(FW) Finnegans Wake – Boaters and Sifters (September 2022) Book I, Chapter 4, Page 76+

[My speculation, unsupported by expert commentary, will always appear in brackets so that you can easily ignore it.]

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

The September reading from Finnegans Wake by BloomsdayMontreal’s cadre of Boaters and Sifters shoved off into Book I, Chapter 4 on Page 76 and concluded the last paragraph, beginning on that page and continuing onto Page 77. [See my unhappy note in 100 Words at the end of this document.]


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

Page 76

The introduction of a criminal caste is to incorporate amateur delinquency into an industry benefiting “the general economy of the state” (Campbell and Robinson 81). The phrase “much desultory delinquency” was omitted in an apparent printer’s error from the copy published in transition (Paris, July, 1927, p.47).

“Lough Neagh pattern”- The grave site is much more than a plot. There are woods, “dear dirty deeps” [Dublin], a knoll [Howth?], and a trout stream [The Liffey?] . The name Lough Neath given to the large lake in Northern Ireland, means “Lake of Healing” (81n3). [This may predict resurrection.]

Page 77

After Building the “mole’s paradise” [using the most violent methods], the Master Builder retired to London and his Castle Villainous.

William York Tindall’s A Reader’s Guide to Finnegans Wake, Page 85:

Page 76

The coffin must be watertight because “E.C.H.” is buried in Lough Neagh, Isaac Walton’s fishing haunt, or in the Danube are all A.L.P.’s “sillying water.” “Maateskippey” has nautical suggestions [mate and skipper]. Tindall asks, “Is there a leak in the dike?” and points out that “limniphobes” uses Greek to construe those afraid of pools.

Page 77

The Masterbuilder’s “phallopharos,” the lighthouse of Alexandria, is also a fertility totem but might have been intended to attract tourists.

Mgr Peurelachasse’s “retirement” to that famous Parisian cemetery may include internments in the Tower of London and Dublin Castle. Tindall interprets “falsemeaning adamelegy” as a warning about misdirections: “Our minds are diverted from Adam to Abraham by ‘MacPelah,’….”

Isaac Walton’s angling is featured, Tindall thinks, to lift the mood of the “funebral pomp.” He suggests that might be Eliot’s intention with “Burial of the Dead” and adds that “Joyce always has Eliot in mind” as he writes The Wake. 

[I speculate whether the fishing theme also suggests Finn MacCool’s gift of prophecy gained by eating the salmon, which in turn had eaten the magical hazel nuts.]


Glosses of Finnegans Wake (finwake.com)


Roland McHugh’s Annotations to Finnegans Wake [Entries below also italicized and identified by line numbers from the text.]

Page 76

teak – a large East Indian tree; more usually, its timber, a dark, heavy, oily wood of great strength and durability + FDV: The coffin was to come in handy later & in this way. A number of public bodies presented him made him a present of a grave which nobody had been able to dig much less to occupy, it being all rock. This he blasted and then carefully lined the result with bricks & mortar, encouraging the public bodies to present him over & above that with a stone slab [Is this Newmarket?]

near the [near – to draw or come near, to approach (in place or time) + naar de (Dutch) – to the….]

porpus, [corpus – the body of a man or animal + purpose]

committee – a body of (two or more) persons appointed or elected (by a society, corporation, public meeting, etc.) for some special business or function + Joyce’s note: ‘Select & other committees’ + FDV: A number of public bodies presented him made him a present of a grave which nobody had been able to dig much less to occupy, it being all rock.

l 14 thinghowe- Howe is the hill in D[ublin] upon which Norse Thingmote was held. howe: hill, tumulus

kootrz -court order – a direction issued by a court or judge, usu. requiring a person to do or refrain from doing something; a decision of a court or judge, made or entered in writing + kurz (ger) – short + koorts (Dutch) – fever.

grondwet (Dutch) – constitution (of the country)

plotty – marked by intricacy of plot or intrigue; Also, of a novel, play, or the like: having an elaborate or complicated plot.

a forescut- afore said – earlier in time or order, previously in document + voorschot (Dutch) – overdraft, disbursement, advance payment (on loan) + voorschoot (Dutch) – (butcher’s) apron + schoot (Dutch) – lap, womb (of time), bosom (of the Church). [also possibly a circumcision]

maateskippey– maatschappij (Dutch) – company, corporation, society, community + maat (Dutch) – measure, size, metre, bar (in music); mate, partner + scheepsmaat, scheepsmaatje (Dutch) – ship mate + kip (Dutch) – hen + ei (Dutch) – egg.

MOYELTA – The plain running North and North-East from Dublin was anciently called the Sean Magh Ealta Eadair, the “Old Plain of the Bird Flocks of Howth.” Moyelta is recorded as the site of Parthalon’s settlement.

l 20 Magh Elta (Moyelta) plain in D region (city supposed to lie beneath Lough Neagh) where Parthalonians died of plague & were buried

misoneism – intolerance of something new or changed + misos (gr) – hatred + nesos (gr) – island + misonesiotai (gr) – island-haters, hate-islanders (O Hehir, Brendan; Dillon, John M. / A classical lexicon for Finnegans wake).

l 22 (almost no islands on Isle of Man)

wacht – to drink in large draughts + Wacht (ger) – guard; awake + wacht even (Dutch) – wait a minute!

l 25 old knoll- Old Nol, nickmane of Cromwell

[osier- basket (Fr.)]

ongle- ogle – to eye with amorous, admiring, or insinuating glances + angle

Quilt gild- quilt – a thick covering + song The Quilt (Oh Molly, I can’t say you’re honest): ‘May the quilt lie light on your beautiful form’.

to gild over – to cover with gilding, so as to conceal defects

somnolulutent– somnolent – inclined to sleep; heavy with sleep; drowsy + somnolentus (l) – sleepy, drowsy + lutensis (l) – living in mud.

l 34 foster wheat crops- John Foster’s Corn Law, 1784, imposed heavy duties on its importation into Ireland.

Mgr Peurelachasse– PERE LACHAISE CEMETERY – In East Paris; Oscar Wilde is buried there, among many other notables + peur (fr) – fear + chasse (fr) – hunting.

Page 77

misterbilder- master builder – a person notably proficient in the art of building + FDV: This he blasted and then carefully lined the result with bricks & mortar, encouraging the public bodies to present him over & above that with a stone slab.

Sowan and – Samhain (souwen) (gael) – November; Feast of the dead; close of the harvest, beginning of winter half-year.

Belting,- Bealtaine (byoultini) (gael) – May; May Day; Spring Festival; close of winter, beginning of summer half-year.

aerial torpedo – torpedo dropped from an aircraft + (notebook 1923): ‘convert torpedos into electrical contact land mines by tins of ammonia, lashed to sides of aerial torpedoes trip wiring to contact pieces into electric batteries’ (‘pieces’ not clear).

Oorlog- orologios (gr) – clock + oorlog (Dutch) – war + horologe (French) – clock.

Ryan vogt- Ryan, John – last bailiff of Dublin; title afterward changed to sheriff + an rioghan bhocht (un rien vukht) (gael) – the poor queen: Ireland.

instep – the arched midle portion of foot + instappen, als ‘t u belieft (Dutch) – get in, please!, take your seats, please! all aboard, please! + liefde (Dutch) – love + This harks back to entering the Wellington museum in the first chapter.

alls- if you please

hoofd off-dealings- it. Abteilungen (ger) – compartments, departments + Hof (ger) – court + Hoofdafdeling (Dutch) – principal section, division or department (such as a phylum in biology) + hoofd (Dutch) – head + afdeeling (Dutch) – department.

ladykants te huur out– ladykind – ladies + konnt’s d’Uhr (ger) – could you [tell me] the time + Ledikants te huur (Dutch) – Beds for hire + ledikant (Dutch) – bed, bedstead + te huur (Dutch) – for hire, to let.

to hear out – to listen to to the end + Hure (ger) – whore.

a.u.c. (l) – anno urbis conditae or ab urbe condita = in the year of the founded city or since the city was founded (designation of Roman-era years, reckoned from 753 B.C.) (O Hehir, Brendan; Dillon, John M. / A classical lexicon for Finnegans Wake).

Mac Pelah– CAVE OF MACHPELAH – According to Genesis 25:9 and 50:13, the burial place of Abraham, and also of Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, and Leah. 

l 25 Abraham purchased the cave of Machpelah for family tomb (Gen 23:9, 19)

gehellt (ger) – illuminated + geheel (Dutch) – whole, entire; entirely, completely; a whole + geheeld (Dutch) – healed, cured.

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 the ideas.]

Did not attend.

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