From The Guardian:
People often wonder, rather unfairly, what exactly academics do with their time; what purpose they serve for culture and society. And now we know: they spend three decades making minor adjustments to Finnegans Wake. Well worth the time and effort, I'm sure you'll agree. No, I'm joking – sort of. Certainly, it's good that there are still people like Danis Rose and John O'Hanlon in our world, who devote themselves to something as knotty, exhausting and defiantly uncommercial as their new edition of that labyrinthine book. It's good that some people still do things for the love of art. On the other hand, in this case, the fact is that all their labours won't make a lick of difference because James Joyce's famously unreadable novel will unquestionably remain, well, unread. Finnegans Wake has attained mythic status, not because of inherent greatness or influence but because most people are unsure if it actually exists, since they've never met, or even heard about, anyone who's finished it. Rose and O'Hanlon say the new version is a “smoother” read – but this is clearly a fib, because Finnegans Wake is not, and never will be, comprehensible to anybody outside of, maybe, God. Maybe.
As I understand it, the book consists of one single word of approximately 550,000 letters. It's the work of linguistic gobbledegook that all other works of linguistic gobbledegook reverentially call “The Supreme Being”. Within days of publication, an entire Finnegans Wake-based industry had sprung up in academia, with eggheads under such pressures of production that they had to sub-contract much of the meta-textual and semiotic analysis work to factories in the Far East. For the rest of the literate world, however, it has remained an impenetrable morass of fevered gibberish, stylistic showing-off and made-up words that you can't even check in the dictionary.