Among the most important literary experiments of twentieth-century literature, Finnegans Wake is probably also the most substantial. James Joyce worked seventeen years on this last work, which stretched the boundaries of the English language more than any other literary text before and since.

In 1922, shortly after the publication of Ulysses, when Joyce was asked what his next book was going to be, he answered that he wanted to write a history of the world; in 1939, when the book was published, his view of history appeared to be circular. Finnegans Wake famously opens with the second half of the sentence that starts at the very end of the book. This circular view on history was inspired by the Italian …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Citation:
Van Hulle, Dirk. "Finnegans Wake". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 October 2002
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=5163, accessed 05 September 2015.]