Finnegans Wake: The Slow Read Session 7

Course NameLocationDurationDateTime
Finnegans Wake Sess. 7Kentish TownFive weeks7.11.18-12.12.1813:30-15:30

“Bite my laughters, drink my tears. Pore into me, volumes, spell me stark and spill me swooning, I just don’t care what my thwarters think.”
― James Joyce, Finnegans Wake

When you have spent a bit of time in Ulysses–you wonder what Joyce might possibly have dreamed up next. I mean, after Molly, where could you possibly go? But after many years of hemming & hawing, sheming & shauning, I think it is hightides to swim into the Wake.

We have worked our way slowly through the first book– we are well into Book II– we will be finishing “Nightlessons” pg. 301 in the Oxford World Classics ed., aiming to get to pg. 325. If you are interested in joining at this point in the study, please contact me to discuss. 

The plan for this five-week is Salon is to move slowly through the richness (one book group in Boston has been reading this for 18 YEARS, just for ex.). Having worked through just under half of the book, we have found 5-7 pages per meeting to be a good goal. Our project is to get a sense of the whole shape for this read.

According to Margot Norris (whose introduction I am using as a buoy), it is not important to learn what the work is about. What it is about is the form itself–and the nature of indeterminacy that punctuates all of our communication and artistic renderings. As Joyce had started in Ulysses, the Wake continues to probe the looseness of identity. We don’t get to fix the characters– not even their names– but instead are offered shifting personas rendered through the prism of the dreaming mind, the quest for origins, the paradigms of myth and archetype, the fluidity of water…all this in a constant play of language: puzzles, riddles, puns, historical allusions re-imagined in language that tilts towards children’s rhymes. If you have a sense of playfulness and are ready to let loose and run, come along to the Anna Livia with us….

Just to get you started, the first line:

“riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.”


Salon Details

  • Facilitated by Toby Brothers
  • Afternoons: Wednesdays 1:30-3:30 PM
  • Five-week study: November 7th, 14th, 28th & December 5 & 12
  • Recommended edition: Finnegans Wake, by James Joyce,  Oxford University Press edition (June 2012); ISBN-13: 978-0199695157

£120 for five-week study includes background materials and supporting notes

A few on-line resources:

On diving in:

On editions:


To register for the study, please use the secure Paypal payment button below to pay £120.

For Wednesday afternoons: