In this landmark study of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, Luca Crispi and Sam Slote have brought together fourteen other leading Joyce experts in a genetic guide to one of the twentieth century’s most intriguing works of fiction. Each essay approaches Finnegans Wake through novel perspectives afforded by Joyce’s preparatory manuscripts. By investigating a work through its manuscripts, genetic criticism both grounds speculative interpretations in an historical, material context and opens up a broader horizon for critical and textual interpretation.
The introduction by Luca Crispi, Sam Slote, and Dirk Van Hulle offers a chronology of the composition of Finnegans Wake, an archival survey of the manuscripts, and an introduction to genetic criticism. Then, the volume provides a chapter-by-chapter interpretation of Finnegans Wake from a variety of perspectives, probing the book as a work in progress. The fruit of more than two decades’ worth of Wakean genetic studies, this book is the essential starting point for all future studies of Joyce’s most complex and fascinating work.