A Guide through Finnegans Wake

Edmund Lloyd Epstein

Foreword by Sebastian D. G. Knowles, series editor

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"An insightful, fresh, and lucid approach to a difficult work."--A. Nicolas Fargnoli, author of Critical Companion to James Joyce

"Epstein is one of the foremost Joyce scholars, in fact, a pioneer. His guide is comprehensive and obviously the result of a lifetime of interaction with Joyce's book."--Fritz Senn, director, Zürich James Joyce Foundation

"A book that every Joycean will want to own."--Sebastian Knowles, series editor

Written in a complex, pun-based idiogloss and boasting a dreamlike narrative that defies conventions of plot and continuity, James Joyce's Finnegans Wake has been challenging readers since its first publication in 1939. The novel is so famously difficult that it is widely agreed that only the brave or foolhardy attempt to unravel this well-known but relatively little-read classic. Most tackle the text in reading groups, which provide mutual assistance (and moral support) in understanding Joyce's modern masterpiece.

Now, with the publication of Edmund Epstein's A Guide through Finnegans Wake, no one has to go it alone. Recognized as one of the world's foremost Joyce scholars, Epstein has been reading and thinking about Joyce for over fifty years, and his considerable experience and enthusiasm is preserved here for the benefit of anyone with an interest in reading the Wake. This accessible guide approaches the daunting work in a way that provides handrails for beginners while, at the same time, presenting new insights for experienced readers.

Edmund Lloyd Epstein is professor of English at Queens College and the Graduate Center at CUNY.

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"Herein a vote for Epstein's book and its old-school ways. When it comes to enterprises like this, old school is better than new school (not to mention New School), sex is way better than gender, and a brainy close reader with a well-stocked mind and an informed love of the text can still show the whippersnappers how it's done."
--English Literature in Transition, vol. 54 issue 1

"If one were to apply a Vichian perspective to the history of Joyce studies, then Edmund Lloyd Epstein would surely belong to the heroic age, that is, to the first generation of critics working after Joyce's death. His latest book will redress this imbalance since it can be construed as the culmination of many decades spent studying both Joyce's final book and the criticism it continues to spawn with the best narratological reading of the Wake yet produced."
--James Joyce Quarterly, vol. 47 issue 1

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