Her visit made me reflect that we have had several short term guests over our time together, and I think on the whole it's been a good experience for everyone. I wouldn't have thought before starting reading the Wake together, that randomly dropping in at page 181 would be very fun, but in fact, the pleasures of the density of the book, and the lack of what I at least would call a plot, means that everyone stands in the same place in relation to it no matter where they enter in. We are all students, or disciples or anti-disciples when it comes to Joyce. We do not come in as his superiors.
Okay, someone might. I haven't met them.
Although we picked up on a lot of eggs, a lot of gin, and a lot of yeses, I thought for the time being I would take up a couple of questions that came up in the course of our conversation. First, the portmanteau word 'pelagarist'. It quite obviously relates to plagiarism, but it also relates to the Pelagian heresy. We knew that, but we were scratching our heads about what that heresy consisted of, even though we sort of thought it had come up before.
The Pelegian heresy--or point of view, if you look at it another way--is the belief that we are not under the sway of Original Sin, but that human beings are still capable of choosing between good and evil without divine help. In this view, we are influenced by example, and while Adam set a bad example, Jesus overrode this later by setting a good example.
I would say that we live in a very Pelegian age. I have no idea how this relates to Joyce's own thoughts, though.
The other lighter thing was that Joyce mentions the 'light phantastic'. Without getting into what Joyce meant here, we did wonder a bit about that phrase and wonder where it came from. I always thought of 'tripping the light fantastic' as basically revue actors and dancers on stage before the spotlights. Others thought it had something to do with dance. We had all heard it, and formed our own impressions.
Although there is a reference in Shakespeare's Tempest to 'each one tripping on his toe', the reference from more the same era that seems closer is from Milton's L'Allegro:
We did note a reference to "Broken Hill stranded estate" and I thought it would be fun to look that one up as well. Still don't know what it meant to Joyce, but it is a mining community, as we learned in Australia. It's located in the outback of New South Wales, and is isolated in the desert. It's Australia's longest lived mining community. The is one of the biggest silver-lead-zinc deposits. The ore is in the shape of a boomerang with the ends below ground and the middle cropping up above the desert floor in the middle. Ironically, due to extensive mining, the Broken Hill itself no longer exists.
|Broken Hill, Australia|
Don't know what Joyce would make of that.
I may return before our next meeting, and if I do , I hope to try to delve a bit into the mysteries of writing oneself in furniture...