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Finnegans Wake: A Plot Summary (Irish Studies)

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This is the only full-length study of Finnegans Wake to outline and catalog the immense amount of naturalistic detail from which Joyce built the book. The opening chapters describe the physical setting, time, and main characters out of which the book is constructed. John Gordon argues that behind this detail is an essentially autobiographical story involving Joyce's history This is the only full-length study of Finnegans Wake to outline and catalog the immense amount of naturalistic detail from which Joyce built the book. The opening chapters describe the physical setting, time, and main characters out of which the book is constructed. John Gordon argues that behind this detail is an essentially autobiographical story involving Joyce's history and, in particular, his feelings toward his father, wife, daughter and the older brother who died in infancy. Many of the author's findings are new and likely to be controversial because recent criticism has tended to the belief that what he attempts to do cannot be done. This new study of Finnegans Wake represents a radically conservative approach and is intended to function both as a guide to the newcomer seeking a chapter-by-chapter plot summary and as an original contribution to Joyce criticism.


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This is the only full-length study of Finnegans Wake to outline and catalog the immense amount of naturalistic detail from which Joyce built the book. The opening chapters describe the physical setting, time, and main characters out of which the book is constructed. John Gordon argues that behind this detail is an essentially autobiographical story involving Joyce's history This is the only full-length study of Finnegans Wake to outline and catalog the immense amount of naturalistic detail from which Joyce built the book. The opening chapters describe the physical setting, time, and main characters out of which the book is constructed. John Gordon argues that behind this detail is an essentially autobiographical story involving Joyce's history and, in particular, his feelings toward his father, wife, daughter and the older brother who died in infancy. Many of the author's findings are new and likely to be controversial because recent criticism has tended to the belief that what he attempts to do cannot be done. This new study of Finnegans Wake represents a radically conservative approach and is intended to function both as a guide to the newcomer seeking a chapter-by-chapter plot summary and as an original contribution to Joyce criticism.

32 review for Finnegans Wake: A Plot Summary (Irish Studies)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bob R Bogle

    When, something less than half a year ago, I finally finished reading John Bishop's 1986 book Joyce's Book of the Dark, Finnegans Wake, I felt compelled to take a little time off before continuing my exploration of Joyce lore. Bishop took a lot out of me. In fact the first three books about Finnegans Wake that I bought were those by Campbell and Robinson, by Tindall, and this one by John Gordon, about which I'm jotting down these scanty notes today, six years after my original purchase. Tindall I When, something less than half a year ago, I finally finished reading John Bishop's 1986 book Joyce's Book of the Dark, Finnegans Wake, I felt compelled to take a little time off before continuing my exploration of Joyce lore. Bishop took a lot out of me. In fact the first three books about Finnegans Wake that I bought were those by Campbell and Robinson, by Tindall, and this one by John Gordon, about which I'm jotting down these scanty notes today, six years after my original purchase. Tindall I've already reviewed elsewhere, generally favorably, a few years back. Campbell and Robinson I'm presently reading. The first few introductory chapters of John Gordon's 1986 work Finnegans Wake: A Plot Summary came as a welcome relief in the wake of Bishop. Now here it's interesting to note that I tried to read Gordon several years ago but failed, because his take on what Finnegans Wake is "about" seemed so counterintuitive to me at the time; however, that was before I'd read the Wake myself, or any of a number of other books and articles about the Wake, whether mentioned here or not. In brief, Gordon begins his book by claiming to read Finnegans Wake from a naturalistic perspective: diametrically opposed to the approach of Bishop, who concentrates on the sleepedness of the Wake, Gordon stakes a claim for remaining alert and vigilant to the connections between Joyce's last novel and the real world, not to the phantasmagoria of sleep. The opening chapters ― closer to essays ― which open Gordon's book consume about a third of its bulk and, indeed, it is here that he particularly makes his case for finding naturalistic writing in the Wake. Afterward, Gordon's book becomes much like so many books concerned with this material: it presents us with the notes and theories the author accrued and developed over years spent dissecting Joyce's novel, with a page-by-page or section-by-section reference to the original source. The truth of the matter is that anyone dealing with Finnegans Wake is always confronted by one single question ― But what does it mean? ― and no matter who we are as readers, we will finally try to relate the novel to the real world we inhabit. All of Gordon's notes and theories are handy of course, although it seems to me that here Gordon's grand naturalistic theory steadily loses ground, and perhaps loses relevance. That is to say, the last two-thirds of his book remain a useful guide for helping one to understand the Wake, but any theory of its naturalistic underpinnings by now seem secondary at best and more often unimportant; indeed, reading the last two-thirds of the book becomes rather tedious unless one is reading it along with the Wake: it's an experience somewhat akin to reading 172 pages of endnotes detached from the original source material. Which is not to detract from the value of Gordon, but rather to suggest how it is best used. I foresee myself reading chapters of Finnegans Wake and then going back to see what both Tindall and Gordon had to say about the chapters I read, and I don't doubt I'll find value in their opinions, even when they are in disagreement. I don't imagine using Bishop in a similar manner.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Raúl

    Este "Plot Summary" de Gordon (1986) es un trabajo clarificador, que complementa los de Campbell/Robinson (1944) y el de Tindall (1969). Aparte de ofreecer un seguuimiento amplio de cada capítulo, en que hace una introducción clave a cada uno de ellos de varias páginas para discutir en detallle y resumir las secciones de cada uno de ellos, indicando página y párrafo según las ediciones clásicas editadas a partir de la de Faber & Faber (y válida para la de Marcelo Zabaloy). Pero lo realmente preci Este "Plot Summary" de Gordon (1986) es un trabajo clarificador, que complementa los de Campbell/Robinson (1944) y el de Tindall (1969). Aparte de ofreecer un seguuimiento amplio de cada capítulo, en que hace una introducción clave a cada uno de ellos de varias páginas para discutir en detallle y resumir las secciones de cada uno de ellos, indicando página y párrafo según las ediciones clásicas editadas a partir de la de Faber & Faber (y válida para la de Marcelo Zabaloy). Pero lo realmente precioso en este libro es su larga introducción, en que examina espacio (muy importante), tiempo, personajes masculinos y femeninos y la relación con la biografía de Joyce, su relación con su esposa Nora, su hermano muerto John Joyce (y su padre) y su hija, Lucía Joyce. Así como, aunque sea discutible, la interpretación psicoanalítica que, pese a que la rechace algún lector, subraya la unidad fundamental de esta gran epopeya y su carácter de confesión personal y legado literario.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Thank god for the people who actually figured out what Joyce was on about. This isn't as good as the Skeleton Key IMHO but i took all I could get to get through FW. Thank god for the people who actually figured out what Joyce was on about. This isn't as good as the Skeleton Key IMHO but i took all I could get to get through FW.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ed Smiley

    Not bad. A unique perspective. As Finnegans Wake takes place inside a sleeper's head (as much as anywhere else) Gordon emphasizes the surroundings and furnishings. Not bad. A unique perspective. As Finnegans Wake takes place inside a sleeper's head (as much as anywhere else) Gordon emphasizes the surroundings and furnishings.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Phillip

  6. 5 out of 5

    Antonio Delgado

  7. 4 out of 5

    Michael Farrell

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michael Lloyd-Billington

  9. 4 out of 5

    Michael K

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brandon Beck PhD

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dipanjan Maitra

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brian H.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rob

  14. 4 out of 5

    Multiple Galerie

  15. 5 out of 5

    Author Annette Dunlea

  16. 5 out of 5

    Onsetsu Evan Cordes

  17. 5 out of 5

    Marielle

  18. 5 out of 5

    John O'Leary

  19. 5 out of 5

    Stuart Estell

  20. 4 out of 5

    مجتبی -

  21. 4 out of 5

    Bruce Parks

  22. 5 out of 5

    Djbmdmph

  23. 4 out of 5

    Avelaval

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dezelle May

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Mclaughlin

  26. 4 out of 5

    BRANDON

  27. 5 out of 5

    Harry Collier IV

  28. 5 out of 5

    Domhnall

  29. 4 out of 5

    Aloha

  30. 4 out of 5

    Gary

  31. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  32. 5 out of 5

    Carol

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