How Do We Read Finnegans Wake in Silence?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

To fully experience Finnegans Wake,” James Steven Sauceda claims, “requires an elemental and dramatic shift away from silent reading.”1 Joyce’s text, Sauceda continues, is “unprecedented in its aurality and therefore requires oral utterance to be realized (125). In fact, it “must be viewed as a script to be performed on stage” (125). The last of these clearly hyperbolic claims raises the question of why Joyce did not simply write a stage play. Sauceda’s is an extreme case of a tendency among commentators to stress the desirability of reading the Wake out loud and, even better, in a group, if one is to grasp something of the rich pleasures within.2 The value of Sauceda’s formulation lies in the way it makes explicit a concern one might read into all such exhortations: that silent reading will not bring the book to life. If correct, this is curious, given that Finnegans
Wake seems far more likely to be read in solitude and silence than in chorus. Is the book simply not being heard?
LanguageEnglish
Pages115 - 134
Number of pages20
JournalJames Joyce Quarterly
Volume54
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Cite this

MAGEE, Paul. / How Do We Read Finnegans Wake in Silence?. In: James Joyce Quarterly. 2017 ; Vol. 54, No. 3-4. pp. 115 - 134.
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title = "How Do We Read Finnegans Wake in Silence?",
abstract = "To fully experience Finnegans Wake,” James Steven Sauceda claims, “requires an elemental and dramatic shift away from silent reading.”1 Joyce’s text, Sauceda continues, is “unprecedented in its aurality and therefore requires oral utterance to be realized (125). In fact, it “must be viewed as a script to be performed on stage” (125). The last of these clearly hyperbolic claims raises the question of why Joyce did not simply write a stage play. Sauceda’s is an extreme case of a tendency among commentators to stress the desirability of reading the Wake out loud and, even better, in a group, if one is to grasp something of the rich pleasures within.2 The value of Sauceda’s formulation lies in the way it makes explicit a concern one might read into all such exhortations: that silent reading will not bring the book to life. If correct, this is curious, given that FinnegansWake seems far more likely to be read in solitude and silence than in chorus. Is the book simply not being heard?",
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How Do We Read Finnegans Wake in Silence? / MAGEE, Paul.

In: James Joyce Quarterly, Vol. 54, No. 3-4, 2017, p. 115 - 134.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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PY - 2017

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AB - To fully experience Finnegans Wake,” James Steven Sauceda claims, “requires an elemental and dramatic shift away from silent reading.”1 Joyce’s text, Sauceda continues, is “unprecedented in its aurality and therefore requires oral utterance to be realized (125). In fact, it “must be viewed as a script to be performed on stage” (125). The last of these clearly hyperbolic claims raises the question of why Joyce did not simply write a stage play. Sauceda’s is an extreme case of a tendency among commentators to stress the desirability of reading the Wake out loud and, even better, in a group, if one is to grasp something of the rich pleasures within.2 The value of Sauceda’s formulation lies in the way it makes explicit a concern one might read into all such exhortations: that silent reading will not bring the book to life. If correct, this is curious, given that FinnegansWake seems far more likely to be read in solitude and silence than in chorus. Is the book simply not being heard?

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