Quotes About Finnegans Wake:

Mythologist Joseph Campbell said:

If the world burned down, the history of human consciousness could be reconstructed from a single copy of Finnegans Wake”.

Novelist Philip K Dick wrote:

I’m going to prove that Finnegans Wake is an information pool based on computer memory systems that didn’t exist until centuries after James Joyce’s era; that Joyce was plugged into a cosmic consciousness from which he derived the inspiration for his entire corpus of work.”.

Terence McKenna maintained that Finnegans Wake was:

about as close to LSD on the page as you can get…”.

Robert Anton Wilson said:

Joyce’s book is called Finnegans Wake. The missing apostrophe creates another pun, which Joyce explained to friends as a warning to the ruling classes: the oppressed rise, eventually, in every historical cycle.”.

Critic Colin McCabe said:

An understanding of Finnegans Wake is not in any way exhaustive… Finnegans Wake involves the reader in a complicated network of signification which is never completed. Finnegans Wake does not ask for an interpretation that will identify it but for another set of elements to continue its work.”.

What is Finnegans Wake About?

FW is more than just an epic story of the fall of Mankind. The missing apostrophe in the title suggests the intent of the creation: to wake up Finnegan (Humanity) from the illusion of separation from the Divine. Many have said FW seems uncannily alive, as if it’s quite aware you’re reading it. The book recounts a single night’s dream, a deep dive into the unconscious, of a Dublin inn-keeper; Mr. Porter.

Much has been written about the ability of Wake to provoke, in the patient reader, remarkable occasions of phenomena such as synchronicity, déjà vu, transrational experiences, etc. Academics have noted that the book seems to stimulate insights that present themselves in the form of archetypes which connect the personal unconscious of the reader with the collective unconscious.

It is this capability of Wake; Joyce’s use of myth, metaphor and archetype, to connect the personal and collective unconscious, which makes the work utterly unique.

The ‘Storyline’

Wake’s main protagonists are patriarch Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker (or HCE, the animus archetype and sinner) and matriarch Anna Livia Plurabella (or ALP, the anima archetype and Divine Feminine). Whilst ALP is Divine Mother, she is simultaneously the river Liffey in Dublin, every river on earth, and water in all her forms everywhere.

She flows onward, dies into the sea, evaporates into clouds, is blown back over land, and rains herself down on Dublin’s hills, cleansing the filth of the city on her infinite cycle, to be re-born back to the river again. She is an infinite circle, just like the book (the first sentence, a fragment, is a continuance of the last sentence, also a fragment).

But ALP is also unconditional love and she’s also cleansing humanity (represented by HCE) from its greatest sin; the delusion of separation from others and from the Divine.

It was Joyce’s belief that if society does not move from animus-centered patriarchy to an anima-centered matriarchy, if we do not wake up to the essential, underlying Unity of being, then humanity is doomed. FW is Joyce’s invitation to take the greatest journey in life, the search for the true Self.

But the paradox of FW is that for an artwork of such ambition, it is dreadfully difficult to read. It just breaks the well-intentioned reader down. Joyce himself advised not to read it, but to listen to it being read aloud and to listen for the lyric in the text.

For a more extensive explanation of Wake, check out Peter Chrisp’s blog here: https://peterchrisp.blogspot.com/2015/02/describing-finnegans-wake.html

What Finnegan Wakes Film Project Is About?

The goal of the Finnegan Wakes project is to set Joyce’s epic 1939 novel – Finnegans Wake – to film in its entirety, performed by people around the world reading it accompanied by their chosen piece of music.

The aim to make Wake more accessible to the very masses Joyce is trying to save. And in order to bring out the lyric and invoke the vulnerable emotion which Anna Livia champions throughout the work, the participant is invited to perform a page to a piece of music which has significantly impacted his or her life. So the music element of this project is central to the creation by the performer of a new, stand-alone work of art.

When we have recorded sufficient performances, we will begin to publish an edited version of each of Wake’s 17 chapters, performed by a diverse a population of wonderful Wakers around the world.

IJoyce spent 17 years writing Wake. Finnegan Wakes hopes to spend less than that setting it to film. The goal is to shoot two chapters per year: one at Burning Man, and one in some other country around the world where we invite Burners/potential Burners/Everybody to take part.

Contact: gavan.kennedy@gmail.com

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