Lines from Finnegans Wake

I’m part of a Finnegans Wake reading group. We read one page a week and we’ve been going since March of 2020. Back then (the good ol’ days) I lived in Philly. I worked at a coffee shop and some of my co-workers and I were trying to start a little independent labor union. Then COVID hit.
The coffee shop closed, everyone was let go, the union evaporated, and I moved back in with my parents in Forestville.

In this turbulent time, this baffling little book has been an anchor for me. It’s kept me tethered, not to reality exactly, but to something like the deeper reality of the unconscious, the chaotic, the historic, the human etc.

Now be aisy, good Mr Finnimore, sir. And take your laysure like a god on pension and don’t be walking abroad.
- page 24

Does anyone else have any favorite Finnegans Wake lines?


“Now after all that farfatch’d and peragrine or dingnant or clerelift we our ears, eyes of the darkness, from the tome of Liber Lividus and, (toh!), how paisibly eirenical, all dimmering dunes and gloamering glades, selfstretches afore us our fredeland’s plain!”
- p. 14

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“The soundwaves are his buffeteers; they trompe him with their trompes; the wave of roary and the wave of hooshed and the wave of hawhawhawrd and the wave of neverheedthemsorseluggarsandlistletomine.”
- p.23

"In the ignorance that implies impression that knits knowledge that finds the nameform that whets the wits that convey contacts that sweeten sensation that drives desire that adheres to attachment that dogs death that bitches birth that entails the ensuance of existentiality. "
- p. 18


Oh, thank you for this quote and beautiful photo illustration. I’m not familiar with FW but now I’ll look for it at the library. What a great idea to have a book group that takes one line a week–good for us slow readers and slowed down thinkers in these times.

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Yay! This makes me so happy! If you end up grabbing a copy, here’s a link to a wonderful crowdsourced online gloss. It’s helped me out a lot!

“So, how idlers’ wind turning pages on pages, as innocens with anaclete play popeye antipop, the leaves of the living in the boke of the deeds, annals of themselves timing the cycles of events grand and national, bring fassilwise to pass how.”
- pg. 13

Helpful references:

“innocens with anaclete play popeye antipop,”

  • innocens (Latin): harmless
  • Anacletus II, antipope, opposed Innocent II, pope, from 1130-1138.

“the leaves of the living in the boke of the deeds”

  • boke: vomit/belch
  • bok (Danish): book
  • Egyptian Book of the Dead: Ancient Egyptian funerary text.
  • Book of Deeds: In Islam, each man has a record in which both his good deeds and his sins are written down by angels during his lifetime. After death, he is judged based on the contents of that book.

"annals of themselves "

  • The Annals of the Four Masters : Chronicles covering Irish history from the Great Flood, up to the 17th century.

“events grand and national”

  • The Grand National: a horse race.

“fassilwise to pass how.”

  • facile (French): easy
  • Passah (German): Passover.