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 …

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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 27 November 2014.]