Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Music Inspired by Joyce and Others


Scroll down to 9
"9. Ulysses by James Joyce inspired “ReJoyce” by Jefferson Airplane"

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Finnegans Wake in Austin

You were waiting for me to give some update on our progress here, maybe? Dream on, dreamer.

No, I'll get around to it, but meanwhile, why not check out PQ's great post on completing The Wake over at A Building Roam?

He has dived in deep, while we have only been wading along the shoreline. Not that there's a right and wrong way to appproach this thing. The approaching is all. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

irrelevance-page 249

This is more just a tip of the hat to the premise of blogging here, but I did get intrigued by the word 'irrelevance' after our last meeting, enough so that I did a blog post about it elsewhere. You can find it here, if you're interested.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The woman thing

I may be wrong, but I consider myself to be about the most skeptical of Joyce's take on women of the members of our group, but I swear I wasn't going around hunting for ammunition. Instead, I was trying to remember exactly why Joyce was so keen on Giordano Bruno, when I came across this article in the James Joyce Quarterly by Joseph C. Voelker, called "Nature It Is": The Influence of Giordano Bruno on James Joyce's Molly Bloom. As it's JSTOR, I have the usual problem of not being able to read the whole article, but nevertheless, the first paragraph is interesting.

"James Joyce was remarkably consistent in his portrayal of women, and this consistency is of a kind more frequently found in philosophical argument than in the novelistic observation of character. From Polly Mooney to Anna Livia Plurabella, Joyce's women live in close contact with their senses, reason only in the most inept and self-contradictory manner, and threaten repeatedly to throw off their individual identities--like the merest frillies--to reveal their true essence beneath. Really they are not so much fictional representations of actual women as they are flowing rivers and spinning earthballs, disguises for Natura, whom Joyce deployed in his life-long war with the propoents of Grace."

This is not totally surprising to me, but what is surprising is that Joyce derived his idea of Nature from Giordano Bruno. Voelker says, "Like Joyce's most lovingly delineated woman, Molly Bloom, Bruno's Nature is at once incontrovertibly fixed and in constant flux." Joyce was apparently heavily influenced by the book Giordano Bruno by J. Lewis McIntyre, which came out in 1903:

"In other words, Nature, under one aspect, is a spiritual unity, in which are comprised all possible differences, or all separate existences : under another it is these many existences themselves, in each of which, in succession, all differences are "realized," all modes come into being; and finally under another aspect, it is the force which brings forth the separate forms or existences out of the formless, indeterminate, indifferentiated unity of being, or God."

Personally, I'm happier with Bruno's naming this whole magilla Nature than Joyce's naming it Anna Livia Plurabella. But it does help me to understand better what he's driving at.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Wake in Translation, Part 2. Turning Japanese

It's been a couple of busy months since I posted part one of this discussion of the Wake in translation, despite the fact that I have really wanted to get to this very interesting article I discovered on the history of the Wake in Japanese. Yup--Japanese. If you'd like, you can just cut to the chase and head over to Atelier Aterui and read the article by Eisharo Ito.

For me, it is timely to revisit this article after our last meeting, because one thing that struck me about our last reading together was exactly the thing the article talks about--the mysterious way in which Joyce was able to sustain multiple narratives simultaneously. I'm not talking about plots and subplots here, or even the way Joyce was able to draw from such a multitude of sources. I'm talking about how, on the one hand, the book can be a running commentary on Lewis Carroll, yet on another, is also fully able to carry the multivolume discourse by John P. Anderson on Finnegans Wake, which is subtitled The Curse of Kabbalah, and  in which two ideas of God contend and interact with each other. And so on and so on.

I think the way of translating this work into Japanese can help us understand this a little. Parts of Finnegans Wake had been tranlated into Japanese as early as 1933, but it was left to Naoki Yanase to attempt the whole book in the late 1980s and early 90s. The earlier groups at work on the project tranlated what they considered to be the surface meaning, and then use endnotes to discuss other meanings and context. Yanase was part of one of these groups, but then went on to try it alone.

The “Joycean language” is a fertile bed of multilingualism whose ambiguity enables the reader infinitely to interpret each word, phrase and sentence Joyce interweaved in the text--Eisharo Ito

Yanase decided to render this multiplicity in Japanese. For this effort, he had to coin new words in Japanese, and also attempt to create a Japanese "style" that seemed to reproduce the Joycean style. He translated the complete book, which is now considered a masterpiece in its own right, but his unique usage was very difficult to follow and has proved too much for most Japanese readers. (I should point out here that the language he was tranlating into has not only a different script, but a very different idea of how to write a word in itself.)

It was then left for Kyoko Miyata to write a more accessible translation for the non-scholarly reader. Her method was to stick with what she discerned as the main narrative and then add one or at the most two alternative readings by means of the footnotes. The article says that Miyata was impressed by what Michal Butor, the French translator of the Anna Livia Plurabelle, had to say about reading the Wake--"the reader consciously or unconsciously makes one choice among mass of meanings of words and phrases." In other words, you choose a trail and follow it.  In Miyata's words, she wished to render Finnegans Wake “as an organic whole, to bring in relief this thin but surely existing flow of narrative.”

The end of the article shows the two Japanese versions alongside the original. It's interesting to look at, even if you can't read a word of Japanese.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Parallels with Sylvie and Bruno

"All of Dodgerson's dodges one conning one's copying and that's what wonderland's wanderlad'll flaunt to the full."

I recently read Lewis Carroll's Sylvie and Bruno (in the Mercury House edition illustrated by Santa Cruz's own Renee Flower) and I have heard of Joyce's familiarity with the work.  (James Atherton asserts it is the work of Carroll's Joyce read most attentatively.)

It's a really strange work, Carroll has essentially deconstructed the Victorian novel and the children's story mixing adult theological discussions, and satire with sentimentality, romance, magic and fairies, philosophy and nonsense, and made something that seems oddly modernist or postmodernist.  Needless to say it's still a walk in the park compared to the Wake.

Here's some of the parallels.

  • it starts in mid-sentence
  • there are abrupt transitions between states of consciousness and events
  • serious topics discussed seriously and sentimentally --
    are startlingly intermixed with nonsense and fantasy
  • much takes place in an eerie or dream state (in fairy land)
  • the waking world has a parallel plot in the dream world
  • character is fluid and characters have multiple incarnations in parallel
  • distortions of logic and language by the speech of childhood
Here's some notes essentially copped directly from the Editor's Note:
[N]oted one of Carroll's biographer's, "...[Carroll] was firmly resolved: that the project should be completely different from the Alice books." ... Another biographer adds, "Sylvie and Bruno bears the same relation to Lewis Carroll's earlier works, mutis mutandis,  as Finnegans Wake  to the more intelligible earlier productions of James Joyce... [Another says]... "...Yet many of the wildest and most startling features of Finnegans Wake are merely the logical development...of ideas that first occurred to Lewis Carroll."
And here's a thought, from Sylvie and Bruno:
"And what a grand thing it would be,” I went on dreamily, thinking aloud rather than talking, “if we could only apply that Rule to books! You know, in finding the Least Common Multiple, we strike out a quantity wherever it occurs, except in the term where it is raised to its highest power ..". "...Most libraries would be terribly diminished in bulk. But just think what they would gain in quality!”

Thursday, August 23, 2012

round about page 243...

I pretty much popped in and out of the Wake group last night, August being an awfully busy month for me, so rather than posting something lengthy, I'll just say that I was struck by Tom's take on Shem. He said that Shem's stance was always one of mediated reality--mediated by words, that is--rather than that of the man of action, represented by Shaun. As if in affirmation, Campbell writes that Shem, an outcast from the guess the colors game, which he fails at, threatened to write a jeremiad against them.

I can certainly relate to the Shem position, because I think I tend to come at things a bit obliquely, describing my experience of something by relating it to some other thing.

But in reality aren't we all by necessity Shaun as well? We must have the unmediated reality before we can have the mediated one. Maybe a Shaun accepts reality in its unmediated form more easily, while a Shem has to describe it to himself or others before he knows it is real...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Finn group recap--pages 237-239

I haven't been all that good about recapping where we as a group actually got to in the last session, so let me correct that a bit. It's pretty easy this time. We began on page 237 with the rainbow girls saying "Enchainted, dear sweet Stainusless..."

Stainusless is of course a play on Stanislaus, Joyce's brother, who has the fortunate or unfortunate role of playing the good or at least "upright" brother. Shaun to his Shem, Chuff to his Glugg, and so on. In the story right now, as Chuff, he is in the enviable position of both the center of their circle and the center of their admiring attention as well. (Glugg is well out of the charmed circle). Although he is being worshipped, it is somewhat in negative form, as he is NOT unclean, NOT outcaste, all of which brings us back to remembering Shem, the one who is all these things. And 'stainusless' is after all not the same thing as 'stainusnotatall'. There's a bit of wolf in sheep's clothing aspect to Chuff.

Brought into the litany of worship are some other elements that we noticed and speculated about. There's a lot about Egypt and the Egyptian underworld in particular. There is also a lot of Buddhism, or more precisely, the tales of Buddha's life, this time in the form of the tale of the hermit and a very faithful hare. And many many plays on words involving the Catholic mass. ("May he colp, may he colp her, may he mixandmass colp her!")Also a bit of a tale from Greek tragedy, about Philomena and the King of Thrace.

Ready for the next meeting, then? Well, as always, ready as we'll ever be.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Mary Ellen Bute film

Here's the film that Ed linked to a couple of posts back. It's on YouTube, so we might as well have it here as well:

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Translation II: I really think so

I found a copy of Finnegans Wake in Japanese. 

Who would do such a thing? 

It's sort of like one of those impossible tasks you undertake when you are asleep, like solving problems in quantum chromodynamics in ornamental pastry, arranging global conference calls for basset hounds, or perhaps plugging a tree into an electric socket. Really!

Nice cover though.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Passages from Finnegans Wake - Mary Ellen Bute- intro - YouTube

Finnegans Wake - Mary Ellen Bute- intro - YouTube:

This is from a movie called "Passages from Finnegans Wake".  The passages are reassembled in snippets that actually have enough narrative to form a film.  The handling is creative--and funny.  Thought you'd get a kick out of it.

'via Blog this'

"Mary Ellen Bute (November 21, 1906—October 17, 1983) was a pioneer American film animator significant as one of the first female experimental filmmakers. Her specialty was visual musicand, while working in New York between 1934 and 1953, made fourteen short, abstract musical films. Many of these were seen in regular movie theaters, such as Radio City Music Hall, usually preceding a prestigious film. Several of her later abstract films were categorized as part of her Seeing Sound series...."

Passages from Finnegans Wake – 1965-67, b&w, 97 mins. (director and co-writer) 
Screened at the Cannes Film Festival


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

An appeeling wakefulness

Have you seen this man?
Now he has gone far, away;

We shall ne'er hear his voice in the morning.

Some of you may have noticed a gentleman farmer guy named John Peel poking out at you in different parts of the Wake and this happens as a leitmotif throughout the book.  So why would this guy riding to hounds show up over and over again?

And he's clearly dead.  Why wake him up?

"Peel was born at Park End, near Caldbeck, Cumberland; ...He was baptised on 24 September 1777, ...Peel married in 1797 to Mary White [whose] family's property at Ruthwaite (near Ireby) passed into his hands, which secured Peel a comfortable income.

However, he was, ... prone to dissipation and he devoted himself primarily to hunting. Peel was a farmer by profession, and kept a pack of fox hounds...By the end of his life (13 November 1854, most likely due to a fall while hunting) he had accrued large debts, which his friends helped him pay off.[1]...

Peel became a moderately well-known figure, owing to the song written about him. ... He died in 1854 and is buried in the churchyard of St Kentigern's Church, Caldbeck.[2]

In 1977 his grave was vandalised by anti-hunting activists."

 --Wikipedia [emphasis mine]

As well as an almost a Caldbeckian version of Tim Finnegan, Peel seems to me to be a herald of the morning.  This morning can be thought of multivariately as we Wakeans are wont to do, as  the waking of the dead, the waking of the sleeper, the renewal of the cycle of eternal return, the waking of day, and the waking to a new consciousness, to a new heaven and new earth.

So let's listen to the song of John Peel and note the Wakean themes:

D'ye ken John Peel with his coat so gay?
D'ye ken John Peel at the break o' day?
D'ye ken John Peel when he's far, far a-way.
With his hounds and his horn in the morning?

For the sound of his horn brought me from my bed,
And the cry of his hounds which he oftime led,
Peel's "View, Halloo!" could awaken the dead,
Or the fox from his lair in the morning.

Note a variant reading of "grey" for "gay" in some versions of the poem. Some other variations are:

Yes, I ken John Peel and his Ruby, too!
Ranter and Ringwood, Bellman so true!
From a find to a check, from a check to a view,
From a view to a kill in the morning.
For the sound of his horn
, etc.

Then here's to John Peel with my heart and soul
Let's drink to his health, let's finish the bowl,
We'll follow John Peel through fair and through foul
If we want a good hunt in the morning.

D'ye ken John Peel with his coat so gay?
He liv'd at Troutbeck once on a day;
Now he has gone far, away;
We shall ne'er hear his voice in the morning.

For the sound of his horn
, etc.


...Ranter and Ringwood and Bellman and True,


From a view to a death in the morning

... and many more...

You will hear echoes of John Peel and his hounds innumerable times in the Wake.

 John Peel Farm Cottage 
For example early on, he gallops up: "For he kinned Jom Pill with his court so gray and his haunts in his house in the mourning. " (31.28-33).

And even the "far, far" is subtly evoked in the recorso in the last page in the phrase "Far calls. Coming, far!"


John Peel:

Yet more variations:


daf yomi

I was starting to write up my second post on Finnegans Wake in translation, but just came across this interesting piece on Slate, which describes a group that we Santa Cruz Wakeans may feel some affinity with. It is a about a group of of thousands of Jews, most living in the greater New York vicinity and many of whom will flock to the Meadowlands in New Jersey tomorrow to celebrate the siyum hashas, the end of the seven and a half years of commitment it has taken them to read the 2711 pages of the Babylonian Talmud, one page a day. This undertaking is known as daf yomi.

Okay, it's related to our own undertaking here in a kind of to the power of ten way, but still, reading the article, I see similarities, and perhaps even more so in the author's fascination with, but ultimate decision not to complete the process. For her, the page every single day goal became too mechanical, and she felt that she wasn't retaining the meaning of her own connection to the Talmud. I can understand that, especially since, as a group, we tend to like to meander through our own text and not feel driven. But I also can see the attraction of the every day sort of total immersion effect. It's hard to make that sort of commitment to a text without some kind of outside motivation. I often feel when I do spend a few satisfying hours on my own pondering the Wake that I would like to make that more of my practice than it really is. All right--than it is at all. And I think in some ways the author of the article values retention over the sheer submersion in a way that I don't. Well, I value it--I just don't attain it very often.

Another similarity is that daf yomi also avails itself of the possibilities of our interconnected age.  There are daily podcasts and an abundance of English language translations and commentary.
An app is reputed to be in the works.

If there was an app for the Wake, I might finally be tempted to get a cell phone.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Finnegans Wake in translation?

A recent question from some of us in the group was whether there were any translations of Finnegans Wake, and whether in fact it was a book that could actually be translated. I thought of this again the other day, and happened to be near enough to a computer to google it. I was surprised to find a couple of apt articles right off the bat. One of them was by W.V. Costanzo and was published in The James Joyce Quarterly some years ago. It is available at JStor, but I was only able to glimpse the first page, as JStor is very particular about who they let in, and that particularity doesn't include me.

Still, a page can tell a lot, and what I learned there is that Joyce, with his keen interest in language, took part in many of the translation attempts going on at the time, and had a role that went from collaborator to consultant to supervisor. His most direct involvement was when Samuel Beckett undertook the fragment of the book referred to as Anna Livia Plurabella. Beckett was helped by Alfred Peron, a friend who he had actually met (I learned elsewhere) while at Trinity College and who had been of enormous help to him in learning both written and spoken French. This version was then submitted to another group for revision, which included Paul Léon, Eugene Jolas, and Ivan Goll, under the supervision of Joyce himself.

I was curious who these helpers were. Léon was a Russian Jewish émigré living in Paris, who ended up taking over many of Joyce's business affairs, but also was a central figure in his literary life. In a word, he was the Sylvia Beach of Finnegans Wake. He also is the one we have to thank for the survival of many of the manuscripts that we have, because he is the one who went back to the Joyces' Pais apartment and gathered their belongings as they fled before the Nazis and put them in safekeeping for them. A tricky role for a Russian Jew, I'd think, but definitely a brave one.

Jolas, who certainly has a French or at least European sounding name was actually born in Union City, New Jersey. But his family moved to the Alsace Lorraine area, that annexed and reannexed border region between France and Germany, when he was two, so he has his European credentials. He was among othe things, the editor of the literary magazine transition, and he and Joyce had an affinity because Jolas recognized what Joyce was doing with the Wake as an illustration of his manifesto , which he had published in his magazine.

Ivan Goll, or Yvan, as the sources I've looked at have it, was a poet who wrote in both French and German, being another transplant from Alsace Lorraine. He was in touch with both the French surrealist movement and the German expressionism. His father, at least, was Jewish. Goll, whose given name was Isaac Lange described himself thus: "By fate a Jew, by an accident born in France, on paper a German."

It is so interesting to think of all these different nationalities and language influences hovering around the Wake during its gestation. Costanzo quotes from a book called Souvenirs de James Joyce by Phillippe Soupault, another French writer who was involved with the project, which describes how they fixed upon a regular meeting time at Jolas' apartment. Joyce would sit reclining and smoking, Léon  would read the text in English, and Soupault would follow along in the French version.

This unfortunately is all I know, as that is where the page stops. The link to Costanzo's article, however, is here, and if you have access to the rest of the article, perhaps you could clue the rest of us in as to what happened next.

I found another fascinating article about the Wake in translation, but that will have to wait for another post...   

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Thunderous news

Our roaming correspondent PQ has put up a new blog post announcing his reading Finnegans Wake in earnest. I 'm not sure what he was doing with it before, but in any case, this is good news for the rest of us. He may be in earnest, but there is a good deal of humor in his  post about thunderclaps.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Finnegan on the Fourth

Our all meeting together on the fourth was a bit ill-fated, but worked for some. Ed sent round an email which I thought other visitors of this blog might like:

"As JJ was dedicated to the "abnihilisation of the etym", and coined the word "quark", today, the strong evidence for the existence of the Higgs boson has been announced."

Happy Independence Day everyone.   

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Page 234

I wanted to write up at least a little something about the page or so we did ponder, particularly the long paragraph that lies on  page 234. This paragraph, which begins, "But, Sin Showpanza.." is littered with at least three sets of references, namely to Don Quixote and crew, the life of the Buddha, and Lewis Carroll. Thanks to Roland McHugh's Annotations to Finnegans Wake, we picked up on quite a few of the Lewis Caroll ones--"Loose curls", "The sweetest smile that ever a man wore," and a couple of reference to another of his girls, Isa Bowman. I was looking for the word ladder that is supposed to always accompany talk of Carroll today, but except for the "ripidarapidarpad" of the little girls running around Chuff faster and faster, I didn't spot it.

What's interested me most in my reading today, though, was this life of Buddha aspect of the paragraph. I found a really interesting article by someone named Eishiro Ito called "How Did Buddhism Influence James Joyce and Kenji Miyazawa?" which you can find HERE . Among other things, he talks about this paragraph in particular, with it's references to Siddhartha's mother, Maya, his father-in-law Dandapani and the dream of the six tusked elephant, when she conceived Siddhartha, who would be the 'seventh Buddha'.

This is kind of what I can piece together from all these sources whirling around in my head. Sin Showpanza, in one sense is without panza, or belly, and Don Quixote without Sancho Panza is a man without the earthly desires that would make him whole. The next part of the sentence, "could anybroddy which walked this world with eyes whiteopen" apparently refers to Buddha walking the world after his enlightenment, and then remaining immobile with eyes wide open. In Ito's interpretation, though, this makes Buddha a Shaun/Chuff/Stanislaus character--who, along with St. Kevin, who also features in this paragraph, one of the "cold-to-women sainted men". Buddha immobile after enlightenment is something like Chuff, standing in the middle  of the rapidly whirling girls, immune (or is he?) to their charms. He is the golden boy. Or the white, green and golden boy, standing like the Irish flag in their midst. In our terms, the boy scout.

Glugg is not a boy scout, whatever else he is.

Joyce in the quantum universe

I may not get to a piece on our last meeting in time for tomorrow's, but at least I can post this link to a very interesting article by Andrzej Duzenko on Joyce and quantum mechanics that I somehow stumbled upon while looking for something else. It's actually part of a larger work on Joyce and science, but I haven't had time to read the rest yet.

Monday, June 25, 2012

the answer to the game

I did a post on the word heliotrope on my other blog. It was really because of the Wake group that I did it, but I wrote it up for a more general crowd. You can find it HERE .It's interesting to me, because the text we are currently reading about the children's game is supposed to be littered with clues to the correct answer. I suppose I'd better go back and see if I can find some...

The Puns and Detritus in James Joyce’s “Ulysses” : The New Yorker

The Puns and Detritus in James Joyce’s “Ulysses” : The New Yorker:

Silence, Exile, Punning.....

'via Blog this'

Veiling the Image: Wake and Visual Art

Doug Argue is one of a number of artists who found inspiration in Finnegans Wake, carrying over some of the themes into other media.  (Of course Wake emulates music, theater, motion pictures, photography, telegraphy, radio, and television, just to name a few off the top.)  So why not a painting that is inspired by it?

Here's a press release from his current show:
Minnesota-born artist Doug Argue will present four monumental conceptual paintings in the main gallery. Argue is best known for his large-scale abstract paintings that explore infinite space with a scientific and mathematical foundation. Argue often incorporates text—as he equates letters to atoms—and rearranges them, constructing new meanings to found writing. More...
Here's his 9 1/2' X13 1/2' Hither and Thithering Waters of Night.   (I trust the title will sound familiar!)

Here's a page from his website where you can see a details blown up.

I borrowed the term, "veiling the image" from Jackson Pollock, who used it to describe his work. He had a process that often started out with archetypical images and figures as a starting point and went through an accumulative process of obscuration.  (An idea that sounds all too familiar.)

Pollock tended to improvise and therefore his art has more of the jazz musician or beat writer, but he was definitely aware of Joyce's way of layering and interlacing and was influenced by it.

The result was an effect that was highly interlaced, with no beginning and not end.  Much like the Book of Kells which
Joyce considered the closest visual analog to his work.

I just found out today that the Catholic church uses the term for placing veils over the sacred images during Lent.  (Thanks Google.)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The errors of genius

I'm still absorbed in the Declan Kiberd book Ulysses and Us, but I wanted to mention something he wrote that clarified something we'd all been talking about at one point. The way I remember our discussion (as opposed to what was actually said), we all were rather fascinated by a claim Joyce made that genius made no errors, because if a genius made an error, it was used in a way that was no longer an error. I'm pretty sure Joyce was a genius, but I got stuck on this idea, baffled by what it meant.

Kiberd talks about exactly this point. He says that in June 1904, Joyce had an encounter with a man like Bloom, the details of which are largely unrecorded."It is as if Joyce were seeking to recapture that passing moment and asking how it might have developed, before that other major event of June 1904 took over his life."

He goes on to say that Ulysses is a book obsessed with missed or insufficiently developed encounters. He says that it is "trying to restore to lost moments of history a sense of the multiple possibilities that might have flowed from them, before a single subsequent event took on the look of inevitability."

I think it's in this context of multiplicity that it's helpful to to notice Stephen Dedalus's observation that, as Kiberd paraphrases it, "a man of genius sees every error as a portal of a new discovery, an aid to the understanding of the world. We go wrong, but only in order to go right."

A wise maxim, I think for anyone involved in reading Finnegans Wake.  

Thursday, June 21, 2012

BBC podcasts

I'll get back to the Wake shortly, but my head seems to still be in Bloomsday. I've been reading Declan Kiberd's very interesting Ulysses and Us in my spare moments, and recommend taking a look at it.

I also just remembered that John had downloaded the BBC's dramatic renditions of Ulysses, and we listened to the one that centered around Barney Kiernan's pub. Excellent adaptation--the text is cut to fit, but it's all Joyce. Anyway, you have about a week or so to download it for free HERE .

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Garden Path Sentences

I was trying to think of examples of this for the group the other evening, and even though I had just written about them on another blog under parse, I failed.

A garden path sentence leads the reader to think he or she is reading one kind of meaning, but ends up reading another.

Some examples:

The man whistling tunes pianos.

The old dog the footsteps of the young.

The man who hunts ducks out on the weekend.

Got it?

I'm not sure if Joyce ever used these, but I'm fairly sure he would have enjoyed them.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Stanny--more reflections on Bloomsday

We had a great evening last night, sitting in John's beautiful home in the mountains and going through many forms of appreciating Bloomsday. I realized that it's time to read Ulysses again. It is going to seem a whole lot easier.

But watching the video at the end of the evening, I was struck again by the way that other people had to suffer for his art. I had always known that his brother Stanislaus was a bit harried by having to help his brother out. But it sounds a bit worse than that.

I always feel a bit uneasy about the fates that befall the families of famous artists. Nabokov: famous. His brother died in a concentration camp. Nabokov didn't do a particularly good job of acknowledging that. So Stanislaus didn't have it quite so bad, but I wouldn't say he had it easy either.

I think what bothered me about the video was that people describing the relationship on the video, and all the relationships that succored Joyce, really, had a bit of a chuckle about what a mess he made of their lives. I know artists' lives tend to be untidy and it's not always easy on those around them. But sometimes I think the knowing, rueful laugh by their devotees about the 'less important lives' of those who lived with them and made their success possible is a bit wrongheaded. Maybe just a moment of silent thanks to them would be more appropriate.

I just learned today that Stanislaus, who did indeed love and support his brother, even if they fought sometimes, died on June 16th, 1955.

In other words, on Bloomsday.  

Post Bloomsday Thoughts, Bloom and the Dublin Jewish Community

I had a great time, and hopefully everyone (like Moses) met with success in coming down from the mountain.
Grave of an unknown Jew in Castletroy, Limerick
Speaking of Moses--

 “Mendelssohn was a jew and Karl Marx was a jew and Mercadante and Spinoza. And the Saviour was a jew and his father was a jew....”

Seana raised an interesting question last night as to just how many Jews there were in Dublin in 1904.  

So I turned to my good friend Wikipedia. (No, it turns out, Bloom would not have been the only Jewish man in Dublin--although the Jewish population was small. )

It appears that there has been a small Jewish community in Ireland since about the thirteenth century:

By 1232, there was probably a Jewish community in Ireland, as a grant of 28 July 1232 by King Henry III to Peter de Rivel gives him the office of Treasurer and Chancellor of the Irish Exchequer, the king's ports and coast, and also "the custody of the King's Judaism in Ireland".[3] This grant contains the additional instruction that "all Jews in Ireland shall be intentive and respondent to Peter as their keeper in all things touching the king".[4] The Jews of this period probably resided in or near Dublin.

As to the Jewish population of Dublin at the time of Ulysses, it was about 2200. In the first decade of the twentieth century, there was a significant growth in the Jewish population in Ireland, increasing from 3,771 to about 4,800 from 1901 to June 16, 1904:
There was an increase in Jewish immigration to Ireland during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In 1871, the Jewish population of Ireland was 258; by 1881, it had risen to 453. Most of the immigration up to this time had come from England or Germany. In the wake of the Russian pogroms there was increased immigration, mostly from Eastern Europe (in particular Lithuania). By 1901, there were an estimated 3,771 Jews in Ireland, over half of them (2,200) residing in Dublin; and by 1904, the total Jewish population had reached an estimated 4,800. New synagogues and schools were established to cater for the immigrants, many of whom established shops and other businesses. Many of the following generation became prominent in business, academic, political and sporting circles.

The former Jewish school in Bloomfield Avenue, Portobello, Dublin.

Daniel O'Connell is best known for the campaign for Catholic Emancipation; but he also supported similar efforts for Jews. In 1846, at his insistence, the British law "De Judaismo", which prescribed a special dress for Jews, was repealed. O’Connell said: "Ireland has claims on your ancient race, it is the only country that I know of unsullied by any one act of persecution of the Jews".

During the Great Famine (1845–1852), in which approximately 1 million Irish people died, many Jews helped to organize and gave generously towards Famine relief. A Dublin newspaper, commenting in 1850, pointed out that Baron Lionel de Rothschild and his family had,
“ ...contributed during the Irish famine of 1847 ... a sum far beyond the joint contributions of the Devonshires, and Herefords, Lansdownes, Fitzwilliams and Herberts, who annually drew so many times that amount from their Irish estates.[9]
Since Ireland's Jews were city folk, businessmen, professionals and merchants, they bought their food instead of growing it and were thus not badly affected by the famine themselves.

Generally Ireland treated its Jewish population better than many other European countires. Sadly, Daniel O'Connel's assertion of Irish tolerance was not fully justified. The year 1904 saw the Limerick pogram, which caused Jews to leave Limerick for other cities. This was probably never far from on Joyce's mind when writing the Cyclops episode:

The boycott in Limerick in the first decade of the twentieth century is known as the Limerick Pogrom, and caused many Jews to leave the city. It was instigated by an influential intolerant Catholic priest, Fr. John Creagh of the Redemptorist Order. 

In 1904 a young Catholic priest, Father John Creagh, of the Redemptorist order, delivered a fiery sermon castigating Jews for their rejection of Christ, being usurers[27] and allies of the Freemasons then persecuting the Church in France, taking over the local economy, selling shoddy goods at inflated prices, to be paid for in installments. He urged Catholics "not to deal with the Jews."[27]Later, after eighty Jews had been driven from their homes, Creagh was disowned by his superiors saying that: religious persecution had no place in Ireland.[28] The Limerick Pogrom was the economic boycott waged against the small Jewish community for over two years. Keogh suggests the name derives from their previous Lithuanian experience even though no one was killed or seriously injured.[27] Limerick's Protestant community, many of whom were also traders, supported the Jews throughout the pogrom, but ultimately Limerick's Jews fled the city.[29]

A teenager, John Raleigh, was arrested by the British and briefly imprisoned for attacking the Jews' rebbe, but returned home to a welcoming throng. Limerick's Jews fled. Many went to Cork, where trans-Atlantic passenger ships docked at Cobh. They intended to travel to America. The people of Cork welcomed them into their homes. Church halls were opened to feed and house the refugees. As a result many remained. Gerald Goldberg, a son of this migration, became Lord Mayor of Cork.

The boycott was condemned by many in Ireland, among them the influential Standish O'Grady in his paper All Ireland Review, depicting Jews and Irish as "brothers in a common struggle"...
Joe Briscoe, son of Robert Briscoe, the Dublin Jewish politician, describes the Limerick episode as “an aberration in an otherwise almost perfect history of Ireland and its treatment of the Jews”.[13]

Famous Irish Jews
Chaim Herzog.png Mario Rosenstock crop.jpg
Gustav Wilhelm Wolff.jpg David Rosen.jpg
LouisBookman.png Daniel Day-Lewis 2007.jpg Geraldygoldberg2.jpg
Wolfgang Heidenfeld 1960 Hessen ArM.jpg Ronit.jpg Alan Shatter.jpg Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog 1945 portrait.jpg
Chaim Herzog • Mario Rosenstock • Gustav Wilhelm Wolff • David Rosen • Louis Bookman • Daniel Day-Lewis • Gerald Goldberg • Wolfgang Heidenfeld • Ronit Lentin • Alan Shatter • Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog

It turns out that the sixth President of Israel, Chaim Herzog was Irish...

All quotations, above are from the Wikipedia History of the Jews in Ireland and other Wikipedia links off the main article. 

I also found that the Irish Jewish community has a website: http://www.jewishireland.org/

Friday, June 15, 2012

Joyce Papers: National Library of Ireland

The Irish National Library in Dublin has recently released lots of digital copies of drafts of various Joycean works to celebrate Bloomsday 2012.  Shout out to Phillip in the James Joyce Reading Group on Goodreads for this tip.

The Joyce Papers 2002, c.1903-1928.

Early material; drafts etc. of Ulysses; proofs etc. for Finnegans Wake; the Joyce 2002 Papers fall into three broad categories: early material; notes and drafts for Ulysses; and proofs and additions to proofs for Finnegans Wake. In all there are over 500 manuscript pages and some 200 pages of proofs, together with some typescripts....

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

St. Brides

I just saw a post of a rather extraordinary image of the Irish saint St. Bride and I thought I'd share it with you and there is much Wakean about it.  I had no intention of talking about St Brides, until this moment, but she does show up all over the Wake, and this image got me going.

The leap year girls of St Brides are associated with the rainbow girls and Iseult/Issy/Isobel.

Her magic transportation partakes of the spirit of the dreamer.

The gulls below take on many appearances in Finnegans Wake, it being a coastal book, most famously crying out their three quarks for the cockolded King Mark aka dreg drugged HCE, and lending a name to one of the most famous families of subatomic particles.

The stories of Viconian ideal history are written onto the body and its perceptions, (remember Shem writing on himself) and there seems to be a bit of that here in this image.  The robes of the angels do double duty, and portray the Life of Christ.

Here's the information I found about this picture.  It was a Facebook post, so I don't know what the original source material is.

John Duncan (Scottish painter) 1866 - 1945
St. Bride, 1913
tempera on canvas 
119.38 x 142.24 cm. (47 x 56 in.)
National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh

According to the legend of the Irish Saint Bride she was transported miraculously to Bethlehem to attend the nativity of Christ. Here two angels carry the white robed saint across the sea. The seascape reflects Duncan's fascination with the Outer Hebrides and the Isle of Iona. The birds and seal provide an effective naturalistic foil for the supernatural angels overlapping the patterned border. Scenes from the life of Christ decorate the angel's robes, and may include the artist's self-portrait as the tiny clown (a holy fool) accompanying the procession of the magi on the leading angel's gown.

Wikipedia tells us "Saint Brigid of Kildare, or Brigit of Ireland (variants include Brigid, Bridget, Bridgit, Bríd and Bride), nicknamed Mary of the Gael(Irish: Naomh Bríd) (c. 451–525) is one of Ireland's patron saints along with Saints Patrick and Columba."

Alarmingly, her birthday is February 1.  That pairs her directly with Joyce himself, who was born on February 2. "Brigit's skull has been preserved in Igreja São João Baptista Lumiar (38°46′29″N 9°09′55″E.[2]), the church of St Joao Baptista at Lumiar near Lisbon airport in Portugal since 1587 and is venerated on 2nd February (not 1st February, as in Ireland).[28] "  There's even a connection with Joyce's eye problems (28 operations, I seem to recall), which did not prevent him from pursuing his artistic revelation; "in the first and second troparia of the fourth ode of the canon of the saint from the Orthodox Matins service:
Considering the beauty of the body as of no account, when one of thine eyes was destroyed thou didst rejoice, O venerable one, for thou didst desire to behold the splendour of heaven and to glorify God with the choirs of the righteous."
"Brigit may have been born in Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland. Because of the legendary quality of the earliest accounts of her life, there is much debate among many secular scholars and even faithful Christians as to the authenticity of her biographies. According to her biographers her parents were Dubhthach, a Pagan chieftain of Leinster, and Brocca, a Christian Pict and slave who had been baptised by Saint Patrick. Some accounts of her life suggest that Brigit's father was in fact from Lusitania, kidnapped by Irish pirates and brought to Ireland to work as a slave, in much the same way as Saint Patrick. Many stories also detail Brigit's and her mother's statuses as pieces of property belonging to Dubhthach, and the resulting impact on important parts of Brigit's life story."

"Brigit was adopted as an icon by 20th century feminists who admire her achievement in a patriarchal society. Her political proponents included Maud Gonne and Inghinidhe na hÉireann who promoted her as a model for women." This is fascinating given the current controversy between the women of religious orders and the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy.

This article is fascinating and I could only go into a few tidbits here.  I am sure of tons of this appear in the Wake.  Somewhere.  Or other. For future reference, it's: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brigit_of_Kildare

Friday, May 25, 2012

Joyceways to release on Bloomsday

Thought you would find this new Kickstarter project interesting:


Not soliciting, just thought it was really interesting what they are trying to accomplish.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Our latest session

Just for fun, I'm going to post some of the random, near indecipherable scribbles I took down from our last session a week ago.

Maybe someone else can make heads or tails of them...

Ed on consciousness in the Wake: And when you get to a certain point of lucidity it dissolves again.

Ann: waiting to discover the inside joke

Ed: Revealing the inside joke by concealing

The world is the joke played on itself.

We're in on the joke (as readers of the Wake).

Joyce wanted to give the world a gift, he didn't want the work turned into a pedantic mess. mask?

page 231--
Joyce will bring in  a particular language or subject for particular tones or moods. In this one, we have something from the East  

God the consolation and protection of our youth.

exercism=exercize, exorcize, aestheticism

by a prayer, by a hairsbreadth

m.d.s--my dears. Swift to Stella in letters. A private language.

a minor Irish poet--transported



moiety (look up)

Green Pastures?

Cathy--the bigger picture: Glugg, frustrated, not getting the colors. Sail away. Major writer.

Was Liffey worth the leaving? Nay

Mouth full of ecstasy/toothache/meeting women



Drug trip? laity

...Yeah, like that. And writing this out, I'm remembering that what we really got to had very little to do with this at all.

I'll try to do another post with a bit more context, if not substance...

Thursday, May 17, 2012


I thought that as I have three weeks before our next meeting I might post a few shorter posts on the last meeting. So it seemed appropriate to start by saying that John announced that he spoke drivel, and then proceeded to do so. This is not to insult his intelligence, but only to say that he was able to speak a kind of alternate of pig latin, which involves messing around with the middle of the words. As with Pig Latin, you catch some of it before you know it. I have since looked around for it on the internet, but I haven't found anyone who acknowledges it, let alone provides examples, so you'll have to trust me on this one.

Tom said that Joyce did some of this too, and I see his point up to a degree, which is that he shared a love of messing around with words--in fact, I'd say he never met a word he could just leave well enough alone. But Joyce didn't write drivel, or pig latin either. He didn't write nonsense language like Carroll. I would say that he used nonsense languages as he used every other form of language, he shaped them to his own ends. When we speak in pig latin, we are really using a formula to mangle our ordinary speech. But for Joyce, mangling the language was only in aid of bringing out meaning after meaning. It was the meanings he was mashing together, not just the syllables.   

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sin Chronicity

I just had to post this.  I don't think Jung appreciated the synchronicity in Joyce's work.  (Or at least in the lives of his readers.)  This one came on so jungianly...it's sinful... or at least fairly freudening....

I am currently reading Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer.  I came home to eat dinner after our meeting and I picked up the book and found my place and saw these words:

"I love everything that flows," said the great blind Milton of our times. I was thinking of him this morning when I awoke with a great bloody shout of joy: I was thinking of his rivers and trees and all that world of night which he is exploring. Yes, I said to myself, I too love everything that flows: rivers, sewers, lava, semen, blood, bile, words, sentences.

Eric McLuhan and Thunderwords

We had our meeting tonight, and a very meaty one it proved. But before I get to that, and as we for the moment have several posts to peruse, I thought I'd mention the quote Tom brought on the thunderwords. This is from Eric McLuhan, Marshall McLuhan's son:

"It took months of concentrated effort to begin to winkle out the thousands of words in the thunders; now, several of them have yielded thirty or more pages of words, each word denoting or alluding to a theme in the episode or an associated technology. Prior to our discovery of the thunders and their significance, Marshall McLuhan looked up to Joyce as a writer and artist of encyclopedic wisdom and eloquence unparalleled in our time.... After, he recognized in Joyce the prescient explorer, one who used patterns of linguistic energy to discern the patterns of culture and society and technology." -- Eric McLuhan

Although I'm ever hopeful that Tom and those who haven't posted here will do so, meanwhile, I thought I'd post this as representative of Tom's sense of the Wake, at least so far, as he has been quite consistent in impressing upon us the idea that language is all we have by way of apprehending reality. More on that, I will leave to Tom to say.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Vico, Language, Childhood, the Unconscious, and One Hundred Ways of theThe Dark Night

That Vico is associated with the four sided ("square wheel") of cycles is sort of a cliche of Wake scholarship.  Like many cliches it is true, as far as it goes.  However, Bishop drew my attention to a very interesting aspect of the psychological Vico and how it meshes with the Wake.  I really need to read some Vico to check into this more deeply, but this is what I have learned.  What actually is of interest in Vico is the Viconian idea of the unconscious, what Vico called "ignorance", and how the primitive consciousness comes into awareness, and how the enlightenment of full consciousness is reflected in language!

It is of special interest in the stories of the children and children's games and how they interface with sleep and the unconscious mind.  In Vico's imagination, the childhood of the world originates in a night of thick ignorance, where everything is "reveiled", as Joyce would put it.  Vico uses a term for the childhood of the human race that is usually translated as "ignorance".  But it in many ways anticipates modern psychology where childhood where one is "jung and easily freudened", is tied to the archaic, and that in turn is tied to the unconsciousness.  That must have been attractive to Joyce, who appears to have been deeply interested in how the night mind, the unconscious, represents a kind of cloud of unknowing, not just out of awareness, but forming a kind of erasure.  Certainly the term "ignorance" has an overlaid meaning, both simple lack of sophistication and knowledge on the one hand, but a dark vacuum of awareness.  Into that nothingness Vico posits the unnameable, "the fright of light" that is the first lightning spark of simultaneously, language ("O Loud") and consciousness, and the development of the individual mind (en-lightningment) on a parallel track with history.  Vico considers that the mind first frames consciousness in the form of poem and myth to react to this first flash, in confusion and fear, in "thud and blunder".  The Lord thundred from heauen: and the most high vttered his voice. ...2 SAMUEL 22:14 (1611 KING JAMES BIBLE).  Note that thundred implies both thundered, and hundred;  I have not heard this anywhere, but I suspect that's why Joyce uses a hundred letter word.

Here's a link with a discussion of the thunder words:
The hundredletter thunderwords of Finnegans Wake
For your convenience, I attach them here:

FW003 (thunder):
FW023 (thunder):
FW044 (clap):
FW090 (whore):
FW257 (shut the door):
FW414 (cough):
FW424 (Norse gods):
The tenth and last has 101 letters, making 1001 letters in all.


To start off, last time, I had remembered that S.P.Q.R. on page 229 meant something in Joyce besides Senatus PopulusQue Romanus, which means "the Senate and People of Rome" and referred to the government of the ancient Roman Republic, but also, is the emblem of the current city of Rome. (With Joyce, it always helps to know all the possibilities--or as many as you can.) But in the context of talking about Glugg, John P. Anderson in Joyce's Finnegans Wake says it also means  "small profits with quick returns"

We've been doing a lot of identifying Glugg with Shem and Shem with Joyce, but in this section, it appears Joyce is disidentifying himself with Glugg a bit. Glugg, confused, has lost his way a bit. Anderson says that here, Glugg is considering throwing in his lot with other writers who are less courageous as artists. The following play on the names of the chapters of Ulysses are in fact parodies and even travesties of them. I found a quote from Anderson around all this interesting:

Now for the worst possible anti-divine and loss of control behavior, Glugg would write for quick profits about the problems in his family that should by all rights remain confidential, as no one else's business... Note that [this] is the exact opposite of the Joyce art strategy to connect with the reader on the basis of what is common human experiences; pity and the secret cause are everybody's business.    

This author of popular trash would be a SPQR Glugg as far removed from Joyce the artist as is possible: this would be the potboiler Joyce.

Well, there are a couple of more things I wanted to get to in this brief two pages--there is some meaty stuff here. But as usual, I've run out of time, so we'll see if I manage to revisit this another day.

Fellow Wakers, feel free to supplment your own thoughts as usual.

A manhole cover in modern day Rome