Friday, September 26, 2014

"Surfing Finnegans Wake" with Terence McKenna

This came up in our last reading group so I figured I'd share it here.

This is Terence McKenna, a celebrated philosopher/ethnobotanist/psychedelic researcher/lecturer and eloquent Irishman known as the Bard, devoting a couple hours to lecturing about Finnegans Wake. He reads from a few pages, dissects them a bit, ponders the psychedelic universe Joyce placed inside a book, and even branches off into talking about Marshall McLuhan.

In a world where seemingly everything is on YouTube, there are surprisingly few recorded discussions related to Finnegans Wake. McKenna's gift for gab is a perfect fit for Joycean reading-and-exegesis, making this a very special rare gem.


(Note: He does have a few odd gaffes---calling Joyce a British writer and locating Chapelizod in London instead of Dublin---but otherwise his info is sound.)


  1. I look forward to listening to this, although I have to say that thinking Joyce was a British writer is a pretty big gaffe.

  2. Thanks for posting this PQ. Will have a listen. Joyce was officially a British citizen.

    'Joyce rejected Irish nationality on several occasions. Living in Paris in 1930, he wrote to his son Giorgio: “Some days ago I had to renew my passport. The clerk told me he had orders to send people like me to the Irish delegation. But I insisted instead and got a British one.”

    A decade later the Joyces were offered Irish passports, which would have enabled them to leave Nazi-occupied France more easily if needed. Again, the offer was declined and Joyce clung doggedly to his British passport, despite the increased risk.

    By his own choice, Joyce was officially British to his death in 1941.' John Doherty, Financial Times

  3. Thanks for clearing that up for us, Mr. Chrisp!