A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake

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A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake
SkeletonKeyToFinnegansWake.jpg
First Edition, 1944
Author Joseph Campbell and Henry Morton Robinson
Country United States
Language English
Publisher 1st edition: Harcourt Brace
2nd: Viking Press
3rd: New World Library
Publication date
First published in 1944; 2nd ed., 1968; 3rd ed., 2005
Media type Print (Hardback)
Pages 400pp.
OCLC 57452879
823/.912 22
LC Class PR6019.O9 F57 2005

A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake (1944) by mythologist Joseph Campbell and Henry Morton Robinson is a work of literary criticism. One of the first major texts to provide an in-depth analysis of Finnegans Wake (James Joyce's final novel), A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake is considered by many scholars to be a seminal work on the text.[1] The term monomyth, which Campbell used to describe his journey of the hero in his book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, came from Finnegans Wake.

Campbell and Robinson began their analysis of Joyce's work for two reasons: because Finnegans Wake, while widely recognized as a masterpiece, was also widely dismissed as unintelligible--"the greatest book that nobody's ever read"[citation needed]; and because they had recognized in The Skin of Our Teeth (1942), the popular play by Thornton Wilder, an appropriation from Joyce's novel not only of themes but of plot and language as well.[2]

A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake was first published by Harcourt Brace in 1944. A second edition was published by Viking Press in 1968. An unauthorized edition published by Buccaneer Books in 1993 was withdrawn when the Joseph Campbell Foundation complained of copyright infringement. A third edition was published in 2005 by New World Library as part of the Collected Works of Joseph Campbell series; this last edition was edited by, and had a foreword by, Joyce scholar Edmund Epstein.

Chapters[edit]

  • SYNOPSIS AND DEMONSTRATION
    • Synopsis
    • Demonstration
  • BOOK I:THE BOOK OF THE PARENTS
    • Chapter 1: Finnegan's Fall
    • Chapter 2: HCE-His Agnomen and Reputation
    • Chapter 3: HCE-His Trial and Incarceration
    • Chapter 4: HCE-His Demise and Resurrection
    • Chapter 5: The Manifesto of ALP
    • Chapter 6: Riddles-The Personages of the Manifesto
    • Chapter 7: Shem the Penman
    • Chapter 8: The Washers at the Ford
  • BOOK II: THE BOOK OF THE SONS
    • Chapter 1: The Children's Hour
    • Chapter 2: The Study Period-Triv and Quad
    • Chapter 3: Taverny in Feast
    • Chapter 4: Bride-Ship and Gulls
  • BOOK III: THE BOOK OF THE PEOPLE
    • Chapter 1: Shaun before the People
    • Chapter 2: Jaun before St. Bride's
    • Chapter 3: Yawn under Inquest
    • Chapter 4: HCE and ALP-Their Bed of Trial
  • BOOK IV: RECORSO
  • CONCLUSION

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Modern Word
  2. ^ They published a pair of reviews-cum-denunciations, both entitled "The Skin of Whose Teeth?" in The Saturday Review; these created a huge uproar at the time. For the texts of these articles, see Joseph Campbell's, Mythic Worlds, Modern Words (2004).Joseph Campbell (2004). Mythic Worlds, Modern Words. New World Library. pp. 257–266.  For Campbell's story of the "Skin of Our Teeth Affair" and how it led to the publication of A Skeleton Key, see Joseph Campbell's book, Pathways to Bliss (2005).<Joseph Campbell (2005). Pathways to Bliss. New World Library. pp. 121–123. 

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