FW & The Bible

Take a moment and ponder about Catholicism and James Joyce

As we can see at page 189, chapter 8, from James S Atherton the Books at the Wake:

The Old Testament
'Old dustamount' (359.II)

I have already suggested that the basic axiom underlying Finnegans Wake is that the artist is the God of his creation.1 Joyce seems to have gone a step further than that and considered that the work on which he was engaged was itself a new sacred book. 'I go', he wrote in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, 'to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.'2 Finnegans Wake was to be the fulfillment of this promise. It was to contain within itself all the sacred books which had ever been written. The method which Joyce adopted to make his book subsume all others was his customary one of selecting fragments from all he could find and distributing the fragments in his own pages. Its success depended on the skill with which the fragments were selected, transformed, and redistributed; and Joyce wrote, 'I am quite content to go down to posterity as a scissors and paste man for that seems to me a harsh but not unjust description.'3 He was, in fact, aware of his own defects and chose his methods with deliberation.
But it is impossible to say whether or not Joyce really set out to include references to all the world's sacred books in the Wake. Since he usually aimed at completeness the probability seems to be that he tried to fit them all in. But the number of books which have at one time and place or another been considered sacred is so large, and the obscurity of many of these books so great, that it would require an enormous amount of research to say with any precision what proportion of the whole is mentioned in Finnegans Wake. There are, for example, the forty-nine volumes edited by Max Müller with the general title The Sacred Books of the East, and the hundred and thirty-six volumes of the Theravada Canon which have been published by the Pali Text Society in English translation: and in both cases the editors point out that the
1 See above: 'The Structural Books', p. 27.
2A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Travelers' Library ed., p. 238.
3Letters, p. 297. Letter to George Antheil, dated '3 January 1931'.
books translated are not the entire body of works that could have been included but just a selection. It therefore appears that Joyce's 'ideal reader' must possess not only an 'ideal insomnia' but an ideal library. Furthermore he must be able to read the books for Joyce sometimes quotes from them in the original language, as will be seen later in this chapter. He is known to have asked for words in eastern languages - presumably so as to include them in his book. He wrote to Miss Weaver that 'A Chinese student sent me some letterwords I had asked for. The last one is . It means "mountain" and is called "Chin", the common people's way of pronouncing Hin or Fin." 1The sign used here is the one which Joyce employed for H.C.E., but only another Chinese student could say what Joyce did with the information he received. The word 'mountain' is used rather frequently in the Wake in phrases such as 'a man that means a mountain' (309.4) or 'mightmountain Penn' (19.32) and 'mountynotty man' (21.7). It seems probable that the word 'mountain' in the Wake is meant to include H.C.E. in its group of implications. Probably Joyce wished to include in the Wake at least one specimen of every language he could find. His readers can console themselves with the reflection that the book is still written chiefly in English, with occasional additional meanings from French, German and other European languages, while the proportion of incomprehensible foreign words that may have been extracted from obscure sacred books is very small. On the other hand there are some quotations disguised as English phrases and almost unrecognizable. 'Seek it Hatup! . . . Suckit Hotup!' (415.34) is from the Middle Egyptian Sekhet Hetepu, 'the fields of heaven'; and several similar examples will be pointed out later. There are undoubtedly many more which I have not been able to spot; and-as usual-the reader can never be certain that he has understood everything. Joyce's distortions of spelling make this inevitable. Is, for example, 'Ansighosa' (246.10) intended to suggest the Asvaghosa-one of the lives of Buddha? From the context it seems probable, but one can never be sure.
Another difficulty arises from the broadmindedness of Joyce's definition of a sacred book. Just as he includes novels by Rhoda Broughton and 'L. T.' Meade among works of literature, and often mentions 'Allysloper' (248.10), an almost forgotten comic paper which was written to please the very lowest cultural levels of the population, so he includes among his sacred books works that most people neither know nor wish to know. An example of this kind of book is The Kloran, which is 'the sacred book of the Ku Klux Klan', and is mentioned twice in the
1Letters, p. 250.
Wake as 'Peter Cloran' (40.16 and 212.3). I would not have known that this book existed if I had not read of it in A Census of Finnegans Wake, 1 and there must be many more such books to which my attention has not been drawn. They are not, however, likely to be very important in the Wake, for although many sacred books are made use of only a few are important.
The book which is used most is, of course, the Bible. It is unlikely that there is a single page in the Wake without at least one reference to the Bible; most pages contain several, and some pages contain dozens. Just as the basic language of the Wake is English so the basic religion is Christianity, but Joyce's variants are, in both cases, so far from the normal that doubts as to their nature are to be expected. Next to the Bible comes the Koran, but for every reference to it there are ten or twenty to the Bible. The Book of the Dead and the 'Eddas' seem to be next in importance, and to be used about equally. A good many references to Buddhism and Confucianism are also made-probably far more than I have recognized-but Joyce probably found that the lack of a personal God in both systems made them inherently unsuitable for his purpose.
For what Joyce is trying to do is to equate the accounts of creation given, or implied, in all the sacred books with the story of his own life. He loved and admired his father, but knew that his father was the cause of most of the misfortunes which the family he had begotten were forced to suffer. And he chose to consider this the typical situation that all humanity endures, interpreting the various sacred books he read as a series of accounts-varying only in minor details-of the activities of this family group. His book is a series of (often superimposed) accounts of the sins of the fathers, the battles of the sons and the wiles of the daughters. Behind this unending series of identical groups rests the figure of the mother, the real embodiment of fertility. There were many ancient religions based on the worship of the mother-goddess, and many of them are alluded to in the Wake, although the clearest treatment of the theme is in the passage where Joyce compares his book to J. H. Speke's Journal of the Discovery of the Sources of the Nile.2 For the Nile rises in the Victoria Nyanza, and Joyce uses the feminine name as a symbol of the eternal female as the source of life. But it is the father-figure that Joyce finds exemplars of in the sacred books; and it is astonishing how many exemplars he manages to find.
1 A Census, p. 26.
2 See Appendix, p. 281, Speke.


'our tour of bibel' (523.32)

The number of references made to the Bible in Finnegans Wake is, as has already been pointed out, very large. A long and closely written book would be required to list and explain all the quotations; all that can be done in a general outline such as the present is to point out what seem to be the most important facts. Indeed, little purpose would be served by listing all the quotations Joyce makes, as any reader can find them for himself with the aid of a concordance. Joyce seems to have used Cruden's, at least that is my conclusion from the word 'concrude' (358.6) which he uses. The translation of the Bible which he used was the Authorized Version-this appears from the wording of the bulk of his quotations, but he often quotes in Latin from the Vulgate, usually extracts which are used in the Liturgy. It is difficult to decide whether some of Joyce's quotations are from the Bible or the Liturgy. I will, however, discuss them here under three heads: The Old Testament, The New Testament, and The Liturgy.


As I have already pointed out Joyce had the strange idea that he could absorb or subsume other books into his own simply by quoting their titles. Perhaps, as I have suggested earlier 1 he believed that he was taking them over in the same way that the primitive people described by Lévy-Bruhl believed that a writer could carry off their buffaloes by including them in a book. Joyce carefully included in his book the titles of all the books of the Old Testament.2 He did the same thing with the titles of all the suras of the Koran, and M. J. C. Hodgart has discovered that he includes in the Wake not only the titles but also the airs and first limes of all Moore's Melodies.3 The citation of the titles of Biblical books begins very early in the Wake immediately after the first three paragraphs that serve as a sort of overture. It is 'Bygmester Finnegan, of the Stuttering Hand' (4.18), the eponymous hero of the
1 See above: 'The Structural Books'.
2 See the Appendix to this chapter.
3 Mr. Hodgart has written a book on The Songs in Finnegans Wake, in collaboration with Mrs. Mabel Worthington, which is awaiting publication.
Wake who introduces them, for he 'lived in the broadest way immarginable in his rushlit toofarback for messuages before joshuan judges had given us numbers or Helviticus committed deuteronomy (one yeastyday he sternely struxk his tete in a tub for to watsch the future of his fates but ere he swiftly stook it out again, by the might of moses, the very water was eviparated and all the guenneses had met their exodus so that ought to show you what a pentschanjeuchy chap he was!' (4.19). The passage includes the names of the first seven books of the Bible, the name of Moses, and a distortion of the word 'pentateuch', as well as references to Swift and Switzerland that do not concern us here.
It will be noticed that the word Genesis has been mutated to suggest Guinness's. This trope is repeated two pages later in, 'With a bockalips of finisky fore his feet. And a barrowload of guenesis hoer his head' (6.26). After this the two themes divide and go their separate ways. But when Finnegan is laid out the corpse begins-has its head-under Genesis with the barrow representing a funeral barrow. It ends-has its feet, or has 'finisky" 1 -after the Apocalypse. This symbolizes the way in which the Bible is used in the Wake. Every aspect of the life, death, and resurrection of Joyce's hero is linked in some way with the Bible. I do not think that there is a single incident in Genesis which does not have an echo in the Wake. Indeed, the events of the book of Genesis can be taken as some of the first cycles of the history of the world according to Joyce's ever-returning cyclic version of history. The Fall in Genesis is the type of all falls, and-as has been pointed out 2 - the Fall in the Wake is the cause of creation. I have used the singular for Fall because according to Joyce's peculiar philosophy all the falls are the same one. He quoted a sentence from De Quincey's The English Mail-Coach to Frank Budgen which supports this idea: 'Even so in dreams, perhaps, under some secret conflict of the midnight sleeper, lighted up to the consciousness at the time, but darkened as soon as all is finished, each several child of our mysterious race completes for himself the treason of the aboriginal fali.' 3 But Budgen, who must have had the quotation from Joyce, omits the words which 1 have italicized: the treason of. These would not fit in with Joyce's theory according to which
1 'Finisky' is a typical word in the Wake. In its context it suggest whiskey. Examined more closely it is finis, end, with the Russian suffix for 'son of'. It says 'Finn is sky'. It is 'Phoenix' or Fionn Uisge-the self-resurrecting bird or a clear spring of water, but in either sense Dublin's great park. Finally it could mean, 'The sky is ended'.
2 See above: 'The Structural Books'.
3 Frank Budgen, James Joyce and the Making of Ulysses. London: Grayson & Grayson, 1934, p. 294.
the first Original Sin was conimitted by God. He writes, ‘you would be thinking in your thoughts how the deepings did it ali begin and how you would be scrimrnaging through your scruples to coilar a hold of an imperfection being committled’ (428.4). The nature ofthe imperfection varies in each cycle. Satan feil through pride and battled with Michael. ‘As they warred in their big innings ease now we never shall know’ (271.22) writes Joyce, parodying the Doxology to suggest again that the whole thing is a continuous process. We begin with unity, but according to Joyce it is imperfect because it is not satisfied to be alone. This is ‘the imperfection’ which has just been mentioned. So God produces His creation and sets up conflict. ‘Let there be fight!’ (90.12) is Joyce’s version of the words of creation.
The building of the tower of Babel is an example, for Joyce, of sin driving men to creation. It is personified in Balbus, the builder and stutterer, and the passage in the Bible describing the building of the tower (Gen. 11:4) has echoes in the passage in the Wake which is richest in Biblical allusions and extracts. This is:
‘Go to, let us extol Azrael with our harks, by our brews, on our jambses, in bis gaits. To Mezouzalem with the Dephilim, didits dinkun’s dud? Yip! Yup! Yarrah! And let Nek Nekulon extol Mak Makal and let him say unto him: Imini ammi Semmi. And shall not Babel be with Lebab? And he war. And he shall open bis mouth and answer: 1 hear, O Ismael, how they laud is only as my Joud is one. If Nekulon shall be havonfalled surely Makal haven hevens. Go to, let us exteil Makal, yea, Iet us exceedingly exteil. Though you have lien amung your tosspots my exceliency is over Ismael. Great is him whom is over Ismael and he shafl mekanek of Mak Nakulon. And he deed’ (25 8.7).
Perhaps the centre point of this set of variations on a Biblical theme is the prayer from the Jewish liturgy known as the Sh’ma from the first word iii Hebrew of ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord’ (Deut. 6:4). This prayer has to be recited every morning and evening. In the Wake it is being said in the evening, ‘hear, O Ismael, how they laud is only as my loud is one.’‘Loud’ is Joyce’s usual narne for God, a Litany: ‘Loud, hear us! Loud, graciously hear us!’ (25 8.25) comes later in the sarne page. ‘To Mezouzalem with the Dephilim’ refers to the Tephilin or phylacteries which devout Jews place on their Mezouzah (door-jambs) or, in the Wake, ‘on our jarnbses, in bis gaits’. They are also worn on the forehead, ‘by our brews’ says the Wake. The odd word ‘lien’ shows up another quotation, this time from the Psalins: ‘Though you have lien among the pots’ (Ps. 68:13) wbich Joyce turns into tosspots. This provides a key to the entire passage for it is from Psalm 68
which begins, ‘Let God arise and let bis enemies be scattered’ and shows the God of the Old Testarnent at His most terrible. On the literal level, bowever, ali that has happened is that the father of the family has slarnrned a door with a noise which has frightened the children and put an end to their play. ‘Dephilim’ in this passage is probably a combination of Devil and Nephilim, the ‘giants’ of Genesis 6:4, in addition to the meaning which has already been suggested. The sons are thus mocking the father. Michael is being set up in bis place: ‘Go to, let us exteil Makal.’ The repeated ‘Go to’ and the word Babel suggest Genesis 11:4, ‘Go to, let us build a city.’ Another phrase, ‘yea, let us exceedingly’ comes from Psalrn 68:3, ‘yea, let them exceedingly rejoice’. ‘Imrni ammi Semmi’ means both ‘1 am Shem’ and—from Se,nmi, which is Magyar for ‘nothing’—’He is nothing’.
The creation of Eve is described in the Wake in words that parailel Genesis 2:21, ‘And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fali upon Adarn, and he slept: and he took one of bis ribs.. .‘ Joyce has, ‘For the producer (Mr. John Baptister Vickar) caused a deep abuliousness to descend upon the Father of Truants and, at a side issue, pluterpromptly brought on the scene the cutletsized consort . . .‘ (255.27). Eve is mentioned by narne very often iii the Wake, indeed her narne is—very fittingly—the first to be mentioned, ‘riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s...’ is lhe beginning of the book. Perhaps lhe last mention of her narne is on the last page, ‘Avelaval’ (628.6), or perhaps it is a little earlier with ‘While you’re adamant evar’ (626.3). Cain and Abel as the first warring brothers (even though in their case the war was ali on one side) are lhe first incarnations of Shem and Shaun. Abel’s name provides Joyce with material for a number ofpuns, ‘I cain but are you able?’ (287.11) is a typical example. The identity of a pair of warring brothers with Cain and Abel is often suggested by a quotation. For example, ‘And Phelps was fiayful with bis peeler. But bis phizz feil’ (67.26). Tbis is a version of ‘And Cain was very wroth and bis countenance feil’ (Gen. 4:5). Another version is ‘And each was wrought with bis other. And bis continence feil’ (252.14). There is also ‘And Kev was wreathed with bis pother. . . And bis countinghands rose’ (303.15 . . . 304.1). In each case lhe identification is made very neatly by lhe quotation, but if the quotation is not recognized lhe point is lost.
Noah is named at least twelve times in the Wake and often mentioned without being explicitly named. He is important as a patriarch who repopulated the earth after lhe Flood. As a father-figure he fits in with the axioms that 1 bave suggested Joyce assumed for such figures, and he falls by getting drunk and exposing himself. There are many allusions
to this story iii the Wake, for example ‘patriarch. . . vinery . . . free boose for the man from the nark . . . I’rn sorry to say 1 saw’ (581.5). And rnany scattered allusions are made to other incidents in the story of the Flood. ‘He sent out Christy Columb and he carne back with a jailbird’s unbespokables in his beak and then he sent out Le Caron Crow and the peacies are still looking for him’ (496.30). 1 do not understand ali the aliusions in this sentence but it is obviously based on the dove and raven Noah sent out from the Ark (Gen. 8:7-1 i). There is also a reference to T. M. Beach, a secret service agent who used the narne of Henri Le Carron and gave evidence before the Parneil Cornmission; while ‘Christy Columb’ includes Christopher Columbus being cheered by the sigbt of a land-bird carrying twigs in its beak. Noah’s flood seems to be used by Joyce as one way of marking the end of a cycle and has some connection with the number 1132 which is the length of a cycle in the Wake. At one point we seem to be told that the Flood took place at 11.32 a.rn. in 1132—although there is no certainty about the era. It is one of the old men—the Munsterman, 1 think—who says, ‘Marcus. And after that, not forgetting, there was the Fleniish armada, ali scattered, and ali ofllcially drowned, there and then, on a lovely morning, after the universal fiood, at about aleven thirtytwo was it?.. . and then there was the Frankish floot of Noahsdobahs from Hedalgoland, round about the freebutter year of Notre Darne 1132 P.P.O. or so . .
(388.1 . . . x8). But the old rnen’s memories are as unreliable as the memories of Swift’s Struldbrugs on which they are partly based.
Many more Biblical characters are made use of. Other examples are Abraham and bis wife Sarah who are used as a type of an old married couple, and are concealed in the last monologue in the words: ‘But sarra one of me cares a brambling ram’ (624.14). David and Jonathan are used as the Joycean type of loving friends—friends who are rarely helpful to each other. This is seen in, ‘cabled.. . to bis Jonathan for a brother: Here tokay, gone tomory, we’re spluched, do something, Fireless. And had answer: Inconvenient, David’ (172.24). Here one brother has cabled to the other for help because he was stranded and received the reply that it would not be convenient to help him. Shem is a main character lii the Wake and naturally brings Ham and Japhet into it as well. They usually arrive iii odd disguises. ‘Sam, hirn, and Moffat’ (87.10) rnay indude the name of a great rnodern transiator ofthe Bible. ‘Homp, shtemp and jumphet’ (63.36) shows them doing a somewhat ill-tempered hop, step and jurnp.
Much more frequent than the aflusions to the Biblical characters are the Biblical quotations. An exarnple of a passage in the Wake containing
such quotations has already been discussed. 1 will now atternpt to follow a single quotation through its various appearances in the Wake. The first verse of Genesis provides an excellent example of a repeated quotation, ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.’ Joyce has:
‘from bis Inn the Byggning’ (17.22).
‘We are told how in the beginning it carne to pass’ (30.12).
‘Not olderwise Inn the days ofthe Bygning would our Traveiler’ (56.20). ‘as it gan in the biguinnengs so wound up in a battle of Boss’ (129.10). ‘To start with in the beginning, we need hirtiy remark’ (222.3).
‘As they warred in their big innings ease now we never shall know’
(27 1.22).
‘In the buginning is the woid’ (378.29).
‘In the beginning was the gest’ (468.5).
‘In the becorning was the weared’ (487.20).
‘In whose words were the beginnings’ (597.10).
The first five could be aflusions to either the first words of the book of Genesis or the first words of St. John’s Gospel. The sixth is an echo of the Doxology. The last four refer iii the first place to St. John’s Gospel:
‘In the beginning was the Word’. The word ‘gest’ in the seventh example is based on the word ‘gesture’, for the passage is about Marcel Jousse’s theory of the formation of language from gesture,1 but it is inflected by the German geis:—’spirit’—which is the word used in some German transiations for logos. It will be noticed that the emphasis in the quotations from the early part of the Wake is on the Old Testarnent while those from the end of the Wake refer to the New Testament. On the other hand there is no demonstrable correlation between the position of a phrase or word iii the Wake and the extent to which it is distorted; and this applies to ali words and phrases.
Joyce sornetirnes quotes from the Vulgate. The passage in Latin on page 185 includes the word perizomatis from Genesis 3:7, ‘et fecerunt sibi perizomata’ which the Authorized Version renders ‘and made themselves aprons’, while the Geneva Bible gained its akernative narne of ‘Breeches Bible’ from its version, ‘and they made themselves breeches’. The sarne paragraph in the Wake contains an acknowledged quotation from the Vulgate Psalrn (A.V. Ps. 45:1): ‘My tongue is the pen of a ready writer’. Joyce quotes the Latin without any akeration, ‘Lingua mea calamus scribae velociter scr’.bentis’ (185.22). Usually Joyce distorts bis Latin quotations as much as he does English ones. An example of this can be seen iii bis treatment of a passage from the
1 See David Hayman, Joyce ec Mallarmé, Vol. 1, pp. I6o—x.
Vulgate Psalm 113 (A.V. Ps. 115:5—7): ‘Os habent, et non loquenter:
oculos habent, et non videbunt. Aures habent, et non audient: nares habent, et non odorabunt. Manus habent, et non palpabunt.’‘They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not..’ etc. This is quoted in the Wake as ‘Habes aures et num videbis? Habes oculos ac mannepalpabuat?’ (i 13.29). ‘You have ears and shall you not see. . ?‘ etc. It is also the basis of ‘audiurient, he would eavesdrip
Impalpabunt, he abhears’ (23.21). Another quotation is from ‘Buccinate in Neomenia tuba, in insigni die solemnitatis vestrae’ (Vulgate, Ps. 80:4). The Authorized Version transiates this as ‘Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day’ (Ps. 81:3). Joyce travesties it as, ‘Buccinate in Emenia tuba insiçni volumnitatis tuae’ (412.8). ‘Blow your noble trumpet in the dark’ is what seems to be said to Shaun here. In the middle of the story of ‘Burrus and Caseous’ (161.12) a Messianic prophecy from Isaiah 7:15 is quoted, ‘Butyrum et mel comedat ut sciat reprobate malum et eligere bonum’ (163.3). The translation given in the Authorized Version is ‘Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.’ Joyce’s version alters just one letter: ‘comedat’ for ‘comedet’—’he may eat’ for ‘he shall eat’. Ali Biblical commentators are agreed that this refers to the coming Redeemer. Joyce includes it in a story about a contest between Butter (or Brutus) and Cheese (or Cassius) for the hand of Margareena, and gives the name of the Redeemer as ‘Cheesugh!’ (163.10).
Often a quotation is so distorted as to suggest a completely different meaning from the original. This is one of Joyce’s ways of saying two things at once, for lhe reader is expected to take in both the original and the superimposed meaning. An example of this is, ‘lhe wetter is pest, the renns are overt and come and the voax of the turfur is hurled on our lande’ (39.14), which is based on a beautiful passage in lhe Song of Solornon (2:11—12):
‘For, lo, the winter is past, lhe rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on lhe earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and lhe voice of lhe turtie is heard in our land.’
Joyce’s parody of this tells us also that lhe wet weather is a pest for the rain is noticeable here—and reins can also be seen, for the flat-racing season has commenced, and the voice of lhe race-goer (turfer) is heard in Ireland.
There are quotations from every book of lhe Old Testament, and the titie ofevery book is quoted—except, perhaps, Haggai and bel. Indeed, lhere are so many quotations that it would require a separate book to
deal with lhem ali; so 1 have given here what 1 think is a representative selection, but have not included quotations from the Bible in the appendix containing literary allusions. Another appendix gives the places where the titles of the books of the Bible are narned in the Wake. It will be seen lhat these are fairly evenly distributed. This shows, 1 think, that Joyce was intending to contam lhe Bible in his book by this method. At least 1 can see no other reason for it.
In a way Joyce is replacing the Old Testament by Finnegans Wake, and substituting his theology for the religion ofthe Bible. As has already been suggested this theology of Joyce’s makes Creation the Fali. Whether he intended this seriously or not 1 cannot decide. It is not an original idea. Henry Jarnes, senior, the father of the novelist and of William James, has put forward lhe sarne suggestion1 in modern tirnes and it is lhe basis of some ancient religions. But Joyce’s treatment ofit is farcical. It is, I think, one of bis axioms that Original Sin was committed by God. There is a constant series of hints made in the Wake about H.C.E.’s sins. In A Skeleton Key lhe following account is given of lhe sin:
‘It was in Phoenix Park (lhat Garden of Eden), near bis tavern, that he committed an indecorous impropriety which now dogs him to the end ofhis life-nightmare. Briefly, he was caught peeping at or exbibiting bimself to a couple of giris iii Phoenix Park. The indiscretion was witnessed by lhree drunken soldiers, who could never be quite certain of what they had seen. . . Unquestionably bis predicament is of the nature of Original Sin: he shares lhe shadowy guilt lhat Adam experiences after eating the apple.’2
But lhe real reason for lhe way in which lhe nature of the sin seerns to vary is that H.C.E. is lhe father-figure iii ali eras and commits a different sin iii each era. The sin Joyce accuses him of in lhe Old Testament is indecent exposure. He showed bis hinder parts to Moses (Ex. 33:23): ‘And 1 will take away mine hand and lhou shalt see my back paris; but my face shall not be seen.’ The Vulgate version of Genesis 16:13 could be given a similar interpretation—which 1 have no doubt Joyce gieefully noticed. li runs: Profecto hic vidi posteriora me, which lhe translators of lhe Douay version render as: ‘Verily 1 have seen the hinder parts of him that seelh me.’ There are many passages in the Wake where this is referred to. Examples include ‘uncover lhe nakedness of an unknown body in lhe fields of blue’ (96.28), ‘hoar father
‘See A. C. Bouquet, Sacred Books of the World. London: Penguin Books,
1954, . 328.
2 A Skeleton Key, p. i6.
Nakedbucker’ (139.6), and ‘How cuJious an epiphany!’ (508.1 t) which would appear to refer to the unveiling of a cul. Ali the business about ‘maggy seen ali’ (7.32), which recurs frequently throughout the book refers to the sarne thing. It is connected with the reference to Noah’s exposure by the words ‘happyass cloudious’ (581.22), and that Noah is simply another of the perpetual resurrections of H.C.E. is shown by the initiais in the phrase on the next page about the ‘huskiest coaxing experimenter that ever gave his best hand into chancerisk’ (582.3), and this foflows ‘Yet he begottom’ (582.!) which rerninds us that this is the father-figure.


The Books of the Bible according to the Authorized Version with the pages on which each is named in Finnegans Wake.