Monday, August 11, 2014

Finnegans Wake, Part III, third division

From a Shaun and a Jaun we come to Yawn (which one does at dawn): "Lowly, longly, a wail went forth. Pure Yawn lay low. On the mead of the hillock lay, heartsoul dormant mid shadowed landshape, brief wallet to his side, and arm loose, by his staff of citron briar, tradition stick-pass-on. His dream monologue was over, of cause, but his drama parapolylogic had yet to be, affect."

This unaccountably puts me in mind of the awakening of Faust at the beginning of Part II, after the revels of Walpurgis Night and Gretchen's death.  If Finnegans Wake is indeed a nightdream, it is surprising that Yawn is waking as dawn is breaking.  But if the "dream monologue" had ended, the "drama parapolylogic" was not.  We're not out of the woods yet.  The dream was within a dream, perhaps, or a false dawn yawns.

We are soon again in the presence of our Four:  "First klettered Shanator Gregory, seeking spoor through the deep timefield, Shanator Lyons, trailing the wavy line of his partition footsteps (something in his blisters was telling him all along how he had been in that place one time), then his Recordership, Dr Shunadure Tarpey, caperchasing after honourable sleep, hot on to the aniseed and, up out of his prompt corner, old Shunny MacShunny, MacDougal the hiker, in the rere of them on the run, to make a quorum."  And they meet to "hold their sworn starchamber quiry on him."

Whether these are still the four evangelists, or now the four provinces of Ireland, or the four points of the compass, Joyce only knows.  But for the next two-thirds of this division a conversation begins.  It presumably includes the Four, making their "sworn starchamber quiry," but this is only an inference from the above.  Who else is involved, I cannot say, and it seems to have no form, and no aim, and no conclusion. 

This is, to me, a long period of obscurity.  There is some linguistic play, and a more frequent invocation of HCE.As I look over these posts I become dissatisfied because the matters brought out are what to me are the brightest, clearest spots.

At a certain point we begin to again encounter sexuality, though doubling with ALP's character as water:  "[S]he began to bump a little bit, my dart to throw: and there, by wavebrink, on strond of south, with mace to masthigh, taillas Cowhowling, quailless Highjakes, did I upreized my magicianer’s puntpole, the tridont sired a tritan stock, farruler, and I bade those polyfizzyboisterous seas to retire with hemselves from os (rookwards, thou seasea stamoror!) and I abridged with domfine norsemanship till I had done abate her maidan race, my baresark bride, and knew her fleshly when with all my bawdy did I her whorship, min bryllupswibe."

There is plainly a lot of sex in Finnegans Wake.  This arises, I think, from something more than the fact that sex is often suspected and more easily detectable when other activities are more obscure.  Aside from the obvious physiological rising and falling involved, the play of generation is yet another pattern of death and resurrection,  life ascendant succeeding to life descending, the great recurrent drama of the human race.  But perhaps Joyce is also enjoying writing one impliedly pornographic scene after another that his censors can't object to as unambiguously salacious. 

Another section that stands out seems nothing less than a mash of personal and lodging ads, with few puns and doubled words, but a series of phrases, some ordinary, some absurd, on the same pattern:  "[E]ccentric naval officer not quite steady enjoys weekly churchwarden and laugh while reading foreign pictorials on clumpstump before door, known as the trap, widow rheumatic and chars, haunted, condemned and execrated, of dubious respectability, tools too costly pledged or uninsured, reformed philanthropist whenever feasible takes advantage of unfortunates against dilapidating ashpits, serious student is eating his last dinners, floor dangerous for unaccompanied old clergymen, thoroughly respectable, many uncut pious books in evidence, nearest watertap two hundred yards’ run away, fowl and bottled gooseberry frequently on table, man has not had boots off for twelve months, infant being taught to hammer flat piano, outwardly respectable, sometimes hears from titled connection."

Another remarkable section conveys a sense of primordial history of Genesis, in the spreading of civilization and the founding of cities:  "long agore when the whole blighty acre was bladey well pessovered, my selvage mats of lecheworked lawn, my carpet gardens of Guerdon City, with chopes pyramidous and mousselimes and beaconphires and colossets and pensilled turisses for the busspleaches of the summiramies and esplanadas and statuesques and templeogues, the Pardonell of Maynooth, Fra Teobaldo, Nielsen, rare admirable, Jean de Porteleau, Conall Gretecloke, Guglielmus Caulis and the eiligh ediculous Passivucant (glorietta’s inexcellsiored!)"

Yes, I know this is mostly hunting and pecking.  Maybe from the perspective of the end these sections may find some place in a greater architecture.  But it's honestly hard to see, for me.

Again this section ends with the four: "--Mattahah! Marahah! Luahah! Joahanahanahana!"

And here's an ending note on trivia/puzzle solving.  One of the themes I haven't much commented on is the possible indecency committed by HCE in Phoenix Park.  The park is a real place, a very large public, open space to the west of Dublin center, and lying north of the Liffey.  Now I had assumed, simply, that the park was a prominent location because of its name, the mythical bird who so spectacularly expires and is resurrected from its own ashes.  But in doing a google search for an aerial phote of the park, I read that the park's name is not in fact an English transliteration of the Greek name of the mythical creature, but is a kind of Joycean English approximation of the park's Irish name, Fionn Uisce, "Clear Water."  Not only is there then a double referent to the Liffey, but also a sort of rough-enough assonance between "Fionnuisce Park" and "Finnegans Wake."  I think.

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