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Trivia / Finnegans Wake

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  • Cowboy BeBop at His Computer: Before Finnegans Wake was published in book form, Joyce kept the reading public interested between 1924 and 1939 by publishing draft sections of it in various literary magazines. He was superstitious about letting anyone know the book's true title (and was briefly disappointed when a friend of his figured it out in advance of him telling anyone), so they were published under the placeholder description Work In Progress. This caused a few critics to develop involved interpretations of what Joyce meant by the title of his new book, Work In Progress: did he mean that human life in general was a "work in progress", etc.
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  • Fanon: See the top quote on the main page.
  • Doing It for the Art: The man spent 17 years writing a novel that's borderline impossible to read. The man had gone partially blind by the time he finished it. Parts of it were dictated. Read a paragraph and just imagine having to write and edit it without being able to see what you're writing it on.
  • What Could Have Been: Apparently in the middle of the 30s, Joyce entertained an idea that Finnegans Wake could make a film, and considered selling the option of the "Work in Progress" to Hollywood. Either he gave up the idea, or somebody else talked him out of it. Considering that Joyce was partially blind at this time, it's probably not clear that he had an idea of what kind of movies were being made in The '30s (largely conventional and stagebound films).
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  • Word of God: And thankfully quite a bit of it; although even this can be debated among critics. One that stands out is Joyce saying he was "writing of the night".
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