Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Uh-oh. Three weeks have passed, we've got another meeting tomorrow night, and I have posted nothing. Let me do a quick wrap up and maybe get a post up about the next meeting relatively quickly.

We started into the actual text reading by reading the Nuvoletta part all together. T. said, "Wait a minute, we're doing rereads?" And then warned me that when we have come to the very end of the book and are almost done but not quite, he will remind me of this moment when I bogged us down. Okay, I'll take the blame. I think it's a good thing to read this as a piece.

This is the longest riddle, I think. We've been on it a good while and should finally finish it up tomorrow, but we've already gotten to the end of the long winded teacher's case. The story has put us firmly back in the classroom. "Allaboy, Major, I'll take your reactions in another place after themes. Nolan Browne, you may now leave the classroom. Joe Peters, Fox."

Here's a little phrase from the Nuvoletta portion which has stuck with me more than anything else: "her muddied name was Missisliffey". A great portmanteau word of two great muddy rivers.

Though I haven't posted here, it's not to say that Joyce and  his vast ring of associations and acquaintances hasn't been in my thoughts in the interim. I've had a few very interesting exchanges with PQ from A Building Roam about Joyce and Dali and any number of related topics.  In fact, he has put up a post about Disney and Dali collaborating here.

In other news, I just discovered that there is a newish mystery series about none other than the phantom figure in all this (or one of them), Giordano Bruno. It's by S. J. Parris, and the first one is called Heresy. They've got good reviews and she's got good academic credits so I hope to get to them soon.  

This is a little light on the Joycean text dissection this time around. I'll try and make up for the shortfall on the next go.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Yes, well, I'm lagging again. Here it is, the night before our next meeting, and I am going to make yet another hasty post just for appearances sake. We are still dealing with the Mookse and the Gripes, and not at the end of the riddle, either.

I think in some ways we get more into what is Finnegans Wake about, and so read less.

One thing that struck me was not from the Wake but from Campbell's Skeleton Key. He describes the Wake as something dreamed by a Dreamer, but with all the dream's component parts also dreaming. I also read out a part that made sense to me about how the crowd of characters in the Wake project onto HCE their collective guilt, and HCE, as part of humanity takes this guilt on. There is a kind of mirroring and projection going on.

So anyway, we have the Mookse and the Gripes arguing back and forth in a kind of pattern and then a new figure appears--Nuvoletta, the little cloud, but more importantly, the feminine little cloud, who views these masculine wranglings from above. I was quite taken by the way the Nuvoletta passage entranced our group,  which Joyce wrote beautifully and lyrically. I was ready enough to take her up again the next time, but the others could hardly tear themselves away.

As I did a little research on this, basically trying to remember what Nuvoletta actually meant, I discovered that the composer Samuel Barber made a song out of this passage, which if you like, you can watch below. He edited the actual text a bit, so beware, purists.

The lyrics can be found here, should you wish to follow along. And they are followed by the complete text from the Wake, so you won't feel you've missed anything.

I think I'll leave it at that, except to mention that there is an exciting intro to McLuhan as he relates to Joyce over on PQ's new post. It seems very timely to me, and can be found here. It is very apropos for where we are now, anyway, so do check it out.