Thursday, December 27, 2007

Page 601

I don't want to get too confident, here, but I'm on page 611 and there are only 628 pages in the book. I think I might even finish it tomorrow (three days to spare)! I have to say, though, I felt incredibly obtuse today.

I'm reading the final part of the book, and it is basically the ending/beginning of the cycle. Just for a bit of background, the book is essentially about cycles. (You may know that the book ends in the middle of a sentence, and the book opens with the end of that sentence, so the whole book is a big cycle.) In this part of the book, part four, the cycle has ended--but at the same time is about to begin. (There are references to Vishnu, who is dreaming, and whose dream is the universe, which ties in so beautifully with dreams, another huge theme of the book.) In addition to the theme of cycles and dreams, the book has countless examples of places where there are layers upon layers upon layers of meaning, often in just a single word or portmanteau word.

So knowing both of these things, and basically understanding them for the past 600 pages (and full year of reading) you will know why I felt kind of dense when I realized that the "wake" in Finnegans Wake is not only the awakening of the book's dreamer (in some interpretations) and the vigil that is alluded to in the song ("lots of fun at Finnegan's Wake"), but also refers to the events of the book taking place IN THE WAKE of Finnegan, who is the primordial father figure. Since everything has already happened and is about to happen, it all comes in the wake of Finnegans fall, which is man's primitive fall, etc. etc.

Okay, typing this out, I don't know if it makes any sense at all. But trust me, I should have figured this out about 550 pages ago.

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