I’m not taking apple sauce eithou.   1 comment

(3.2.452.6 – 3.2.464.3)

Jaun and Issy – Issy’s love-letter to Jaun – Jaun introduces Dave

In the opening lines of this reading, Jaun talks of listening in, of “picking up airs from th’other over th’ether”. My ears pricked up at the word “ether”, as I made this recording just after I’d got home from a guided visit round the Bodmer Foundation‘s current exhibition: Early Medicine, from the Body to the Stars. So, as Jaun’s reverie – addressed to his “Sis-sibis”-  veered off towards the “efferfreshpainted livy”  and “pharoph”, I was all ready with my references (452.8; 452.19; 452.20).

You see, the first exhibits in the Early Medicine exhibition are Hor’s Book of the Dead and a “Rhomboid cosmetic palatte” (Early Medicine from the Body to the Stars, 145). In the exhibition catalogue Irmtraut Munro writes how in ancient Egyptian cosmology, “the deceased having professed his innocence, appears before the judge of the deceased, Osiris, to give an account of his life.” (141). Clearly, there are many potential candidates for this deceased speaker in Finnegans Wake including, Finn Mc’Cool; H.C.E; the two headed Shem-Shaun; and shadowed behind these characters, Joyce himself. Alan Roughly notes how the conflation of Issy and Shem’s family home at Chapelizod plus Howth, where H.C.E.’s head is buried; gives rise to the place “Hothelizod” (Reading Derrida reading Joyce, 30). Hothelizod is where Jaun wishes to be continued like “thauthor”: Celtic heads laid to rest up-river from Dublin city.

Following in the tradition of the Book of the Dead, Joyce’s incantations in FW “draw on a vast magical, mythical, hymnic and ritual repertoire” that reflects contemporary Irish culture  (Youri Volokhine, Early Medicine, 530) . As Shem riley comments, “I’m beginning to get sunsick. I’m not half Norawain* for nothing” (3.2.452.35-36). Despite its dizzying effect, Egypt’s sun illuminates the cultural mix of FW. Alan Roughly flags the allusion to Isis in “Sissibis” (8), Jaun’s endearing address to his sister Issy (Reading Derrida reading Joyce, 30). Casting Jaun/Shaun as Osiris, Isis’s brother and husband. Also, Vico’s round and round road, recalls “the cyclical renewal through participation in the daily crossings of the heavens in the solar barge of the God Re” (Munro, 141).

Therefore “to be continued like thauthor” is not a gifting of immortality through the technology of the printing press, as in Shakespeare’s, “My love shall in my verse ever live young” (Sonnet 19, line 14). In FW love and verse are inherently palimpsests. “The Vico road goes round and round to meet where terms begin… Before there was patch at all on Ireland there lived a lord at Lucan.” (3.2.452.20-29).

Another palimpsest:

* Nora Wain. Norwegian and Nora, Joyce’s wife.

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One response to “I’m not taking apple sauce eithou.

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  1. Pingback: ‘The last word in stolentelling!’ Magpies and the collage aesthetic in Finnegans Wake | The Grammar of Matter

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