Thursday, 20 October 2011

024.16 to 029.36

Greetings! We valiantly worked our way through more than five pages of the Wake this week. Although much of it (and especially 24 and 25) remained opaque, as usual the insights of the group were intensely valuable to trying to grasp (at least parts of) the whole. So, a few thoughts:

24 to 26: seem to incorporate four separate cosmologies/belief systems; the Buddhist, Islamic, Egyptian and Irish. Thus the onomatopoeiac 'clankatachankata' (024.23) combines, according to McHugh, the names of Buddha and Mohammed's horses. 025.05-9 incorporates the milk and honey of the Islamic heaven, whilst 'Totumcalmum' (026.18) is invoked amongst references to the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Perhaps most interesting, however, is the possibility of 'the Liffey that's in Heaven!' (026.08). This facilitates Joyce's allusion to Finnegan and the creation of Dublin, but also strikes me as congruent with the sometimes buried admiration for Dublin that I believe Joyce shows (I'm just about to finish reading Dubliners so perhaps I have the city on my mind.)

026.11-14: A series of allusions here to a mythical being, presumably Finnegan, of enormous stature, whose head is in the heavens, and whose feet are in Dublin. 'Copricapron' (026.12-13) not only incorporates a further astrological reference for the giant being's feet, but is very close to the Greek for 'pig shit'; so perhaps my assumption of Joyce's love for Dublin might not be as justified as I believe!

This section is also notable for the series of references to Twain's Huck Finn.

029.02 'buaboabaybohm' repeats the '4' motif that began to emerge earlier. This time we felt as if the cry was akin to the 'fee, fi, fo, fum' of the archetypal giant. We struggled, however, to incorporate the number of scales that seem to co-exist in this section.

For, less than a page earlier, we have the image of a female character, perhaps ALP, perhaps not, 'sewing a dream together' (028. 07). This appears, at the least, to allude to a growing awareness on ALPs part of the transgression of her husband. This transgression is laid out most clearly for us at the conclusion of Chapter 1, with 'Humme the Cheapner, Esc' (029.18-19) 'ensectuous from his nature' (029.30-31) and 'ultimendly respunchable for the hubbub caused in Edenborough.' (029.35-36).

HCEs trangression is 'cursed and recursed' and he was 'everseen'. (029.09). This suggest both Vico's cyclical view of the world, but the inevitable recourse of this novel, both in its overarching structure (viz. the first sentence continuing the last) but also the continued repetition that we have encountered (and, presumably, will continue to).

I'd be delighted in anybody would like to add some thoughts to my feeble readings. Please comment below.

Our next meeting will be on the 2nd of November, reading from 030.01 to 033.13. See you there! JG

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