Saturday, July 6, 2013

Waking in Oxford

I had a great time in Oxford last week. (What? The week before last? Where have I been?) Thanks to everyone who came, and thanks of course to Drs. Finn Fordham and Cleo Hanaway for inviting me. It was fascinating to discuss Joyce and Finnegans Wake with real living humans who know what they’re talking about (for the first time ever? My god, I think that’s true), and it left me feeling really inspired to continue this project.

Finn is the author of Lots of Fun at Finnegans Wake, a “genetic” reading of the way that Joyce developed four key passages from initial drafts to the final text. And it’s lots of fun, go read it! He also wrote the introduction to the new Oxford World’s Classics edition, which I recommend as well.

I was a little nervous to meet Clinton Cahill, who’s been illustrating Finnegans Wake on and off since 1997. But it turns out that he’s a charming, gracious and interesting, and I was fascinated to hear him discuss his own, very different, approach to illustrating the Wake. I recommend you read about it in his own words at the James Joyce Centre’s blog, where you can also see many examples of his intricate, surreal compositions. (You can also read his take on the event in part 8.)

This event gave me a lot to think about, and I’ll try to write some more about the way it’s affected my approach to my own project when I’ve had time to organise my thoughts a little more.

Cleo Hanaway tells us how it’s going to be.

Finn Fordham. It sounded like a bizarre idea to give a Finnegans Wake-related tour of a random museum, but it actually worked amazingly well.

Clinton demonstrates the correct way to give a talk...

...and I wrap up with a clown show. Sad to say, this is the least weird-looking picture of me. I don’t know that I get any less weird-looking than this.

At the end of the day, the attendees finally got to do some drawing of their own.