(FW) Finnegans Wake: Throwing Whimsey around Like Blazes pp 96.02-97.02-2



  • 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 96.02 [Beginning of Sentence] -97.02 [End of Sentence]


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

An explanation of the text is followed by bracketed comments from Campbell and Robinson: “And then about the old House by Chapelizod; Lillytrilly and Mrs. Niall of the Nine Corsages, 24 the old markkiss, their besterfather, and dear Sir Armoury, and all the goings on, so very wrong, so long ago, while the four were on retreat under Father Whisperer. And then about his bold advances, and the two saucy sisters – peep! {Suddenly the four break into an argument:} “You’re a liar, excuse me,” says one. “I will not and you’re another,” says the second. And long, Lally Tompkins, holding their breach of peace for them, bidding them to give and to take, and all will be forgotten. {Whereupon they make up again with a handshake and another drink.} It was too bad to be falling out about her kindness and about the shape of OOOOOOOOOurang’s time. “Well, all right, Lally. And shake a hand. And poor us out another. For Christ’s sake. Amen.”

{That concludes the whole affair of the early life and death of HCE…. All might be said to be over. Every theme of Finnegans Wake has been sounded. Yet the dream cycle has hardly begun; HCE has hardly opened his career. No sooner have those in his week become reconciled to his departure, then the news is out that he has disappeared from his grave, and is at large, and may be anywhere. In numerable and highly confused reports describe his resurrection.

This opens to scholarship a new end, exceedingly difficult problem: what became of HCE?}

Well? [Campbell and Robinson continue]

Such evidence, as we have been able to gather may not be dependable. It may not bring the truth to light, as fortuitously as an astronomer’s calculation might reveal a hitherto unknown planet in the heavens, or as all the languages of the world have evolved from the root of some funner’s stotter.25 Yet soundest sense now holds that by playing ‘possum our sacred ancestor saved his brush with his posterity. His escape was like that of a fox (Campbell and Robinson 91-92).

24 Niall of the Nine Hostages, hero of the Irish cycles.

25 Vico would have all languages evolve from the attempts of the patriarchs to name the Thunderer. All the rumor and action of Finnigans Wake develops from the stuttering of HCE in the park encounter.


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

Tindall’s Reader’s Guide connects the previous pages with our current page. He says, (94.23-96.24.”With ‘meeting waters,’ Tom Moore joins Stella and Vanessa). During these reminiscences, they break into song for ‘all rogues lean to rhyme.’ Earwicker, a greater rogue, has fallen for those trickling girls, but without his fall, there could be no Wake; for ‘the sibspeeches of all mankind have foliated…from the root of some funner’s stotter’ (96.30-31).

By a sudden metamorphosis, not surprising, and a dream, your wicker becomes a fox pursued by the hunt, ‘keen. For the worry.’Illusions to the beast, epic of Raynor, the Fox…” (Tindall 92).


96.13-14 “Peepette” in connection with “saucissters” refers to The Journal to Stella.“Peepette” is “ppt” (or poppet) in Swift’s “little language,” modified by Joyce to include peeping and peeing. Cf. “tapette…pettest,” 79-23. Like H.C.E. At this point, Swift is an old man with two girls (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.2 some fellow’s; rose
Sunfella’s = sunflower – the heliotrope; preson of resplendent beauty
rhinoceritis = rhinocerot’s nose – Used as a descriptive of a sneer + rhinoceritis (l) – inflammation of a nose-horn.
roe = a small species of deer

l.3 pr All roads lead to Rome; contradicting
rogue = a rascal + roads
lean = to incline or tend in thought, affection, or conduct + lead
rhyme = verse marked by consonance of the terminal sounds + Rome

l.4 N Lille Trille laa paa en hylie (nursery rhyme eq. to Humpty Dumpty); Niall of the Nine Hostages: Ir High King
pon = upon
hilly = characterized by hills; abounding in hills + Norwegian: Lille Trille laa paa en hylle (nursery rhyme similar to Humpty Dumpty).
Nial (or Niall) of the Nine Hostages = father of Leary, ruled Ireland in the 4th century, raided Britain, was deserted by his own men and conquered by the Romans. A later Nial was perhaps slain by Hamlet.

l.5 King Mark; marquis; Da far: father
corsage = a bodice
markiss = marquis
besterfar = bestefar (Norwegian) – grandfather
arrah = exp. of surprise or excitement

Reduplication is an alleged trait of Hiberno-English strongly associated with stage-Irish and Hollywood films (to be sure, to be sure). It is virtually never used in reality.ar bith corresponds to English at all, so the stronger ar chor ar bith gives rise to the form at all at all (‘I’ve no money at all at all’).

l.7 Sir Amory Tristram: 1st Earl of Howth
armoury = armour collectively; an armed force; the workshop of an armourer

churpelizod = house by the churchyard – Church House, Chapelizod [Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu: The House by the Churchyard] + churpe – chirp + [Isolde’s Chapel]

l.9 Da gammeldags: old-fashioned
retreat = Eccl. A period of complete seclusion devoted to religious exercises.
gammeldags (Danish) = old-fashioned + gammel (Danish) – old, ancient.

l.10 Milltown Park, D: Jesuit house of studies (Milton’s house is paradise)
Milton’s Park = MILLTOWN – Former village, now residential district, South Dublin, in the Clonskeagh area. Milltown Park is not a recreation ground but a Jesuit house of studies in Sandford Road + Milton, John (1608-74) – English poet, author of Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained. Milton was not just a poet, but also a politician, secretary to Cromwell, who was beastly to Ireland. Milton was a blind poet, like Homer.

languish = the action or state of languishing (to grow weak, faint, or feeble; to droop in spirits; to pine with love, grief, or the like) + James Joyce: Ulysses.5.261: ‘Language of flowers’.

l.13 bad
Saucicissters = saucisse (French, Slang) – whore
a dearbhrathairin og mo chroidhe (a drahirin og mukhri) (gael) – O young little brother of my heart! + song Draherin O Machree (Anglo-Irish) – Dear Little Brother of My Heart + machree – my dear.

l.14 Moor: s The Meeting of the Waters; Swift: ‘Ppt’
Meeting waters = to make water – to urinate + Thomas Moore: Irish Melodies: song The Meeting of the Waters.
peepette = urinate

miman = maman (fr) – mummy

l.16 Ulster, Munster, Leinster & Connacht (the 4 provinces of Ireland) [used her, mused her, licksed her and cuddled.]
farmer = one who cultivates a farm, whether as tenant or owner; the eldest son of the occupier of a farm (dial.); an ignorant rustic, a stupid or gauche person.
groom = a servant who attends to horses; a bridegroom
mused = muse – to gaze meditatively

lully = the kidney (of a cow)
breach of the peace = breach of promise – the breaking of engagement

lolly = hard candy
to give and take = to yield partialy to demands of others (and obtain satisfactory agreement); to exchange repartee, blows, etc.
pasht = paist (pasht) (gael) – spirit + past


l. 22 s ‘…We’ll tak a cup of kindness yet for the sake of Auld Lang Syne’
kindness = affection, love + song Auld Lang Syne: ‘We’ll tak a cup of kindness yet for the sake of Auld Lang Syne’.
pet = any person who is fondled, or treated with special kindness or favour; a darling, favourite.

orang (Malay) = man
lelly = leally (loyally, truly)

l.24 G schenk uns mehr: pour us more, give us more; I An Seanchas Mór:corpus of early Ir. law ‘ The Great Register’; Succat: St Patrick’s baptismal name; so be it
schenkusmore = An Seanchas Mor (un shanekus mor) (gael) – The Great Register, corpus of early Irish law + schenk uns mehr (ger) – pour us more, give us more.
craig = crag
be it suck = be it that – to be the case or the fact + [lolly]

END of Paragraph

FDV: Even should not the framing [up] of such fictions [in the evidential order] bring any truth to light [in good time] as fortuitously as some false setting of a starchart might [(heaven aiding)] reveal the presence of an unknown being in space chaos of space The best soundest opinion now holds that by so playing possum our highest common ancestor most effectually saved his brush. Dogs of all breeds were speaking with various marked provincial accents, hot to run him on a scent breasthigh, but from the good day he last was viewed pointing for home in his 7mile [rolltop] boots a deaf fox’s wisdom kept him safe in covert miraculously ravenfed & sustained by the clotted creamclotted sherriness of cinnamon syllabub. Preserving perseverance in the reeducation of his intestines was the his the best rebuttal whereby he got the big bulge on all the crowd of spasoakers in that one street town. Vainly virulence, violence, & vituperation sought wellnigh utterly to end the reign of the great shipping mogul and linen lord; it was one more dearer than all who was to make him a the nine days’ jeer for the lounge lizards of the pumproom.
frame up – to devise falsely (as a criminal charge against an inocent man) [(notebook 1922-23): ‘frame up’].

evidential = of or pertaining to evidence

dim = obscure, not clear to the mind or understanding
starchart = star chart – a chart showing the positions of the stars + (notebook 1922-23): ‘false setting of starmap discover new star’.

l.30 Da forhøre: examine; subspecies; sib:amity, clan, family; Vico says mankind’s first words were onomatopoeic
forehear = to hear beforehand

l.31` G stotter: stutter
stotter = error, slip, blunder; to stumble, stagger + Henrik Ibsen: Samfundets Støtter (Pillars of Society).

l.32 amongst; mental specialists; St. Augustine, ‘Securus iudicat orbis terrarum’ (‘ The verdict of the world is secure’)- the phrase influenced Newman (cf. Apologia)
mentalist = an advocate of mentalism (doctrine that mind is the fundamental reality); a mind reader or fortune teller.
securus iudicat orbis terrarum (l) = free from care, the circle of the lands judges; i.e. untroubled, the world judges (St. Augustine) + securus (l) – peaceful + iudico (l) – judge + orbis (l) – circle + terra (l) – earth.
play possum = to feign ignorance, to pretend to be asleep or dead, to feign or pretend illness + (notebook 1922-23): ‘saves his brush play ‘possum”.

l.33 Gr hahios: saintly; HCE; Gr kurios:lord; brush: fox’s tail
hagio (gr) = holy
curious = exciting curiosity, somewhat surprising, strange, singular, odd; queer.
brush = a quick light touch or momentary contact, a brief encounter; a girl, a young woman; a bushy tail (the brush of a fox) + Quarterly Review Oct 1922, 268: ‘Reynard the Fox’: ‘saves his brush, but it is not likely that… he acts with deliberate intent… the promptings of instinct, of which the most notable example is the trick of ‘playing possum”.

l.35 hairs; tailsie: in Scottish Law, the limitation of a freehold estate to a person & his heirs
posterity = the descendants collectively of any person, all who have proceeded from a common ancestor.
coparcenor = coparcener – a joint heir
tailsie = heir in tail (Sc. of entail, of tailsie) – the person who succeeds or is entitled to succeed to an entailed estate by virtue of the deed of entail (the settlement of the succession of a landed estate, so that it cannot be bequeathed at pleasure by any one possessor; a predetermined order of succession).

l.36 the pope’s address: ‘Urbi et Orbi’ (‘the City & the World’)
gundog – a dog trained to accompany the ‘guns’ (hunters) + FDV: Dogs of all breeds were speaking with various marked provincial accents, hot to run him on a scent breasthigh, but from the good day he last was viewed pointing for home in his 7mile [rolltop] boots a deaf fox’s wisdom kept him safe in covert miraculously ravenfed & sustained by the clotted creamclotted sherriness of cinnamon syllabub.
beagling = beagle – to hunt game with a beagle + (notebook 1922-23): ‘dog was speaking’.renounce – announce, declare, proclaim
urbiandorbic =urbi et orbi – to the city (of Rome) and to the world. Also transf., for general information or acceptance; to everyone.

END of Page 96
bugle = a hunting-horn, originally made of the horn of a ‘bugle’ or wild ox; to sound a bugle.
run = to rush at a person with hostile intention, to make an attack on + (notebook 1922-23): ‘ran him’ + Quarterly Review Oct 1922, 271: ‘Reynard the Fox’: ‘in the early summer greyhounds can seldom be induced to attack a she-wolf. They will run her readily, but never hurt her when overtaken’.
breasthigh = breast high scent – a scent so strong that dogs course heads up + (notebook 1922-23): ‘hounds find scent is breasthigh’.+ [breast thigh]

l.2 quarry
worry = the act of biting and shaking an animal so as to injure or kill it (properly of hounds when they seize their quarry) + (notebook 1922-23): ‘the worry’.

END of Sentence

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.]

[ Let’s turn our trumpets to the strumpets. While the two girls in Phoenix Park might deserve that insult, Swift’s Stella and the girl he called Vanessa do not. In “Cadenus and Vanessa” Swift makes himself CADenus. The Dean certainly treated both women in the fashion of a cad. Joyce may have had that in mind when planting Swift’s women in the Wake’s shifting roles. That would appeal to Joyce who tells of pursuing a young pupil in Giacomo Joyce.” Whether Joyce pursued one student or three, remains a mystery, but Familyman Jim enjoyed the idea of a too-young tryst. Neither Swift nor Joyce expected his poem to be published, but Joyce returned to the theme of romantic double-teaming in the Sirens episode of Ulysses. There Misses Douce and Kennedy are ignored by old, bald, deaf Pat. Pat is ugly as Swift and equally indifferent to the girls’ cries for attention.]

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