Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Monday, 24 July 2017, Pages 394-396

(First of all, apologies for not posting anything last two weeks.)

Today we stopped at "... tails plus toop!" (396.18)

Must admit that we all had great fun reading these pages. Our imagination ran simply riot for quite a while! Whether we were successful in coming close to what Joyce meant is immaterial. For example, I was very sure that the words, "... Itself is Itself Alone..." (394.33) were taken out of the Upanishads. This guess was cemented by the words that followed as they sounded a la Madame Blavatsky, famous for her doctrines of Theosophy. BUT these words are said to be playing with the slogan 'Sinn Féin, Sinn Féin Amhàin' that means 'Ourselves, Ourselves Alone'! There goes the idea of Upanishads out of the window!

We still had fun because we could identify that the passages we read today really relates to the story of Tristan and Isolde (rather, Narsty and Idoless (395.2)) and King Mark. Let us recall that four old men are recalling what they had seen of Tristan and Isolde on the boat. Here there is talk of 'honeymoon cabins' (395.9) and of 'dear mester John' (395.3). It is all about some hanky panky going on in the honeymoon cabin! Between Isolde and Tristan. The 'dear mester John' is said to refer to the oeuvre of Dear John Letters which is written to a man by his wife or romantic partner to inform him their relationship is over because she has found another lover. Isolde found Tristan, and it was time for her to write  'Dear John Letter' to King Mark.

There are quite a few essays written on the theme of Tristan and Isolde in Finnegans Wake. (Search in Google giving the last six words as key words! It is a pity that many of these are not available freely.) An interesting article can be found here. An essay by G. Lernout is published the James Joyce Quarterly, Vol. 38, No 1/2, Fall 2000 - Winter 2001.

Note: There is no reading next Monday, the 31st of July, due to the August Workshop at the Foundation. 

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