Sunday, February 19, 2012

The End of Book One

Although we met last Wednesday, I've been kind of holding off on writing up the meeting (or can pretend this was the reason, anyway) to see if Leslie would have time before her Arctic Lights tour to put up her blog post of the dinner she so deliciously put together for us. And just as I was thinking that I should get a few other items out of the way, lo, it has come to pass! So hie thee on over to eat.sing.ride to get the recipe of that fine repast. You can also get a sense of the group members as three of them are photographed there. (Not me, fortunately.)

So Leslie was inspired to make stew, Cathy was inspired to make blancmange for dessert--this was partly due to the not so Irish Downton Abbey, but also to the fact that she learned the Irish also make blancmange from an Irish seaweed called carrageen moss. I had first thought that she had found this as one of the gifts in the section we just finished, but in fact it was due to her own research into the matter. She duely found some of this stuff in town, popular here because it is a vegetarian thickener that can be used instead of gelatin, and proceeded to make a light and delicious dessert. (I should mention that not out of diligence, but in a hunt to remember where she had got this idea, I can attest that both blancmange and carrageen moss can be found within the universe that is Finnegans Wake.)

And I got a blog post for another blog I do on what was one of the gifts--pig iron , though Joyce has it as one word. "A brazen nose and pigiron mittens for Johnny Walker Beg".

Many gifts to us, then, and let us hope that these are not so ruinous and indicative of destiny as ALPs to her children. I asked in this meeting if we had talked the last time about ALP as Pandora, and no we hadn't--although we had talked about HCE as Gulliver. In any case, the feminine that looses the troubles of the world on us is also one of Anna Livia's aspects, according to one of the online sources I use here.

The 'official' part of the meeting began with Tom reading to us from a letter Jung wrote Joyce about Ulysses, congratulating and thanking him for it, while at the same time saying what a cursed struggle he'd had with it. It was not so much a damning with faint praise as it was a praising with faint damns.

And an  amusing and encouraging thing for  me was a rare quote he had from Nora Joyce, "Oh, Jim never understood women at all." This is a statement I tend to concur with.

We had only one short passage to read before we were able to have the rare treat of the master reading his own work, an audio recording that had been set to a strange youtube, dug up by the ever resourceful PQ of A Building Roam . I'll add the video here:

PQ also has a very meaty post on Robert Anton Wilson as his latest entry--which of course has some passing reference to Joyce as well.

As to the recording, we found among other things that it was easier to differentiate the two washerwomen in Joyce's reading of the conversation. It was actually very beautiful.

We finished up our evening with Tom reading Joseph Campbell's synopsis of the first book, with some recognition and some puzzlement on our parts. The general consensus is that we are getting better at this as we go along.

Let's hope so...


  1. I've just found this good site about the work of George Moore.


    He influenced Joyce considerably and was considered to be a more "European" writer than his contemporaries.

    If a small amount of carrageen moss is put into a container of hot water for a while it is very useful as a good skin toner in a bath or shower. Also excellent in a tisane with fresh ginger and lemon (honey optional) for helping to soothe a cough.

  2. Thank you, Maria. I have only heard about Moore, tough not in connection with Joyce, though others in the group who are more familiar with Joyce's biography than I am may have.

    The caregeen moss suggestions are welcome. I was thinking I might even do a blog post about it at some point.

  3. Finally got up enough head of steam to post about Joyce and the possible impact of his being out of copyright.

    As for Jung...

    Speech fails...

  4. I've just put up a post on "Moderntwist2" about Joyce, Dublin and identity. It would be interesting to know how very young people view him today.

  5. I am not sure how young you mean by very young, Maria, but PQ of A Building Roam in the sidebar is in his twenties, and he always has interesting things to say about Joyce. And we have an occasional visitor in his early twenties to our group who seems to like him. They're both pretty literary guys, though. I work in a bookstore, and I don't see a lot of Joyce reading on the staff.

  6. Love your blog! I'm a Wake fan who's just made it to Book 2, Chapter 3. I can assure you you're in for fun in Book 2. "The Mime of Mick, Nick, and the Maggies" is one of the most sublime passages I've yet read in this wonderful, maddening book.

    Keep up the good work!

    1. Great to have you aboard, Shem. As you're just a bit ahead of us, maybe you can help us out with your own point of view here as we go. I will be posting about our beginning book two this past week within the next couple of days, I hope.

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  8. Thanks for the welcome! I'm jealous of you having others with whom to discuss the Wake, so I'll be interested to see where your explorations take you.

    Incidentally, I've been checking around for Wake resources, and was dismayed to come across this hatchet job:

    I'm as open minded as the next guy, but I can't see how anyone can be proud of dismissing any novel in such a callous manner without even having read the book.

    I look forward to further discussions of the Wake!

  9. Well, you can't really let the Wake detractors get to you, because people enjoy shaking their head at the book.

    On the plus side of the review, though, one of the quotes has "twitterlitter" in it. At our last meeting, we found the word "robot". Joyce anticipated everything.n