James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake: A Reading by Patrick Healy
By: James Joyce
‘I was won over to a total admiration for a bravura performance … this recording may break down many of the barriers that exist between Joyce’s magnum opus and the common reader … an essential adjunct to all expeditions through the text by many future readers.’
– Peter Costello, Studies
In January 1992 Patrick Healy read the complete text of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake in Bow Lane Recording Studios, Dublin, over a four-day period. Finnegans Wake had never been recorded in its entirety despite Joyce’s recommendation that the text should be heard rather than read. The unabridged twenty-hour recording is released in a box-set of 17 compact discs with a limited run of 1000. Each set is accompanied by Healy’s 128-page book, The Modern and the Wake, featuring key essays on Finnegans Wake and its performance. Healy’s work affords unique access to one of English literature’s most difficult but rewarding literary achievements of the twentieth century.
‘The reading is remarkable, Healy’s vocal dexterity re-creates Joyce’s soundscapes with their echoes of Hopkins’s poetry; evokes Dublin in its many moods and tones and, above all, conveys the story playfully lurking behind the complexities of Joyce’s ingenious dismantling and ultimate restoration of language.’
– Eileen Battersby, The Irish Times
‘Amazing and important, Healy is something truly rare – this is probably as close to a letter-perfect rendering of the text as we can hope to get. After enduring the whole, I heartily recommend that all Wakeans, all Joyceans who claim to be professionals, all lovers of Joyce, make sure that they have, if not their own copy of the reading, at least a copy in a library near them. The ease and clarity with which Healy reads the vast majority of the book succeed in making it available to the practised reader and the frightened neophyte. This is, in final analysis, a splendidly recieved and executed project… this reading is important and could even become an indispensable adjunct to our reading and to the Wake. Buy it, listen to it, return with it, return with it to the wake. Return to the Wake!’ – David Hayman, James Joyce Literary Supplement.
Patrick Healy is a Dublin-born writer and scholar, has performed readings of Finnegans Wake in Dublin, London, and Paris. His publications include Up in the Air and Down (a novel) and Goldtooled Bookbindings Commissioned by Trinity College Dublin in the Eighteenth Century. He is editor of Max Raphael’s collected works in English.