'A sine qua non for Joyceans' (Clarence Sterling). 'Certainly the best intro to the Wake I've seen' (Andrew H. Blom). This lively and readable essay provides essential background information and helpful reading techniques.
This non-academic author presents his key to opening James Joyce s infamously difficult and endlessly playful novel Finnegans Wake. The key was fashioned in Kabbalah, an ancient Jewish mystical tradition that as interpreted by Joyce champions independent individualism as the path to the highest spirituality. Kabbalah images a universe excreted by the ultimate god, a universe that is necessarily finite and limited that came with its own secondary god that is finite and limited, the god presented in Genesis that issues blessing and curses designed to make mankind fearful and dependent- the curse of Kabbalah. Joyce laid this curse in his dream-like "Book of the Night" in the elastic way that the latent or hidden content of a dream distorts the presentation of dream materials. Acting like a black hole, this curse pressures the main character Harold Chimpden Earwicker to "fall," to become fearful and dependent just like everyone else, that is reduced to the mere initials HCE for "Here Comes Everybody." Joyce traces this curse from the myths in Genesis to the primal horde, the first social organization of humans, to the Oedipal Complex and to nation state warfare such as the Battle of Waterloo. In a groundbreaking presentation, Anderson deciphers word by word the first two chapters and part of the last chapter to show how this key opens the lock. He shows, for example, how the joined ending and beginning of Joyce s wisdom book form the Hebrew word for curse and the ending shows confrontation rather than repression of fear of death as the key to life, to your own wake.
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