Music versus Meaning

Finnegans Wake was another intimidating work singled out by Caedmon. According to the album’s liner notes, speech acts as both “concert” and “crutch” in helping readers to appreciate Joyce’s linguistic sonority: “With a work like Finnegans Wake, it may well be the only way of arriving at an experience of the book. Joyce reduces language to pure music; and, hearing it, one slips into a kind of swoon, a not even listening for words, but only the ebb and flow of sound. The reading-aloud is not one more tool to help penetrate the jungle, but a part of the text.” (77)

(77) Liner notes, James Joyce, Finnegans Wake, read by Cyril Cusack and Siobhan McKenna, dir. Howard O. Sackler, Caedmon TC1086 [1959], 1 LP record.

References and quotation from Matthew Rubery
The Untold Story of the Talking Book

And so for day 3117

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