cg_fewston_ireland
Fiction Non-Fiction Pictures

Finnegans Wake (1939) by James Joyce & the Great Irish Novel

“We may come, touch and go, from atoms and ifs but we’re presurely destined to be odd’s without ends.”

cg fewstonFinnegans Wake by James Joyce
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Finnegans Wake (1939) by James Joyce was first published over eighty years ago on May 4, 1939 and gets its name from the Irish-American ballad “Finnegan’s Wake” that has the lines that reveal much of the themes found in Joyce’s famed novel: “We had lots of fun at Finnegan’s Wake… One morning Tim… Fell from a ladder and he broke his skull, and they carried him home his corpse to wake… Tim jumped like a Trojan from the bed… do ye think I’m dead?”

cg fewston

In Finnegans Wake and the “Strangest Dream that was ever Halfdreamt” (p 307) the reader may find direct references and allusions to, among many others, Catholicism, Thor, Euclid, Don Juan, the Kabbalah, the Holocaust, collapsed patriarchs, intrapsychic states and forces, hen and eggs, Guinness beer, elves, the River Liffey, resurrection and creation myths, Humpty Dumpty (the World Egg or the Cosmic Egg), the Egyptian Book of the Dead, William Blake’s Albion & the Four Zoas, all things Irish and Celtic, and an estimated sixty to seventy languages (such as Armenian, English, French, German, Latin and Swahili).

cg fewston

James Augustine Aloysius Joyce, Irish Novelist (1882-1941)

The reader may also find some futuristic-modern words and phrases in Finnegans Wake, which was published in 1939, such as “iSpace” (p 124), “batman” (p 162), “fast and furious” (p 174), “twitter” (p 193), “vanity fair” (p 213), “Harley Quinn” (p 221), “hogwarts” (p 296), “Wheel of Fortune” (p 405), “Greedo” (p 411), and “émail” (p 575). And these references eerily echo-spark Joyce’s words to life: “All that has been done has yet to be done and done again” (p 194).

cg fewston

What is fantastic to note about Finnegans Wake is how low languages (e.g., slang) is seamlessly interwoven with high languages (e.g., Latin), bringing meaning out of construction, a kind of organizational disorder which further reflects on preculture chaos. It is then no surprise for the reader to understand when he writes “That’s the point of eschatology our book of kills reaches for now in soandso many counterpoint words. What can’t be coded can be decorded if an ear aye sieze what no eye ere grieved for. Now, the doctrine obtains, we have occasioning cause causing effects and affects occasionally recausing altereffects. Or I will let me take it upon myself to suggest to twist the penman’s tale posterwise. The gist is the gist of Shaum but the hand is the hand of Sameas. Shan – Shim – Schung” (pgs 482-483).

One thing to always remember when reading the 628-page novel is that “the present is the wake of the past” (Key, p 343) and that “the logic of Finnegans Wake is the logic of slumber and druidic myth” (Key, p 346). Also remember that the unorthodox spellings belong to James Joyce, so prepare to enter into his creation as he reminds us: “If there is a future in every past that is present” (p 496). While reading Finnegans Wake, one cannot, too, forget Nietzsche when he said, “I write in blood, I will be read in blood.”

cg fewston

“What has gone? How it ends?

“Begin to forget it. It will remember itself from every sides, with all gestures, in each our word. Today’s truth, tomorrow’s trend.

“Forget, remember!

“Have we cherished expectations? Are we for liberty of perusiveness? Whyafter what forewhere? A plainplanned liffeyism assemblements Eblania’s conglomerate horde. By dim delty Deva.

“Forget!” (p 614)

cg fewston

Chapter Outline in Finnegans Wake

Book I: The Book of the Parents

Chapter 1: Finnegan’s Fall; Pre-history of Ireland (pgs 3-29)

Chapter 2: HCE – His Agnomen & Reputation (pgs 30-47)

Chapter 3: HCE – His Trial & Incarceration (pgs 48-74)

Chapter 4: HCE – His Demise & Resurrection; the Thunderclap & the Inception of the Road of Human Destiny (pgs 75-103)

Chapter 5: HCE – The Manifesto of ALP (pgs 104-125)

Chapter 6: Riddles: The Personages of the Manifesto; Intro for the Two Sons (pgs 126-168)

Chapter 7: Shem the Penman & Joyce as Artist; Irish History (pgs 169-195)

Chapter 8: The Washers at the Ford / Ireland as Setting (pgs 196-216)

Book II: The Book of the Sons

Chapter 1: The Children’s Hour; Children at Play (Sunset) on the road to the Tavern (pgs 219-259)

Chapter 2: The Study Period – Trivium (Latin for Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric) & Quadrivium (Latin for Arithmetic, Music, Geometry, Astronomy); Children studying (After Sunset) in the Nursery; Invasions of Ireland (pgs 260-308)

Chapter 3: Feasting & Drinking at the Tavern (pgs 309-382)

Chapter 4: Bride-ship & Gulls; Dream of the Tavernkeeper (pgs 383-399)

Book III: The Book of the People

Chapter 1: Shaun before the People (pgs 403-428)

Chapter 2: Juan before St. Bride’s (pgs 429-473)

Chapter 3: Yawn under Inquest; Ireland as the Land of Dream (pgs 474-554)

Chapter 4: HCE & ALP – Their Bed of Trial (pgs 555-590)

Book IV: Ricorso

Chapter 1: The Succession & Cyclic Plan (pgs 593-628)

cg fewston

Another General Outline for Finnegans Wake

Book I = The Past & the Infancy of the Individual

Book II = The Present & the Current State of the Individual

Book III = The Desired Future & Hopes for the Individual

Book IV = Dawn of a New Era

cg fewston

HCE

& some of its Variations in Finnegans Wake

Howth Castle and Environs (p 3)

hod, cement and edifices (p 4)

Haroun Childeric Eggeberth (p 4)

celebration until Hanandhunigan’s extermination (p 6)

he calmly extensolies (p 6)

His cubat edilis (p 7)

happinest childher everwere (p 11)

Hush! Caution! Echoland! (p 13)

How charmingly exquisite! (p 13)

heathersmoke and cloudweed Eire’s ile (p 13)

elk charged him (p 14)

hence, cool at ebb (p 17

Head-in-Clouds walked the earth (p 18)

A hatch, a celt, an earshore (p 18)

cassay the earthcrust at all of hours (p 18)

here, creakish… epsilene (p 19)

Hark, the corne entreats! (p 21)

homerigh, castle and earthenhouse (p 21)

erring from the hillcombs (p 22)

he clopped… his eacy hitch (p 23)

hive, comb and earwax (p 25)

heavens for ever. Creator (p 29)

Humme the Cheapner, Esc (p 29)

humile, commune and ensectuous (p 29)

he is ee and no counter (p 29)

hubbub caused in Edenborough (p 29)

Harold or Humphrey Chimpden [Earwicker] (p 30)

Hag Chivychas Eve (p 30)

H.C.E. (p 32)

Here Comes Everybody (p 32)

Habituels conspicuously emergent (p 33)

H.C. Earwicker (p 33)

he clearly expressed himself (p 34)

Hesitency was clearly to be evitated (p 35)

Execration as cleverly to be honnisoid (p 35)

H.C. Earwicker (p 36)

hotel and creamy establishments (p 36)

High Church of England (p 36)

Heidelberg Mannleich Cavern ethics (p 37)

happy escape, for a crowning (p 38)

Esnekerry pudder come Hunanov (p 38)

classic Encourage Hackney Plate (p 39)

Egladine’s choicest herbage (p 39)

his coexes (p 41)

cross Ebblinn’s chilled hamlet (p 41)

else he’s called (p 44)

He’ll Cheat E’arawan (p 46)

Her elegance… canary! (p 50)

hardly creditable edventyres (p 51)

Haberdasher… Curchies… Enkelchums (p 51)

has come… E (p 51)

Eagle Cock Hostel (p 53)

eversure as Halley’s comet (p 54)

the hen and crusader everintermutuomergent (p 55)

excivily (out of the custom huts) (p 55)

haughty, cacuminal, erubescent (repetition!) (p 55)

human, erring and condonable (p 58)

his Eagle and Child (p 59)

corn and hay emptors (p 59)

Chrissman’s… hollegs and ether (p 59)

his ear… crush (p 59)

connections with ehim (p 60)

her really truly easy chair (p 61)

Humpheres Cheops Exarchas (p 62)

crawsopper, had, in edition (p 63)

Haveyou-caught-emerod’s (p 63)

huge chain envelope (p 66)

Hyde and Cheek, Edenberry (p 66)

Houri of the coast of emerald (p 68)

hikely excellent crude man (p 70)

House, son of Clod… to be Executed (p 70)

Howth or at Coolock or even at Enniskerry (p 73)

H₂ C E₃ (p 95)

Elberfeld’s Calculating Horses (p 108)

Hear! Calls! Everywhair! (p 108)

Cheepalizzy’s Hane Exposition (p 111)

Hans the Curier… Essex bridge (p 125)

H.C. Endersen (p 138)

H.E. Chimney’s Company (p 141)

Heliogobbleus and Commodus and Enobarbarus (p 157)

East Conna Hillock (p 160)

Corner House, Englend (p 170)

Henressy Crump Expolled (p 176)

Huges Caput Earlyfouler (p 197)

H.C.E. (p 198)

Her Chuff Exsquire (p 205)

Evropeahahn cheic house (p 205)

Hausman… Cabin… Egg (p 205)

Etrurian Catholic Heathen (p 215)

Hircus Civis Eblanensis! (p 215)

Caherlehome-upon-Eskur (p 220)

we shall be heing in our created being of ours elvishness (p 238)

heather cliff emergency (p 241)

Howarden’s Castle, Englandwales (p 242)

Hocus Crocus, Esquilocus, Finnfinn the Faineant (p 254)

Hoo cavedin earthwight (p 262)

Hispano-Cathayan-Euxine, Castillian-Emeratic-Hebridian, Espanol-Cymric-Helleniky (p 263)

Haud certo ergo (p 263)

Honour commercio’s energy (p 264)

Harbourer-cum-Enheritance (p 264)

Even Canaan the Hateful (p 264)

Eat early earthapples. Coax Cobra to chatters. Hail, Heva, we hear! (p 271)

CliopatriaEroico Furiosohyperape (p 271)

It’s haunted. The chamber. Of errings (p 272)

Hectoendectae (p 273)

helm coverchaf emblem (p 274)

entre chats and hobnobs (p 274)

Erin’s hircohaired culoteer (p 275)

Circuminiuminluminatedhave encuoniams here and improperies there (p 278)

Eddems and Clay’s hat (p 278)

hce, che, ech (p 284)

hids cubid… extructed (p 284)

O hce! O hce! (p 291)

hof cullchaw end (p 303)

coiffure, herdream of Endsland’s daylast (p 304)

economy, chemistry, humanity (p 306)

Howe cools Eavybrolly! (p 315)

Eh, chrystal holder? (p 319)

Heave, coves, emptybloddy! (p 324)

Ere he could (p 324)

Hoved… Clontarf… Ellers (p 324)

husband’s capture and either (p 325)

Heri the Concorant Erho (p 328)

Horuse to crihumph over his enemy (p 328)

hippychip eggs (p 329)

heard on earth’s conspectrum (p 329)

else thy cavern hair! (p 332)

Erminia’s capecloaked hoodoodman! (p 339)

Caerholme Event (p 341)

His Cumbulent Embulence (p 352)

Hercushiccups’ care to educe (p 355)

how… Eonochs Cunstuntonopolies! (p 357)

heaviest corpsus exemption (p 362)

hitch a cock eye (p 363)

hoax chestnote from exexive (p 365)

Here endeth chinchinatibus (p 367)

Horkus chiefest ebblynuncies! (p 373)

Hence counsels Ecclesiast (p 374)

Hung Chung Egglyfella (p 374)

Hang coercion everyhow! (p 378)

hospitable corn and eggfactor (p 382)

home, colonies and empire (p 393)

Earl Hoovedsoon’s choosing (p 394)

O hear, Caller Errin! (p 394)

highly continental evenements (p 398)

Eusebian Concordant Homilies (p 409)

compound eyes on hornitosehead (p 415)

His Christian’s Em? (p 419)

Here Commerces Enville (p 420)

House Condemned by Ediles (p 421)

HeCitEncy! (p 421)

Childe Horrid, engrossing (p 423)

Helpless Corpses Enactment (p 423)

erewhile had he craved (p 426)

His Esaus and Cos (p 433)

Hayes, Conyngham and Erobinson (p 434)

earth… combined in hemel (p 435)

crass, hairy and evergrim life (p 455)

home cooking everytime (p 455)

home cured emigrant (p 463)

ear him clicking (p 464)

Ecce Hagios Chrisman! (p 480)

Hunkalus Childared Easterheld (p 480)

his last chance, Emania (p 480)

Hillcloud encompass us! (p 480)

Hail… Courser… Eld (p 481)

humeplace of Chivitats Ei (p 481)

at the house of Eddy’s Christy (p 481-482)

crouched low entering humble down (p 483)

Hell’s Confucium and the Elements! (p 485)

Hullo Eve Cenograph (p 488)

Hosty’s and Co, Exports (p 497)

entire horizon cloth! (p 503)

holy floor and culprines of Erasmus Smith’s burstall boys (p 504)

encircle him circuly (p 505)

How culious an epiphany! (p 508)

Hodie casus esobhrakonton? (p 508)

Herreraism of a cabotinesque exploser (p 512)

Edwin Hamilton’s Christmas (p 513)

Heavystost’s envil catacalamitumbling (p 514)

Hostages and Co, Engineers (p 518)

homosexual catheis of empathy (p 522)

Hotchkiss Culthur’s Everready (p 523)

his comfy estably (p 523)

hidebound homelies of creed crux ethics (p 525)

Magnam Carpam, es hit (p 525)

Our Human Conger Eel! (p 525)

cooling herself in the element (p 526)

cavehill exers or hearts of steel (p 529)

eirenarch’s custos himself (p 532)

Ho, croak, evildoer! (p 532)

Eternest cittas, heil! (p 532)

Calm has entered (p 534)

blood currish! Eristocras till Hanging Tower! (p 534)

handshake congrandyoulikethems, ecclesency (p 535)

Haveth Childers Everywhere (p 535)

Hello, Commudicate… Everscepistic! (p 536)

Hodder’s and Cocker’s erithmatic (p 537)

ecus in cunziehowffsee! (p 538)

Hery Crass Evohodie (p 546)

chiefly endmost hartyly aver (p 547)

her hochsized, her cleavunto, her Everest (p 548)

her chastener ever (p 553)

huge Chesterfield elms (p 553)

Holiday, Christmas, Easter mornings (p 556)

Hemself and Co, Esquara (p 557)

the sight entrancing! Hummels! That crag! (p 566)

horse elder yet cherchant (p 568)

How chimant in effect! (p 569)

Call halton eatwords! (p 569)

Cant ear! Her (p 572)

Honuphrius is a concupiscent exservicemajor (p 572)

a commercial, emulous of Honuphrius (p 572)

heathen church emergency (p 574)

Hecklar’s champion ethnicist (p 578)

Hot and cold and electrickery (p 579)

Herenow chuck english (p 579)

hydrocomic establishment (p 580)

Heinz cans everywhere (p 581)

huskiest coaxing experimenter (p 582)

escape life’s high carnage (p 582)

hugest commercial emporialist (p 589)

honoured christmastyde easteredman (p 590)

A hand from the cloud emerges, holding a chart expanded (p 593)

Even unto Heliotropolis, the castellated, the enchanting (p 594)

horned cairns erge (p 594)

Edar’s chuckal humanistic (p 594)

Henge Ceolleges, Exmooth (pgs 594-595)

hoseshoes, cheriotiers and etceterogenious (p 595)

He canease (p 595)

holiday crowd encounter (p 596)

a hygiennic contrivance… editor (p 596)

no crane in Elga is heard (p 596)

hullow chyst excavement (p 596)

heat, contest and enmity (p 597)

Cumulonubulocirrhonimbant heaven electing (p 599)

ex-Colonel House’s (p 600)

Homos Circas Elochlannensis! (p 600)

exhibiting that corricatore of a harss (p 602)

Read Higgins, Cairns and Egen (p 604)

Hagiographice canat Ecclesia (p 604)

perfect christian… exorcised his holy sister (p 605)

every hours of changeover (p 607)

every hearable a cry (p 609)

holf his crown on the Eurasian (p 610)

essixcoloured holmgrewnworsteds costume (p 611)

Hump cumps Ebblybally! (p 612)

Health, chalce, endnessnessessity! (p 613)

Have we cherished expectations? (p 614)

Eblania’s conglomerate horde (p 614)

Heroticisms, catastrophes and eccentricities (p 614)

highly charged with electrons as hophazards can effective it (p 615)

the hartiest that Coolock ever! (p 616)

ever complete hairy of chest, hamps and eyebags (p 616)

coerogenal hun… eggcup (p 616)

with earnestly conceived hopes (p 617)

here’s… erronymously… clerical (p 617)

here-earther… complaint (p 618)

erect, confident and heroic (p 619)

Eager to choose… her shade (p 620)

The child… our hope in for ever (p 621)

earthly bells. In the church by the hearseyard (p 621)

helpyourselftoastrool cure’s easy (p 622)

evers the Carlton hart (p 622)

Ericoricori coricome huntsome (p 623)

Enough of that horner corner! (p 623)

hot cockles and everything (p 623)

Hoteform, chain and epolettes (p 623)

hardest crux ever (p 623)

cousin… her with exes (p 625)

Claffey’s habits endurtaking (p 625)

Coming, far! End here (p 628)

cg fewston

ALP

& some of its Variations in Finnegans Wake

Apud libertinam parvulam (p 7)

And the larpnotes prittle (p 21)

annie lawrie promises (p 38)

asches with lustres of peins (p 55)

arrah of the lacessive poghue (p 68)

Annushka Lutetiavitch Pufflovah (p 207)

Anna was, Livia is, Plurabelle’s to be (p 215)

ALP Diagram (p 293)

A.L.P. (p 297)

appia lippia pluvaville (p 297)

Art, literature, politics (p 306)

anny livving plusquebelle (p 327)

anit likenand please-thee! (p 332)

annapal livibel prettily prattle (p 337)

Auld Letty Plussiboots (p 415)

Alas for livings’ pledjures! (p 496)

Annabella, Lovabella, Pullabella (p 512)

absque-litteris puttagomianne (p 512)

Appia Lippia Pluviabilla (p 548)

my annie, my lauralad, my pisoved (p 548)

The annamation of evabusies, the livlianess of her laughings, such as plurity of bells! (p 568)

Alla tingaling pealabells! (p 569)

Annshee lispes privily (p 571)

attendance and lounge and promenade (p 578)

ambling limfy peepingpartner (p 580)

Arrive, likkypuggers, in a poke! (p 613)

Are we for liberty of perusiveness? (p 614)

A plainplanned liffeyism assemblements (p 614)

ancient legacy of the past (pgs 614-615)

and a lady!) pulling (p 618)

Alma Luvia, Pollabella (p 619)

cg fewston

Shem & Shaun in Finnegans Wake

Shem & Shaun represent the “Twin Hero” found in many myths (Key, p 297) and they are called by Joyce as the “doubleparalleled twixtytwins,” as in “Rhombulus and Rhebus” from the “eternal Rome” (pgs 286, 298). While Shem is the favorite of ALP (the Mother), Shaun is the favorite of HCE (the Father).

What follows is a breakdown of the various names and symbols Shem & Shaun go by in the book:

Shem / Shaun:

Jerry Porter / Kevin Porter

Cain / Abel

Romulus / Remus

Amor / Roma

Dolph / Kev

Butt Mutt / Taff Jute

Caddy / Primas

Caseous (Cheese, Cassius) / Burrus (Butter, Brutus)

Gripes (Grapes) / Mookse (the Fox)

Glugg / Chuff

Devil / St. Michael, an archangel (Christ-figure)

Cad-Assailant-Beggar / Professor Jones (HCE + Shaun)

Penman / Postman

Seducer / Jaun (& Haun)

Paraclete / Yawn

Elmtree / Stone

Chance / Permanence

Mercy / Justice

Mercius / Justius

Esau / Jacob

Set / Horus

Nick / Mick

Time / Space

cg fewston

What is further interesting to note is that in Book 2, Chapter 2, Dolph (Shem) tricks his brother into drawing a diagram with the initials of his mother ALP saying “A is for Anna like L is for liv. Aha hahah” (p 293). Kev (Shaun), who thought he was drawing the Euclid diagram, soon realizes the diagram he has actually drawn is in the form and shape of ALP’s genitalia, legs spread wide. Kev (Shaun/Abel) then strikes his brother Dolph (Shem/Cain) for the trick.  

cg fewston

The Thunderclap in Finnegans Wake

The Viconian Thunderclap or Thundercrack is often viewed as representing the “Freudian fear of the Father’s revenge” (Key, p 169).

See pages 3, 23, 44, 90, 113, 257, 314, 332, 414, 424 for the ten Thunderclaps.

There are nine Thunderclaps with 100 letters in each, and one Thunderclap with 101 letters, making the total number of letters for all ten Thunderclaps an exact 1,001.

On page 284 a cough could also represent a smaller version of the thunderclap: “pthwndxrclzp”

The Ten Thunderclaps could also represent the Ten Commandments of the Holy Bible (1611).

cg fewston

Important Numbers in Finnegans Wake

The # 4:

The 4 Books organizing Finnegans Wake

The 4 Old Men: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John

“They were the big four”: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John; see page 384

The 4 Inquisitors/Judges: Matt Gregory (Matthew), Marcus Lyons (Mark), Lucas Metcalfe Tarpey (Luke), Jonny na Hossaleen (John), and the Ass (Christ); see page 476

Mamalujo: Ma[tthew], Ma[rk], Lu[ke], Jo[hn]

The 4 Elements: Sun (Matthew), Air (Mark), Earth (Luke), Water (John)

NEWS: N[orth], E[ast], W[est], S[outh]

The 4 Ages (Greek): Gold, Silver, Bronze, Iron

The 4 Yugas (Hindu): Krita (or Satya, as the Golden Age), Tretā, Dvāpara, Kali (the Final Age)

The 4 Ages of the Viconian Civilizational Cycles: Age of Thunderclap (thunderburst), Age of Marriage (ravishment), Age of Disintegration (dissolution), Age of Return (providentiality); see page 362

“In the buginning is the woid, in the muddle is the sounddance and thereinofter you’re in the unbewised again, vund vulsyvolsy” (p 378).

“the fourth commandment with promise” (p 62)

“the grimm grimm tale of the four of hyacinths” (p 335)

“at the turn of the fourth of the hurdles” (p 342)

The Four Masks (p 367)

“Our four avunculusts” (p 367)

“fourdimmansions” [four dimensions, four dim mansions] (p 367)

Priest-Mayor-King-Merchant (p 447)

Success, Pleasure, Duty, Enlightenment; see Key page 87

The # 39:

“thirtynine several manners” (p 573)

“thirtynine years” (p 574)

“under articles thirtynine of the reconstitution” (p 596)

“looking most plussed with (exhib 39) a clout” (p 607)

Finnegans Wake was published in 1939

The 39 Articles of the High Church of England (The 39 Articles of Religion)

Romans 3:9 = “What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin”

The # 1001:

“Skertsiraizde with Donyahzade” [direct reference to the characters Scheherazade & Dunyazad in the book One Thousand and One Nights (c. 1706-1721), which is a collection of Middle Eastern folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age] (p 32)

“since in this scherzarade of one’s thousand one nightinesses that sword of certainty which would indentifide the body never falls” (p 51)

“Thousand to One” (p 342)

“a thousand and one times” (p 519)

“his alladim lamps” [his Aladdin lamps] (p 560)

“one thousand and one other blessings” (p 617)

“One in a thousand of years of the nights?” (p 627)

There are nine Thunderclaps with 100 letters in each, and one Thunderclap with 101 letters, making the total number of letters for all ten Thunderclaps an exact 1,001. See pages 3, 23, 44, 90, 113, 257, 314, 332, 414, 424. The Ten Thunderclaps could also represent the Ten Commandments of the Holy Bible (1611).

“swansway” (p 450) & “Watch the swansway” (p 465) = Marcel Proust in his epic novels creating In Search of Lost Time (1913-1927), including Swanns Way (1913), also references and alludes to the book One Thousand and One Nights (c. 1706-1721)

The # 1132:

“1132 A.D.” (pgs 13, 14)

“Subsec. 32, section 11, of the C.L.A. act 1885” (p 61)

“in number 32 at the Rum and Puncheon… 11/- in the week” (pgs 69-70)

“patent number 1132” (p 310)

“thirty two eleven” (p 338)

“elve hundred and therety and to years” (p 347)

“11.32” (p 348)

“1132 S.O.S.” (p 387)

“round about the freebutter year of Notre Dame 1132 P.P.O. or so” (p 388)

“neer the Queen’s Colleges, in 1132 Brian or Bride street” (p 388)

“lived to a great age at or in or about the late No. 1132 or No. 1169” (p 389)

“from his elevation of one yard one handard and thartytwo lines” (p 389)

“in or aring or around about the year of buy in disgrace 1132 or 1169 or 1768 Y.W.C.A.” (p 391)

“on their old one page codex book of old year’s eve 1132, M.M.L.J. old style” (p 397)

“31 Jan. 1132 A.D.” (p 420)

“Not known at 1132 a. 12 Norse Richmound” (p 420)

“the hoyth of number eleven… about thirtytwo minutes’ time” (p 448)

“eleven to thirtytwo seconds” (p 516)

“eleven thirsty too” (p 517)

“No 11 hundred and thirty 2” (p 574)

Romans 11:32 = “For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.”

1132 feet per second: the speed of sound in air (Finnegans Wake is best understood when heard)

32 feet per second per second: acceleration due to gravity at the surface of the Earth (similar to the Fall in Finnegans Wake)

566 is half of 1132: “566 A.D.” (pgs 13,14); “his five hundredth and sixtysixth borthday” (p 497)

cg fewston

Book of Kells in Finnegans Wake

In many ways Finnegans Wake resembles the Book of Kells (dated 9th century). Written in Latin and also known as the Book of Columba, the mysterious book contains the Four Gospels of the Holy Bible along with various texts and tables. It is then of no great shock when Joyce refers to the Book of Kells and the famous “Tunc page” throughout his work of fiction.  

cg fewston

“The Book of Kells,” writes Joseph Campbell, “a magnificently illuminated sixth or ninth century Irish Psalter, was buried, like our letter [the one found by the hen in Finnegans Wake], to protect it from the invading Danes, and was dug up again, centuries later, very badly damaged. The meticulously executed, unbelievable intricacy of the profoundly suggestive ornament of this monk work so closely resembles in its essential character the workmanship of Finnegans Wake that one is not entirely surprised to find Joyce describing the features of his own masterwork in language originally applied to the very much earlier monument of Celtic art…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“The illumination is an astonishing comment on this text, strangely suggestive of pre-Christian and oriental symbols. The reader of Finnegans Wake will not fail to recognize in this page something like a mute indication that here is the key to the entire puzzle: and he will be the more concerned to search its meaning when he reads Joyce’s boast on page 298: ‘I’ve read your tunc’s dismissage’” (Key, p 101).

cg fewston

The Legend of Tristan & Isolde in Finnegans Wake

Being a Celtic legend, Tristan and Isolde is frequently visited and revisited throughout Finnegans Wake, especially in Book II, Chapter IV. The name “Tristan” takes on many variations (within the book and without), such as “Tristram” or “Tristrem” or “Trustan” while the name “Isolde” can appear as “Iseult” or “Isolt” or “Usolde” or “Yesult.” 

“All the birds of the sea they trolled out rightbold when they smacked the big kuss of Trustan and Usolde” (p 383).

“Hear, O hear, Iseult la belle! Tristan, sad hero, hear!” (p 398).

A great resource and second companion (in addition to Henry Morton Robinson & Joseph Campbell’s A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake, originally published in 1944) is Joseph Campbell’s The Masks of God, Volume IV: Creative Mythology (1968).

cg fewston

In Creative Mythology, Part Two: “The Waste Land,” Chapter 5: “Phoenix Fire,” Section I: “O Truly Blessed Night,” Joseph Campbell writes about Joyce using the legend of Tristan and Isolde in Finnegans Wake:

“James Joyce develops the Tristan theme anew, with all its ‘equals of opposites,’ throughout the ever-revolving labyrinth of his dream-book, Finnegans Wake. His first paragraph opens with the words, ‘Sir Tristram, violer d’amores…,’ and Chapelizod, the legendary birthplace of Isolt, on the bank of the river Liffey, beside Dublin’s Phoenix Park, is the chief scene of its dream events. The guilt-laden sleeper, through whose whiskey-soaked interior landscape we are following the lead and lectures of an erudite tourist guide, ‘of the every-tale-a-treat-in-itself variety’ (as Dante followed the lead and lectures of Virgil through his own sin-laden, visionary Purgatory), is a late-middle-aged burly Chapelizod tavernkeeper named Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker, about whom an embarrassing Peeping Tom scandal has recently been bruited, published abroad, and even balladized within the walls of his own hospitable premises. The incident—if there really was one, for we are never made quite sure—was rumored to have occurred in Phoneix Park (or was it Eden? was it Cavalry?), possibly at night, and to have involved, besides the dreamer, two servant girls in the bushes and three drunken British-solider witnesses. Four old tavern cronies, who are confused with the four Evangelists, four quarters of the world, and four posts of the bed, rehearse the legend variously, while a zodiac of inebriate customers toss it about, refreshed by more and more of their own confused elucidations” (p 257).

cg fewston

Special Footer Notations in Finnegans Wake

“it’s as simple as A.B.C., the two mixers, we mean” (p 65)

“I teachet you in fair, my elders, the W.X.Y.Z. and P.Q.R.S. of legatine powers” (p 484)

J.W.P.              B         p 17

J.W.P.              C         p 33

J.W.P.              D         p 49

J.W.P.              E          p 65

J.W.P.              F          p 81

G         p 97

H         p 113

I           p 129

K         p 145

L          p 161

M         p 177

N         p 193

O         p 209

P          p 225

Q         p 241

R         p 257

X         p 321

Y         p 337

Z          p 353

2A       p 369

2B       p 385

2D       p 417

2E        p 433

2F        p 449

2G       p 465

2H       p 481

2I         p 497

2K       p 513

2L        p 529

2M       p 545

2N       p 561

2O       p 577

2P        p 593

2Q       p 609

2Q2     p 611

Paris, 1922-1939         p 628

Breakdown of special footers*:

B – R               (pgs 17-257)

X, Y, Z            (pgs 321-353)

2A – 2B           (pgs 369-385)

2D – 2Q          (pgs 417-609)

2Q2                 (p 611)

*Missing letters A, J, 2C, 2J, 2R

cg fewston

Collective Tradition & the Individual in Finnegans Wake

Finnegans Wake and its Fall in Phoenix Park, along with HCE & ALP (fully named as Harold/Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker and Annie/Anne/Anna Livia Plurabelle), hold the dream-masked telling of the Fall of Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden. The story of He & She (pgs 579-580) is told, retold and re-retold through multi-various perceptions surrounding the all-centering and archetypal presence of HCE & ALP (Adam & Eve) and their two sons, Shem and Shaun (Cain and Abel).

For many Catholics, HCE represents the All-Mighty Father God, ALP represents the Virgin Mary, Shaun represents the Son Jesus, the Four Old Men (and Mamalujo) represent the four disciples Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, while Ireland represents the Holy Ghost. The “wake” could either be “funereal” or “resurrective.” HCE further represents the “thunder father” and “Father Times” while ALP further represents the “river mother” and “Mother Spacies” (p 600).

cg fewston

It’s also useful to note that the book opens up with the family by the names of Mr. and Mrs. Porter, Kevin and Jerry Porter (who are twins), and a daughter named Isobel Porter. Once the dream begins the characters are thus named Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker (Mr. Porter), Anna Livia Plurabelle (Mrs. Porter), Shaun (Kevin), Shem (Jerry), and Issy (Isobel).

Referencing the “Great Sleep” that ALP undertakes at the end of the book and reemerges from at the beginning of the book, Joyce writes somewhere in the middle:

“For as Anna was at the beginning lives yet and will return after great deap sleap rerising and a white night high with a cows of Drommhiem as shower as there’s a wet enclouded in Westwicklow or a little black rose a truant in a thorntree. We drames our dreams tell Bappy returns. And Sein annews. We will not say it shall not be, this passing of order and order’s coming, but in the herbest country and in the country around Blath as in that city self of legionds they look for its being ever yet” (p 277).

cg fewston
L0032582 FLUDD: Utriusque cosmi Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://wellcomeimages.org FLUDD, Robert (1574-1637) R. Fludd, Utriusque cosmi maioris scilicet et minoris metaphysica, physica atque technica historia … [Tractatus secundus de naturae simia seu technica macrocosmi historia], Oppenheim : ‘Aere J.T. de Bry, typ. H. Galleri,’, 1617-1618, EPB /2324/D/1, Vol. 1, fol. 4-5. Published: – Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

By the end of the book, ALP is winding down into the sea and gives the reader an amazing soliloquy of her past and her future fate:

“Now a younger’s there. Try not to part. Be happy, dear ones! May I be wrong! For she’ll be sweet for you as I was sweet when I came down out of me mother. My great blue bedroom, the air so quiet, scarce a cloud. In peace and silence. I could have stayed up there for always only. It’s something fails us. First we feel. Then we fall. And let her rain now if she likes. Gently or strongly as she likes. Anyway let her rain for my time is come. I done me best when I was let” (p 627).

Then a page later the end comes, but the final sentence famously wraps itself around to the very first sentence of the book, reading thus:

“A way a lone a last a loved a long the / riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs” (pgs 628, 3).

And as ALP predicted the rain at the end of the book, the reader finds the cycle renewed in the beginning:

“So then she started raining, raining, and in a pair of changers, be dome ter, she was back again” (p 22).

cg fewston

The cycle ends and begins and ends over and over again and again much like Collective Tradition upon the Individual who is born and develops and (perhaps) finds the ever-invisible circular socio-system dream-like and mythic, a manifestation of circular reaction, and at times feeling like a cosmic-subconscious-abstract superorganism (or supraorganism) encapsulates and manages the collective human consciousness-unconsciousness (as well as Culture, Politics and Economics).

Our ancestors in ancient times referred to this cosmic-subconscious-abstract superorganism as a “World-Soul.” The metaphysical World-Soul is a never-ending energy which binds all living things through a distribution of intelligence, and may either be conscious, unconscious or intuitive or all of the above. The World-Soul (or Anima Mundi) further connects every Individual by amassing the billions of souls in the world into a single organismic unit rather than collections of individuals. If the soul is inside the human body, the human body is inside the World-Soul which is inside the Cosmic Earth moving in Space along with other Cosmic Bodies. A Supernatural God, the Ultimate Cosmic Being, could still be All-Encompassing, which would continue to validate the earthly human religions.

“We may come, touch and go, from atoms and ifs but we’re presurely destined to be odd’s without ends” (p 455).

In Timaeus (c. 360 B.C.), Plato explains: “Therefore, we may consequently state that: this world is indeed a living being endowed with a soul and intelligence… a single visible living entity containing all other living entities, which by their nature are all related.”

What may be an additional connection of this invisible-cosmic-subconscious-abstract superorganism binding all living things as one is “Monopsychism” (a doctrine of the Jewish Kabbalah), which can mean that all living things share the same eternal consciousness, much like the characters (especially the two sons) in James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake who share a variation of identities stemming from their Father HCE and his nocturnal dream.

In Psychology and the East (1978), C.G. Jung commented: “The development of Western philosophy during the last two centuries has succeeded in isolating the mind in its own sphere and in severing it from its primordial oneness with the universe. Man himself has ceased to be the microcosm and eidolon of the cosmos, and his ‘anima’ is no longer the consubstantial scintilla, spark of the Anima Mundi, the World Soul” (see section “Psychological Commentary on The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation”).  

C.G. Jung further developed the idea of “Unus Mundus” (or “One World”), which is the “concept of an underlying unified reality from which everything emerges and to which everything returns.”

Finnegans Wake certainly embodies these concepts.

cg fewston

What then of the Individual, of the mortal “I”?

One can start with Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay “The Over-Soul” published in 1841.

In 1922, Rudolf Steiner wrote: “Most of all, however, our times are suffering from the lack of any basic social understanding of how work can be incorporated into the social organism correctly, so that everything we do is truly performed for the sake of our fellow human beings. We can acquire this understanding only by learning to really insert our ‘I’ into the human community. New social forms will not be provided by nature but can emerge only from the human ‘I’ through real, person-to-person understanding—that is, when the needs of others become a matter of direct experience for us.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Individual or the “I” can also be further divided down into the twelve atavistic archetypes (also found in Finnegans Wake): The Explorer, the Innocent, the Ruler, the Rebel, the Magician, the Hero, the Sage, the Lover, the Orphan, the Jester, the Caregiver, and the Creator.  

Finnegans Wake is a labyrinth of a unified reality that emerges, repeats and returns, and can be studied deeply for years to come. Sadly, James Joyce never won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

cg fewston

cg fewstonA Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake: Unlocking James Joyce’s Masterwork by Joseph Campbell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Here’s some useful notes to reflect on when reading Finnegans Wake:

“What is the fascination of this book? Why are we magnetized by its secret? And again we ask, by what warrant does the author make his message so hard to decipher—and by what act of creative largesse does he compensate us so richly for our labors” (Key, p 355).

cg fewston

“Often a Joycean word will mean more than the sum of its parts, just as a musical chord means more than the sum of the notes composing it. An example occurs in ‘persequestellates’ in which ‘pursues’ vibrates with overtones of Persse O’Reilly, Stella, love quest, and persecutions. No wonder Joyce does not read as easily as Trollope or Louis Bromfield” (Key, p 357).

cg fewston

Joseph John Campbell, American Professor of Literature at Sarah Lawrence College who worked in comparative mythology and comparative religion (1904-1987)

Finnegans Wake is fellow to the Purāṇas of the Hindus, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Apocalyptic writings of the Persians and the Jews, the scaldic Poetic Edda, and the mystical constructions of the Master Singers of the ancient Celts” (Key, p 359).

“If Joyce is sick, his disease is the neurosis of our age. Lifting our eye from his page we find in every aspect of society the perversion, the decay, and the disintegration of religion, love, and morality that he has described in Finnegans Wake. The hypocrisy of political promises, the prurient preoccupation with sex, the measuring of all values by mercantile standards, the fascination of lurid headlines gossip and its effect on a literate but basically ignorant bourgeoisie—all these are mirrored to the life by this liveliest of observers” (Key, p 361).

And let us also not forget one of Joyce’s numerous clues about Finnegans Wake: “It ought to be always remembered in connection with what has gone before” (p 69).

James Joyce’s works also include Dubliners (1914), A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), and Ulysses (1922).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

CG FEWSTON

cg fewston

The American novelist CG FEWSTON has been a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome (Italy), a Visiting Fellow at Hong Kong’s CityU, & he’s a member of Club Med & a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) based in London.

He’s the author of several short stories and novels. His works include A Fathers Son (2005), The New America: A Collection (2007), Vanity of Vanities (2011), A Time to Love in Tehran (2015), and forthcoming: Conquergood & the Center of the Intelligible Mystery of Being; Little Hometown, America: A Look Back; A Time to Forget in East Berlin; and, The Endless Endeavor of Excellence.

He has a B.A. in English, an M.Ed. in Higher Education Leadership (honors), an M.A. in Literature (honors), and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing & Fiction. He was born in Texas in 1979.

You can follow the author on Facebook @ cg.fewston – where he has 400,000+ followers

cg fewston

 

Share the knowledge:
  • 15.7K
    Shares
  • 15.7K
    Shares

0 comments on “Finnegans Wake (1939) by James Joyce & the Great Irish Novel

Leave a Comment Below:

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.