(FW) Finnegans Wake: Throwing Whimsy around Like Blazes pp. 88.04- 89.01



A Key to Pagination

[Page nn-] The page begun at the previous monthly session but not completed.

[Page nn] A full page completed.

[Page nn+] a page with one paragraph completed but the page incomplete.


  • Campbell and Robinson’s A Skeleton Key to Finnegan’s Wake
  • Tindall’s A Reader’s Guide to Finnegans Wake
  • Combined Lexicon and Occasional Summaries from Glosses of Finnegans Wake (finwake.com) and Roland McHugh’s Annotations to Finnegans Wake 

100 Words

[Note: My speculation will always appear in brackets so that you can easily ignore it.]


The cruise got underway at Book I, Chapter 4, Page 88.04 with the sentence concluding “…child’s altar.”  We docked again at 89.01 (“…place.).


Pages 88.04- 89.01

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

Campbell and Robinson translate: “Accordingly the mixer was bluntly cross-examined, as follows: ‘Was the witness one of those for whom the audible-visible-gnosible-edible world existed? Was he sure about the names of the parties involved in this king and blouseman business? How had the green-eyed mister acquired the B.A.? Did the initial letters of all his names add up to HERE COMES EVERYBODY?…(89)….'”


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

[The quote that follows from Tindall’s text is better appreciated with the following quote not from the Skeleton Key but from the text of Finnegans Wake: “And with tumblerous legs, redipnomi-nated Helmingham Erchenwyne Rutter Egbert Crumwall Odin Maximus Esme Saxon Esa Vercingetorix Ethelwulf Rupprecht Ydwalla Bentley Osmund Dysart Yggdrasselmann?” I am emboldened to embold.]

“…the witness relies on his senses for what happens in the audible-visible-possible-edible world.” Is he certain of “this king and a blouseman [cf. 63.16] business?” As certain “as cad could be” (86:32-88.13). What is O’Donnell’s name? Is it “Helmingham Erchenwyne… Yggdrasselmann?” (Take the 18 initials of this enormous name and you get HERE COMES EVERYBODY, cf. 32.18. Take the initials of this reduction and you get H.C.E.) “A stoker [Bram or devil?] temptated by evesdripping aginst the driver who was a witness as well?” This loaded question, bringing up Shem the Jehu (cf. 53.8) leads to the twins by way of The Comedy of Errors and the Prankqueen’s riddle about “porterpease.” “Peacisely” (88.80-89.4) (Tindall 88).


Glosses of Finnegans Wake (finwake.com)
Roland McHugh’s Annotations to Finnegans Wake [Entries below introduced by line numbers “l n.nn” and italicized]

Page 88.04


in the best = in the best possible way, manner or condition 

basel = the alleged name according to Holinshed (and copyists down to the present day) of certain pieces of money abrogated by Henry II., of which numismatists have no knowledge.

to boot = in addition, over and above, besides + Baselbut (ger) – region around Basel.

l.6. Gautier’ je suis un homme pour qui le monde visible existe’ [he was one of those lucky cocks for whom the audible-visiblegnosibleedible world existed]
for whom the audible-visible…= Travers Smith: Psychic Messages from Oscar Wilde 6: ‘I was always one of those for whom the visible world existed’.
gnosible = gnosa (gr) – knowledge

l.7 L conatum: effort, impulse; cogitabundus: thoughtful
conatively = in a conative (having the characteristics of the apparently volitional acts; exertive, striving, expessive of endeavour) manner + conatum (l) – undertaking, attempt, venture, hazard.
cogitabundantly = cogitabund – musing, meditating, deep in thought

l.9 GR morphoō: form; GR melos: music; GR sophos: wise; GR pan: all

morphomelosophopankreas (gr) – flesh-all-shaped-skillfully-by-music + morpho (gr) – to shape, form + melos (gr) – music + sophos (gr) – skilled + pan (gr) – all, everything + kreas (gr) – flesh, meat + pankreas (gr) – “all meat”: pancreas.

l.10 [Pavlov’s dogs]

l.12 G Lüge: lie
lug = ear
truie (fr) = sow
(notebook 1923): ‘This King Business’

pediculous = pediculous – infested with lice, lousy + perfectly
l.13 belie
Certified? = “Sure?”

morbus = disease + Morbus (l) – “Disease”: a deity (personification) + morbus pediculosus (l) – “lousy disease”: ancient disease, in which the body swarmed with lice.
O’Somebody= William Shakespeare: Othello + telo (Serbian) – body.
A’Quite = quite – completely, wholly, altogether, entirely
Szerday = szerda (Hungarian) – Wednesday + sreda (Serbian) – Wednesday

satyr = one of a class of woodland gods or demons, in form partly human and partly bestial, supposed to be the companions of Bacchus.
greeneyed = William Shakespeare: Othello III.3.165-166: ‘O, beware, my lord, of jealousy! It is the green-eyed monster’.

poll = Irish Independent 5 Jun 1924, 5/4: ‘West Cork Horror’: (a police sergeant testifying in a trial of murder and dismemberment of a farmer by most of his family members) ‘Witness took the head out of a sack and turned an electric torch on it, and asked Leary could he identify it… “I am not sure, but it is like his poll” ‘[(notebook 1924): ‘it’s like his poll’].
l.16 poll: pass in ordinary B.A.
crossgrained = given to opposition, contrarious, perverse, queer tempered + (notebook 1924): ‘a coarsegrained person with odd hips & twitching mouth’ → Freeman’s Journal 6 Jun 1924, 7/1: ‘”Wicked Fast Woman”‘: (in a libel trial) ‘Mrs Copeman… said Miss Thurburn signed a letter sent to her in which there was a reference to “a coarse-grained person with two left feet, odd hips, and twitching eyes”‘.

trapper = one who sets traps; spec. one engaged in trapping wild animals for their furs.
l.17 mighty; Du oog:eye; ears; Inquiline: commensal; It ‘naso inquilino’ for naso aquilino’, common blunder of uneducated people
murteus (l) = dark, brown + (notebook 1924): ‘Murty’.
oog (Dutch) = eye.
inquiline = an animal which lives in the nest or abode of another + aquiline – eaglelike (esp. of the nose) + inquilino (it) – tenant + ‘naso Italian ‘naso inquilino’ for ‘naso aquilino’ (common blunder of people who speak with affectation).

nase = nose
twithcherous = twitch – to move (the skin, etc.) spasmodically or convulsively + treacherous

tenyerdfuul = tanyer (Hungarian) – plate
l.19 G Aas: carrion
aastalled = asztal (Hungarian) – table
Ballera = balra (Hungarian) – to the left
jobbera = jobbra (Hungarian) – to the right

major + majar (sp) – to be tiresome. [ also Magyar = people who settled in Hungary in the 9th Century]
bore – a tiresome or uncongenial person; one who wearies or worries + magyar bor (Hungarian) – Hungarian wine.
Iguines = I guess + igenis (Hungarian) – yes indeed
with – …” And with / a stopper head, bottle shoulders, a barrel (belly) ^bauck^ and / tumblerous legs”… (The words preceding “tumblerous” are carried on with only one change (“belly” –> “bauck”); by level 9 they make up exactly one line of the marked pages of transition 4 prepared for the typesetter of Finnegans Wake, namely 46.209.35. The line is skipped in the typesetting of the first galley proofs (49.117.31), and should surely be thought of as part of Joyce’s intention; I propose it as an emendation. One notices how much better the rhythm and clearer the meaning with it restored) (Bill Cadbury, 14 Oct. 1992) + (The FW galley printer omits an entire line, line 35 from the transition overlay (JJA 46:209), and one in which Joyce even changes a word (bauck for belly), not destroying the question-anwer series (as in the next omission) but leaving out essential information pointing to publican HCE as the litigating party turned prosecuted (as in the Oscar Wilde case). (At least I have the impression that such turnabouts happen here.) (Robbert-Jan Henkes, 18 May 2002)
tumblerous = tumble – to stumble by tripping over an object
redipnominated = redip – to rebaptize

l.21 Acrostic: HERE COMES EVERYBODY; Egbert: king of W. Saxons
Erchenwyne = erchwyn (Welsh) – side, bedside
Egbert = [Humpty Dumpty]

Vercingetorix = (d. 46) – Gallic chieftain who revolted against Julius Caesar  
Ethelwulf = Ethelwulf – king of the West Saxons
Rupprecht = Rupert, Prince (1619-82) – nephew of Charles I, for whom he fought bravely in the Great Rebellion.

l.23 Dysart O’Dea, 1318; holly and ivy
Yggdrasselmann = YGGDRASIL – The “world-tree” of Norse myth, an evergreen ash tree whose roots, trunk, and branches bind together hell, earth, and heaven. Its 3 roots go down into the realm of death, the realm of the giants, and Asgard, the realm of the gods. Beneath it the 3 Normans live by the Spring of Fate. “Ygg” is one of the names of Odin.  

l.25 daffodils
between the deffodates and the dumb scene = phrase between the devil and the deep sea

waapreesing = address – to speak or write to (someone) as (the title or name specified)
the renting of his rock = Matthew 27:51: ‘and the rocks rent’
l.26 I de bholóig: of an ox; ON Ragnarok: fate of the gods

Vuncouverers = Vancouver, George (1738-78) – English explorer for whom a Canadian city is named.  
l.27 uncles

awhits = awhit – to a very small extent, a very little + Thomas Moore: song Fairest! Put on Awhile [air: Cummilum].
Yubeti = you bet it
l.28 J yube: night; s Cummilium; Ostman: Viking
Cumbilum comes = kingdom come – (from the clause thy kingdom come in the Lord’s Prayer) heaven or paradise; the next world + cumbalum (l) – cymbal.

thingabossers = thingumbob – Used (in undignified speech) to indicate vaguely a thing (or person) of which the speaker cannot at the moment recall the name, or which he is at a loss or does not care to specify precisely; a ‘what-you-may-call-it’.
l.29 Thing: Viking Council
hvad = (Danish) – eh? what? 
refresqued = refreshed + fresque (fr) – fresco.

gourgling = gurgling – that gurgles; emitting a sound as of bubbling liquid or purling water + song ‘There is a green island In lone Gougane Barra’ + Gougane Barra (Irish: Guagán Barra, meaning “Barra’s retreat enclosed by mountains”) is a settlement, west of Macroom in County Cork, Ireland. The name Gougane Barra comes from Saint Finbarr, who is said to have built a monastery on an island in the lake nearby during the 6th century.
Lordedward = Fitzgerald, Lord Edward (1763-98) – conspirator of ’98, betrayed by Francis Higgins, captured by Major Sirr, married to Pamela.
l.30 s ‘There is a green island In lone Gougane Barre’; s ‘There is a happy land

philip = Sidney, Sir Philip (1554-86) – English poet, soldier whose father was lord deputy of Ireland. 500.21 refers to his alleged incest with his sister Mary, Countess of Pembroke. 
l.32 Sir Philip Crampton: D surgeon (his monument had drinking fountains attached)
showeradown = Sheridan, Philip Henry (1831-88) – American Union general. 

l.33 The Five Lamps: 5-way junction, D; Portland Row adjoins; Fi portteri; William & Mary; Virgin
Wirrgeling = Virgin Mary + P. Vergilius Maro – Roman epic poet + virkelig (Danish) – real.

laving = lave – to wash, bathe + living + laving (Anglo-Irish Pronunciation) – leaving.
l.34 Black Pool: trans. of ‘Dublin’

Tem = creator god in The Book of the Dead

butt = butt – to strike with head or horns + bet
anytom = any time +[any Tom, Dick, or Harry]

END Page 86 


Page 89.01

End of Sentence [“…place.”]




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 brief research about the page. These are hardly intended to be academic criticism.]

[ Line 29 offers us “thingabossers.” The Glosses indicate this can refer to a non-specific thing but could also mean a person. We might think the Viking Thinkmote reflects something personal because it was the place of democratic gatherings. In fact, the monolith is most impersonal marker because our own democracies evolved to be the least human institutions. Monarchies, dictatorships, and cults may be slavery, but at least we know who to blame. The thing-centric “thingabosser” is the result of Nordic-northern origins (Saxons included). This is the helix-mix that gave us IKEA and ABBA automatons.

In 1942, the Brits turned the tide against personalized, cultish Fascism by personalizing the impersonalizable war machine. Singer Gracie Fields did this by inspiring those sheltered in the underground from the bombings. She sang…

“It’s a ticklish sort of job making a thing for a thing-ummy-bob,
Especially when you don’t know what it’s for.
But it’s the girl that makes the thing that drills the hole that holds the ring
That makes the thing-ummy-bob that makes the engines roar.
And it’s the girl that makes the thing that holds the oil that oils the ring
That makes the thing-ummy-bob that’s going win the war.
It is ‘n all.”

Personalists, if any remained, would delight to find “MY” in the belly of the thing-umMY-bob. In their Finest Hour, Brits personalized the “thingabosser.” Mediterranean passion, it seems, never surrendered the personal to the impersonal. Rather than depersonalize people, they personalize machines.

In memories of my childhood among Italians, first and second generation, the phrase “como si chiama” (GOmo say GIam) served both man or motor, girl or gadget. It translated equally well as “whatchamacallit” or “whositz.”]



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