Tuesday, May 15, 2012


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 

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