- 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
[Note: My speculation will always appear in brackets so that you can easily ignore it.]
Pages 90.34 [Beginning of Paragraph] -92.05 [End of Paragraph]
Campbell and Robinson’s A Skeleton Key to Finnegan’s Wake
The commentary bundles up a parcel of jurisprudence: But a new complexion was put upon the matter, one (91) Pegger Festy himself, as soon as the outer layer of stucco – muck had been removed at the request of a few live jurors, declared in a loud burst of poesy, on his oath, that neither had he stolen, nor had he thrown a stone. Here (while in his excitement he broke into Castilian, shouting in Russian, “Horosho!” [ Very well!” (sic)] and “Zdravstuuyete!” [Be in good health!]) (92) much yelling and laughter broke out in the hall, in which the testy fighter himself joined. (Campbell and Robinson 88)
William York Tindall’s A Reader’s Guide to Finnegans Wake
Tindall’s interpretation adds some additional points and refinement: “At the request of a few jurors (are the 12 customers of Earwicker’s bar the jurors at this bar?), Festy King, now Pegger Festy, defends himself in Gaelic, like a cad or “bouchal”— in Gaelic interpreted by his interpreter. A few things emerge. “Come on to Porterfeud” (91.15), Mutt’s greeting (in French) to Jute (16.4), defines this legal conflict as conflict within the Porter family. Accused by one son and defended by the other Earwicker–Porter is their union and division. No wonder he is shifty and no wonder he denies his innocence while protesting it. Not having thrown the first stone at those two whores (91.31) means that he is not without sin. His testimony, absurd even in this context, ends amid general laughter ( 92.1– 5), in which the “tesifighter,” both Earwicker and the opposing witness, reluctantly join” (Tindall 89).
[Note 91.13-14]: “‘Markarthy’ combines Tristan’s King. Mark with King Arthur. ‘Baalastartey’ combines Baal, a Semitic god. (here god of fire; cf. ‘Baalfire,’ 13.36), with Astarte, Phoenician goddess of love and moon. The chapter is filled with gods and kings, E. G., The Hindu gods, 80.24” (Tindall 96).
Glosses of Finnegans Wake (finwake.com)
Roland McHugh’s Annotations to Finnegans Wake [Entries below introduced by line numbers “l n.nn” and italicized]
l.Sh stripu: whore; It puttana: whore; I striopach: whore; BL Oinciu: Ireland; Hu mennyköcsapás: lightning stroke
Meirdreach (merdrokh) (geal) = whore.
an (geal) = the
Oincuish = Onciu (Bog Latin – secret language of Ireland) – “Ireland” + oinseach (onshukh) (geal) – harlot, giddy woman + ‘Shite and onions!’ (expression of Joyce’s father, cited in Joyce’s “Gas from a Burner” 55).
[+oinc + wish]
complexion = appearance, aspect
perplexedly = in a perplexed manner (involved in doubt or anxiety on account of the intricate character of the matter under consideration; bewildered, puzzled).
uncondemnatory = without imposing condemnation
punic = faithless, treacherous = [Rome’s wars against Carthage]
judgeship = the jurisdiction or office of a judge; title for a judge (humorously)
penal law = a law imposing a penalty, criminal law + [for a sexual offense]
END of PAGE 90
l.1 I much:pig; (stuck pig)
Pegger = (Slang) – a hard drinker + pegger (Hebrew) – corpse, carcass.
the outer layer of stucckomuck = (notebook 1923): ‘remove outer layer of dirt’
loudburst = outburst – a violent issue; an outbreak, explosion (of feeling, fervour, indignation, etc.)
Brythonic = Brythonic – of or pertaining to the Brythons, or Britons of Wales, Cornwall, and Cumbria, and their kin.
l.4 I peist:beast; I mhuise: indeed well; I as fearra: best
hriosmas = Wit pesht wishi as fare vere mwiri hrismos (English spelled as Irish) – with best wishes for a very merry Christmas + peist (pesht) – beast, serpent + mhuise (wishi) – indeed, well (interj.) + as fearra (as fare) – best.
l.6 I buachaill: boy; ‘Ireland is the old sow that eats her farrow’ (Portrait V); Clio: muse of history
bouchal = story book – a book of stories + bouchal – young man, boy + (notebook 1924): ‘the bones of the boy that was ate by the pig’ → Kinane: St. Patrick 197n: (quoting the Tripartite Life about chieftain Ailill and his wife’s conversion) ‘His wife… said the pigs have eaten our son… Patrick commanded the boy’s bones to be collected… The boy was afterwards resuscitated through Patrick’s prayers’.
be = by
Cliopatrick = Cleopatra – a famous queen of Egypt + clith (kli) – sexual heat in swine (St. Patrick was a swineheard as a boy slave in Ireland.)
l.7 Benches in Four Courts, D: KING’S
parked = park – to enclose in, as in, or as, a park
porkers = porker – a young hog fattened for pork; also, any swine or pig raised for food
L.8 Dundalk: town. Co. Louth
king’s commons = FOUR COURTS – On King’s Inns Quay; the mod Supreme Count has been added to the onig 4 courts: King’s (or Queen’s) Bench, Chancery, Exchequer, and Common Pleas + commons – people lacking noble rank; the burghers of a town.
Tierney = O’Tighearnaigh (o’tierni) (gael) – descendant of Tighearnach (“lordly”).
Dundalgan = Dun Dealgan (dundalgen) (gael) – Dealga’s (name of Firbolg chief) Fort; Co. Louth, N. of Dublin; anglic. Dundalgan
yif = if
thurkells =Turgesius on Thorgil – viking who invaded Ireland in 832. He and his death were likewise violent + turkeys
folloged = faolog (fwelog) (gael) – seagull + followed +[flogged]
gutthroat = gut – to cram the guts; to eat greedily, to gormandize + cutthroat – a ruffian who murders or does deeds of violence.
l.13 Mark & Arthur; Mark Antony
Markarthy = Antonius (l) – lover of Cleopatra, with whom he was defeated by Augustus Octavian + Robert Martin: song Enniscorthy: ‘Dimetrius O’Flanigan McCarthy
l.14 Baal & Astarte: paired sun & moon deities worshipped in ancient Near East
Baalastartey = Astarte – Semitic goddess, Ashtoreth of the Bible. Baal was her male counterpart + Robert Martin, song Killaloe: ‘You may talk of Boneyparty / You may talk about Ecarté / Or any other party and “Commong de portey voo” / We learnt to sing it aisey / That song the Marshalaysy / Boo Long too long the continong / We larnt at killaloe’.
nabour party = Labour Party
l.15 sockdologer: decisive blow or argument
sockdologer = someone outstanding or exeptional; a heavy or knock-down blow, a finisher. Also fig.
to have a neck = to speak insolently or behave presumptuously
endorse = to confirm, sanction, countenance, or vouch for (statements, opinions, acts, etc.; occasionally, persons), as by an endorsement [(notebook 1924): ‘endorse *V*’].
outturned = turned out or outwards
noreaster = nor’easter – northeaster (a wind blowing from the north-east)
l.18 Sir Jonathan Trelawney: in opposing king’s papistry became popular figure in Cornwall
barefacedness – shamelessness
in the same trelawney = in the same tale – in the same statement or category + in the train of – as a sequel to + Trelawny, Sir Jonathan (1650-1721) – Cornish bishop whose imprisonment caused 20,000 Cornishmen to want to know why
l.19 COMMON PLEAS
Llwyd Josus = Lord Jesus + llwydd (Welsh) – president + (notebook 1924): ‘Jesus & gentleman of jury’.
Jury’s = [Panel of jurors + Dublin hotel]
Masterers = masterer – one who masters or overcomes + Annals of the Four Masters (Annala na gCeithre Mháistrí) are a chronicle of medieval Irish history. The entries span from the deluge, dated as 2242 years after creation to AD 1616, although the earliest entries are believed to date from around AD 550. The annals are mainly a compilation of earlier annals, although there is some original work. They were compiled between 1632 and 1636 in the Franciscan monastery in County Donegal. The entries for the 12th century and before are sourced from medieval monastic annals. The chief author of the annals was Mícheál Ó Cléirigh, and he was assisted by, among others, Peregrine O’Clery, Fergus O’Mulconry and Peregrine O’Duignan
yarn = fibre spun and prepared for use in weaving, knitting, the manufacture of sewing-thread, etc; a chat, a talk + years +[exaggerated tale]
that good one = that’s a good one – Iron. of statement that is absurdly exaggerated
l.22 amrita: immortal, ambrosial; I inish island
amreeta beaker coddling doom = abcd
cantonnatal =ccontinental – an inhabitant of a continent; spec. of the continent of Europe + canton natal (fr) – native canton, district.
parish = to do parish work (of a clergyman) + perish
dorming = dorm – to sleep, doze + Thomas Moore: song Thee, Thee, Only Thee: ‘The dawning of morn’ [air: The Market-Stake].
mawn – a hand basket, beg + song The Rising of the Moon.
skuld = skulde (Danish) – should
l.25 Tír na nÓg: land of the young: legendary island W. of Ireland
Tyre nan-Og = Tír na nÓg – timeless Land of Youth, where Oisín (Ossian) was lured away by a fairy princess, having survived the destruction of his comrades (Fenians) at the Battle of Gabhra.
jackabox = jack in the box = [Jacobeans – followers of the Stewart kings of Scotland and England]
wind = to wield (a weapon, an implement), to haul, hoist, lift (obs.)
wassail – the liquor in which healths were drunk; a salutation used when presenting a cup of wine to a guest, or drinking the health of a person, the reply being drink-hail.
l.28 Angl usquebaugh: whiskey
iskybaush = usquebaugh
endnown abgod = unknown + abgott (German) – idol
l.29 ‘The Hawk’: James Stephens: the Fenian leader
l.30 Valhalla; EXCHEQUER; HECH
Warhorror = Walhalla = Valhalla – in Old Northern mythology, the hall assigned to those who have died in battle, in which they feast with Odin.
exchequered = placed in an exchequer, to treasure up; to proceed against (a person) in the court of exchequer. + [sometimes blotted with disgrace]
lave a = (with) – to be bathed in or covered with (blood, sweat) (obs.) + lave (Anglo-Irish Pronunciation) – leave
chancery hand = a particular style of engrossing (to write in large letters, to write out or express in legal form).
Salvation Army = an organization, on a quasi-military model, founded by the Rev. William Booth for the revival of religion among the masses in Great Britain and other countries.
Puptized = baptized + [Popetized]
l.34 Castleknock Hill, Phoenix Park; I ciotógach; lefthandedly, awkwardly
kithoguishly = roguishly – in a roguish manner, knavishly + ciotogach (kitogokh) (gael) – left-handedly, awkwardly + kithogue (Anglo-Irish) – left-hand, left-handed, left-handed person; also, awkward
lilt – to sing cheerfully or merrily
his holymess = [His Holiness- The Pope]
Godhelic = Joyce’s note: ‘Q Celts Godel’f
l.36 Catholic faith; WW I Sl xaroshie; very good; WW I Sl ; be healthy (greeting)
faix = fegs – an exclamation expressing asseveration or astonishment + faix (Archaic) – faith.
Xarosgie = khoroshie (Russian) – ‘good’ (nom. pl. form). The letter X at the start is the Cyrillic letter transliterated at kh + World War I Slang: xaroshie (Russian) – very good (from Russian khorosho) (Hargrave (Russian) – Origins and Meanings of Popular Phrases & Names 376 (Russian) – ‘XAROSHIE. (Pronounce “x” as Scottish “ch.”) An expression of satisfaction. Equivalent to Très bien and as much mutilated in pronunciation’).
zdrst =World War I Slang: zdrast (Russian) – be healthy (from Russian zdravstvuyte) (Hargrave (Russian) – Origins and Meanings of Popular Phrases & Names 376 (Russian) – ‘ZDRÁSTVITYE! Contracted very often into “Zdrást!” The Russian form of greeting meaning “Be Healthy!” Adopted by the troops it became the general form of greeting among themselves’).
laddo = lad, boy
END of PAGE 91
Castilian = the dialect of Castile + extra Christian – outside the range of Christian thought + ex cathedra (l) – from the chair (referring to papal infallibility).
perseguired = to follow
l.2 It seguire: to follow; Sp olle podrida: rotten pot (savory stew); G Gelächter: laughter
pursuited = persecutedoll
olla podrida – soup made of one or more meats and several vegetables; a miscallaneous mixture, hodgepodge; a mixture of languages + olla podrida (sp) – rotten pot (savoury stew, Spanish equivalent of Irish stew).
yellachters = Gelachter (ger) – laughter + Joyce’s note: ‘laughter (witness joined)’
mollification = an appeasing, appeasement, pacification
testifighter = testifier – witness + (notebook 1924): ‘laughter in which the witness joined’ → Connacht Tribune 24 May 1924, 5/2: ‘Outrageous Act. Stationmaster’s House Fired Into. Youth of 16 and His Oath’: ‘”Do you remember the statement you made and that you were on your oath?” asked the justice, and the witness replied “It was all lies,” at which there was some laughter in which the witness joined’
indecorum – a violation of the rules of behavior proper to the sex, age, or character of the actor; impropriety, now esp. of behavior.
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.]
“…as soon as the outer layer of stuccko-muck had been removed at the request of a few live jurors, declared in a loudburst of poesy, through his Brythonic interpreter on his oath,….” (92.01-.04)
I find The Wake at least as profound as profane, but the “stucco-muck” must be scraped off before profundity is recognized. The CHErist figure underneath is, I think, sinless but crushed by offenses of his Fallowman; he is weighted down under borrowed guilt. Earwicker sweats blood in his gethsemane at Phoenix Park after undergoing a baptism in the Liffey as a surrogate for the Judas-Cad and all Cadkind. Only “a few live jurors” can recognize his sacrifice.
His words are only available translated through a Cornish veil.