Since its inaugural meeting in July 2020, Modernist Studies Ireland’s Finnegans Wake Reading Group has brought together readers from around the globe to participate in an ongoing reading and discussion of Joyce’s most recalcitrant but rewarding text. With participants from six or more time-zones, our variegated group has managed to meet consistently through several lockdowns, travel restrictions, and several political and personal crises, but also through new births, moving jobs and continents, and more technical delights than hitches. Such a gathering of minds would have been inconceivable only just a few years ago, but while the COVID-19 pandemic created a lot of challenges, our collective move to online learning, scholarship, and reading events has also ushered in a new era of innovation, imagination, and connectivity.
MSI’s Reading Group has over the last months been meandering its way through perhaps the most beautiful chapter of Finnegans Wake, I.8 “Anna Livia.” Starting on page 196, we’ve heard all about Anna Livia Plurabelle from two very gossipy washerwomen doing her husband’s laundry. We’ve encountered dozens of river names, songs, and stories – about ALP’s wayward husband HCE, who might or might not have done something naughty in a park, and about what might or might not have happened to the mercurial, maternal, sexy, riverine ALP herself: “You’ll die when you hear”. At the rate of about half a page per session, for our latest gathering on 1 June 2022 we’ve reached page 207. Slow and steady, like a pedalboat down the Liffey, we make our way “from swerve of shore to bend of bay…”.
Why not join in? No homework or previous Wake experience is required! Run by Casey Lawrence (Trinity College Dublin) and Tiana Fischer (NUI Galway), the group continues strong. Get in touch with us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com (Casey Lawrence) to be put on our mailing list for updates and invitations. Our fortnightly meetings are open to all: we meet via Zoom for two hours every second Tuesday from 5-7pm Irish Standard Time (GMT+1)! Join us for “Lots of Fun at Finnegans Wake!”