I try very hard to understand that book but fail completely. It is almost impossible to decipher, and when one or two lines of understanding emerge like telephone poles above a flood, they are at once countered by other poles running in the opposite direction. . . . I truly believe that Joyce has this time gone too far in breaking all communication between himself and his reader. It is a very selfish book.
– Harold Nicolson
I am amused by this reaction to Finnegans Wake of James Joyce. Joyce is no doubt a hard nut to crack, especially in this one.But that is not the point. Harold Nicolson calls it a very selfish book. Selfish not in the sense of an author’s megalomanic outpourings without regard for the reader’s understanding. But in the sense of an intensely personal book,written for the author himself. The author goes overboard trying to break all communication between himself and the reader !
That is an extreme statement implying a conscious effort on the part of the writer to make himself completely obscure.Apparently the work is not meant to be read because ab initio it is unreadeable. But why write such a book that cannot be read by anybody! Probably the writer writes it for himself (selfish book).
That this is an extreme statement is evident from the fame that the book has earned for the author over the years.