Reading Finnegans Wake: the Closest I’ll Ever Get to Scaling Mount Everest

I’ll never forget the moment I knew I had to stop running.

It was in Pasadena, CA, in the summer of 2011.  That year’s North American James Joyce conference was winding down, and I was quickly checking my email after printing out my plane tickets home.  One of the emails I received was the good news I had been hoping to hear for months: someone wanted to publish my book!  I had submitted my proposal for my manuscript, a study of the love themes in Joyce’s works, to several publishers that spring, and had received several rejections in the process.  All were polite and complementary, and some offered extremely helpful advice on how to proceed, but the voices up to that point were all in unison: it was a good study, but not for them.  But finally, someone had said yes!

And the reader report was even more encouraging!  Critical yet effusive, its revision suggestions seemed more than reasonable and easily workable, which only added to the high the acceptance email initially put me on.  Until I got to the reviewer’s final question, and the record skipped.

Where was Finnegans Wake?

First we feel, then we fall indeed….

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