Finnegans Wake Reading Groups

Groups take anywhere from 6 months to 13 years to finish the book
Photo: Karl Steel
From Rachel Nuwer (smithsonian.com):
James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake has been billed as one of the most difficult works of literature ever written in English, and soon after its publication in 1939, reading groups devoted to tackling the opus began popping up. Today, there are Finnegans Wake groups everywhere from Dublin to Bozeman to Adelaide, and they often last for years.

“We read a passage aloud, discuss until we can discuss no more, and then move on to the next, and have been doing so since 2009,” one group writes on the Finnegans Wake reading group directory. The book is more than 400 pages long, and it’s not unusual for reading groups to spend a full session dissecting just a page or two. In 2010, one group in Boston celebrated the end of the novel with booze and a ritual chant of the novel’s first/last sentence. The members had been working their way through the book for 13 years.

A Los Angles-based reading group, however, had a different approach. It met after hours in a used bookstore every Sunday night at 11 p.m. and barreled through 20 to 40 pages in each session, says the blog Finnegans, Wake! [Read More]

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