Finnegans Wake: An Illustrated Panorama
October 19, 2012 | by Jason Novak
I wanted to illustrate something impossible, so I chose Finnegans Wake. It would be silly for me to draw in a few panels a work that took James Joyce seventeen years to complete. So I cheated.
The name of the book comes from a nineteenth Century drinking song, “Finnegan’s Wake” (note the apostrophe). The song is about death and rebirth, and ends in a whisky-fueled brouhaha. There is little in agreement, on the other hand, on what Joyce’s book is about. Reading a page at random from Finnegans Wake is a bit like trying to read while drunk. But death and rebirth are undoubtedly major themes, as the book begins halfway through its final sentence. So here’s a single strand of DNA—perhaps the first—in Joyce’s impossibly dense opus infinitum.
Jason Novak works at a grocery store in Berkeley, California, and changes diapers in his spare time.