It is rather confusing to establish
only two categories to the interpretations about what would it be Finnegans
To establish a working platform,
so we can move on, let's define loosely what it is. This file will deal with
"blind" visions. A "blind" vision is similar to one of the
bllind men from the Aesopus fable.
The same way as with Attempts to
See which succeeded, is a vision which managed to capture the whole picture.
List of "Blind" visions
- The Cult of Unintelligibility
- A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake
- Mythic Worlds, Modern Words
- Alchemy and Finnegans Wake
- Joyce's Finnegans Wake: The Curse of Kabbalah: Volume 1 to 10
- The hoax that joke bilked
- The Sigla of Finnegans Wake
- THE FINNEGANS WAKE NOTEBOOKS AT BUFFALO
A Blind Vision would be a one dimensional
or biased interpretation. And by biased, I mean either as a rejection or acceptance
of the work.
In the first case, rejection, I would
Cult of Unintelligibility by Ben
Lucien Burman, published at The Saturday Review in November 1rst, 1952.
In the second case, acceptance, I
would present two books from Joseph
Campbell about Joyce and Finnegans and his attack on Thornton
Wilder's play, The
Skin of Our Teeth, which nowadays is together with the second book
Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake and Mythic
Worlds, Modern Words. Alchemy is a sort of variation on the ideas
Incidentally, The original play of
Thornton Wilder is to me, a successful
attempt to see what kind of animal Finnegans
Wake was, or is.
The hoax that joke bilked originated
a thesis which is very interesting to be read.
Sigla of Finnegans Wake is a product of a study by Prof. Roland
McHugh over the Finnegans
Wake Notebooks at Buffalo and booth are the quintessential examples
of a "Blind" approach to Joyce, or Finnegans.
Why Joseph Campbell is so categorized?
The contents of the two books when
it comes to Finnegans do not match. The symbolism of S,
M, P and dot and square
symbol for Finnegans, is not touched in either book
Campbell is to literature what pasta
is to Italian cuisine. It doesn`t matter what you are eating, it will be always
Nothing wrong with that... I love
pasta and so does the world... but there are so many other ways to serve a meal...
and if you only take pasta you should watch your weight and your blood levels
and your heart...
Interesting observation from James
S.Atherton, in his the
Books at the Wake introduction, page 19, quoting Miss Weaver:
The most detailed of Joyce's explanations
are contained in his letters to Miss Weaver to whom he sent each section as
it was completed, and often accompanied it with a note of explanation. Miss
Weaver is always ready to help students of Joyce's work, and when I wrote to
her some time ago to ask her opinion of the various interpretations of the Wake
she replied, 'I own that the Skeleton Key, though extremely useful in many ways,
has its irritating features-at least it has to me. The authors seem to me to
read unwarranted things into the book. In particular their ascription of the
whole thing to a dream of HCE seems to me nonsensical . . My view is that Mr.
Joyce did not intend the book to be looked upon as the dream of any one character,
but that he regarded the dream form with its shiftings and changes and chances
as a convenient device, allowing the freest scope to introduce any material
he wished--and suited to a night-piece.' Another account of Finnegans Wake was
given by Miss Weaver to Professor Joseph Prescott to whom she wrote, 'In the
summer of 1923 when Mr. Joyce was staying with his family iii England he told
me he wanted to write a book which should be a kind of universal history and
I typed for him a few preliminary sketches he had made for isolated characters
in the book
Another interesting observation,
this time from William
York Tindall in his A
Reader's Guide to Finnegans Wake:(Introduction,
"Writing my book, I did not
consult critical commentaries on the Wake; for my object, not to say
again what others have said, was to say what I and my committee have to say.
This book is not a summary of its predecessors or their replacement but their
supplement. there are nine-and-sixty ways of looking at the Wake and
all of them are right, in part at least - wrong too, in part. I kept away from
Campbell and Robinson's Skeleton Key, which helped me long ago, until
I was through with my job. Reopening it then, I found that these pioneers, Campbell
and Robinson, say many things that they do not. "The hoax that joke
bilked," like God's house, has many dimmansions" (367.27.Cf. Ulysses,
Insofar as I am a critic, I am
a text man, concerned less with Joyce than with what he wrote. Once somebody
, reprinting something of mine in his anthology of critical types, called me
a formalist. Perhaps. But categories discourage me, and formalist is a dirty
word in Russia.
Reading my book over, I find it
hard going. The clutter of page and line references that I thought,(*) and
still think, useful gets in the way of easy reading. But this book, not for
that, is for consultation - to hold in one hand with the wake in the
other, while the eye, as at a tennis match, moves to and fro. Not for the dozen
or so experts in the Wake, this book is designed "for the uniformication
of young persons" (529.7-8) - making them as uniform and busy as ants -
and others older who have something to learn.
Necessarily I have been selective
in my survey of the Wake; for a book so small on a book so large has
room for high spots alone. Running down the page, I pecked those words an paragraphs
that, in my opinion, are essential for knowing what is going on. If one had
world enough and wit, and the capacity, one could write a book on each chapter
of the Wake. Things that I leave out are left out for lack of space at a times,
but at other times for lack of knowledge. After all, what authority on the Wake
knows the half of it? Which half is the critical question. At the end of each
of my chapters, in a kind of dump, I consider matters omitted for the sake of
neatness from the body of the chapter."
Alchemy and Finnegans
Wake & Cabala
By extensions of what was said about
Campbell we could also categorize as blind visions:
and Finnegans Wake
Finnegans Wake: The Curse of Kabbalah: Volume 1 to 10
is a pizzeria
hoax that joke bilked
This very interesting thesis is neither
pro or against, but somewhat dismiss the book as a "must book", with
lots of reason it seems. Perhaps Joyce simply pulled our legs and this whole
thing is the greatest hoax ever... I hesitated putting it here as "blind",
but perhaps it is the best yet attempt to see...
Department of English
McGill University, Montréal
This phrase from Finegans originated
a very interesting thesis (indicated above) that sort of positions the severe
critic embodied in the above phrase of WI Tindal about such analysts as Campbell
and Robinson, and I quote from there:
The critical pronouncement I obviously
take most issue with is Campbell's and Robinson's ever-emphatic "there
are no nonsense syllables in Joyce!" (360, italics patently their own).
8Glibly I can begin to respond by suggesting it will be a frabjous day in hell
before these keymasters can explicate and annotate away the preposterous nature
of a "word" like "Bothallchoractorschumminaroundgansmuminarumdrumstrumtruminahmptadumpwaultopoofoolooderamaunsturnup!"
(FW 314.08-9); but of course, the next two chapters of this discussion constitute
a lengthier, though perhaps only somewhat less irreverent rebuttal to such an
absolute; so 1 may, for the moment, put this cornplaint aside
In their Skeleton Key Campbell
and Robinson explain that this particular passage from the Wake constitutes
a scene of name-calling, "Box and Cox, huing and crying at each other,
about 11:32 of clock" (315) : a pretty sparse "translation",
I think, by anyone's measure. Seizing upon the most concrete (and deceptively
simple) detail, the time of 11:32, and looking back to the passage, we do not
find the arabic numerals anywhere in the text, and the closest written English
has an extra "su" and an "O" where a "w" ought
to be: "eleven thirsty too." To read "eleven thirsty too"
as "11:32" involves conscious decisions to omit and to replace. Where
does "a process of mnemonic linking" (Bishop 9) end and revision begin?A
substitute text has been imagined between the "paraphrase" (Skeleton
Key) and what might be called the "paraphasic" (Finnegans Wake). This
fabricated middle text is necessary for this anti-nonsensical, or simply "sensical"
Campbell and Robinson bilk in
the crudest sense, I think, by way of the word's "evading payment"
connotation, but they have been duped themselves for investing so rnuch in a
text which admits itself to be a hoax. A nonsensical reading, though, operates
on a faithfully literal level but stays aware of ironies. "It tells"
what, this "must book" ?
Sigla of Finnegans Wake
The sigla of Finnegans wake
University of Texas Press, 1976
vi, 150 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
URL to cite for this work: http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/JoyceColl.McHughSigla
which can be seen on Amazon summarizes perfectly why this book is a "blind"
attempt to "see" Finnegans or Joyce, and I quote:
Roland McHugh is an admirable
Joyce scholar and most certainly knows more about the Wake than I, but I must
say this book is not at all what I was looking for in an annotated guide. I
was expecting the format of Ulysses Annotated, but instead was confronted with
a very different mode of operation. McHugh's book is very useful in two areas,
those being 1.)Foreign Words and 2.)Joyce's compound words. This
is because the author presents the annotations as if they were personal notes
in his own copy of the Wake, rather than full explications as found in Ulysses
Annotated. McHugh argues that this will force the reader to make
his own connections and lead to more frutiful conclusions, but the same goal
could be accomplished by simply doing what McHugh has done, read FW, study it,
and make notes of your own. Any beginner who is not familiar with some of the
primary themes of the Wake will be sorely disappointed. The best example of
the way McHugh skims over these is found in the preface (which I believe can
be previewed on this site), where he shows how in a regular annotated guide
a reference to Giambattista Vico would take up 9 lines of text, briefly explaining
his theory, and in his own method it is simply referred to as 'Vico'. This reference
would mean absolutely nothing to a reader unfamiliar with Vico. For a reader
seeking to add a little convenience to their own personal study, this is perfect.
For the reader seeking (relatively) full explanations of historical and literary
allusions and such, this is most certainly not the guide to get. This book would
have been exponentially more useful had it simply been integrated into the text
of FW, ie one page of FW, one page of annotations.
The highlight in red is the effect
of the fact that McHugh based his book on the
Buffalo notebooks and simply glorified what Mme. France Raphael did
as can be figured in the following note at the bottom:
Notes: More so than in other
notebooks, the initial letters of some words are inscribed without lead (that
is, the writing left an impression but no lead). There are stains on p. .
Mme France Raphael, Joyce's amanuensis in Paris, transcribed the notes Joyce
did not cross through in crayon from this notebook in Buffalo MS VI.C.3, pp.
He transcribed from the notebooks,
but he created a Lexycon of his own, reversing
what Alan Turing
did, i.e., Mr.McHugh encrypts
the text... which goes very much in the direction of THE
CULT OF UNINTELLIGIBILITY
One amazing fact that is that
he completely misses the point about the meaning of the square which symbolizes
I have no intention or reviewing or criticizing his book, but I will do so about
his interpretation of the square and the triangle. It is even more amazing because
he quotes Victor Hugo`s about the
relation which has between his printing invention and Notre Dame Cathedral and
Clive Hart's observation that it is a mandala! The triangle is obviously the
feminine and the square the masculin.
The original text has been linearized
by Contemporary Literature Press and let's use it for the sake
of pairing with Mr.McHugh's text:
IV of Finnegans Wake
You go to page 993 of this pdf file
and you will have FW593 which
you can compare with your page 593 of any edition of Finnegans, because differently
from Ulysses, they never change.
So, Chapter 8 of
Mr.McHugh's text, Book IV of Finnegans, technically goes from 593.01
to 628.16 and his "encryption" is partially decoded because
he uses in his Lexycon the method of comparing lines as if they were entities
with concepts. He replaces also the names of the characters for the symbols
he found for them on the Buffalo Notebooks. One problem, though, is that he
adds out of nothing a symbol which in his notes has never have been at this
existed as it can be seen in the introduction of
Finnegans edited by Oxford Classics) and was identified by Prof. Cliver
Hart as a "temporal cycle" that has not been defined anywhere, as
it can be found at page 133, where he discusses "The
Sigla Approach to Finnegans Wake Exegesis"
He candidly states,
and I quote:
"Unfortunately, despite my
differentiation of the sigla in this account, there is no absolute determinant
as to what is, or what is not, a siglum in the manuscripts. Joyce made numerous
odd signs and doodies which might theoretically qualify for inclusion but which
do not assist our understanding of FW, as far as I am able to judge.
It seems a pity to trail off in this way but of course the blurred margin is
a predictable aspect of Joyce. My object in any case has been to increase the
accessibility of FW to the reader rather than to dictate rules for exegetes.
Exegesis is necessary, but it presents a danger of distracting from its subject:
there is no substitute for direct contact with the text. I must also observe
that to appreciate the book fully one needs to live in Dublin. I earnestly recommend
Finnegans Wake, as a human experience unlike any other."
First, let's understand in a non
encrypted way what Part IV is about taking it from Critical
Companion to James Joyce: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work.
By A. Nicholas Fargnoli,Vice-President of the James Joyce Society and Professor
of Theology and English A Nicholas Fargnoli,Michael Patrick Gillespie
IV (FW 593.1628.16) page 121 pdf or 106 text
The last book of Finnegans Wake consists
of only one chapter. Starting with the triple repetition of the Sanskrit word
Sandhyas (which refers to the twilight before dawn), the chapter marks a period
of promise and renewal that inaugurates the coming of a new day and a new age:
"it is our hour orrisings" (FW 598.13). The earth itself sings
out in praise through the voices of 29 girls celebrating the appearance of Saint
Kevin (Shaun), who, among other actions, consecrates the waters of regeneration
Embedded within the chapter's main
themes of change and rejuvenation, however, is the issue of the perception of
truth. This issue is of central importance in the encounter between Balkelly,
theArchdruid (see both under Characters, below) and St. Patrick (FW 611.4-612.36),
an episode anticipated by the meeting between Muta and Juva that occurs immediately
before the encounter (FW609.24-610.32). (Muta and Juva are variants of
theJute/Mutt-Shem/Shaun conflict throughout the Wake.)
The issue of the perception of truth
also relates to Finnegans Wake and to the mystery of artistic expression. In
a letter to Frank Budgen, dated August 20, 1939 (three and a half months after
the Wake's publication), Joyce explained his meaning behind the references to
St. Patrick and the archdruid Balkelly (George BERKELEY) when he wrote:"Much
more is intended in the colloquy between Berkeley the arch druid and his pidgin
speech and Patrick the arch priest and his Nippon English. It is also the defense
and indictment of the book itself, B's theory of colours and Patrick's practical
solution of the problem. Hence the phrase in the preceding Mutt and Jeff banter
'Dies is Dorminus master' = Deus est Dominus noster plus the day is
Lord oversleep, i.e. when it days" (Letters, I.406).
The episode informally titled "St. Patrick and the Druid" (FW 611.4-612.36)
is based upon accounts of St. Patrick's return to Ireland as a missionary, his
lighting a fire at Slaney on Holy Saturday in defiance of the Irish king Leary,
and his confrontation with Leary's arch druid. "St. Patrick and the Druid"
is one of the earliest passages Joyce composed for Finnegans Wake (see Letters,
In Joyce's version of events, Paddrock
(St.Patrick) and Balkelly (representing the archdruid, but also evoking associations
with the 18th-centuryphilosopher George Berkeley) argue over theological and
philosophical beliefs. Their dispute centers upon differing conceptions of space
and time, and both the shamrock and the rainbow serve as material illustrations
at key points in the argument. The shamrock recalls the story of St. Patrick's
use of it to explain the central mystery of the Christian faith, the Holy Trinity
(three persons in one God);the rainbow has obvious Old Testament associations
with Noah and the Flood. These parallels are central to the theme of rebirth
that runs through Finnegans Wake. Paddrock seems to triumph over the Archdruid
Balkelly, although, as is the case with most episodes in Finnegans Wake, the
language of the narrative so obscures the event that the results remain inconclusive.
After the debate between Balkelly and St.Patrick, the focus turns to Anna Livia
Plurabelle, to renewal, and to a new day. Anna Livia speaks, first through her
letter (FW 615.12-619.16), which she signs "Alma Luvia, Pollabella"
(FW 619.16),and then in her monologue (FW 619.20-628.16).Anna Livia Plurabelle's
signature resonates with meaning and contains imagery expressing the character
and role she plays throughout the Wake. Alma(in Latin) means "nourisher";
Luvia, a play on words - Livia, life/Liffey, and alluvial, material deposited
by a river, as is her letter in the post(Anna is "sea silt" [FW 628.4]);
polla (in Italian)means "spring" or "source" (and pollo
means "chicken," implying an allusion to the hen motif); and bella,
a beautiful woman. Anna is the nourishing spring flowing into the sea, depositing
her silt and her leaves (her pages) and her memory: "My leaves have drifted
from me. All. But one clings still. I'll bear it on me. To remind me of. Lff!"
(FW 628.6-7). Alone, and as the River Liffey, she speaks her final words and
flows into the sea.
was at stake
Dies is Dorminus master' = Deus
est Dominus noster plus the day is Lord oversleep, i.e. when it days"
Joyce and the Nineteenth-Century French Novel - Finn Fordham,Rita
Sakr Rita Sakr
To understand the presentation of
St. Patrick in the last chapter of the Wake, one must first consider
the Archdruid's argument. He asserts that, while fallen man can only see the
light that reflects off objects, "for numpa one puradoxed seer in seventh
degree of wisdon of Entis-Onton he savvy inside true inwardness of reality,
the Ding hvad in idself id est all objects (of panepiwor) allside showed themselves
in trues coloribus resplendent with sextuple Gloria of Light actually retained,
untisintus, inside them (obs of epiwo)" (FW 611.19-24) It is important
to recognise the extent to which Joyce associates the pompous Archdruid with
young, egotistical Stephen Dedalus. As the reference to the epiphany in the
word "panepiphanal" suggests, Joyce is harking back to the days when
he could gaze in the object and see the radiance of its soul. One might read
the Archdruid's argument as an inversion of the ending of the Tentation,
because, rather than "the halo and the rainbow are natural phenomena of
the same kind" in that both are the products of the diffraction of light.
But just as these phenomena are fleeting, so the trinity suggested by the end
of the sentence cannot sustain itself. The words "halo cast" suggest
both "holy ghost" and "holocaust". This invocation of the
notion of burning suggests that the completion of the trinity is also its destruction.
I have offered these readings of
the conclusion of the Tentation and teh dispute between the Arachdruid and St.Patrick
in order to suggest that the Archdruid is similar to Bouvard and Pecuchet and
that St. Patrick is similar to St. Anthony. Like Bouvard and Pecouchet, te Archdruid
believes that he can find the truth that lies within, the thing in itself, but,
as with Bouvard and Pecuchet, this belief is hown to be false. The parallel
between the Archdruid and Stephen Dedalus suggests that such failure can ultimately
only lead to despair and resignation. Indeed, one might connect Bouvard and
Pecuchet's decision to become copyists with Stephen's numerous recognitions
of the fact that he is continually repeating himself in Ulysses. St. Patrick
is similar to St. Anthony insofar as he recognises that, rather than being superior
to the world, he is actually part of it. Consequently, the best way to understand
the world is to embrace it as fully as possible. Just as St. Anthony longs to
be every object in nature, so St. Patrick, like Leopold Boom before him, strives
to bond with his fellow man and his fellow woman. Consequentely, if Archdruid
and Bouvard and Pecuchet are to be associated with a despairing treatment of
language in which words are simply empty repetitions which offer no access to
the essential truth, then St. Patrick and St. Anthony should be associated with
a more hopeful treatment of language which celebrates the immense potential
for new linguistic combinations and considers the truth to be the totality of
Yet, by virtue of its status as one
of the Shem-Shaum dialogues, one must be hesitant in declaring St. Patrick to
have achieved a definitive victory over the Archdruid. there is an important
sense in which, in completing his trinity, in pointing to the vast, stable synthesis
that is god, St. Patrick brings the fluid heterogeneous Wake to an end. As Joyce
wrote to Budgen, "Patrick's practical solution" to the problem of
"B's theory of colours" is also the "indictment" of the
book (LI 406) in the Mutt and Juva dialogue, Joyce points out that this phrase
is a play on "Deus est Dominus noster", Latin for "God is our
Lord," and then adds that "the days is Lord over sleep" (LI 406).
One might assume from this that Patrick, in prying to God, brings about the
dawn which marks the end of the Wake. That Patrick's 'practical solution"
is not however, a permanent solution is suggested by the idea that a day must
follow night so night must follow day. After Juva has declared that God is the
Lord and that he commands the darkness, Muta responds by saying "Diminussed
aster!" (FW 609.30). As must be the case with a novel whose last sentence
loops back into its first, even the end of the book is only a temporary respite.
this notion of circularity can be found in the conclusions of both Bouvard and
Pecuchet and the Tentation. Just as Bouvard and Pecuchet end their story by
settling back into the office life from which they had sought to escape, so
St. Anthony resumes his devotions after his temptation. While the former conclusion
suggests an endless process of rewriting, the latter conclusion suggests an
endless process of rereading. Just as St. Patrick and the Archdruid must continually
re stage the argument they have in the last book of the Wake, so the endless
endings to Bouvard and Pecuchet and the Tentation can also be regarded as complementary.
Since all these works deny the possibility of a definitive conclusion, one might
interpret both Blaubert and Joyce to be arguing that, instead of siding with
one polarity, one should listen to the ongoing dialogue between the two.
I have attempted to show that one
must look at both Bouvard and Pecuchet and the Tentation in order to understand
the Flaubertian influence on Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. La Tentation de Saint
Antoine remains one of Flaubert's lest read works, but Joyce evidently admired
it enough to borrow form it in "Circe" so it cannot simply be put
to one side In looking at all Flaubert's works one can see that, rather than
embracing absolutes, rather than defining himself rigidly as a realist or a
satirist, he sought to operate between polarities. Joyce responded to this notion
by drawing from the full range of his precursor's oeuvre. To the extent that
the moments in Ulysses and Finnegans Wake which present despairing treatment
of language can be connected to Bouvard and Pecuchet, so the moments in those
novels in which a hopeful treatment of language is presented can be connected
to the Tentation.