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Customer Review

513 of 537 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't Read This Edition, December 13, 2001
This review is from: Finnegans Wake (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin) (Paperback)
Okay, this edition of Finnegans Wake may not exactly be dishonest, but it is disingenuous enough to be seriously misleading. Up front they tell you that the text of the book is taken from the first edition published in May of 1939. This is true, but it doesn't tell the whole story, and most people have no idea what it really means.
Finnegans Wake was originally published in 1939. The first edition was replete with errors and typos -- thousands of them. James Joyce spent the last two years of his life (he died in 1941) going through the text correcting the mistakes. An errata list comprising many single-spaced pages was printed in the back of the second edition, and the third edition had all of Joyce's corrections incorporated into the text. So the third edition is the definitive one.
But Penguin is reprinting the first edition. Get it? The text you'll be reading will have all of the typos that Joyce spent two years correcting -- uncorrected.
Viking does have the third edition of Finnegans Wake in print. It's smaller, with smaller type and not nearly as pretty a cover, but it's the text that Joyce approved. I would get that one (it has a white cover with a green stripe going across the middle of it), and leave this edition alone.
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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 25 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 23, 2007 12:28:47 AM PDT
S. Barnard says:
How the hell can you tell what's a typo in this manifesto of insanity?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 30, 2009 11:54:00 PM PDT
Raven Friend says:
He probably wouldn't be able to. Only the late Mr. Joyce could do that, as far as we know.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 8, 2009 7:29:53 PM PDT
amblin says:
because Joyce wrote it and he knew exactly what he was doing, sorry you did not - but that is not JJ fault- but yours- try again?

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 8, 2009 7:30:19 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Feb 7, 2010 12:13:48 PM PST
amblin says:
exactly the late JJ did make the corrections before he died_ THAT is the Compass edition- not the Penguin- anybody know which is the Kindle edition.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 25, 2010 9:34:49 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Sep 21, 2010 9:02:18 PM PDT
R. Ross says:
Actually, take the Penguin edition with the weird face blowing on the convoluted woodwind on the cover. It contains the 1959 Viking Compass edition, which is page by page the text used in just about every good aid to the book- namely 'Finnegans Wake annotated.' It looks like, at the moment, Kindle owners are kind of screwed on the available text, as you're stuck with the one this reviewer has (correctly) lambasted.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 18, 2011 7:44:51 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 18, 2011 7:51:46 PM PST
Amblin - Did you ever find out which is the Kindle edition? I told my husband I'd consider buying a Kindle when you could get The Wake on it. Never occurred to me that they wouldn't use the definitive edition. There doesn't seem to be any way of checking it out from Amazon's website, as I don't have a Kindle and my Mac runs OSX 4.11, which won't download Kindle for Mac.

I'm not enuf of a textual scholar to want the original edition, but it would be lovely to have the book in such portable, accessible form. It changes my dreams when I read it regularly.

Posted on Feb 21, 2011 8:54:09 AM PST
wait, didnt joyce say that txpos are a part of the artform ? :D

it being the definitive edition or one with thousands of errors would mean little difference to me as those errors would mostly go over my head, im sure. i really want this edition because it is cheap.

posted by a layman

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2011 4:02:07 AM PDT
Klai says:
Yes, he even says so in the Wake:
"this is what papyr is meed of, hides and hints and misses in prints".

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 16, 2011 11:34:22 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 22, 2013 11:09:20 AM PDT
taogoat says:
(Note that Tom Moran's review warning "Do Not Buy This Edition" is listed under *all* the editions of Finnegans Wake, because Amazon does not distinguish between the various editions. Tom Moran was warning us not to buy The Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin edition with the weird face on the cover.)

The recent 1999 and 2000 Penguin editions are the 1939 edition with all the errors.

Test you can do to see if it's a corrected edition:

On the second page, the correct edition has all question marks for "But waz is? Iseut? Ere were sewers?" -- whereas the uncorrected edition has exclamation marks.

Do a google search for "The primary editions of Finnegans Wake" for more information (on the page of Eric Rosenbloom, author of A Word In Your Ear: How & Why To Read James Joyce's Finnegans Wake).

Comparison of corrected editions:

The Centennial Edition (with the green stripe across the cover) is a corrected edition. And it matches perfectly with Annotations to Finnegans Wake. The 1982 Centennial Edition, however, is a stiff and brittle book, and the spine breaks when you open it -- I don't recommend it. The other Penguin editions with the green stripe across the cover are nice books, though. You just won't know which one you're getting if you order off Amazon (although, you can contact the seller to ask them which it is -- don't buy the edition with "Centennial Edition" on the cover).

Or you can buy the Viking Compass edition, that has "with author's corrections" written on the cover. But it's a pretty old copy.

There is also the Faber edition which says on its cover that it's the corrected edition. The Faber & Faber editions since 1975 have been the corrected edition.

Finnegans Wake Restored Edition (Penguin Modern Classics) corrects even more errors, but its pages don't line up with Annotations.

Finnegans Wake (Oxford Worlds Classics) is corrected, and its pages line up, and it has some additional essays as well.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 16, 2011 12:40:30 PM PDT
"Why would someone want the edition that's full of errors?"

it can put the reader closer in tune to the mindset of the author while the writer was crafting the story. like, "oh, i see how he did that. cool."
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Review Details



Tom Moran

Location: New York, NY United States

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