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 Finnegans Wake

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NoCoPilot

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PostSubject: Finnegans Wake   Finnegans Wake EmptyFri Sep 14, 2018 10:56 am

James Joyce's famous 1939 word-play novel has bedeviled me since I first learned of it as a child.  It is nearly incomprehensible, so thick is it with multi-lingual puns and allusions and nonsense.  It is widely regarded as the most difficult book in English literature.

So I was surprised to read recently that it's been translated into ten languages.

Eleven, if you include braille.

I've always heard the novel makes much more sense when read aloud.  I've had it in the back of my head for years, therefore, to find an audiobook of it.  Which it turns out, is not so easy.  Several people have attempted it or parts of it but it's a massive undertaking.

But this morning I found downloadable files for a 1992 unabridged reading by Patrick Horgan, a British actor who has recorded more than 1800 books for the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Disabled.  He has a lovely James Joycean lilt.  And this is, apparently, about the only unabridged recording ever made (except for one by Healy so full of errors that it's "notable only for its badness").

It's 27 hours 27 minutes 53 seconds long.  My new CD player reads MP3 data discs, so I burned it as a 3-disc set.
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PostSubject: Re: Finnegans Wake   Finnegans Wake EmptyTue Feb 12, 2019 1:00 pm

Kurt Schwitters first performed his "Ursonate" in Germany in 1921, though he would continue to revise and expand it over the next twenty years.

Joyce worked on "Finnegans Wake" for seventeen years, which means he must've begun writing it in Paris around 1922.

I wonder if he was influenced by Schwitters?
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PostSubject: Re: Finnegans Wake   Finnegans Wake EmptySun Feb 17, 2019 7:07 pm

Since Tuesday:

  1. Researched the Joyce-Schwitters connection, but couldn't come up with anything definitive

  2. Found a website devoted to Schwitters that claimed the Ursonate was never recorded in its entirety by Schwitters

  3. Notified the professor behind the website that in 1992 Wergo Records released a CD of the "complete Ursonate in an original performance by Kurt Schwitters" (which I happened to own)

  4. Received a very pleasant reply that, no, in fact scholars have analyzed the voice and determined that the recording was by Ernst Schwitters, Kurt's son, despite specific denials by Ernst and the fact that Wergo stands by their claim that it's really Kurt (both are deceased)

  5. Looked into the sources linked for me by the professor, and found that one of them is a book+CD of original writings & recordings by Kurt Schwitters ("Urwerk," MP3 format) including all of the pieces of Ursonate that he is known to have recorded, plus a couple hours of other stuff(!)  This set is out of print, new copies go for $150 but I found a used one online for $19 so I ordered it

  6. In researching Schwitters I discovered more Dada-ist phonetic poems, specifically by Raoul Hausmann (1886-1971) and Hans Arp (1886-1966), ranging from 1912 to 1955.  The CD with these (plus two Schwitters recordings) is readily available for $12.37, downloadable for $10.99 but not anywhere for free, and available on Bandcamp for 8 euros which works out to $9.09.  I downloaded a copy from BC

  7. Removed the two Schwitters tracks, discovered another 23:22 Hausmann recording on YouTube and substituted it.  Burned a CD-R and spent a couple hours researching the dates and proper German titles for each of these 23 poems (sources varied, and most were generally quite wrong).  Made a cover utilizing one of Hausmann's collages, for which he is justly famous

  8. With the 27:27:53 of "Finnegans Wake" on MP3, and the 2:01:48 of Schwitters on MP3, and the 80 minute CD I just burned, I will have about 30 hours of nonsense poetry which ought to be enough to tide me over don't you think
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