Sunday, 15 March 2020

Sunday, 15 March 2020


Please note that due to the Coronavirus spreading in Switzerland, the reading sessions of Finnegans Wake on Mondays are cancelled starting Monday, 16th March until further notice.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Monday, 17 February 2020, Pages 609 - 611

The reading stopped at "... (obs of epiwo)." (611.24)

Last week we stopped at "The while we, we are waiting, we are waiting for. Hymn." Actually we (they, the Irish?, the world?) are (were) waiting for him (St. Patrick)! He came to Ireland in the 5th century. That he came is explained here in the conversation between Muta and Juva, whom we had met earlier on page 16 incarnated as Jute and Mutt. Typically another arrival is reported here to complicate matters. Of the arrival of the Archdruid/Bulkily/Balkelly/Burkeley. Buckley, we remember as the one who shot the Russian general. Berkeley is the 17/18th century Irish philosopher. So the pages have much of Berkeley's Theory of Vision woven into them. So the connection of the happenings of the 5th and 18th centuries is perhaps a way to show that history happens in cycles, as Vico said.

To me personally, the most interesting sentence on these pages is at the top of page 610: O horild haraflare! McHugh interprets this as 'Harald Fair Hair, the 1st king of Norway.' BUT, when we heard that ild means fire in Danish, the word haraflare took a totally different meaning for me. Hara is another name of the Hindu god, Shiva. He is also represented as Nataraja, the king of dance. Nataraja holds a flame in his top left hand, and a small drum in his top right hand. With the flame (fire) he destroys the world, with the waves of sound emanating from his drum, he recreates the world. Thus he is a - perhaps the - symbol of destruction and creation, of history and civilizations happening in cycles. It is this idea of Vicovian cycle that is after all behind Finnegans Wake!

11th century Chola bronze from the Met, NY
The Nataraja icon is perhaps the most well known statue of India. For example, Carl Sagan (1934-1966), the astronomer at Cornell University uses Nataraja as the inner cover illustration of his 1980 book, Cosmos. The neuroscientist, V. S. Ramachandran, Professor at the University of California San Diego, director of the Centre for Brain and Cognition, discusses this icon in his 2010 book, The Tell-Tale Brain. He refers to it as the symbol of cosmic dance!

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Monday, 10 February 2020, Pages 607 - 609

Stopped our reading at "... we are waiting for. Hymn." (609.23)

The night is almost over. From sleep we are passing. The morning is here. When the messenger of the risen sun will appear, we shall know more. We are waiting for him.

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Monday, 3 February 2020, Pages 606 - 607

We stopped at ". . . bowlers a rest!" (607, last line)

These pages are good examples of how the same words/sentences can be interpreted differently. It was clear to me that the sentence we started our reading today (The first exploder to make his ablations . . . /606.23 ) refers to HCE and the incidence in the Phoenix park. We had read of a trial on what HCE did/didn't do in the Phoenix park. But another interpretation was aired in the room that it refers to Adam in the Garden of Eden. Support to this interpretation is said to be lent by the sentence starting with "He comes out of the soil  . . . " (606.28). The meaning of the name 'Adam' is given here.

Joseph Campbell explains lines 607.7 to 607.16 thus:
"There are four town clocks which show Jacob (with pipe) and Esau (with borrowed dish) and then a procession of the apostles, at every hours of changeover; this hourly puppet procession represents the first and last riddle of the universe. It is the signal for Finnegan's wake, for the old Lord of Chapelizod to seek the shades of his retirement, and for young Chappielassies to tease their partners."

Friday, 31 January 2020

Monday, 27 January 2020, Pages 604 - 606

The reading stopped at "Ah, fairypair!" (606.23)

These passages have to do with Kevin, of increate God the servant, . . .  a filial fearer . . . It describes in quite the circuitous manner typical of Finnegans Wake how he arose in celibate matrimony (the meaning of celibate matrimony beats me!) at matin chime and with a portable altare cum balneo (altar with a bathtub) reached/rowed to a lakelet where he built a small hut (honeybeehivehut) in which he dug a pit of the size of a seventh part of one full fathom and sat in the water meditating about baptism.

You can decipher more of these passages by reading this!