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.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for finding that Barber song--very impressionistic. I can see why he thought the passage from FW would work set to music. Who knew he had written so many inspired by Joyce? (And I love that he quotes from Wagner in "Nuvoletta.")