"Finnegans Wake" is a novel by James Joyce, published in 1939. Joyce began this novel in 1922 and published individual sections as "Work in Progress" during the 17 years of its composition.
"Finnegans Wake" is James Joyce's last work, published two years before his death. It is considered his most revolutionary work which embodies experiments with his narrative in which he combines verbal compounds, puns, foreign words with allusions in his text.
The novel offers the readers the dreams and nightmares of Humphrey Chimpden nicknamed "Earwicker" and his family as they lie sleeping one night. Humphrey is a Dublin tavern keeper. His family consists of his wife Anna, their two sons Shem and Shaun, and a daughter, Isabel. This scenario however, is not the plot of the novel. For the novel has none, that is, there is no plot. The novel as a whole offers the readers all kinds of human experience which are all fragmented.
Joyce's "Finnegans Wake" is based from a compound of Finn McCool, the Irish folk-hero, leader of the "Fenians" (Gaelic for warrior) who is supposed to return to life at some future date to become the saviour of Ireland, and Tim Finnegan, the hero of a music-hall tradition, who sprang to life in the middle of his own wake. "The Finnegan's Wake" was a ballad of comical Irish songs that arose in the 1850s.
Understanding the basis of James Joyce's masterwork, Finnegans Wake, follows the symbol of the universal cycle of life in this novel. As Joyce explained, the book "ends in the middle of a sentence and begins in the middle of the same sentence." That is, the opening of this novel continues from the book's unfinished closing line. However, one looks at it, it's a cyclical nature of life.