'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 ...
'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.
Near Fine. No Dust Jacket. #120 of 425 Limited edition copies. Signed by James Joyce. Pages are clean, no marking from previous owners; text is unmarked, binding is tight and square. Light wear to cloth boards at spine ends and edges. Text block is clean. Hard cover in original salmon cloth with titles on spine in gilt, top edge gilt, fore edge and foot of handmade paper untrimmed. Housed in an expertly recreated yellow slipcase inside a custom clamshell. Additional pictures available upon request. REDUCED FROM $18, 500.
Very good(+) Tall 8vo, original brick red cloth, g.t., other edges uncut. London: Faber & Faber, 1939. Limited First Edition. Number 356 of only 425 numbered copies signed by Joyce. There is some residue from tape on the front & back fly-leaves, otherwise a nearly fine copy, in the original yellow cloth box which has very slight wear on the front edges.
Touch of wear to the heel of the spine which is mildly sunned. Lacking the original slipcase but with a custom-made slipcase in its place. Near Fine in a Fine custom slipcase. Original red buckram with gilt lettering on the spine. Copy #222 of 425 numbered copies printed on handmade paper and SIGNED by the author on the limitation page. One of the most important books of modern English fiction, if not one of the more readable. "Joyce insisted that each word, each sentence had several meanings and that the 'ideal lecteur' should devote his lifetime to it, like the Koran" (Connolly, THE MODERN MOVEMENT, 81); "The greatest failure in literature" (Burgess, 99 NOVELS: THE BEST IN ENGLISH SINCE 1939, page 25).
Signed by Author James Joyce. FINNEGANS WAKE. Signed Limited Edition. London; Faber & Faber; New York, 1939. 4to., 260 x 171 mm [10 1/4 x 6 3/4"]. 4 p.l., [first blank], 628 pp. Original gilt titled brick red buckram, edges untrimmed. In the original [mildly soiled] yellow cloth slipcase which is in solid very good or better condition. Curiously with a possible original clear plastic dustwrapper not mentioned in the bibliography but for all intents and purposes, this wrapper has always been on the book. An extremely attractive example, spotless text block, neatly signed by Joyce on the limitation's page, number 216 of 425 copies only. -Slocum and Cahoon A49. Having exhausted all the possibilities of English in "Ulysses, " he had only one recourse for his next project, which was to create an entirely new language as a pastiche of all the existing ones; the result is "Finnegans Wake." The language in "Finnegans Wake" is a continuum of puns, portmanteaus, disfigured words, anagrams, and rare scraps of straightforward prose. What Joyce does is exploit the way words look and sound in order to associate them with remote, unrelated ideas. For example, his phrase "Olives, beets, kimmells, dollies" may sound familiar to those who happen to know that the first four letters of the Hebrew alphabet are aleph, bet, gimel, daled. "Psing a psalm of psexpeans, apocryphul of rhyme" recalls a nursery rhyme that may reside quietly in your most dormant memory cells, while "Where it is nobler in the main to supper than the boys and errors of outrager's virtue" sounds like a drunk auditioning for the role of Hamlet. Imaginary adjectives that pertain to letters of the English alphabet are employed to describe Dublin as a city "with a deltic origin and a nuinous end." "Finnegans Wake" is the ultimate in esoterica, and what you get out of it depends largely on your store of knowledge, so that upon completion, with a mutual wink at Joyce, you congratulate yourself for being so clever. In 1994, in The Western Canon, Harold Bloom wrote of Finnegans Wake: "[if] aesthetic merit were ever again to center the canon [it] would be as close as our chaos could come to the heights of Shakespeare and Dante, "
"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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