James Joyce

Drink a sip, drankasup

For a quarter century, Gerry Fialka, an experimental film-maker from Venice, California, has hosted a book club devoted to a single text: James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, one of the most famously difficult texts in literary history.

Starting in 1995, between 10 and 30 people would show up to monthly meetings at a local library. At first they read two pages a month, eventually slowing to just one page per discussion. At that pace, the group – which now meets on Zoom – reached the final page in October. It took them 28 years. […]

This November, they started back on page three.

“There is no next book,” Fialka told me. “We’re only reading one book. Forever.”

{ The Guardian | Continue reading }

Finnegans Wake was first published in 1939 and it is widely regarded as being one of the most challenging novels in English literature.

Written in a torrent of idiosyncratic language over more than 600 pages, it includes made-up words in several languages, puns and arcane allusions to Greek mythology.

{ The Times | Continue reading }

The club is among several around the world devoted to collectively untangling the meaning of Joyce’s 1939 novel, which tells many stories simultaneously, and is dense with neologisms and allusions. Critics have considered the work perplexing; a review in The New Yorker suggested it might have been written by a “god, talking in his sleep.” […]

Margot Norris, a professor emerita of English at the University of California, Irvine, and a Joyce scholar, described “Finnegans Wake” as “dramatic poetry” that instead of following a typical plot plays with the very nature of language. “We get words in ‘Finnegans Wake’ that aren’t words,” Dr. Norris said, referring to a passage of seemingly nonsense phrases: “This is Roo- shious balls. This is a ttrinch. This is mistletropes. This is Canon Futter with the popynose.” The novel, she added, “draws your attention to language, but the language isn’t going to be exactly the language that you know.” […]

“People think they’re reading a book, they’re not,” he said. “They’re breathing and living together as human beings in a room; looking at printed matter, and figuring out what printed matter does to us.”

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

previously { Joyce invented a unique polyglot-language or idioglossia solely for the purpose of this work. }

three tommix, soldiers free, cockaleak and cappapee


The first thing I did after I heard about the highly classified NSA PRISM program two years ago was set up a proxy server in Peshawar to email me passages from Joyce’s Finnegans Wake.

{ John Sifton/Warscapes | Continue reading | Thanks Aaron }

What is the opposite of cat?


{ Lost James Joyce Children’s Book Gets Published }

You be up on everything, other hoes ain’t never on it



He kissed the plump mellow yellow smellow melons of her rump, on each plump melonous hemisphere, in their mellow yellow furrow, with obscure prolonged provocative melonsmellonous osculation.

{ James Joyce, Ulysses, 17, 1914-1921 | Continue reading }

Gave my hand a great squeeze going along by the Tolka in my hand


They walked to Ringsend, on the south bank of the Liffey, where (and here we can drop the Dante analogy) she put her hand inside his trousers and masturbated him. It was June 16, 1904, the day on which Joyce set “Ulysses.” When people celebrate Bloomsday, that is what they are celebrating. […]

Joyce had known only prostitutes and proper middle-class girls. Nora was something new, an ordinary woman who treated him as an ordinary man. The moral simplicity of what happened between them seems to have stunned him. It was elemental, a gratuitous act of loving that had not involved flattery or deceit, and that was unaccompanied by shame or guilt. That simplicity became the basis of their relationship.

{ The New Yorker | Continue reading }

related { Being in a relationship that others disapprove of }

Come up, Kinch. Come up, you fearful jesuit.


Sylvia Beach (1887 - 1962) was an American-born bookseller and publisher who lived most of her life in Paris. (…)

Beach dreamed of starting a branch of Monnier’s book shop in New York that would offer contemporary French works to American readers. Since her only capital was USD$3,000 which her mother gave her from her savings, Beach could not afford such a venture in New York. However, Paris rents were much cheaper and the exchange rates favorable, so with Monnier’s help, Beach opened an English language bookstore and lending library that she named Shakespeare and Company. Four years beforehand, Monnier had been among the first women in France to found her own bookstore. Beach’s bookstore was located at 8 rue Dupuytren in the 6th arrondissement of Paris.

Shakespeare and Company quickly attracted both French and American readers - including a number of aspiring writers to whom Beach offered hospitality and encouragement as well as books. As the franc dropped in value and the favorable exchange rate attracted a huge influx of Americans, Beach’s shop flourished and soon needed more space. In May 1921, Shakespeare and Company moved to 12 rue de l’Odéon.

Shakespeare and Company gained considerable fame after it published James Joyce’s Ulysses in 1922, as a result of Joyce’s inability to get an edition out in English-speaking countries. Beach would later be financially stranded when Joyce signed on with another publisher, leaving Beach in debt after bankrolling, and suffering severe losses from the publication of Ulysses.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

And he said to the cat: Viens ici mon petit chat. Tu as peur mon petit chou-chat? Tu as froid, mon pauvre petit chou-chat? Viens ici, le diable t’emporte! And off he went with the cat.


{ James Joyce Quaterly, Vol. 29, No. 4, Summer, 1992 }

A long time ago this was our future


Finnegans Wake is a work of comic fiction by Irish author James Joyce, significant for its experimental style and resulting reputation as one of the most difficult works of fiction in the English language. Written in Paris over a period of seventeen years, and published in 1939, two years before the author’s death, Finnegans Wake was Joyce’s final work.

Joyce invented a unique polyglot-language or idioglossia solely for the purpose of this work. This language is composed of composite words from some sixty to seventy world languages, combined to form puns, or portmanteau words and phrases intended to convey several layers of meaning at once, which many critics believe attempts to recreate the experience of sleep and dreams. Owing to the work’s expansive linguistic experiments, stream of consciousness writing style, literary allusions, free dream associations, and its abandonment of the conventions of plot and character construction, Finnegans Wake remains largely unread by the general public.

Despite these obstacles, readers and commentators have reached a broad consensus about the book’s central cast of characters and, to a lesser degree, its plot. However, a number of key details remain elusive. The book treats, in an unorthodox fashion, the Earwicker family, composed of the father Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker, the mother Anna Livia Plurabelle, and their three children Shem the Penman, Shaun the Post, and Issy. Following an unspecified rumour about HCE, the book, in a nonlinear dream narrative, follows his wife’s attempts to exonerate him with a letter, his sons’ struggle to replace him, Shaun’s rise to prominence, and a final monologue by ALP at the break of dawn.

The opening line of the book is a sentence fragment which continues from the book’s unfinished closing line, making the work a never-ending cycle. Many Joycean scholars such as Samuel Beckett and Donald Phillip Verene link this cyclical structure to Giambattista Vico’s seminal text Scienza Nuova (”New Science”), upon which they argue Finnegans Wake is structured.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

Spaton sawdust, sweetish warmish cigarette smoke, reek of plug, spilt beer, men’s beery piss, the stale of ferment


He turned Combridge’s corner, still pursued. Jingling hoofthuds. Perfumed bodies, warm, full. All kissed, yielded: In deep summer fields, tangled pressed grass, in trickling hallways of tenements, along sofas, creaking beds.

– Jack, love!

– Darling!

– Kiss me, Reggy!

– My boy!

– Love!

His heart astir he pushed in the door of the Burton restaurant. Stink gripped his trembling breath: pungent meatjuice, slop of greens. See the animals feed.

Men, men, men.

{ James Joyce, Ulysses, 8, 1914-1921 | Continue reading }

photo { William Eggleston, Los Alamos }

Holding in each hand an orange citron and a pork kidney


(Brimstone fires spring up. Dense clouds roll past. Heavy Gatling guns boom. Pandemonium. Troops deploy. Gallop of hoofs. Artillery. Hoarse commands. Bells clang. Backers shout. Drunkards bawl. Whores screech. Foghorns hoot. Cries of valour. Shrieks of dying. Pikes clash on cuirasses. Thieves rob the slain. Birds of prey, winging from the sea, rising from marsh lands, swooping from eyries, hover screaming, gannets, connorants, vultures, goshawks, climbing woodcocks, peregrines, merlin, blackgrouse, sea eagles, gulls, albatrosses, barnacle geese. The midnight sun is darkened. The earth trembles. The dead of Dublin from Prospect and Mount Jerome in white sheepskin overcoats and black goat-fell cloaks arise and appear to many. A chasm opens with a noiseless yawn. Tom Rochford, winner in athletes singlet and breeches, arrives at the head of the national hurdle handicap and leaps into the void. He is followed by a race of runners and leapers. In wild attitudes they spring from the brink. Their bodies plunge. Factory lasses with fancy clothes toss redhot Yorkshire baraabombs. Society ladies lift their skirts above their heads to protect themselves. laughing witches in red cutty sarks ride through the air on broomsticks. Quakerlyster plasters blisters. It rains dragon’s teeth. Armed heroes spring up from furrows. They exchange in amity the pass of knights of the red cross and fight duels with cavalry sabres: Wolfe Tone against Henry Grattan, Smith O’Brien against Daniel O’Connell, Michael Davitt against Isaac Butt, Justin M’Carthy against Parnell, Arthur Griffith against John Redmond John O’Leary against liar O’Johnny, lord Edward Fitzgerald against lord Gerald Fitzedward, The O’Donoghue of the Glens against The Glens of The Donoghue. On an eminence, the centre of the earth, rises the field altar of Saint Barbara. Black candles rise from its gospel and epistle horns. From the high barbicans of the tower two shafts of light fall on the smokepalled altarstone. On the altarstone Mrs Mina Purefoy, goddess of unreason, lies naked, fettered, a chalice resting on her swollen belly. Father Malachi O’Flynn, in a long petticoat and reversed chasuble, his two left feet back to the front, celebrates camp mash. The Reverend Mr Hugh C. Haines love MA. in a plain cassock and mortar board, his head and collar back to the front, holds over the celebrants head an open umbrella.)

{ James Joyce, Ulysses, 15, 1914-21 | Continue reading }

All those wasted feelings for something I no longer have


and the glorious sunsets and the figtrees in the Alameda gardens yes and all the queer little streets and pink and blue and yellow houses and the rosegardens and the jessamine and geraniums and cactuses and Gibraltar as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

{ James Joyce, Ulysses, 18, 1914-1921 | Continue reading }

photo { The statue’s head on exhibit at the Paris World’s Fair, 1878 | Wikipedia }

clings to everything she takes off


The leg-to-body ratio (LBR) is a morphological index that has been shown to influence a person’s attractiveness. In our research, 3,103 participants from 27 nations rated the physical attractiveness of seven male and seven female silhouettes varying in LBR. We found that male and female silhouettes with short and excessively long legs were perceived as less attractive across all nations. Hence, the LBR may significantly influence perceptions of physical attractiveness across nations.

{ JCC/SAGE | Continue reading }


{ James Joyce }

what in water did imp, waterlover, admire?


Its universality: its democratic equality and constancy to its nature in seeking its own level: its vastness in the ocean of Mercator’s projection: its umplumbed profundity in the Sundam trench of the Pacific exceeding 8,000 fathoms: the restlessness of its waves and surface particles visiting in turn all points of its seaboard: the independence of its units: the variability of states of sea: its hydrostatic quiescence in calm: its hydrokinetic turgidity in neap and spring tides: its subsidence after devastation: its sterility in the circumpolar icecaps, arctic and antarctic: its climatic and commercial significance: its preponderance of 3 to 1 over the dry land of the globe: its indisputable hegemony extending in square leagues over all the region below the subequatorial tropic of Capricorn: the multisecular stability of its primeval basin: its luteofulvous bed: Its capacity to dissolve and hold in solution all soluble substances including billions of tons of the most precious metals: its slow erosions of peninsulas and downwardtending promontories: its alluvial deposits: its weight and volume and density: its imperturbability in lagoons and highland tarns: its gradation of colours in the torrid and temperate and frigid zones: its vehicular ramifications in continental lakecontained streams and confluent oceanflowing rivers with their tributaries and transoceanic currents: gulfstream, north and south equatorial courses: its violence in seaquakes, waterspouts, artesian wells, eruptions, torrents, eddies, freshets, spates, groundswells, watersheds, waterpartings, geysers, cataracts, whirlpools, maelstroms, inundations, deluges, cloudbursts: its vast circumterrestrial ahorizontal curve: its secrecy in springs, and latent humidity, revealed by rhabdomantic or hygrometric instruments and exemplified by the hole in the wall at Ashtown gate, saturation of air, distillation of dew: the simplicity of its composition, two constituent parts of hydrogen with one constituent part of oxygen: its healing virtues: its buoyancy in the waters of the Dead Sea: its persevering penetrativeness in runnels, gullies, inadequate dams, leaks on shipboard: its properties for cleansing, quenching thirst and fire, nourishing vegetation: its infallibility as paradigm and paragon: its metamorphoses as vapour, mist, cloud, rain, sleet, snow, hail: its strength in rigid hydrants: its variety of forms in loughs and bays and gulfs and bights and guts and lagoons and atolls and archipelagos and sounds and fjords and minches and tidal estuaries and arms of sea: its solidity in glaciers, icebergs, icefloes: its docility in working hydraulic millwheels, turbines, dynamos, electric power stations, bleachworks, tanneries, scutchmills: its utility in canals, rivers, if navigable, floating and graving docks: its potentiality derivable from harnessed tides or watercourses falling from level to level: its submarine fauna and flora (anacoustic, photophobe) numerically, if not literally, the inhabitants of the globe: its ubiquity as constituting 90% of the human body: the noxiousness of its effluvia in lacustrine marshes, pestilential fens, faded flowerwater, stagnant pools in the waning moon.

{ James Joyce, Ulysses, published in 1922 | Continue reading }

photo { Imp Kerr & Associates, NYC }

The motivation for me was them telling me what I couldn’t be, oh well


Eternity! What mind of man can understand it? And remember, it is an eternity of pain. Even though the pains of hell were not so terrible as they are, yet they would become infinite, as they are destined to last for ever. But while they are everlasting they are at the same time, as you know, intolerably intense, unbearably extensive. To bear even the sting of an insect for all eternity would be a dreadful torment. What must it be, then, to bear the manifold tortures of hell for ever? For ever! For all eternity! Not for a year or for an age but for ever. Try to imagine the awful meaning of this. You have often seen the sand on the seashore. How fine are its tiny grains! And how many of those tiny little grains go to make up the small handful which a child grasps in its play. Now imagine a mountain of that sand, a million miles high, reaching from the earth to the farthest heavens, and a million miles broad, extending to remotest space, and a million miles in thickness; and imagine such an enormous mass of countless particles of sand multiplied as often as there are leaves in the forest, drops of water in the mighty ocean, feathers on birds, scales on fish, hairs on animals, atoms in the vast expanse of the air: and imagine that at the end of every million years a little bird came to that mountain and carried away in its beak a tiny grain of that sand. How many millions upon millions of centuries would pass before that bird had carried away even a square foot of that mountain, how many eons upon eons of ages before it had carried away all? Yet at the end of that immense stretch of time not even one instant of eternity could be said to have ended. At the end of all those billions and trillions of years eternity would have scarcely begun. And if that mountain rose again after it had been all carried away, and if the bird came again and carried it all away again grain by grain, and if it so rose and sank as many times as there are stars in the sky, atoms in the air, drops of water in the sea, leaves on the trees, feathers upon birds, scales upon fish, hairs upon animals, at the end of all those innumerable risings and sinkings of that immeasurably vast mountain not one single instant of eternity could be said to have ended; even then, at the end of such a period, after that eon of time the mere thought of which makes our very brain reel dizzily, eternity would scarcely have begun.

{ James Joyce, A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man, 1916 | Continue reading }

[Deep is the pain … But deeper is the joy… Pain says Go! … But joy wants eternity.] Never yet have I found the woman by whom I should like to have children, unless it be this woman whom I love: for I love thee, O Eternity!

{ Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, 1883 -1885 | Continue reading }

image scanned from { John Waters, Director’s Cut }

Why not rather from its last? From today?


Tell about places you have been, strange customs. The other one, jar on her head, was getting the supper: fruit, olives, lovely cool water out of the well stonecold like the hole in the wall at Ashtown. Must carry a paper goblet next time I go to the trottingmatches. She listens with big dark soft eyes.

{ James Joyce, Ulysses, published in 1922 | Continue reading | Ulysses contains approximately 265,000 words from a lexicon of 30,030 words (including proper names, plurals and various verb tenses), divided into eighteen episodes. | Wikipedia | Continue reading }

images { Hilo Chen, Beach, 2005 | Huata, Open The Gates of Shambhala EP }

Notice that all people smile in the same language


I rose up one maypole morning and saw in my glass how nobody loves me but you. Ugh. Ugh.

All point in the shem direction as if to shun.

My name is Misha Misha but call me Toffey Tough. I mean Mettenchough. It was her, boy the boy that was loft in the larch. Ogh! Ogh!

{ James Joyce, Finnegans Wake, 1939 | Continue reading }

photo { Alison Brady }

a way a lone a last a loved a long the riverrun


‘Words, words, words.’ –Shakespeare


I would estimate that I spend a good two hours per day reading, writing and commenting on internet content, with absolutely no tangible, material benefit to my life at all.

{ 2Blowhards | Continue reading }

…Beryl Schlossman’s suggestion that in Joyce’s works language is the “hero” and is “at once center and decentering.”

{ Male and Female Creativity in James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake | PDF }

It is language which speaks, not the author.

{ Stéphane Mallarmé quoted by Roland Barthes }

The monthly recurrence known as the new moon with the old moon in her arms


What special affinities appeared to him to exist between the moon and woman?

Her antiquity in preceding and surviving successive tellurian generations: her nocturnal predominance: her satellitic dependence: her luminary reflection: her constancy under all her phases, rising, and setting by her appointed times, waxing and waning: the forced invariability of her aspect: her indeterminate response to inaffirmative interrogation: her potency over effluent and refluent waters: her power to enamour, to mortify, to invest with beauty, to render insane, to incite to and aid delinquency: the tranquil inscrutability of her visage: the terribility of her isolated dominant implacable resplendent propinquity: her omens of tempest and of calm: the stimulation of her light, her motion and her presence: the admonition of her craters, her arid seas, her silence: her splendour, when visible: her attraction, when invisible.

{ James Joyce, Ulysses, Episode 17 | Continue reading }

photo { Marcus Ohlsson | S magazine }