Thursday, 28 June 2012

053.07 to 055.30

Hi all! Back to our wicked ways, this time not only failing to get through our allotted pages, but failing even to end neatly at the end of a paragraph. (Oh well {to paraphrase Beckett}, ever tried, ever failed, try again, fail again, fail better!)

53.28 'best of redpublicans, at Eagle Cock Hostel' The political framework of FW and of HCE appears to be clarified (at least a little) in this section. We know that the Joyce's (father and son) sympathised with Parnell and venerated him as the best of Irish heroes (cf. 'Ivy Day in the Committee Room' from Dubliners and Ellman's biography). Previously, it had appeared as if HCE (and in general the male characters of the Wake) had a conflicted view of Irish nationalism. You'll remember that around 49 we encountered a character who fought with the British in the Crimean. I imagined that this was the fate of HCE; not just to betray his wife and family, but to betray his country as well. Yet, if HCE is the "best of republicans" we can maintain hope for him yet!

53.31 'starchboxsitting in the pit' Of course, I feel contradicted only lines later, with Joyce's allusion to Charles X's reported statement that he, "like all Frenchmen, only have a place in the pit". Whether HCEs transgressions approximate the French disregard for the proletariat it appears that someone is doomed.

Plenty of stutters to note: 53.36 'Chee chee cheers' and 'crow cru cramwells'; 54.03 'wowhere'; 54.28 'ohoh open'; 55.16 'pippa pointing'.

Some great number play to note on 54 as well. Aside from another invocation of 1132 ('Millecientotrigintadue', 54.120) discussed previously here, Joyce also identifies Halley's Comet as a mark of certainty, for it inevitably appears every seventy-six years ('like sixes and seventies as eversure as Halley's comet', 54.07).

55.22-7 For me the most exciting of passages, although not necessarily the clearest. We begin with 'Cycloptically', which immediately suggests to me cyclicity (Vico, eternal return, and so on). Yet at the same time, the Cyclops is evoked, no surprise considering the Greek references in the preceding pages. The cyclops, however, doesn't suggest repetition to me (perhaps the labyrinth is a possibility?). Joyce, only a few lines later, performs this cyclicity, describing how 'the clad pursue the bare, the bare the green, the green the frore, the frore the cladagain, as their convoy wheeled encirculingly abound the gigantig's lifetree', (55.25-7). This appears a primal performance of the simultaneous cyclicity and change that the eternal return (and Vico's ricorso) enacts. Conveniently, a bracketed interjection erupts lines later, admonishing us for not recognising 'repetition!' (55.29)

Comments and thoughts warmly welcomed. Thanks also to fweet for their nod and for directing some traffic this way.

We're meeting next on the Tuesday the 17th of July at 1pm to read from 55.30 to 58.23. Writing and Society will have moved to Building 3, so I'll update new room details when they come to hand. JG

No comments:

Post a Comment