Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Monday, 12 June 2017, Pages 387-389

We stopped at "... round their twelve tables, ...." (389.3)

After Johnny's monologue that we read partly last week, it is the turn of Marcus. (These two belong to that group of four old men. Monologues by the other two will follow later.) Each one is supposedly talking about what he observed about Tristan and Isolde, when they escape/elope.  That these monologues have to do with the story of King Mark, Tristan and Isolde is not always easy to identify but when one does identify the characters, it is fun. One such fun place starts with the sentence, "Eseunc throw a darras Kram of Llawnroc, ye gink guy, kirked into yord" (388.1). It is interesting to decode this sentence and the two that follow. Tip: Read the words - not all of them, of course - backwards!

The above part is also fun because of two other reasons. First of all, we meet here again Martin Cunningham from Ulysses, in his new incarnation as Merkin Cornynghwham. Ulysses does not mention that Martin Cunningham is no more but here in Finnegans Wake we read that his widow is busy (widdy is giddy) by writing her memoirs (wreathing her murmoirs) for the Grocery Trader's Monthly, rather Manthly (387.33).

The second thing that is amusing is Joyce's mention of Mind mand gunfree (387.35). This refers to the book, My Man Godfrey by Eric Hatch, published in 1935, and made into a movie in 1936. (Finnegans Wake was published in 1939.) After decoding Mind mand gunfree, I could not help seeing parts of the movie in the sentences that followed!

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