Help me find a gift-worthy copy of Finnegans Wake?
March 7, 2007 10:08 AM   Subscribe

For his birthday, my SO confessed that he would like a "really nice" version of Finnegans Wake. This proves to be harder to find than I would've thought.

Googling gets me everything I ever wanted to know about Joyce, and Amazon gives me a zillion paperbacks and study guides.

I'd like a hardback edition. I don't want a "Great Classics of Literature" type edition (i.e. one of a series.)

I know that he would not be interested in an annotated version. Is there an edition including the Exagmination?
posted by desuetude to Shopping (17 answers total)
What about this?

Seriously, might have what you are looking for. Plenty of special/limited/nicely bound books on there.
posted by fire&wings at 10:23 AM on March 7, 2007

Response by poster: I should have specified -- I'm not really looking for used books; I'd prefer a new copy.

(I can't really afford an older copy in good condition!)
posted by desuetude at 10:43 AM on March 7, 2007

Best answer: I'm almost completely certain that the only edition of Finnegans Wake in print in the US or UK is the Penguin paperback. In the US there are no new hardcover editions, much less nice ones.
posted by Prospero at 11:00 AM on March 7, 2007

Have you thought of buying the Penguin paperback edition, then sending it to a book-binder who does nice bindings? I am not familiar with any book-binders, but I know there are ones that will take paperback books and re-bind them in hardcover.
posted by jayder at 12:51 PM on March 7, 2007

Lots of expensive first editions on abeboooks. Don't know if that's any use.
posted by Dasein at 12:56 PM on March 7, 2007

Book Price:
US$ 23141.67

I thought there was some order-of-magnitude software glitch happening on abebooks there. But then I saw. First edition, first printing, signed, unopened.

23 thousand clams indeed.
posted by lostburner at 12:57 PM on March 7, 2007 lists 20 hardcover editions, with one of them being reasonably priced ($100 AU) and stored here in the U.S.
...hopefully the link works...
posted by parilous at 1:25 PM on March 7, 2007

Best answer: I wouldn't hold out much hope for a new edition of interest, but some of the older hardcovers are interesting because they include an appendix of errata in the printing that goes on for pages and pages. I think it's the 1945 US edition. Fourth through seventh Viking printings I think: after that the corrections were incorporated into the text, if the publishers info page in my later hardcover is correct.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 3:30 PM on March 7, 2007

Best answer: Oh, and they don't have to be incredibly expensive. I don't think I have my copy of that edition anymore, but I definitely paid less than fifty bucks for it.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 3:38 PM on March 7, 2007

how about arno schimdt's annotated copy? it was published in a numbered run of 1001 facsimiles by haffmans, zürich in 1984. it's as beautiful an edition as you'll ever find... if not from amazon, try at these specialists:

(bonus kicks for germanophones: here's an mp3 of jp reemtsma reading part of schmidt's german translation of fw.)
posted by progosk at 5:08 PM on March 7, 2007

oh, and: here's the text to that mp3. (a.s. titled his transposition "Finnegans Wehg - Kainnäh ÜbelSätzZung des Wehrkeß fun Schämes Scheuß".)
posted by progosk at 5:13 PM on March 7, 2007

Response by poster: I was intrigued by the used copies I saw on some of these sites, particularly with the errata pages, but I am so wary of ordering used books online. "Very good condition" seems to be extraordinarily, um, diverse in description.

progosk, the arno schmidt annotated copy sounds really interesting (and sounds like something that I'd love) but I think the arnotation-ness of it will bug the heck out of my boyfriend.

I guess I'll hit up the used bookstore at lunch tomorrow and see what they've got. Oh yeah, his birthday is Sunday; I didn't turn to the internets in desperation early enough.

In particular, anyone with advice on choosing any of those moderately-priced used editions online, please keep commenting...this may turn into a late birthday present.
posted by desuetude at 5:48 PM on March 7, 2007

Try Kenny Books in Galway, Ireland:

Or Greenes in Dublin:
posted by zaphod at 7:02 PM on March 7, 2007

Best answer: "Very good condition" seems to be extraordinarily, um, diverse in description.

Understandable, but just for future reference, I work at a used bookstore that does a good internet business, and we're happy to email digital photos of any of our books to anyone who asks. Most reputable dealers probably do the same.
posted by mediareport at 8:36 PM on March 7, 2007

I think the arnotation-ness of it will bug the heck out of my boyfriend

ah - i m'self love finding other people's scribbles in the margins.

arno schmidt's quite a universe unto himself. check out his zettel's traum, too.
posted by progosk at 12:07 AM on March 8, 2007

Response by poster: A search on Abebooks turned up a nice, clean, straight-spined hardback edition w/errata pages...from a bookstore right outside of Philly!

I called the bookstore directly, had a lovely chat with the proprietor. They're holding it for me so that I may go fetch it tomorrow.

Thanks for the crash-course in used-book buying. And for contributing to a timely birthday-gift miracle.

posted by desuetude at 1:58 PM on March 8, 2007

Response by poster: P.S. He loved it.
posted by desuetude at 8:41 PM on March 12, 2007

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