Tuesday, September 5, 2017

1st reading of Finnegans Wake - Completed 9/5/2017

Today I completed a 48 year goal - to read Finnegans Wake by James Joyce!

I have to say that this gave me a feeling like none other. As I read the final pages (the all-encompassing soliloquy of Anna Livia Plurabelle), a sense of great well-being came over me, a sense of the connectedness of all things - as trite as that may sound,  It seemed that I was ideally located in time and having a wonderful life with a wonderful wife and a wonderful family.  I felt really, really good.

The book, being absorbed with cycles has me contemplating my next passes through Finnegans Wake. I feel now that I have a nominal sense of the book, how to approach it, how to read it and mainly, how to enjoy it as a phenomenon of reading pleasure (on many levels).

My next move will be to listen through the book on Audible.com free trial (it is available there.)
Beyond that, I now have favorite parts and chapters to revisit at will.

Happy day!

Also, I finished 10 days ahead of my schedule and just in time for my start back to school tomorrow (two advanced poetry classes.)

Sunday, August 27, 2017

some meditations on page 555

This is the first page of the last chapter in book 3; the last chapter before the final, fourth book of the Wake.

It occurred to me as I read and re-read this page, my head filling with ideas and musings prompted by the words of the page, their lay-out and their brilliance that each page or each passage of Finnegans Wake is like a work of art, or poem to itself. Each passage benefits from rereading, analysis and enjoyment of the text's poetry, music and sheer depth.

This again brings me to what is so stunning about the book.  I have long thought of writing a long, integrated, single poem book, but what chance to I have to write something so wonderful as this?  It's a novel, a work of art, a poem, dream-literature, commentary on all of history and many more things. Its just overwhelming and seems IMPOSSIBLE.  Joyce's dogged persistence in his art is quite amazing to me, more and more as I proceed.  And I know, I will need to read it more and more, again and again to fully appreciate the Big Picture.

Friday, August 25, 2017

I found it! My favorite word in all of Finnegans Wake

Page 542


"Sapphrageta and Consciencia were undecidedly attached to me but the maugher machrees and the auntieparthenopes my schwalby words with litted spongelets set their soakeye pokeys and botchbons afume: Fletcher-Flemmings, elisaboth, how interquackingly they rogated me, their golden one, I hesitant made replique: Mesdemdes to leursieuresponsor; and who in hillsaide, don't let flyfire till you see their whites of the bunkers eyes!"

I believe that this is HCE going on about his "indiscretion" in the park, addressing the intolerable four old judges.

interquackeringly is a disassembled and reassembled word, being the word "interrogated" with the "rogated" split off and placed two words later.  "Inter" is conjoined with "quackingly", giving the girls interrogating him the sense of a poultry flock.  Very crazy.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

pages 474 - 500 Book 3, Chapter 3

The four judges rip into Shaun / HCE, taking turns making very strange pronouncements as HCE goes to sleep / dies / enters a dream (take your pick)

Now that I am view of the end of FW, I am getting that vanishing point phenomenon. The more I read, the farther off the end seems.  I am down to the last 162 pages, I guess it is.  Its like the old saw from IT Project Management: "The last 10% of the project takes 90% of the time."   I am feeling that for sure.

On the plus side, the reading is still quite amazing.

From page 453:

"I'll make ye all an easter hummingsphere of myself the moment that you name the way."

"the rest of your blatherumskite"

"do you want trippings for when you've Paris inspire your hat?"


"Deck the diamants that never die!"

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

end of book 3, chapter 2 164-274

We say a long goodbye to Jaun, sending him verbosely, musically out into night becoming day in Dublin.  This follows his sermonising and leave-taking.  Metaphorically, I guess, he is dying, it was his wake, too and that's it for him.

This chapter was very mellifluous with many gigantic run on sentences, some encompassing two pages and more, of Irish gab.

On we continue!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Positive Benefits of Finnegans Wake pages 254 -264

continuing on mainly in soliloquy, first person, Jaun / Juan? lecturing of the young ladies

Some reflections on Finnegans Wake in general:

I note that my reading acuity and analytic ability has improved by the reading of Finnegans Wake. It requires such focus and be-here-now-ness that I think it has generally improved my ability to interpret and consume text.

When I now read other works, such as poetry and other novels, essays and articles, my comprehension is much improved by the improved focus that I have developed.  I can easily concentrate, uninterruptedly through pages of a text without diversion.  I have improved my acuity by reading the Wake.

FW requires you to attend to every word and not to assimilate general meaning from context.  Since nearly each word in the text is altered artistically in some way, one has to consider the words one-by-one and not as simply part of a sentence or clause.  In order to do justice to Joyce's work requires you to relearn how to read.  No more of that speed reading scanning.  Read-interpret, read-interpret, .... assimilate.  Its very different from immediate apprehension.

FW also requests of you a higher form of interpretation than most texts.  One needs to consider the current word on many levels - literal, narrative, historical, novel-context, dream vs. waking, mythical context, theoretical context (e.g. Vico, etc).   To read it, you have to adjust your mental focus across all of time and literature. Wow.

So, other texts, when consumed simultaneously, seem quite 'transparent' to use an au courant term.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Chapter 2, Book 3 p. 429 to 454 In which we enter first person

So here we have a first person narrative (for the first time, I think). It seems to slide between "Jaunty Jaun"  (a combination of Shem and Shaun?) and Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker, but is indeed first person until there seems to be a re-institution of 3rd person on page 454.

The flow of the monolog is quite traversible to me, back into the barroom 'gift of gab' Irish musical monolog which travels from thought to thought, elaborating colorfully the thoughts (in dream) of the narrator, who is lecturing some young ladies on behavior in a very multivariate fashion.  Mind-boggling?  Yes, quite.

page 130

.........now you, Jaun, asking kindily (hillo, missies!) after there howareyous at all with those of their dolly-begs (and where's Agatha's lamb? and how are Bernadetta's columbillas? and Juliennaw's tubberbunnies? and Eulalina's nuggerfunnies?) he next went on (finefeelingfit!) to drop a few stray remarks anent their personal appearances and the contrary tastes displayed in the tight kittycasques and their smart fricky-frockies, asking coy after slow one had she rea Irish legginds and gently reproving one that the ham of her hom could seen below her hem and whispering aside, as lavariant, that the hook of her hum was open a bittock at her back to have a sideeye to that, hom, (and all of course just to fill up a form out of pure human kindness an in a sprite of fun) for Jaun, by the way, was by the way of becoming (I think, I hope he was) the most purely human being that ever was called man, loving all up and down creation...........

We begin to worry about the author's and Jaun's intentions with the young ladies and about the paternalistic, unhealthy sexual viewpoint underlying.  This echoes the previous accounts of HCE's transgressions with young girls in the park, that landed him in court.

This passage on 441 caught my eye

La Dreeping! Die Droopink! The inimitable in puresuet of the inevitable! There is nothing to touch it, we are taucht, unless she'd care for a mouthpull of white pudding for the wih is on here rose marine and the lunchlight in her eye, so when you pet the rollingpin write my name on the pie.

and this on page 442 is just great:

(if I came any quicker I'll be right back before I left)

There's much more great stuff in this passage, but I will leave it at that.  I will enjoy revisiting all of this.  Very fluid, yet confounding.