29.6.11

Anthony Burgess on Finnegans Wake

'What it's all about'

Biblioklept has posted a link to Anthony Burgess' approachable essay on James Joyce's famously complex novel, Finnegans Wake:
Drive westwards out or Dublin, keeping south or Phoenix Park, and you will come to Chapelizod. The name means "Chapel or Iseult", whom the Irish know as Isoilde and the Germans as Isolde-tragic heroine or Wagner's opera. There is little that is romantic about Chapelizod nowadays; if you want a minimal excitement you will have to go to the pubs, of which the most interesting is purely fictional-the Bristol. Some will identify this for you with the Dead Man, so called because customers would roll out of it drunk to be run over by trams. It is important to us because its landlord is the hero of Finnegans Wake. He is middle-aged, of Scandinavian stock and Protestant upbringing, and he has a wife who seems to have some Russian blood in her. His name is, as far as we can tell, Mr. Porter, appropriate for a man who carries up crates of Guinness from the cellar, and he is the father of three children -young twin boys called Kevin and Jerry, and a pretty little daughter named Isobel. [Read More]

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