Friday 19 January 2018

Understanding Finnegans Wake

Sample 1: (Page 59, lines 23-28)

Text: Liverpoor? Sot a bit of it! His braynes coolt parritch, his pelt nassy, his heart's adrone, his bluidstreams acrawl, his puff but a piff, his extremities extremely so: Fengless, Pawmbroke, Chilblaimend and Baldowl. Humph is in his doge. Words weigh no more to him than raindrips to Rethfernhim. Which we all like. Rain. When we sleep. Drops. But wait until our sleeping. Drain. Sdops.

Explanation: The book's main character "Earwicker", having passively escaped the assaults of a would-be and abusive assailant by hiding out in a telephone booth, dozes and finally falls asleep (FW2 p59), his body taking on the characteristics of sleep: bloodless brain, moist skin, heart slow, blood pressure down, respiration slow, chest and limbs relaxed. In this, he becomes the ever-spreading city of Dublin -- Finglas, Kilmainham, Pembroke, Baldoyle, Rathfarnham -- falling asleep under a gentle rain.

Sample 2: (Page 113, lines 7-12)

Text: Tuk. And who eight the last of the goosebellies that was mowlding from measlest years and who leff that there and who put that here and who let the Kilkenny stale the chump. Tek. And whowasit youwasit propped the pot in the yard and whatinthe nameofsen lukeareyou rubbinthe sideofthe flureofthe lobbywith. Shite! Will you have a plateful? Tak.

Explanation: You can probably make out what is going on here: this is Kate the swab speaking (moaning as usual). Just note that "kilkenny" is a word for "cat".

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