Monday, February 19, 2024

I Haven't Read James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake, But I Can Tell You What It Is About

Φιλολoγικά/Philologica: I Haven't Read James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake, But I Can Tell You What It Is About · Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere: Does Gwledig Simply Mean Nationalist?

So can any Irishman. Which I don't have the honour to be one.

[Now, the format of this post is like some of those on Assorted Retorts. 1) I link to a video. 2) Which I had watched. And commented on. 3) And below the video I share my comments. Each one usually begins with a time stamp in bold]

The 5 Most Difficult Books Ever! (Fiction)
Drawn to Books | 1 Dec. 2023

0:21 Are two or just one of them by James Joyce?

2:18 Here is at least one James Joyce. Ulysses?

[nope, Faulkner]

6:09 Ah, two of them were by Joyce.

AND another guy wrote Stream of Consciousness.

6:48 was Joyce a moderately structural conlanger? Does his language have a consistent grammar?

8:23 I have attempted a very different Finnegan's Wake. It's probably about the exact same guy.

Wake = when the corpse is laid out, open coffin, the night before the funeral.

It's kind of a fun occasion in Irish traditions, so the refrain goes "lot's of fun at Finnegan's wake" ... but in the exact final stanzas we hear :

1) a bottle of whiskey gets smashed
2) it spills onto the mouth of "dead" Finnegan
3) who is thereby provoked to actually wake up, because he wasn't so dead after all.

That in itself is a joke on the exact meaning of the Irish word for Whiskey.

Distilled alcohol was known in Latin as aqua vitae ("water of life"). This was translated into Old Irish as uisce beatha, which became uisce beatha (Irish pronunciation: [ˈɪʃcə ˈbʲahə]) in Irish and uisge beatha [ˈɯʃkʲə ˈbɛhə] in Scottish Gaelic.

While the dead are awaiting the resurrection of the second coming, the living may speculate on what means Jesus will use to wake them up. Trumpets? Fair enough. But I guess Finnegan is a parody figure of the guy of whom they say "a trumpet couldn't wake him up" ... "well, perhaps some water of life could?" ... "oh yeah, it would totally work on him!"

Finnegan's Wake (the song) spells out this joke in an interrupted attempted burial, not very far from the humour of Der liebe Augustin.

After what you've just told me, Joyce was trying to do the stream of counsciousness of a man who was unconscious, to wit, Finnegan, the one of the song.

Finnegan's wake the song:

Finnegans Wake - The Irish Rovers
CArghlhoavp | 7 marzo 2011

8:23 bis

I think you forgot some really unreadable books.

Moebius. As they are graphic novels, they sell very well on the pictorial beauty (which is like a mix of Wizards / Coonskin and Walt Disney / Don Bluth).

But the story is not very clear even for being told in pictures, it's like Alice in Wonderland can't be real dreams, because it's not as confusing as Moebius.

On the pictorial qualities of Moebius, one may add Blueberry too.

Wait ... that's because Blueberry is also Moebius. I was thinking mainly of his Arzak works ... Blueberry is his Western (also not the most readable Westerns, plotwise).

No comments: