Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Poldy's book

For various reasons, some collective and some personal, I seem to be deeply disoriented right now. So, after seeing Ed's last post, and  the one I'm going to mention, I thought yesterday was Bloomsday and that in my distraction, I had missed it. Right day, wrong month.

Well, regardless, this conception or confection of the LiberateUlysses Collective looks pretty cool. Check it out.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Coin of the Realm

Joyce family split over error on new coin

Grand nephew says Dubliners are pleased to honour Joyce and proud of his writing...

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Just noticed this very nice short essay on the Wake on a blog I visit sometimes, but which usually has nothing at all to do with Finnegans Wake. The slightly mysterious Pykk is worth reading in its own right...

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


I've been a bit too busy to think much less post about our last meeting and Wake discussion. But I thought I'd at least mention a felicitous moment. In another book discussion I was involved in this past month or so, we undertook to read The Expedition of Humphry Clinker, by Tobias Smollett. An expedition I actually only got halfway through, but never mind. I happened to be with a couple of my fellow Wakers directly after the discussion, and it was only then that I realized--or it was realized for me, I forget which--that the very title of the book was a good old HCE find, given that Joyce never seems to care much about letter order here.

Given this, I of course began to wonder if Smollett might show up in Joyce in other ways. A quick web search reveals that the answer comes as early as page 29, lines 4-8:

“(Ivoeh!) the breezy side (for showm!), the height of Brewster’s chimpney and as broad below as Phineas Barnum; humph — ing his share of the showthers is senken on him he’s such a grandfallar, with a pocked wife in pickle that’s a flyfire and three lice nittle clinkers, two twilling bugs and one midgit pucelle.”

Finnegans Wiki expands upon that phrase "lice nittle clinkers" HERE . It mentions Humphry Clinker, and also tells us that Smollett=smolt, or salmon, which is nice.

So Joyce certainly knew Smollett's work (who is surprised?) and even had a copy of Roderick Random in his Trieste library. And it was interesting in the portion of Clinker I read to see some early forms of the word play that would later show up in Joyce, although Joyce of course takes this to the nth degree.

In fact...I just came across this interview with the poet Michael Graves (Happy National Poetry Month, by the way) in which he quotes his mentor James Wright:

He said Tobias Smollet wrote as if he had an erection and all the blood in his body had rushed to it. He also said Smollet's epistolary novel Humphrey Clinker was an influence on the deliberate mispellings of Finnegans Wake.

So you don't have to take my word for it.