Finnegans Wake is the most bookish of all books. John Bishop has described it as 'the single most intentionally crafted literary artefact that our culture has produced'. In its original format, however, the book has been beset by numerous imperfections occasioned by the confusion of its seventeen-year composition. Only today, by restoring to our view the author's intentions in a physical book designed, printed and bound to the highest standards of the printers' art, can the editors reveal in true detail James Joyce's fourth, and last, masterwork.
This edition is the summation of thirty years' intense engagement by textual scholars Danis Rose and John O'Hanlon verifying, codifying, collating and clarifying the 20,000 pages of notes, drafts, typescripts and proofs comprising James Joyce's 'litters from aloft, like a waast wizzard all of whirlwords' (fw2, 14.16-17). The new reading text of Finnegans Wake, typographically re-set for the first time in its publishing history, incorporates some 9000 minor yet crucial corrections and amendments, covering punctuation marks, font choice, spacing, misspellings, misplaced phrases and ruptured syntax. Although individually minor, these changes are nonetheless crucial in that they facilitate a smooth reading of the book's allusive density and essential fabric.
《芬尼根守灵夜》（Finnegans Wake），是爱尔兰作家乔伊斯最后一部长篇小说，书名来自民歌《芬尼根的守尸礼》，内容是有个搬运砖瓦的工人芬尼根从梯子上跌落，大家都以为他死了，守灵时洒在他身上的威士忌酒香却刺激他苏醒过。人们把他按倒，叫他安息吧，已经有人来接替他了。芬尼根的继承人酒店老板伊厄威克（Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker）的梦构成全书的主要内容，小说从傍晚开始，断断续续地表现伊厄威尔的梦境，乔伊斯企图通过他的梦来概括人类全部历史。