Puzzled reactions to Finnegans Wake

I will have another go at it, but up to present I make nothing of it whatever. Nothing, so far as I can make out, nothing short of divine vision or a new cure for the clapp, can possibly be worth all the circumambient peripherization.

— Ezra Pound

With the best will in the world I cannot read your work in progress. The vague support you get from certain French and American critics, I set down as pure snobbery. What is the meaning of that rout of drunken words?

— Stanislaus Joyce

I try very hard to understand that book but fail completely. It is almost impossible to decipher, and when one or two lines of understanding emerge like telephone poles above a flood, they are at once countered by other poles running in the opposite direction. . . . I truly believe that Joyce has this time gone too far in breaking all communication between himself and his reader. It is a very selfish book.

— Harold Nicolson

2 thoughts on “Puzzled reactions to Finnegans Wake

  1. Pingback: Writing a selfish book | Ideasblog

  2. Has anyone ever read this book in its entirety? What did they really think? I would call Finnegan’s Wake a form of purgatory. Except it doesn’t have a payoff in the end. Alas. One page here and there is enough… Any critic that truly praises this work is as naked as the king who had no clothes.

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