Archive for the ‘Norse Mythology’ Category

– Kind Shaun, we all requested   Leave a comment


Shaun vilifies Shem – Shaun in a barrel rolls downriver -Issy bids him fond farewell.

In the vilification of Shem, Shaun refers to Shem’s “root language” (424.17). It seems to be a compound noun, derived from Norse Mythology: “Ullhodturdenweirmudgaardgringringnirurdrmolnirfenrirlukkilokkibaugimandodrrerinsurtkrinmgrêrnrackinarockar!”

It ends with a phonetic version of Ragnarok (final destiny of the gods*). So, Shem’s is a root language that ends with destruction and regeneration.

*Simek, Rudolf (2007) translated by Angela Hall. Dictionary of Northern Mythology.

Night Lessons/ Sloe Reading   Leave a comment

(260.1 – 267.21)

In this passage all directions are whispered; all section “headings” are read loudly; and the footnotes are read all together at the end!

…I walked in the woods today, to practice a few forest stories for a storytelling session I’m doing tomorrow night.  Gaelic stories and the training of the seanachie (storyteller) provide a contextual background for the Wake. The stories I’m working with are from the Western Highland Tales collected and retold by Sir Fitzroy Maclean; and they show the influence of both Celtic and Norse cosmologies (Joyce similarly notes this interplay of Celtic and Norse in Irish vernacular in the section of Wake I read today, 265 – footnote 2).

With regard to the interplay between Irish and Scots Celts, the introduction to the story about Diarmid and the Great Boar in WHT, tells how “Diarmid O Duibhne’s mother was sister to the Irish hero Finn MacCoul” (33). Note, Finn MacCool is the answer to the very long squirming question number  1 in the radio quiz in Finnegans Wake (126.10-139.14).

Another link: in his general introduction Sir Fitzroy Maclean talks of the importance of the clann (children) in Scots and Norse stories; and the genealogical sense of relatedness to a patriarchal chief in both these cultures (13;15). This reminds me of how the Wake’s “narrative is articulated around HCE.

And finally to the sloes. I was delighted to find them, as I thought I’d missed out of my sloe gin making for this Christmas. But, I have a big plastic bag full of them now. Hurray! I’ve stuck them in the freezer, to burst their cell walls, before I macerate the fruit in gin. I’ve been wanting to make more sloe gin since I read that this thick “syrupy liquor” is what Blazes Boylan orders for himself in the bar of the Ormond Hotel, in the “Sirens” episode of Ulysses (254, in the Oxford edition).

I’ve never seen sloe gin in a pub myself. But, in the Lake District you can find damson gin in the public houses of the Lythe valley. I wonder how many pubs served sloe gin in Dublin, in the early 20th century? Presumably it was produced on a cottage industry scale? Doing my best crone impression, I picked mine from stunted bushes on a wind blown heath overlooking Geneva.

He wept indeiterum   Leave a comment


Children’s games end. Prayers before bed.

The children’s storytelling and art class that I co-run restarted today, after the half-term holidays.

So I was already warmed up for reading the Wake. Since this morning I was the trickster God Loki, attached to a flying eagle by Giant magic, and dragged across a glacier, (ah! ah! ah! ow! ow! owwww! w! W! AYE, ARGHHHHHH) All sore and bottom-grazed, Loki agrees to give Idrun (guardian of the life-giving apple tree) up to the Giants…. This is a BIG mistake.

I loved seeing how the children morphed this story in their drawings.

One little girl drew Loki’s rainbow house (she drew the rainbow Bifrost that goes from the land of the Gods to the land of Men last time we met…); and she drew Loki flying as a rainbow bird; and she drew a rainbow coloured sky.

Another little girl drew the opening scene, where the Gods try and roast meat on a spit and it won’t cook. She drew the spit and the meat tiny tiny. But she put in a big grey castle behind the spit scene. (Some girls have been drawing castles since week one of the class when I told Puss in Boots…) The eagle figured in the middle of this girl’s page, big and brown.

Another (older) girl drew the mise-en abime in the story: when Loki tricks Idrun to leave Asgard, the land of the Gods, by telling a tale of a tree of golden apples that grows in Mitgard. Of course, Idrun buys the story because she can picture the tree so clearly… and so off Loki and she go over the rainbow to the land of the Giants… But an apple tree so fantastic could only exist in Loki’s imagination, and indeed on the other side of the rainbow there is only a dark room waiting for Idrun in the home of the Eagle-Giant.

There are dangers associated with Joyce’s “Eye trompit” (247.32-33), as Gorgias has already stated.

Reading just now, I feel like I experienced the mirror-image of the children’s drawing this morning: a medley of sounds, voices, chants, stories and chinese whispers that hint at the picture and pattern making going on in many siblings heads.