(FW) Finnegans Wake: Throwing Whimsy around Like Blazes pp 89.01- 90.01



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.]


Pages 89.01 [Beginning of Sentence] -90.01 [End of Sentence]

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

The interrogation continues from Page 88: ” How account for his condition at the time? Was he a Russian? Intoxicated? What was his religion? (Campbell and Robinson 88).


William York Tindall’s A Reader’s Guide to Finnegans Wake
The exchange between attorney and witness, like that between much and Jude in their comic strip or between a pair in vaudeville has been at cross–purposes. Communication has been as hard to establish as identity. But the “crossexanimation,” getting somewhere at last,” eventually will mention the three soldiers and “two disappointed solicitresses” (Tindall 88-89).

n89.27.   “Quare hircum? No answer. Unde gentiumnfe…?” An echo of 23.20: “Quarry silex… Noanswa! Undy gentian festy-knees” (dog Latin for “Why are you as silent as a stone? From where among peoples are you hurrying?”) Now it is changed to “Why are you a goat?” (Tindall 95)


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 89.01

l.1 In Islam, evil jinn or devils supposed to be eavesdroppers in heaven: 2 angels, a driver & a witness, talk with God
stoker = one who feeds and tends a furnace
eavesdrop = to stand within the ‘eavesdrop’ of a house in order to listen to secrets; hence, to listen secretly to private conversation, to listen to the secrets of (a person).

avatar =dreamyums the descent of a deity to the earth in an incarnate form; manifestation; display.

dreamyums = dreams + Dromios: twins in William Shakespeare’s ‘The Comedy of Errors’.
dromium =Dromios (gr) – god of the racecourse + dromos (gr) – racecourse + drøm (Norwegian) – dream.
l.3 Drominos: twins in The Comedy of Errors

lentils? = the seed of a leguminous plant (Ervum lens, Lens esculenta) + as alike as two peas in a pod – two identical items or people (this simile, of course, derives from the fact that two peas from the same pod are virtually indistinguishable).
Peacisely = precisely
pelted = pelt – to thrust away or out
l. 4 Esau sold his birthright for pottage of lentils

coram populo, = – before the people, in public
Be the powers = by the powers! – Exclamation originating in its application to the pagan divinities

in principel = in principal – principally, chiefly
Macchevuole = Machiavelli’s principles – methods preferring expediency to morality + ma che vuole! (it) – what does he want!
l.6 Machiavelli: Il Principe
Rooskayman = Roosky – Russian
kamerad = comrade, companion
Gallwegian = Norwegian

fishup = bishop

whither = whether
smuked = smoked
barkst = to burst into flames – to go on fire; to inflame with anger, passion or zeal

ajaciulations = ejaculation – the hasty utterance of words expressing emotion; the discharging of the male sperm + Ajacis (l) – Ajax.
l.10 Ajaccio, capital of Corsica; Cruiskeen Lawn (full jug)
Crosscann Lorne = crosscut (intersect) lane + “Cruiskeen Lawn” (little full jug) – Irish air. 
cossa = cosa (kuse) (geal) – legs, feet + cossa (Italian Dialect) – what?

corso = a pompous step or walk + curse + corso (it) – course
cursu =curse + in cursu (l) – in progress, underway
coarser = coarse – rough, rude, uncivil, vulgar + curse + song: Father O’Flynn: ‘sláinte and sláinte and sláinte again’

yellowatty = “Yellow Wat and the Fox” is the air of T Moore’s “Oh Doubt Me Not.” 
altered = (notebook 1924): ‘alter (geld)’ → Jespersen: The Growth and Structure of the English Language 248 (sec. 247): ‘to alter is said in the Southern States instead of to geld’.

l.13 esually: Esau
O’Dowd = O’Dubhda (o’dude) (geal) – descendant of Dubhda (“black”)

Joyce’s note: ‘see you Sunday’ = Key: John McCormack, His Own Life Story 424: ‘”So-long,” he replied, “see you Thursday”‘

pederast = lover of boys, one that practices pederasty, a sodomite + pedigree
prig = a thief; a spruce fellow, a dandy + pig
Bejacob = bejabers – by Jesus (exclamation)
l.15 Jacob
gent = the gentleman who pays the rent – a pig + lent – loan.

portavorous = portavorax (l) – gate-devouring (O Hehir, Brendan; Dillon, John M. / A classical lexicon for Finnegans wake).
Bynight = a letter dispatched by the night post

god tempers the wind to the shorn lamb – god is merciful to those who had suffered misfortune + (notebook 1924): ‘a vomit to a poor man 3d’ + phrase useful as damn it!
rognarised = Ragnar Lodbrok (“shaggy breeches”) – viking, saga hero who, tradition says, died in Ireland + recognized
gcourts marsheyls = court martial – a judicial court, consisting of military or naval officers, for the trial of military or naval offences, or the administration of martial law.

Lindendelly, coke or skilllies = Corcaigh (kurki) (geal) – Swamp; anglic. Cork+ skilly – an insipid beverage, tea or coffee, watery porridge or soup + sceillig (shkelig) (geal) – Reef; rocky islands off Co. Kerry; anglic. Skelligs; also, the Scillies.l. 19 Ir. riddle ‘Londerry, Cork & Kerry. Spell me that without an R’ Answer: ‘THAT; I gort + Gort (Connacht): letter G; heliotrope (223.28) + hardly a drop
gart = gart (gort) (geal) – planted field; letter G; hospitality
gate = method, way, technique, style

Magistra = mistress
l.20 L magistra: mistress
expiry = expiration

goat’s sire = goodsire – grandfather
l.21 HCE

waders = waterproof boots reaching above the knee
recipis = (l) – you get back, retain, receive

velocipede = wheel; an early form of the bicycle or tricycle
kitcat = whig politician; a portrait of less than half length but including the hands + that

maundarin = maunder – to talk in the dreamy and foolish manner characteristic of dotage or imbecility; to ramble or wander in one’s talk + “A Tuscan tongue in a Roman mouth“, ie, Roman pronunciation and Tuscan syntax, is a definition of good Italian + maundering (Archaic) – begging.
pounderin = pondering

prenanciation = pronunciation
distributary = distributive; something whose function is to distribute; applied to branch canals distributing water from a main one.

Quare hircum = (l) Why the goat?
Unde gentium fe = Unde gentium fe[stines] (l) – Whence on earth are you hurrying? Where are you hurrying from? + unde (l) – from where.

siar = (shir) (geal) – westward, backward + sir

intendant = intendant – one who has the charge, direction, or superintendence of a department of public business, the affairs of a town or province, the household of a prince or nobleman, etc.; a superintendent, a manager + attendant

macoghamade = Ogma Sun-face – Irish god, inventor of ogam (on ogham) letters +Macalister: The Secret Languages of Ireland 47-48 lists types of Ogham ciphers: Serpent-through-the-heather Ogham, Millrace Ogham.a, b, c, d, e, f + Arm Ogham, Bird Ogham, Colour Ogham.
g, h, j
threehatted = threeheaded – having three heads + Macalister: The Secret Languages of Ireland 47-48 lists types of Ogham ciphers: Finn’s-three-shanked Ogham, Head-in-a-bush Ogham, Head-uder-a-bush Ogham.

bait = to tease, rouse, to entice by bait + bate (Anglo-Irish Pronunciation) – beat.
millrace = the current of water that drives a mill wheel + Macalister: The Secret Languages of Ireland 47-48 lists types of Ogham ciphers: Serpent-through-the-heather Ogham, Millrace Ogham.

Jotalpheson = Jason. In The Secret Languages of Ireland (90-91), MacAlister says that in Bog Latin certain letters in Irish words are replaced by the name of the Irish letter-of-the-alphabet – “as if a Greek meaning Jason called him ‘Jotalphason’.”
Hokey Jasons = a mild oath; hokey pokey, something worthless or untrue + Holy Jesus + Jason – leader of the Argonauts in the quest for the golden fleece. Legend says he came to Ireland. 
a pigeegeeses = epexegesis (gr) – detailed explanation + Pegasos (gr) – winged horse of the Muses + Macalister: The Secret Languages of Ireland 47-48 lists types of Ogham ciphers: Pig (Muc) Ogham.

pontiff = a chief or high priest (of any religion); a bishop (of the mediæval Western church); spec. and usually, the bishop of Rome, the pope.
ture = true + Ture (ger) – door + phrase sure as there’s a tail on a cat.
gololy = glory

joss = a Chinese figure of a deity, an idol + Jesus
leally = loyally, truly, free from error + realy  truly
hankowchaff = handkerchief


son-yet-sun = Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925) – father of a Chinese revolution

End of Sentence [“…son-yet-sun.”]




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.]

[Quare hircum = (l) Why the goat?

This morning Cathy showed me a painting by Marc Chagall. The title is Newlyweds and Violinist. Joyce could not have known the painting. In the background, an onlooker cradles a goat in his arms. At the lower left, a man rides a chicken. In the context of Finnegans Wake, the Goat suggests HCE’s lechery, and in the context of my own concupiscence, the man with the chick recommends sex. HCE in decline is better able to recall the closeness of young love than to engage it. The newlyweds in the painting are strolling downhill too. Perhaps there will be a long downhill coast before they, too, can only recall the hormonal aspects of love. So I envy Chagall’s groom and the bride and pity Earwicker’s reverie of youth with ALP.

See Chagall’s painting…


Note: Chagall replaces the bride’s bouquet with his painter’s pallet]


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