Wednesday, March 17, 2010

p108-110...and Happy St. Patrick's Day

This post is a bit slow getting up, but as we decided to take St. Patrick's Day off from Finnegan it probably doesn't matter much. I do really want to post about these pages, though. Page 109 is a beaut. And lest the casual reader thinks I mean page 109 approximately, well, no, I don't. Between us, we have at least four different editions of Finnegan, but the pages invariably sync up across the board. So you can just go to your nearby copy of the book and you'll see what I mean. I'm tempted to just quote the whole page, but I know that that will only put people off, so I'll attempt to find a few salient bits...

Has any fellow of the dime a dozen type...ever looked sufficiently longly at a quite everydaylooking stamped addressed envelope? Admittedly, it is an outer husk: its face, in all its featureful perfection of imperfection, is its fortune: it exhibits only the civil or military clothing of whatever passionpallid nudity or plaguepurple nakedness may happen to tuck itself under its flap. Yet to concentrate on the literal sense or even the psychological content of any document to the sore neglect of the enveloping facts themselves circumstantiating it is just as hurtful to sound were some fellow in the act of getting some intro from another a lady of the latters's acquaintance...straightway to run off and vision her plump and plain in her altogether, preferring to close his blinkhard's eyes to the ethiquetical fact that she was, after all, wearing...some definite articles of evolutionary clothing, inharmonious creations, a captious critic might describe them as...but for all that suddenly full of local color and personal perfume and suggestive, too, of so very much more...

We've got a new book of annotations, so don't need to strain ourselves so much on references. But here's a word I realized that I didn't know as well as I should for all that:


And here's word who's multiple meanings obviously delighted Joyce as master wordsmith:


Which was included in the perhaps most enjoyed phrase of the evening: "me ken or no me ken Zot is the Quiztune"

According to our guide, Zot has these four meanings:

"god or lord" in Albanian

"obscenity" in German

"crazy or mad, fool" in Dutch

"this" or "that" in Hebrew

I have no idea how accurate any of this is, of course, but it's interesting to think of this ambivalent or multivalent word in this context.

Did I just say "multivalent"?


  1. Zut! is an exclamation in French, if that helps.

    This was an attractive selection. Perhaps I'll read Finnegan's Wake one day, or at least Page 109.
     Detectives Beyond Borders
    "Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

  2. At the very least, Zut! seems like it might be related...well, at least to one of them.

    Yes, I think it's fun to pick outthe passages that seem to be self-contained. Maybe I'm doing a service by presenting them to a world that no longer has the patience for the whole. After all, Joyce himself seems to have a prediliction for a"the whole is in the part kind of thinking".

  3. I suspect that a lack of patience for the whole may have afflicted "Finnegan's Wake" since even before our current degenerate age.

    You are indeed rendering a service with these passages.
    Detectives Beyond Borders
    "Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"