The Quest of An Everyday Soccer Mom to Read the Modern Library's 100 Best Fiction Books of the 20th Century.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Literary Smackdown: "FW" vs "A Skeleton Key to FW"

Heading into Chapter 4 of the Wake, I wanted to relay my experiences thus far with reading both FW and the Skeleton Key, in case some of you might have a little too much to drink some night and consider reading the Wake yourself.

What I have been doing thus far is reading the Key's summary of the chapter first, and then reading the corresponding chapter of FW, hoping against hope the Key's explanation will help me make sense of FW.

Here's an example of how that's gone down:

The Key's Chapter 2 Summary: From what I read, this chapter is supposed to deal with the effect of gossip on the destruction of HCE's reputation after he exposes himself to the two girls in the Park.

Makes sense, right? (Right?) Okay! So now I'm ready to plunge into Chapter 2 of FW, hopefully armed with some sort of a clue as to what might be happening.

FW Chapter 2 Summary: ?????????

Seriously, Joseph Campbell is amazing for even finding some sort of a storyline in the maelstrom of words that is FW. There were, at most, a couple of sentences, maybe even a couple of words in the whole chapter, that were even remotely related to Campbell's summary. They actually bust into song at the end of Chapter 2, a whole song that is devoted to HCE and his downfall. Believe it or not, that was the only section of Chapter 2 that made any sort of sense to me. This was alarming. :)

And so it goes. Onward ho!


  1. I love the focus of your blog-I do not see myself reading Finnegans wake real soon but maybe one day-need to reread Ulyssses first-I found your neat blog via the hop and am now a follower-

  2. Hello! I found you via the hoppity-hop, and I think we would be literary friends. I'm a classic literature lover (re:obsessive) and love the Modern Library's list! They're classics and classics to be, as it were. Stop by and say hello! I've bookmarked you so I can bug you in future.