Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Monday, 14 August 2017, Pages 397-399

Today we completed Book II of Finnegans Wake.

It was a fitting end with a song (or is it a poem?) that had 'Led it be!" as the last line. Were the Beatles inspired by Joyce just like he inspired the Caltech physicist Murray Gell - Mann to give the name quark (Three quarks to Muster Mark, p. 383) to elementary particles that are the fundamental building blocks of matter?

The song/poem is in four parts. Each part is 'recited' by one of the four old men/ four evangelists /mamalujo. These four parts refer to the four provinces of Ireland (Matthew, from the north, is Ulster; Mark, from the south, is Munster; Luke, from the east, is Leinster; and John, from the west, is Connaught*), to four days of the week (Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday respectively), and to four metals (gold, silver, copper and iron). As usual, one does not ask 'Why?'

What is clear is that these four old men are talking about Tristan and Isolde. (Hear, O hear, Iseult la belle! Tristan, sad hero, hear!). They also mention that Tristan and Isolde go off down the river in a boat leaving King Mark behind. (And still a light moves long the river.... The way is free.... Their lot is cast... Led it be!)

(Please note that there will be no blog posts in the next two weeks!) 

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