Ninety-Nine Novels: Finnegans Wake by James Joyce
In 1984, Anthony Burgess published Ninety-Nine Novels, a selection of his favourite novels in English since 1939. The list is typically idiosyncratic, and shows the breadth of Burgess’s interest in fiction. This podcast, by the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, explores the novels on Burgess’s list with the help of writers, critics and other special guests.
For the first episode in our new series, Graham Foster of the Burgess Foundation talks to Enrico Terrinoni about James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, one of the first novels on Burgess’s list.
Finnegans Wake has a dreamlike, circular narrative, which ostensibly tells the story of the pub landlord Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker and his family, who live in Dublin’s Chapelizod neighbourhood. But it is so much more than that, and threatens to escape the categorisation of literature itself.
Enrico Terrinoni is Professor of English Literature at the Università per Stranieri di Perugia, and Professor of Translation at IULM University of Milan. He has held many fellowship at universities in Ireland and America, including University College Dublin and Notre Dame University. As a translator into Italian, he has worked on authors such as George Orwell, Muriel Spark, Brendan Behan, Oscar Wilde, and George Bernard Shaw.
He translated Finnegans Wake into Italian with Fabio Pedone, and in 2021 published the first ever bilingual annotated translation of Ulysses. He is currently working on a book about the “quantum theory of literature” and “probabilistic interpretation” and editing, with Declan Kiberd and Catherine Wilsdon, a book on Ulysses entitled The Book about Everything which will be published in June 2022 by Head of Zeus.
Books mentioned in this episode:
By James Joyce:
- Ulysses (1922)
- The Shorter Finnegans Wake (edited by Anthony Burgess, 1966)
- Finnegans Wake Audiobook (narrated by Barry McGovern and Marcella Riordan, 2021)
- Here Comes Everybody by Anthony Burgess (1965)
- The Egyptian Book of the Dead (c. 1250 BCE)
- The Books at the Wake by James S. Atherton (1959)
- Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville (1853)
- Lanark by Alasdair Gray (1981)
- 1982, Janine by Alasdair Gray (1984)
You can join the conversation and tell us which 100th book you would add to Burgess’s list by using the hashtag #99Novels on Twitter.
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The theme music for the Ninety-Nine Novels podcast is Anthony Burgess’s Concerto for Flute, Strings and Piano in D Minor, performed by No Dice Collective.