Lowly, longly a wail went forth.   1 comment


Yawn interrogated by four old men.

One section of this passage (3.3.478.6-18) is discussed by McHugh in The Finnegans Wake Experience (17). Here, the translation of “Magis enarratur (eo) minus hoc intellego” is given as “the more completely it is explained the less I understand this.” Fair enough.

I like the way the complaint <this is hard to pronounce> “C’est mal prononsable” (478.18) is countered with <you’ve not got any water in your provincial mouth, Sir> “Vous n’avez pas d’o dans votre boche provenciale,  mousoo” (478.19). The comment reminds me of how, as a child, I announced to my Mum that it was easy to speak French: “you just need lots of spit in your mouth”.

The continued questioning of Shaun on page 478 is discussed by Peter Mahon in Imagining Joyce and Derrida (167-168). Herein, Mahon glosses the discovery of “la clee dang les champs” (the key/clover in the fields). And links this line to, “Whu’s teit dans yur jambs?” <What’s that between your legs>. Finding a correspondence between “the Messiah and the phallus-clover… they both have the potential to rise again” (168). Reincarnation: A theme at the heart of the Wake.

This imagery reminds me of a cheeky mediaeval fabliaux I heard Isabelle Jacquemain tell last year:

Two girls are out walking. The first girl notices a magnificent phallus underneath a bush. Quickly, she tucks it into her robes. The second girl sees all this happen and claims, “Stop! I dropped that by mistake the last time I came this way.” In order to settle their argument the girls call upon a convent. However the Mother superior confiscates the phallus, saying “thank you, dear children for returning the key that opens all our doors”. Touché!

One response to “Lowly, longly a wail went forth.

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  1. Fascination de l’écoute, même – surtout ? – pour un francophone; continuez… Cela ne servira sans doute à rien… mais c’est justement en cela que votre démarche est utile…
    Bravo; l’initiative est excitante !
    Amitiés du “philosophe” de l’Archipel

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