I defer to Mark Scroggins in his judgment that Fritz Senn is the greatest living Joyce critic. I’m too ignorant to know the difference. I do know, however, that Senn is a fine old gentleman. Four or five years ago, on a whim, I dropped by the Joyce Foundation in Zurich. Senn happened to be in, and he chatted with me for almost an hour, showing me his cabinet of curios (Joyce’s walking stick, a Joyce death mask) and inviting me to stop by later for the Finnegans Wake reading group. Nice guy.
Senn told me how many years it took the group to read FW aloud, but I can’t recall the number. I do remember his telling me that they were reading the last few pages that very night. And that they were starting again the following week.
Kind of amusing: When I was walking up the stairs to the Foundation’s offices, I ran into one of the staff. I explained that I was an American in town for a visit and wanted to see the Joyce archive while I was there. She asked me how long I was staying in Zurich. When I told her only two days, she said: “You haven’t been to the Mann archive? Well then, go right now! We are open tomorrow but they are not!”