Tuesday, 30 August 2011

007.20 to 013.04

Hi all, and apologies for the delay in posting again.

We met last Wednesday to read from 007.20 to 013.04, delving primarily into the history of the United Kingdom (and of Ireland) in the Wellingdone "museyroom". ("Mind your hats goan in!")

Aside from Wellington's "big white harse", a little bit the body, and a little bit his horse Copenhagen (thanks Jamie for this titbit), there remains, I believe, a bit of a conflict in this section. The conflict is in the multitude of settings that the reader is supposed to anticipate here: So, aside from the museum itself, the text also inhabits the dream of HCE, hence the "tip"ing at the window, the tapping of a tree branch against a window.

The martial allusions that Joyce pursues are more clear: from World War One references to the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC. The breadth of Joyce's allusions calls to mind another question for me though: if Joyce is not merely examining British (and Irish) martial history, then the museum is a much more extended space than we may have anticipated.

Aside from these questions, we liked the rhythm that Joyce produces on p. 8, both from ll. 11-14, in which he begins from a simple(ish) statement, then growing more complicated, before returning to some simplicity at the end, perhaps at odds to the counting of 010.32-34.

ALP's appearance (dreamed or otherwise) was our final focus of the reading. Lachlan explained the image of ALP as hen, pecking away at the scrap heap, in hindsight approximating the "tip" that Joyce repeats throughout the museum section. The lightning and thunder of p. 11 suggest a precursor to the fall of HCE that we're all anticipating; a fall that may perhaps be repeated eternally if a phrase such as "to steal out historic presents from the past postpropheticals" (011.30-31) is as significant as it appears.

Of course, there's not only cyclical views of history on show, but biblical allusions as well, as Noah's flood is made reference to shortly after. And finally we're left with the (despairing) exclamation "So This Is Dyoublong?", not just encapsulating some disappointment at the provincial nature of Dublin, but also asking do we belong?

As always comments are most welcome! I'd love some additions to my free association rambling!

A number of other notices:

Miri is doing a short performance as part of the UNSW postgrad symposium—a piece on Anna Livia, including excerpts from the Wake. On at the Dance Studio, Webster Building, 6:45, Friday 9 September.

A colleague, and potential reading group member, Chris Eagle, will be presenting a paper on the Wake to the Writing and Society Research Group on Wednesday the 28th of September from 11 to 12:30 in room 1.1.119, just down the corridor from where we meet.

Also, you may have seen a review of a new Joyce biography by Gordon Bowker, in Review. Not very positive—I'll stick with Ellmann for the time being! Review HERE.

We're reading from 013.05 to 021.04, meeting Wednesday 7 September at 1. Hope to see you there!


  1. I re-read our last section and it finally clicked why "tip" is used to allude to ALP's pecking through the rubbish heap; tip as an onomatopoeic representation of the sound the hen makes, as well as "tip" as in "rubbish pile". This may have been completely obvious to everyone else, but it didn't click for me until the second-and-a-half read through :)

  2. I'm not sure anything is completely obvious...it definitely hadn't occurred to me!