am 9. Mai 1998
First, please accept my disclaimer for this review: I have been a fan of J. Campbell for several years... The objectivity may be lacking, therefore, in this assessment: freely admitted, and accept my apologies.
Campbell spent ~4 years, if memory serves, on this book. He said he finally had to get away from the Wake because everything he read started to sound as though it was from the Wake..
Having been an avid reader of Joyce for the last 5 years, Campbell's KEY is to my mind THE definitive work on the Wake. Anyone can criticize another's work, and perhaps it is unreasonable to expect a critic to be as brilliant as the victim of his wiseacreing, but to my mind criticisms of this beautiful and inspired work are rather worthless..
The Key is always my primary reference for the Wake. "Annotations" is just a phone book of references; the Key is first-rate scholarship. Infallibility is not a requirement for brilliance, assuming there is merit to criticisms of this work.
But as Joseph Campbell would say, don't buy a book because it is said to be important; buy it because it "catches" you. Campbell's grasp of the Wake is a wonderful help to appreciating the Wake in less than a lifetime.