Monday, 22 February 2010

Finnegans Wake reviewed (part 1)

200 pages gone down and 400 upto go. So what's allabout?

It's the broad sweep of the river of life as Joyce tells us with his EveandAdam hopening time gambit. The roving river is an escape route. Joyce's escaped root. The readingof thetext is the floweroftheriver. The river strumbles, strembles, stropples and oftimes swims in dleap stillwaters. And the funny zounds, sounds, knowsno bounds, knows minstrely swannyriver duck&drake sounds, for the readallowed readaloud leerders rushrushrush hiss like the riveristelf with a kayoptic snaking burbleandgurgle, whirrgle and turgle along thejoyful joycianway via sacra dublintriesteparisandrome and the cleancut land of the ahcurate cuckoothymepieces. JJ porks fum at whimself, at his usleysess, at his idiotsincrusties of whichheisfully whistfullware! Characters floater drown like stixnsteins two trembel and trimbl, crumb and grow, in volarius describesis. It's a rundferfl berolly and burrelly larfaminit smile on yorkipper bit ow'bardic nunsins and trooly a song of joyce!


  1. thanks John,

    "on the shoulders of giants one sees beyond..."

  2. Love the sogroot - I shall add it to my vocabulary forthwith.(as I shall the word verification which is 'ingusta' - sounds so enthusiastic don't you think?

  3. Carroll started this whole thing. Where will it end?

  4. Pat,
    two good choices! I think ingusta sounds like an Italian digestive. Pour two glasses!

    Susan, yes, indeed it was with his Jaberwocky LC started the whole darned thing, and it is as he said: look after the sound and the sense will take care of itself. Where will it end? Now there's a question!!!

  5. I must qualify what I said above for Joyce's book is far more complicated than Carroll's Jabberwocky poem - to read the Wake you should have a broad knowledge of European languages and geography and a good knowledge of the German speaking areas of Europe, in particular Switzerland and the old Austro-Hungarian Monarchy city of Trieste (now in Italy) for example. There are quite a lot of Germanic puns in the Wake and you won't 'get' them if you don't know the lingosprache. But even so,read it for its bubble and squeak (that's a dish of fried cabbage&potato leftovers). Where will it all end? It won't!
    There's a trick to pulling it off. Many, some haushalt names will limmatate and frail. (the limmat is a river in Switzerland).
    Oneye go!

  6. Good, innit?

    What's it all about? I often think of this passage:

    Gricks may rise and Troysirs fall (there being two sights for ever a picture)for in the byways of high improvidence that's what makes
    lifework leaving and the world's a cell for citters to cit in.


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