(FW) about Finnegans Wake, Book I, Chapter 4 Page 75+

[This format  is mostly mature. An additional source, Roland McHugh’s Annotations to Finnegans Wake will be added next month when recording what I found about Page 76.] 

Boaters’ Log: The current position of the crew navigating ALP

The July reading from Finnegans Wake by BloomsdayMontreal’s cadre of Boaters and Sifters kicked off Book I, Chapter 4 on Page 75 and concluded the last paragraph, beginning on that page and continuing through about one-quarter of Page 76.


Campbell and Robinson’s A Skeleton Key to Finnegan’s Wake

Page 75 reveals the caged lion “bedreaming” about about two “lilyliliths undeveiled.” HCE’s misdeed might be due to age or treachery, or it might be mischief resulting from the disfavor of the corn goddess, Ysit. Finally, he might need punishment because he had dared to pray that the wordwounder sire a caste of black-faced delinquents. Campbell and Robinson suggest in their footnote 81n1 that Earwicker’s “three and a hell of hours” associates him with Christ’s passion.

William York Tindall’s A Reader’s Guide to Finnegans Wake:

Tindall prepares us for Chapter IV’s six strophes. He explains that Joyce omits transition between strophes to aid the intensity of shifts. The six elements will be an introduction (75-76), a meditation on death (76-80), more about the Cad (81-86), the trial(86-96), a fox hunt and flight (96-101), and a hymn to ALP (101-02). WYT notes the mention of Earwicker’s children, “Ysit? shamed and shone” and explains that…

Insurance companies are no more help than Mountjoy jail (75.19- 76.4-.5) where such criminals as ‘Ham’s cribcracking yeggs’ (H.C. E. himself as fender, ham, and eggs, Humpty Dumpty, and Noah’s son) are put away. (Tindall 84-85)

On these pages, predictions appear for “the calm judgment of the world” (Securus iudicat orbis terrarum) and “the rise from sin” (Dublin’s motto- Obedientia civium urbis felicitas). The first of these Latin quotes is attributed to St. Augustine and will appear five more times in The Wake.


Glosses of Finnegans Wake (finwake.com)

This month we will add a few selected glossary notes from finwake.com.

Page 75

aryuz (Armenian) – lion + Sirius

aryun (Armenian) – blood + Orion

Isis Unveiled – first major work of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. In this book she criticized the science and religion of her day and asserted that mystical experience and doctrine were the means to attain true spiritual insight and authority.

zijn (Dutch) – two meanings: 1) To be 2) His. “Zijn zijn”: his being + (onomat.) + we zijn (Dutch) – we are.

insight – the fact of penetrating with the eyes of the understanding into the inner character or hidden nature of things; a glimpse or view beneath the surface + FDV: With deepseeing insight he may have prayed in silence that his wordwounder might become the first of a long distinguished dinasty his most cherished idea being a formation, as in more favoured climes, of a truly criminal class, thereby eliminating much general delinquency from all classes & masses.

seamanna (shamena) (gael) – quotations, sophistries, rigmarole + Let’s say that “shaman” was a word. If it does come from the word “saman” (exalted), it describes a state of consciousness, not a role. The whole idea of Shaman culture is to be able to connect with the Divine through ecstasy.

Tobit – Apocryphal book. Tobit was blind and saw again + toe bout a peer = to peer about + toegift (Dutch) – makeweight, extra + toe! (Dutch) – please! + bout (Dutch) – bolt, leg of animal or bird considered as a joint for the table, drumstick.

Page 76

nash – soft, tender, gentle; to go away, quit + Nash, Thomas (1567-1601) – English poet, playwright, pamphleteer. Wyndham Lewis, meaning to be uncomplimentary, compared the opening of “Shem the Penman” to Nash and said Joyce and Nash met on the common ground of Rabelais + nahash (Hebrew) – “serpent”.

from / the oppidump much desultory delinquency from / all classes and masses… (The Finnegans Wake printer preparing the galley proofs haplographically jumps from the word “from” to the word “from” in the next line, thereby eliminating “from the oppidump much desultory delinquency” and leaving the final part of the sentence without an object. Already in 1944, in their Skeleton Key, Campbell & Robinson noticed the difference between the transition text of Work in Progress and the sentence in Finnegans Wake. The passage is already there in the very first draft, so can’t be ignored as if it were a relatively late, obscure and not very important embellishment, it is an essential part of the narrative which is unfolding.) (Robbert-Jan Henkes, 18.05.2002)


100 Words: A few words about the personal exploration of this month’s text

[These entries are somewhat random, thoughts that arise from reading the text and my brief research about the page. These are hardly intended to be academic criticism and if any of the ideas here have been proposed elsewhere I apologize in advance. It isn’t larceny but ignorance that could lead me to repeat ideas.]

…Reading from the text and from Campbell and Robinson brought me to waking one pre-dawn thinking about a few words they unpack: “bedreaming” and two “lilyliliths undeveiled.””Bedreaming,” can simply be the phenomenon of symbolized nightly human psychosis. It could also be “bed-reaming” or boring down into the dream. “Lilyliliths” might be easier. The two temptresses are concubines, in lore, either before Eve (Adam’s first, pre-human wife) or his mistress (past Eve and Adam”s). She is evil, the patroness of infanticide, and jealous of the human family nuclear and extended. “Undevelied” might un-devil or humanize their appearance. In Purgatorio, Beatrice is covered by a veil when Dante first sees her. Her glorified beauty is too great to behold all in a single moment. The liliths must be un-de-viled or re-veiled, their natures are so horrible. The lily is also the symbol of death, putrid and rotting. The contrast between the temptress and the hideous decay of (is it Donatiello’s?) statue of Mary Magdeleine (forever scarred by sin but repenent and redeemed) is notable ….

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