“The name of the book comes from a nineteenth Century drinking song, ‘Finnegan’s Wake’ (note the apostrophe). The song is about death and rebirth, and ends in a whisky-fueled brouhaha. There is little in agreement, on the other hand, on what Joyce’s book is about. Reading a page at random from ‘Finnegans Wake’ is a bit like trying to read while drunk. But death and rebirth are undoubtedly major themes, as the book begins halfway through its final sentence. So here’s a single strand of DNA—perhaps the first—in Joyce’s impossibly dense opus infinitum.”
Read more of Jason Novak’s “‘Finnegans Wake’: An Illustrated Panorama” here.