Summer 2005 Group Study of Finnegans Wake. If you want more info, ask!

22 June 2005

"The time has come, " the Walrus said, "To speak of many things..."

I am kinda getting the sense that a lot of ya cracked open the text and suddenly it was really hard, so when I post a 6 page explication of some vague notions that you can maybe see it perhaps feels a bit intimidating - believe me, first time I did this I was the same way. Reading FW is a skill that has to be cultivated, so don't let it get you down. Riding a bike is tricky at first too.

So on that note, I wanna go back to an idea that Dan and I tossed around before we threw all this together. With regards to posts and whatnot, what do you all think if we changed it so that basically, your job is to find one thing on each page that you like/get/think is clever? The kind of broad interpretive stuff I have been posting is just my thoughts but perhaps it's not altogether fair to ask Wake Rookies to post similar threads - I know where my professor to drop the wake in my lap and say "summarize chapter one by Sunday" I wouldn't handle it too well.

So how about it? Your posts would be short and to the point. Also, I would personally advise drastically slowing the reading pace so we do maybe 20 pages a week tops. We wouldn't "finish" by the end of summer but that's cool, it's an ongoing project.

The reason I recommend this is because right now you have 700 unintelligible pages in your lap and you feel like you have to write a report on them by the weekend, then another, then another - and suddenly this reading experience turns into work. This book shouldn't be work, this book is a cosmic joke, it is meant to be enjoyed.

I also recommend that anyone who is sort of in the same neighborhood get together and read this over a few brews at the local pub, change readers every paragraph and discuss between changes. Over the net is cool but if you have the chance to read it the Right way, do it!

So these are my thoughts, does anyone have any opinions? I think if we keep up at this pace the whole thing stops being fun. Let's take it a bit at a time, there is no deadline, no rush, a couple pages a day with just one thing per page that sticks out at you as something that YOU understand.

What do you think? I am not officially chaning the project here, merely proposing this change for discussion.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm comfortable with the idea, especially since I've become willing to resort to just about any measure (excepting actually posting much myself, it would appear...hmmm) that will (ideally) inspire more people to post. It's inexplicable to me why we've had no more than 5 introductions, especially given the perceived level of enthusiasm two weeks ago before the project kicked off. I want to thank Mykola, Chhunny, Tom, and Sarah for having made contributions so far--I'm sorry that your efforts have gone unrequited (and I accept a large portion of the responsibility for that myself). This is the part of the documentary where the audience knows that the group is either about to begin to overcome its adversity or swallow its final breath. I'm sorry if I'm coming off as upset--I shouldn't be angry, given that in retrospect I realize that the scope of our ambition was too high and that my emails really have been demanding that you read and write about The Wake as LABOR. Myk's right--it's a book meant to be enjoyed, and right now I can't think of a better way to encourage that than following the suggestions that he just laid out. Cheers...


30 June, 2005 00:47

Blogger Tom said...

Frankly, 30 some pages I've gotten through, I've enjoyed. It almost seems counterproductive to me to try and "understand" what he's getting at, rather than just enjoy the sounds and the imagery. Perhaps I'm trying to read it the wrong way, but it seems enjoyable enough that way, and maybe people will post more if it is a more casual, "I enjoyed this line because..."

That's my two cents...

01 July, 2005 19:13

Blogger drewbie said...

The slower the read, the more likely it is that I'll be able to keep up. I'm only at page 20 right now, and I'm going to try to muddle through, even if I get caught behind. Sorry for the late posts, I just don't have the access and time to get to the library where I can access the internet most days.
In terms of enjoyment, the man has written 600+ pages of jibberish, but so far it has been a quite enjoyable read in terms of tryint to decipher words and phrases. Joyce leaves us tantalizing hints at what he might have been thinking about while he was writing a word or phrase. That's what I've gotten from it so far...

04 July, 2005 15:53


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