'And low, stole o'er the stillness the heartbeats of sleep' In Chapelizod, a suburb of Dublin, an innkeeper and his family are sleeping. Around them and their dreams there swirls a vortex of world history, of ambition and failure, desire and transgression, pride and shame, rivalry and conflict, gossip and mystery. This is a book that reinvents the novel and plays fantastic games with the language to tell the story of one man's fall and resurrection; in the intimate drama of Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker and his wife Anna ...
'And low, stole o'er the stillness the heartbeats of sleep' In Chapelizod, a suburb of Dublin, an innkeeper and his family are sleeping. Around them and their dreams there swirls a vortex of world history, of ambition and failure, desire and transgression, pride and shame, rivalry and conflict, gossip and mystery. This is a book that reinvents the novel and plays fantastic games with the language to tell the story of one man's fall and resurrection; in the intimate drama of Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker and his wife Anna Livia, the character of Ireland itself takes form. Joyce called time and the river and the mountains the real heroes of his book, and its organic structure and extraordinary musicality embody his vision. It is both an outrageous epic and a wildly inventive comedy that rewards its readers with never-ending layers of meaning. In the introduction to this newly set edition, which faithfully maintains the original page layout, Finn Fordham guides the reader through the novel's complexity, and suggests a range of ways into the book. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
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"The most unintelligible [writing] that anyone can understand," is a "wake-up call" to anyone interested in western culture, and/or entertained by deeply resounding wordplay, let alone pleased and astounded, reassured and frightened by the epiphanies and puzzles that arise out of dream fragments. FW is psychedelics out of a book - keep the bottle on your shelf. An alternate title might have been "My, My, My, What a Wonderful Fall." It helps to read the narrative aloud, as phrases tumble into rhythms that conjure meaning on the second or third bounce, not unlike nursery rhymes that even with the words changed are still recognizable for their cadence. Beyond the sounds and stories you will endure, there is history, speculation, editorial comment, and alternate takes, intermingled in a kaleidoscopic tumbling that leaves the reader literally breathless. Excerpt any passage, I challenge you, and perform it along with a light show, a soundscape, a chance choreography, and the collage will meld together better than the sum of its parts. FW is a handbook for the study of the brain as art. Thank you, Sean the Penman.
Oct 21, 2007
Difficult, but Worth the Effort
Have you ever had a dream where you can remember the main idea, but you just can't remember the details? This novel is exactly like that. It's darn tough to read, but if you can get over the circular structure, foreign languages, Joyce-isms, and apparent indecipherability, you'll like it. If you need to understand every single thing in a book, don't read this; only James Joyce fully knows what every single detail signifies. The main idea: a dream, or a representation of nighttime.
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