A way a lone a last a loved a long the / riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.
"I might easily have written this story in the traditional manner [...] Every novelist knows the recipe [...] It is not very difficult to follow a simple, chronological scheme which the critics will understand [...] But I, after all, am trying to tell the story of this Chapelizod+ family in a new way.
I can't understand some of my critics, like Pound+ or Miss Weaver, for instance. They say it's ''obscure''. They compare it, of course, with ''Ulysses''. But the action of ''Ulysses'' was chiefly during the daytime, and the action of my new work takes place chiefly at night. It's natural things should not be so clear at night, isn't it now?
In particular their ascription of the whole thing to a dream of HCE seems to me nonsensical. My view is that Mr. Joyce did not intend the book to be looked upon as the dream of any one character, but that he regarded the dream form with its shiftings and changes and chances as a convenient device, allowing the freest scope to introduce any material he wished—and suited to a night-piece.Bernard Benstock also argued that "The Dreamer in the Wake is more than just a single individual, even if one assumes that on the literal level we are viewing the dream of publican H.C. Earwicker."
The greatest obstacle to our comprehension of ''Finnegans Wake'' [...has been...] the failure on the part of readers to believe that Joyce really meant what he said when he spoke of the book as a "reconstruction of the nocturnal life" and an "imitation of the dream-state"; and as a consequence readers have perhaps too easily exercised on the text an unyielding literalism bent on finding a kind of meaning in every way antithetical to the kind of meaning purveyed in dreamsBishop has also somewhat brought back into fashion the theory that the ''Wake'' is about a single sleeper; arguing that it is not "the 'universal dream' of some disembodied global everyman, but a reconstruction of the night – and a single night – as experienced by 'one stable somebody' whose 'earwitness' on the real world is coherently chronological." Bishop has laid the path for critics such as Eric Rosenbloom, who has proposed that the book "elaborates the fragmentation and reunification of identity during sleep. The masculine [...] mind of the day has been overtaken by the feminine night mind. [...] The characters live in the transformation and flux of a dream, embodying the sleeper’s mind."
In writing of the night I really could not, I felt I could not, use words in their ordinary connections. Used that way they do not express how things are in the night, in the different stages – the conscious, then semi-conscious, then unconscious. I found that it could not be done with words in their ordinary relations and connections. When morning comes of course everything will be clear again [...] I'll give them back their English language. I'm not destroying it for good.Ellman, ''James Joyce'', p.546Joyce is also reported as having told Arthur Power that "what is clear and concise can't deal with reality, for to be real is to be surrounded by mystery." On the subject of the vast number of puns employed in the work Joyce argued to Frank Budgeon that "after all, the Holy Roman Catholic Apostolic Church was built on a pun. It ought to be good enough for me", and to the objection of triviality he replied "Yes. Some of the means I use are trivial+ – and some are quadrivial+." A great many of the book's puns are etymological in nature. Sources tell us that Joyce relished delving into the history and the changing meanings of words, his primary source being ''An Etymological Dictionary of the English Language'' by the Rev. Walter W. Skeat (Oxford, at the Clarendon Press; 1879). For example, one of the very first entries in Skeat is for the letter A, which begins: "...(1) adown; (2) afoot; (3) along; (4) arise; (5) achieve; (6) avert; (7) amend; (8) alas; (9) abyss..." Further in the entry, Skeat writes: "These prefixes are discussed at greater length under the headings Of, On, Along, Arise...Alas, Aware, Avast..." It seems likely that these strings of words prompted Joyce to finish the ''Wake'' with a sentence fragment that included the words: "...a way a lone a last a loved a long..."
This writing that you find so obscure is a quintessential extraction of language and painting and gesture, with all the inevitable clarity of the old inarticulation. Here is the savage economy of hieroglyphics+.
Those who have heard Mr. Joyce read aloud from ''Work in Progress'' know the immense rhythmic beauty of his technique. It has a musical flow that flatters the ear, that has the organic structure of works of nature, that transmits painstakingly every vowel and consonant formed by his ear.
Those people who say the book is unreadable have not tried reading it aloud. This is the secret. If you even mouth the words silently, suddenly what seemed incomprehensible (Hubert Butler called it "Joyce's learned gibberish,") leaps into referential meaning, by its sound, since page after page is rich in allusion to familiar phrases, parables, sayings of all kinds – and the joyous and totally brilliant wordplay, over and over again imperceivable until you actually listen to it – transforms what was an unrelievable agony into an adventure.
riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.
an American tourist of the most typical variety leaned over my shoulder and sighed: "So many books! What is the definitive one? Is there any?" It was an extremely small book shop, a news agency. I almost replied, "Yes, there are two of them, ''Ulysses'' and ''Finnegans Wake''.
the language in it is incredible. There's so many layers of puns and references to mythology and history. But it's the most realistic novel ever written. Which is exactly why it's so unreadable. He wrote that book the way that the human mind works. An intelligent, inquiring mind. And that's just the way consciousness is. It's not linear. It's just one thing piled on another. And all kinds of cross references. And he just takes that to an extreme. There's never been a book like it and I don't think there ever will be another book like it. And it's absolutely a monumental human achievement. But it's very hard to read.
|Finnegans Wake+ Finnegans Wake is a novel by Irish writer James Joyce that is significant for its experimental style – as well as its resulting reputation as one of the most difficult works of fiction in the English language.|