fleece, Elephant of Denmark, Skinner’s and Probyn’s horse, Lincoln’s Inn bencher and honourable company of Massachusetts.)
To sum up, this is a book to read with care and relish. Every page is bursting with life.