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Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Finnegans Wake reading group finishes first pass after 28 years

Gerry Fialka. (Creative Commons photo by David Healey, source.

Two familiar names pop up in the  Guardian's article about a Finnegans Wake study group in Venice, California, that has completed its first survey of the book after 28 years.

Peter Quadrino, 38, joined Fialka’s group around 2008 or 2009. He would drive up three hours from San Diego, where he lived, to attend the meeting. “If you’re really interested in Finnegans Wake, it’s kind of hard to find people who will talk about it with you.”

Because Joyce spent 17 years of his life working on the book and then died not long after it was published, “He didn’t really get to explain it,” Quadrino said. “It’s up to us to figure it out, and figure out why he was so devoted to it.”

When Quadrino moved to Austin, Texas, in 2011, he did not want to stop reading, so he put up fliers around town, put some ads in the newspaper, and started his own Texas-based group. Twelve years in, Quadrino’s group is now about halfway through Finnegans Wake, putting them on track to complete the whole thing in about 24 years.

Joyce scholar (and RAW scholar) Eric Wagner has said one of his favorite maxims is "slowness is beauty." I looked closely at the photo accompanying the article but I didn't see Eric. 

Gerry Fialka, the guy who organized the group, did a long interview with Bobby Campbell that I wrote about a couple of years ago.   Fialka worked for Frank Zappa for years and has done other interesting things, see this Wikipedia bio. 

Just to be clear, Gerry's group hasn't finished but has begun again on studying the Wake. 

1 comment:

Eric Wagner said...

I have not participated in that Joyce group. I had Finnegans Wake study groups from 1985 to 2021. - Eric Wagner