We're making some progress! Despite being over-ambitious in trying to read nine pages for this meeting, we did an admirable job to work through almost six.
The pages we looked at encompass what Joyce calls "the pre-history of Ireland" and the meeting of Mutt and Jute, respectively the Irish everyman and the Nordic invader.
13-14 seems to include a significant number of mathematical games, which are not immediately clear. So 013.14 "Dbln. W. K. O. O." hides a pseudo-mathematical pattern. As McHugh points out, if A=1, B=2, C=3 and so on, then DBLN (4+2+12+14) = 32. This then explains the following 'W. K. O. O.' because (23+11+15+15) = 64. So you double 'Dbln' to produce double the value of Dublin. Or something.
This produces further insight if we consider the dates that Joyce uses on 13-14: 1132 AD, 566 AD, a silent point, and the returning, up what I envisage as a parabolic figure, encased in the text. 1132 is double 566, but also includes other items of significance. According to Chris, 3 men and 2 women is the beginning of a society (hence relevant to the pre-history of Ireland) whilst the 11 signifies the beginning of a new society (as Lachlan pointed out, once you count to ten on your fingers you have to begin again). 1132 is also 4 times (x) 283 AD, the year that Finn MacCool died. fweet.org has a lot more to say on the motif of 1132.
I also really enjoyed the allusions to the Tower of Babel. 015.12-27 includes a series of references to the Babylonians, who were so proud of themselves that they sought to build a tower to the heavens. Of course, god didn't like this, and his punishment, aside from destroying the tower, was to scatter the tribes across the earth, and to give each tribe a different language, so that the world would be a confused place (still is...). This sensation is then partially repeated in the following paragraph (and across the dialogue between Mutt and Jute) as languages begin to clash; first with the shift from romantic language portmanteau's to linguistic references from the Low Countries. Just like Mutt and Jute struggle to find a common ground to understand each other.
We concluded with Lou and Miri reading the conversation between Mutt and Jute, which was hilarious.
For full and fair disclosure the Herald re-printed the Guardian's review of the Bowker biography of Joyce. Despite the unhappy headline, it is a more positive review. Find it HERE.
As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts, please comment below.
Next meeting will be 21 September, same time and place. We'll read from 018.17 to 023.16.
See you there! JG