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Annotations to Finnegans Wake 3rd Edition

15 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0801883811
ISBN-10: 0801883814
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Unravels the mysteries of James Joyce.

(New York Times)

A daunting and delightful book.

(Modern Fiction Studies)

All readers who contemplate any exegetical move whatsoever in the Wake must put the revised Annotations on the top of their pile of reference books.

(James Joyce Quarterly)

I don't think we still have readers such as Roland McHugh who read the Wake without any help: most novices read the Wake in one hand and McHugh's Annotations in the other.

(A Collideorscape of Joyce)

It is hard to think of any reader of Finnegans Wake who would not have Roland McHugh's Annotations... on his desk.

(Win Van Mierlo James Joyce Literary Supplement)

McHugh remains admirable for his collection.

(Tim Conley James Joyce Quarterly)

About the Author

Roland McHugh has been studying Finnegans Wake since 1965. In 1973 he moved to Dublin with a view to understanding the book more completely and has lived there ever since. His book, The Sigla of "Finnegans Wake," was described by Clive Hart as "the best book on Finnegans Wake yet written."

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 648 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press; 3rd edition (December 20, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801883814
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801883811
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 7.2 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,695,085 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By mandslb@aloha.net on October 1, 1997
Format: Hardcover
"Annotations to Finnegans Wake" uses a simple format: matching the "Wake" page-for-page, placing glosses on the page at points corresponding to the passage annotated. So, if you're stumped by a passage in the middle of page ten, you merely glance at page ten in McHugh's volume at mid-page. McHugh combines this with a handful of "sigla" -- symbols or signs of basic concepts/themes central to the "Wake" (and used by Joyce himself in the book's composition...)(see McHugh's "Sigla of Finnegans Wake" [op] for a brief but enlightening treatise on this subject...). This, too, provides quick and ready deciphering.
Glosses are cogent but accurate and useful -- a minumum of bald speculation and "allusion chasing." This is a *great* reference work -- perhaps one of the two or three "indispensible" books for "Wake" studies, and a great springboard for focusing future study....
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 3, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Roland McHugh is an admirable Joyce scholar and most certainly knows more about the Wake than I, but I must say this book is not at all what I was looking for in an annotated guide. I was expecting the format of Ulysses Annotated, but instead was confronted with a very different mode of operation. McHugh's book is very useful in two areas, those being 1.)Foreign Words and 2.)Joyce's compound words. This is because the author presents the annotations as if they were personal notes in his own copy of the Wake, rather than full explications as found in Ulysses Annotated. McHugh argues that this will force the reader to make his own connections and lead to more frutiful conclusions, but the same goal could be accomplished by simply doing what McHugh has done, read FW, study it, and make notes of your own. Any beginner who is not familiar with some of the primary themes of the Wake will be sorely disappointed. The best example of the way McHugh skims over these is found in the preface (which I believe can be previewed on this site), where he shows how in a regular annotated guide a reference to Giambattista Vico would take up 9 lines of text, briefly explaining his theory, and in his own method it is simply referred to as 'Vico'. This reference would mean absolutely nothing to a reader unfamiliar with Vico. For a reader seeking to add a little convenience to their own personal study, this is perfect. For the reader seeking (relatively) full explanations of historical and literary allusions and such, this is most certainly not the guide to get. This book would have been exponentially more useful had it simply been integrated into the text of FW, ie one page of FW, one page of annotations.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is most helpful for pointing out the puns made in languages with which one is not familiar. It also helps with some of the historical and literary allusions. IT IS NOT A BOOK THAT IS A GUIDE TO READING FINNEGANS WAKE. That said, it is nevertheless invaluable as a reference book when reading the Wake.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kirk McElhearn VINE VOICE on April 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
While the Internet should have replaced this book, the web sites that contain notes and explanations for Finnegans Wake are not very useful. Ideally, there should be a hypertext web site where anyone can add their own annotations; this would help a great deal with understanding the often obscure references that Joyce managed to squeeze into his words.

The first time I read Finnegans Wake, in 1989, I had the first edition of this book. This is now the third edition, and when I go to read FW again, I'll certainly pick this up. It's practical and useful, with the notes laid out on the page to approximate the position of the words in the older editions of FW. This means that, as you read, you can glance at this book to see what notes are available for words at different locations.

Unfortunately the new, "reconstructed" edition of FW, which was released last year in a limited edition, and is out in the UK in hardcover from Penguin, doesn't respect the same page layout, which makes this book hard to use. I have a Faber & Faber edition from the 1980s, in which I penciled hundreds of my own notes, that I had bound in hardcover to protect. The next time I read FW, I'll use my old Faber edition, rather than the new one, if only because accessing these annotations will be easier.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
I found this book invaluable in studying Finnegans Wake. There is a brief introduction followed by a 1 to 1 mapping of each line and page of the Wake. I've found no other source with a better brief annotative structure that this one.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By John McConnell on August 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
The Annotations is a very helpful reference, pure and simple. Even for those familiar with the nightlife of the Wake, Annotations to Finnegans Wake invariably points out literary redlight districts that have escaped the reader's attention. This book is also simple to use - it is identically paginated to the Wake so there is no confusing looking for the right page. Etymology is provided where necessary, and there are the usual plethora of allusions. A quick review of this book before reading Joyce's Finnegans Wake considerably increases the percentage of puns, parodies, allusions, and portmanteau words you will understand while reading.

Not an absolute requirement for reading Finnegans Wake but doubtless a great help.
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