See What Happens When You Run Finnegans Wake Through a Spell Checker

Spell Check

Read­ing James Joyce’s Ulysses is no walk in the park. Why else would so many peo­ple false­ly claim to have read it. (See our post from last week, 20 Books Peo­ple Pre­tend to Read.) But Finnegans Wake is a whole ‘nother deal. Joyce’s final work is con­sid­ered one of the most dif­fi­cult works of fic­tion ever writ­ten, and con­trary to Ulysses, the nov­el “has some claim to be the least read major work of West­ern lit­er­a­ture,” accord­ing to Joyce schol­ar Lee Spink. Put sim­ply, peo­ple don’t even both­er read­ing … or pre­tend­ing to read … Finnegans Wake (unless, of course, they live in Chi­na, where the nov­el reached the #2 posi­tion on a Shang­hai best­seller list ear­li­er this year.)

But I digress: why don’t read­ers even give Finnegans Wake a shot? The illus­tra­tion above per­haps says it all. The web site has cre­at­ed a visu­al show­ing what hap­pens when you run a page of the nov­el through a spell check­er. It yields a lot of red, and then some more red. A fram­able print of this visu­al can be pur­chased at stamm­punct for $35.

Copies of Ulysses and Finnegans Wake can be down­loaded from our col­lec­tion of Free eBooks. And you can hear James Joyce read­ing ‘Anna Livia Plura­belle’ from Finnegans Wake here. It was record­ed in 1929.

via The Paris Review

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Hear James Joyce Read From his Epic Ulysses, 1924

Hen­ri Matisse Illus­trates 1935 Edi­tion of James Joyce’s Ulysses

Stephen Fry Explains His Love for James Joyce’s Ulysses

Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe Reads Joyce’s Ulysses at the Play­ground (1955)


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Comments (7)
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  • Tamaresque says:

    I’m amazed it was pub­lished in that state.

  • Terry Kattleman says:

    $35 for the print would be “but­tend­ed” enough, but it’s actu­al­ly $50.

  • Randy says:

    Was this author exe­cut­ed for his crimes, or did he receive med­ical care?

  • Scott says:

    When will we see a Joyce class in the lit­er­a­ture sec­tion??? Try­ing to wait patient­ly…

  • Scott says:

    If I recall cor­rect­ly, Joyce wrote Finnegan’s to be akin to the dream state of con­scious­ness.

  • J. says:

    Scott, you recall cor­rect­ly. Ulysses was to be the book of the day, Finnegans Wake the book of the night. It’s also meant to encode a num­ber of myths through the lan­guage instead of just through allu­sion and alle­go­ry. It’s also meant to be read aloud; many of the dou­ble (triple, more) mean­ings are aur­al as well as visu­al.

    Sam Beck­ett wrote a decent intro of what Joyce was up to in his essay “Dante… Bruno. Vico.. Joyce” — it’s easy enough to find online. Beck­ett was help­ing Joyce at the time in Paris, and bits of the Wake were being seri­al­ized, to decid­ed­ly mixed recep­tion. The gist of Beck­et­t’s essay con­cerns how at that time, the art world was telling itself it was becom­ing more con­cerned with the divide between form and con­tent, and if/how that could be over­come. Beck­ett argued that in the Wake, form was con­tent, and vice-ver­sa — and the man­darins of lit­er­a­ture who were hav­ing dis­cus­sions about how that could hap­pen did­n’t see it when it was in front of their faces. (Very Irish, that.)

  • Demian says:

    no , he was immor­tal­ized with bronze stat­ues and count­less dis­cus­sion. He spend 17 years on this. Any geek can spell.

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