Saturday, 9 December 2017

Monday, 3 December 2017, Pages 433 - 434

We stopped at "... old cupiosity shape." (434.30)

The last three sentences we read today contain references to the works of William Thackeray (1811 - 63) and Charles Dickens (1812 - 70). They are Vanity flee and Verity fear, popularly known as Vanity Fair by Thackeray, your meetual fan (aka Our Mutual Friend), Doveeyed Covetfilles (which of course is David Copperfield) and old cupiosity shape (i.e., The Old Curiosity Shop) - all three by Charles Dickens. Because of these connections, I first thought Ulikah, who is mentioned here to be Uriah Heep - one of Dicken's most malevolent creations -  from David Copperfield. But what Joyce mentions here as Ulikah's wine refers most probably to the biblical character, Uriah the Hittite, whose wife Bathsheba became pregnant by King David while her husband was away.

The theme of these pages are the (20+) commandments that Juan (Shaun) preaches the leap year girls. These commandments are given in the paragraph starting with 'Never miss your lostsomewhere mass....'

Juan has some really interesting instructions for the girls:

- Never play lady's game for the Lord's stake. 
- Never lose your heart away till you win his diamond back.
- ... never kick up your rumpus over the scroll end of the sofas ...
- Never park your brief stays in the men's convenience.
- Never slip the silver key through your gate of golden age.
- First thou shalt not smile.
- Twice thou shalt not love.
- Lust, thou shalt not commix idolatry.

And also
- Collide with man, collude with money.

Compare the above with the Catholic Ten Commandments here.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Monday, 27 November 2017, Pages 430 - 433

We stopped at "... howdydos." (433.2)

Issy and the 28 girls are splashing water with their 58 pedalettes when Shaun, now as Juan (Don Juan?) appears. These girls, all teenagers, are repelled by how the drunk constable Sigurdsen is snoring. He looks like a log stuck to the sod*.  When moved, this Dutch guy murmurs - in the translation McHugh supplies -  'this is the best, my beautiful flask' (Dotter dead bedstead mean diggy smuggy flaske.)

* Again according to McHugh, the mention of the log points to the Aesop's fable: King Log, King Frog. There are many versions of this fable, as given here. In its simplest version, a group of frogs get bored of the easy life they are leading and appeal to Zeus to send them a king. Zeus sends a log which splashes down in the river near which the frogs have been living. At first, the frogs get scared by the splashing noice made by the log, and keep their distance. Soon they discover that the log hardly moves, and approach it, at first carefully, and soon begin boldly to jump up and down the log. Then they again appeal to Zeus to send them this time a real king. Zeus sends them a stork which ends up eating the frogs.

Sod: Ground on which grass grows.


Log or no log, our attention then turns to Juan and the leap year girls. Jaun puts on a reinforced crown** and the girls swarm around him like bees around a beehive. They buzz around him, make girlsfuss over him pellmale (in a confused way), ruffle his golliwog curls, ... For them he was the killingest ladykiller all by kindness... poor, good, true, Jaun!

The poor, good, true, Juan then starts addressing the group. First he talks to his sister and then he addresses the rest of the girls, telling them to adhere to as many as probable of the ten commandments.

What Juan's ten commandments are, we shall see in the next reading session!

** If 'reinforced crown' is interpreted as the crown of thorns, Juan becomes Christ.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Monday, 20 November 2017, Pages 427 - 430

We finished chapter 1 of book 3, and have started with chapter 2 of book 3, reading till
"... allo misto posto .... " (430.10)

Shaun, who was bouncing in a barrel down the river Liffey, talking about his brother Shem to the 29 girls assembled on the banks, simply disappaled and vanesshed (disappeared and vanished) at the end of chapter 1.

He was just gaogaogaone! (gone!) And the night fell. And the stellas were shinings. And the earthnight strewed aromatose. (The stars were shining. The night strewed fragrance.) According to McHugh (Annotations to Finnegans Wake), Joyce was inspired for this passage by the aria, 'E lucean le stelle e ollezzava la terra...' sung by the painter Cavaradossi just before his execution by the soldiers of Scarpia in Giacomo Puccini's opera, Tosca. Listen to Jonas Kaufmann singing the aria - an unforgettable experience - here, and read the lyrics in English translation and in original Italian here.

Though Shaun is supposed to have been gaogaogaone at the end of chapter 1, he is back as Jaunty Jaun as chapter 2 starts. He has started walking down the road, and has stopped at the weir by Lazar's Walk to loosen his heavy shoes. He is propped up against a warden of the peace, one comestabulish Sigurdsen (constable Sigurdsen), who looks like he has been buried upright like the Osbornes (don't know who these are!), a result of having finished on his own a bottle (monopolized bottle).  It is then he sees the 29 girls (hedge daughters) once again, who are keeping time with their 58 pedalettes.

Who are these 29 girls? One interpretation is that they are Shaun's sister Issy and her 28 classmates from St. Brigid's School. They also interpreted to represent one day each of the month February + 1 for the leap year. Why February? Because February 1st is the feast day of St. Brigid! Why St. Brigid? Because she is one of the patron saints of Ireland!

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Monday, 13 November 2017, Pages 425 - 427

We read as far as "Ah, mean!" (427.8)

(It would be interesting to list all the ways Joyce uses to say 'Amen!')

Recalling what has been happening so far, we are in the dream world of Earwicker, who currently has been dreaming of his elder son, Shaun. Shaun is talking a lot, is giving almost a sermon to the girls assembled on the bank of the Liffey, down which he is rolling buoyantly backwards in a barrel, via Rattigan's corner ... in the direction of Mac Auliffe's, the crucet-house. (McHugh explains in his Annotations to Finnegans Wake that Sitric Mac Aulaf (Olaf?) gave the ground for the Christ College Cathedral in Dublin.)

Not only is Shaun's talk very negative about his brother Shem, he also praises himself quite a bit. (... it is an openear secret, ..., how I am extremely ingenuous at the clerking even with my badily left....). He considers himself the ormuzd (i.e, Ahuramazda, the Persian divinity of light) where as Shem is the hairyman (i.e, Ahirman, the Persian divinity of darkness and evil).

We are after all in the world of dreams!

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Monday, 6 November 2017, Pages 423 - 425

We stopped at "How's that for Shemese?" (425.3)

Shaun is still full of vitriol. He is telling the girls about the scandal concerning his father. Nobody really knows what exactly HEC did in the Phoenix Park. All we know is that HEC, two girls and three soldiers were there. Shaun says that after HEC returned home, while his wife, kept squealing down..., Shem laid out his litterery bed and noted down all that was said.

(Joseph Campbell says that this paragraph (p. 422 - 424) is a parody of Joyce's life.)

When the girls ask Shaun to tell them why Shem is excommunicated, why does he talk about his brother so, the answer Shaun gives is 'root language.' (By the way the thunder word that Shaun then pronounces - on page 424 - is made up of 101 letters, and not 100!)

Joseph Campbell comes to our rescue once again with the following explanation of this paragraph:
"Shaun's reason for hating Shem seems peculiar, even mysterious, until we probe deeply into its implication. The 'root language' of Shem is filled with thunder echoes of the divine judgement. Shem's words are the hammer of Thor which could destroy the civilisation of which Shaun is the representative. Joyce is here following Vico's notion that all language has its origin in man's effort to formulate the meaning of the primal thunderclap. Shem's language threatens to make that meaning clear, and is thus fraught with judgment on Shaunian society. Shaun's fear of Shem's language shows that he, Shaun, very well knows the secret and power of his brother."

1.  'A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake' by Joseph Campbell, 2005 edition, Footnotes on P. 266
2. Read here about Vico's work, The New Science.
- Of particular relevance regarding the thunderclap is the section, 4. f. The Three Principles of History: Religion, Marriage and Burial 
3. Here is an interesting blog article on the thunder words of Finnegans Wake.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Monday, 30 October 2017, Pages 422 - 423

We stopped at "... muddyasss ribalds." (422.18)

Shaun is being quite rude about his brother Shem, who has penned the letter that Shaun tried to deliver. The girls listening to all this, ask him, whether he has not used language ten times worse than the pen marks and with such hesitancy by your ... brother? This makes Shaun even more voluble about the deficiencies of his brother and announces, 'If he waits till I buy him a mosselman's present!' (Mussulman's present: ... The pig!)

The girls then request Shaun to unravel the letter in his own sweet words, with yet another fable from Aesop.

Shaun's answer hints at the rumours of Phoenix Park scandal that has been following his father, Earwicker.

(Note: Reading Joseph Campbell's rendering of these pages help a lot to unravel the sentences and get  at their meaning!)

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Monday, 23 October 2017, Pages 420 - 422

Read as far as "Gach!" (422.3)

These pages are the funnest (oops, wrongly spilled!) ones in the parts we have so far read in the book. Shaun, the postman, is carrying a (the?) letter to deliver. It was written by Shem, the penman.  Shaun has problems delivering the letter though he tries different possible addresses.

He tries, for example, at 29 Hardware Saint, 13 Fitzgibbets, 12 Norse Richmound, 92 Windsewer. Ave., Fearview, 8 Royal Terrors, 3 Castlewoos, 2 Milchbroke, 7 Streetpetres, 60 Shellburn and ends up finding that either there is no such number (No such no.), or no such person (Noon sick parson), or no such street (none so strait) exists.

If these addresses were not wrongly spilled but correctly given, then they would correspond respectively to the following addresses in some of which James Joyce's parents lived over the years
29 Hardwicke St, 4 Fitzgibbon St, 17 North Richmond St, 29 Windsor Ave., Fairview, 8 Royal Terrace, 23 Castlewood Ave., 2 Millbourne Ave., 7 St Peter's Terrace, 60 Shellbourne Rd. In all James Joyce is said to have lived in 20 houses in Dublin. This article tells us more about it.

Do discover which other words are wrongly spilled on these pages!