7. Which parts or chapters or pages of FW are the most interesting or favorable for you?
Grace Eckley wrote (in Narrator and Character in Finnegans Wake in 1975; Bucknell University Press) ---- (Page 129) On the Anna Livia Plurabelle chapter (1.8) of Finnegans Wake, Joyce asserted that he was willing "to stake everything." To its most obvious characteristic of melodic sounds imitating the flow of water, he responded, "if it were meaningless it could be written quickly, without thought, without pains, without erudition; but I assure you that these twenty pages now before us cost me twelve hundred hours and an enormous expense of spirit." Expense of time and spirit did not cease with that statement in 1927, however, while Joyce continued to revise the chapter until, as A. Walton Litz noted, it had gone "through seventeen distinct stages of revision between 1923 and 1938."
Robert M. Polhemus wrote (in Comic Faith in 1980; The University of Chicago Press) ---- (Page 295) I choose to focus on the "Shem" section of Finnegans Wake (Book I, section 7, pp. 169-95) for several reasons. It is, in itself, a comic masterpiece and ought to be better known. It contains the essence of Joyce's comic feeling for the world, and it epitomizes his art as he developed it in the early twentieth century. A short, relatively accessible part of this painfully difficult, neglected, and magnificent book, it illuminates the Wake's vision and meanings. It is also as revealing as anything Joyce ever wrote about his own life, and, moreover, in it he deals directly with all of the themes and motives in the fiction I have discussed. The antiauthoritarian, playful tenor of his later writing, its tremendous scope, its impetus to break free of repression, its satire, its experiments with parody, language, and style, its stress on human communion and on union with nature, and its surprising tolerance, all have precedent in the great comic tradition of the preceding century.
Cheryl Herr wrote (in Joyce’s Anatomy of Culture in 1986; University of Illinois Press) ---- (Page 256) In the dream of culture which is, among other things, fiction, a man named, among other things, Jaun, delivers, among other things, a sermon. It is generally agreed that this section (III, ii) is one of the most linguistically accessible in the Wake, and possibly because of its apparent relative simplicity this chapter has received little critical attention. Yet Jaun's homily (gotten out in bits), the most consistently satiric of Joyce's sermons, prominently includes in its many arenas of signification a complex statement of the intersection of Roman Catholic doctrine and socioeconomics. Wakean parody, reflexivity, and dream distortion do not mask the fact that Jaun's sermon goes beyond mere reflection of twentieth-century Irish popular theology (although it does allude to that theology quite specifically); rather, III, ii offers a critique of the usually concealed messages to which popular theology kept itself more or less blind.
Kimbery Devlin wrote ([ALP’s Final Monologue in Finnegans Wake:The Dialectical Logic of Joyce’s Dream Text; pp. 232-247] in Coping with Joyce edited by Morris Beja and Shari Benstock in 1989; Ohio State University Press) ---- (Page 232) ALP's closing monologue seems to mitigate the uncompromising otherness of the female principle in the Wake: critics suggest that here we finally hear the actual voice of ALP, even those who elsewhere in their analyses take into account the dream's unmistakably male subjectivity. Benstock, for example, suggests that ALP's monologue is divorced from the rest of the Wake, providing "an alternate vision against which Earwicker's dream vision can be measured", and discusses the final pages of the dream as if they were not colored by male wishes and fears, as if their narrative status were comparable to that of Molly's soliloquy at the close of Ulysses: "It is left to Anna Livia, who has the final 'word' in the novel, to confirm the future for her daughter . . . ALP's hints seem to suggest that diverse and flighty Issy will grow into the calm and unified mother/wife that Anna Livia now is". Clive Hart describes the final pages of the book as "the closest thing to 'interior monologue' in Finnegans Wake," as a "stream of almost unmodified Dublin speech". In The Decentered Universe of Finnegans Wake, Norris grants the speech a similar standing, implying that we actually hear "leafy speafing" (FW 619), the feminine voice unmediated by the dreamer's consciousness.
Margot Norris wrote ([Anna Livia Plurabelle: The Dream Woman: pp. 197-213] in Women in Joyce edited by Suzette Henke and Elaine Unkeless in 1982; University of Illinois Press) ---- (Page 211) Fighting age and decrepitude, the dreamer desires the young woman, or young women, since he wants not a relationship but, like Daddy Browning and his peaches, reassurance about his imperiled prowess. However, this desire -- like its opposite, the little boy's desire for the older woman -- becomes a violation of the incest taboo. The young woman recalls to the dreamer both his daughter and his wife when she was young, and Isabel and ALP are therefore frequently merged into the same figure -- a "daughterwife" (627.2). To defend himself against the guilt aroused by his incestuous longing, the dreamer projects the guilt onto the young woman, pretending that the desire is all on her side and that she is the temptress enticing him. Surrender to the temptress brings punishment and destruction, like the Sirens' shipwreck and drowning of sailors, or a prosaic and confining marriage, or, at its most extreme, public exposure and criminal prosecution of the hapless dreamer. The fears of sexual inadequacy cause the dreamer's desire for the beautiful young woman to boomerang as a fantasy of betrayal, a fear that she will reject the old man to elope with a young, virile male, like Tristan or Dermot. Fantasies of rape may function as a defense against fears of both impotence and rejection. The most violent scenes are those reported by the four impotent old men the "four dear old heladies" (386. 14), who also remember vividly the great flood and scenes of catastrophic retribution for the sins of their youth. The woman's function as temptress, adulteress, and victim of male brutality is therefore the result of a complicated dialectic of the dreamer's fears, desires, and guilts. The young woman ostensibly ruins the man, but is desired, while the old woman tries to save the man, but is rejected. Her redemptive function is understandable enough since this is the maternal role, the healing of wounds and righting of wrongs, and Anna Livia performs this service both for her husband and for her children. But why the rejection? Why is the loving mother appreciated and the loving wife abused? Perhaps it is because the old woman's ministrations and aid make the old man feel the humiliation of his dependence and disability, as in old age he is reduced to a child again, a helpless "overgrown babeling" (6.31), a huge, babbling infant led about by the hand or lying beached like a whale or the fallen tower of Babel.
(Page 212) Yet for all of his ambivalence toward the woman, the dreamer endows Anna Livia with an incomparable strength and grace. The wish to anchor the woman, who is mediated by the fantasies of the male, to a status ultimately beyond the dreamer's fear or desire may be Joyce's most important reason for the elaborate and enduring river/woman analogy, By making her the river as well as the woman, Joyce makes Anna Livia inhuman as well as human, beyond judgment, pity, or admiration, and subject only to wonderment. This is how he leaves her with us at the end of the work, as one of the powerful and unearthly seahags, dancing their wild dances to the roar of the sea: "I can seen meself among them, allaniuvia pulchrabelled. How she was handsome, the wild Amazia, when she would seize to my other breast! And what is she weird, haughty Niluna, that she will snatch from my ownest hair! For 'tis they are the stormies. Ho hang! Hang ho! And the clash of our cries till we spring to be free" (627.27).
Sheldon Brivic wrote in [The Terror and Pity of Love: ALP's Soliloquy, pp. 145-171 ] in James Joyce Quarterly Vol.29, No.1 in 1991) ---- (page 145) If, as Lacan says, what psychoanalysis "discovers in the unconscious is the whole structure of language," then the structure of language is repressed. For Lacan, the self is built on a language structure of division, but this division must be held under to maintain the illusion of a unified identity. Terror inheres in this conflict because the self cannot survive without the divided structure of desire that destroys it, desires it. For the other, disintegrative side of language operates in a submerged field behind desire and love. The major linguistic system in this field opposed to consciousness is the cultural construct known as woman. I am going to examine one of Joyce's most powerful analyses of this construct, Anna Livia Plurabelle's soliloquy at the end of Finnegans Wake, to show how it confronts the divided aspect of language that constitutes and undermines the subject through desire. For Lacan, the desire to signify is the determinant of sexual desire and forms the subject. As a signifier, the subject strives to maintain its unity and definition; but it is divided because a signifier has meaning only in relation to other signifiers. The phallus, as the power to signify, is linked by culture to masculinity, while woman is constructed so that, to quote Lacan, she "finds the signifier of her own desire in the body of the one to whom she addresses her demand for love."
Suzette A. Henke wrote (in James Joyce and the Politics of Desire in 1990; Routledge) ----
(Page 164) ALP and HCE;
(Page 166) Hen versus Hun: The first book of guinnesses;
(Page 169) “Continuarration”: The tale of Anna Livia;
(Page 185) Mamafesta;
(Page 193) ALP and HCE: Their bed of trial;
(Page 196) Cyclical Return.
Frances M. Boldereff wrote (in Hermes to His Son Thoth in 1968; Classic Non-fiction Library) ---- (Page 139 - 230) The section often referred to as “The Geometry Lesson,” Part II, Section 2 of Finnegans Wake, has been translated line for line as meticulously as the author was able. In this central and key section of Finnegans Wake Joyce asks the question, the answer to which contains the sign he had chosen to serve surrogate for all things, the sign he had benn looking for since he was in college and which he found in Williams Blake’s Milton.
Mary T. Reynolds wrote ([The Finnegans Wake Workshop: Prefatory Note] in The Seventh of Joyce edited by Bernard Benstock in 1982; Indiana University Press) ---- (Page 169 - 181) Explication has many faces but a single purpose: to produce an increase of understanding. The Finnegans Wake Workshop panel sought to demonstrate, by maneuvering in depth within one short passage of the book, some of the manifold inventions and techniques that Joyce brought to the construction of his text in Finnegans Wake as a whole. The passage chosen was Finnegans Wake 34:30 - 36:34, the meeting of HCE with the Cad in the Park. After an introductory exegesis, each member of the panel [Nathan Harper, Seán Golden, Riana O’Dwyer] presented his chosen approach to the text. The chairman, after introducing the panel members, began the discussion with a brief review of the manuscript evidence of Joyce's revisions of the Cad episode.
13 Joyceans wrote (in A Conceptual Guide to Finnegans Wake edited by Michael H. Begnal and Fritz Senn in 1974; The Pennsylvania State University Press)
[This guide is a systematic and innovative exploration of James Joyce's Finnegans Wake. The essays in this collection examine Joyce's most complex novel almost chapter by chapter, and the many different perspectives presented here should open up the book to a new generation of readers. The collaborators, almost all established Joyceans, strive for much more than just another general introduction. What they seek to do is to bring together what we now know about Joyce's masterpiece and open avenues for further speculation. The Wake has for too long been the province of the allusion hunter and the puzzle solver, but this group of distinguished contributors tries to preserve the novel as a piece of writing. What each is basically concerned with is how his or her chapter or section takes its place in the overall design. Aware of specific detail, they are also conscious of the overview necessary to an understanding of the Wake, and perhaps this collection should be seen as a mosaic, each of the thirteen pieces fitting together to make a whole. Wake scholarship has been progressing as a group enterprise since 1929 with Samuel Beckett and others' Our Exagmination. What makes the collection even more interesting is the variety of critical positions exemplified. The linguistic, biographical, allusive, structural -- all of these many ways of dealing with literature -- contribute to a varied and solid study of Finnegans Wake. Joyce himself said that he wanted his novel to incorporate all of human experience, so that it is appropriate to deal with it on as many different levels as possible. The mine of Finnegans Wake is far from exhausted, and perhaps it never will be, but these essays should help to bring the novel more clearly into focus. (-- Excerpt from the book cover)]
1. Where Terms Begin / Book I, chapter i by J. Mitchell Morse
2. Recipis for the Price of the Coffin / Book I, chapters ii-iv by Roland McHugh
3. Concerning Lost Historeve / Book I, chapter v by Bernard Benstock
4. The Turning Point / Book I, chapter vi by E. I. Epstein
5. Portrait of the Artist as Balzacian Wilde Ass / Book I, chapters vii--viii by Robert Boyle
6. Music and the Mime of Mick, Nick, and the Maggies / Book II, chapter i by Matthew Hodgart
7. Night Lessons on Language / Book II, chapter ii by Ronald E. Buckalew
8. "but where he is eaten": Earwicker's Tavern Feast / Book II, chapter iii by Edward A. Kopper
9. Love that Dares to Speak its Name / Book II, chapter iv by Michael H. Begnal
10. Shaun A / Book III, chapter i by James S. Atherton
11. Growing Up Absurd in Dublin / Book III, chapters ii-iii by Hugh B. Staples
12. The Porters: A Square Performance of Three Tiers in the Round / Book III, chapter iv by Margaret Solomon
13. Looking Forward to a Brightening Day / Book IV, chapter i by Grace Eckley