Author : Joseph Campbell

Countless would-be readers of Finnegans Wake - James Joyce's masterwork, on which he laboured for a third of his life - have given up after a few pages and dismissed it as a "perverse triumph of the unintelligible." Indeed when it was first published in 1939, the book was met largely with indifference, as readers and critics asked, "Why bother with a book that's so hard to read?" Five years later, a young professor of mythology and literature named Joseph Campbell, working with novelist and poet Henry Morton Robinson, wrote the first "key" or guide to entering the fascinating, disturbing, marvelously rich world of Finnegans Wake. Published in 1944, A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake was Campbell's first book, published five years before he wrote his seminal book The Hero with a Thousand Faces in 1949.