|'It's a complete fiasco!'|
Considered as a book, and considering the object of a book to be by means of written symbols to convey the author's emotions to the reader, Finnegans Wake must be pronounced a complete fiasco. Such a word as 'bababadalgharaghtakamminarronnkonnbronntonnerronntuonnthunntrovarrhounawnskawntoohoohoordenenthurnuk!' is not merely senseless, it is absurd. How many mornings Mr Joyce devoted to coining this particular word, I do not know; perhaps it only took him one morning or just an hour or so; but in any case he was wasting his time as surely as, more surely than, a village idiot trying to catch a sunbeam.'
Malcolm Muggeridge, TIme and Tide, 20 May 1939
'There were no serious reviews of Finnegans Wake in the professional press: the notice of it given by Malcolm Muggeridge, still extant, was a disgracefully smug confession of incompetence to tackle it.'
Anthony Burgess, Little Wilson and Big God, 1986
I've just come across this review by Malcolm Muggeridge (the man who tried to get Monty Python's 'Life of Brian' banned for blasphemy). He's described the mighty Finnegans Wake thunderword from the opening page as 'senseless' and 'absurd' (did he read past the opening page?). This struck me as funny because this thunderword is now so loved by Wakeans that you can buy t-shirts with it on. Here's mine.
And Derek Pyle of the Waywords and Meansigns project has had part of it tattooed on his forearm!
What would Malcolm Muggeridge make of that?!