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Mythic Time and Dual Overlook Narrators Structuring James Joyce's Finnegans Wake

Grace Eckley
Denver, Colorado, 2010


Epigraph: "A little before I spoke to you I was at a ruined town in North Africa. I looked backward from the ruin through the phases of its existence, a decaying town, a populous town, a village, big wells and trees, a resting-place for the nomad. One or two settled families. The first who brought there his wife and children. I saw back to the far-off day before man came, then before the great beasts came, when crawling water covered the soft ground and the air was a thick mist, and farther still into the dimness of cooling fires wherein was no life."

-C. A. Dawson Scott, "The 'Stead' Script," from Four Who Are Dead (182). Mrs. Dawson Scott founded the P.E.N. Club in London, where Joyce spoke in 1927. For Neanderthal types, see Mutt and Jute (16-18).

Always there is a possibility of a message from the secret morning, as Stephen Dedalus speculated in Ulysses (U 1: 406), implying an exchange of consciousness between the human and the cosmic dimensions, between the living and the immortals, all the subject of the world's oldest and most fundamental mythologies. "Signatures of all things I am here to read," comments Stephen Dedalus (U 3: 2).

As Finnegans Wake opens, the elusive Message curves earthward from two narrators above earth, sharing an "Overlook" viewpoint and directing the narration further, toward an answer to the wonderment "what the farest he all means" (112.6). Although Joyce began creating his Finnegans Wake in 1922, I chose the above epigraph from 1926 as the passage that best expresses, though Joyce extended it even further, a controlling method of his last great novel. James Atherton was aware of the epigraph message when researching the Egyptian source that Joyce found resembling the Christian: "It is first mentioned, perhaps, in the 10th chapter of the Book of the Dead where the deceased . . . is taken in charge by the great Khu-soul of the Other World and to be identified with him. He was thereby enabled to cleave the horizon and the heavens and pass through the earth" (149).

Earth-bound persons, looking at the opening paragraph, have generally found it patently simple to intuit, if not to recognize physically, that the first paragraph of Finnegans Wake implies a dialogue between two entities referring to themselves as "us" (3.2) above the earth looking down on a broad sweep of the globe, focusing on the river Liffey embracing Dublin's Howth mountain and flowing outward to the ocean that circles the globe (3.3). Joyce was one of the first Google Mapquesters.

A schema for Finnegans Wake begins to emerge from the opening pages, founded on (1) Joyce's new point of view that controls the entirety of the book from the aspect of two Overlook narrators; (2) duality as a principle of the universe. The last is expressed in (3) mythic time and space resulting in (4) evidence of Joyce's new Irish creation mythology. Although Joyce rather scorned page-turner novels having "go-ahead plots," with these four factors linked his plot does go ahead. The plot is freeflowing fertile nature--impulsive, amoral, productive (Issy, Anna Livia)--versus prohibitive doctrine [Shaun], especially that of the Catholic Church. Although the plot is not a subject of this discourse, its careful and compact structure will be apparent in the progress of the four factors above that make Finnegans Wake unique in the world's literature.


The dominant narrator explains or "tells" and becomes eventually the telling washerwoman of Chapter 8 and the elm tree. The listening narrator, like the prompter in a theater, questions and exclaims and at the end of Chapter 8 metamorphoses into a stone. This method of two speakers denotes a principle of duality that infuses the entirety of Finnegans Wake. On its precedence Joyce created startling variations on the dual narration and, indeed, in Chapter 6 the long speech by the Teller is a question!

To accomplish this above-earth viewpoint, Joyce extends and modifies the statement of Stephen Dedalus of the Portrait: "The artist, like the God of the creation, remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his fingernails" (215), which bespeaks growth. The Overlook POV injects the human element into the within-behind-beyond-above Godlike artist by presenting two narrators--Teller and a Listener--both invisible and often inaudible, who can see into and listen into the layers of the earth, primitive to present. As if philosophically removed from earth's moral dilemmas, the two Overlook narrators pass no judgment on those persons they view. They often tell of watching a stage performance, and in Chapter 10 they are inside the scene. In Chapter 16 they are capable of acting human.

The invisible Teller discloses in the second paragraph of the first page that Tristram and Isolde (Tristan and Iseult) will frame the paradigmatic love story, that arrivals or invasions of Ireland will structure its history along with divided loyalties exemplified by British-loving Wellington of the Peninsular War (1813), that Finns who scattered elsewhere for economic advantage founded "twenty four or so cousins [fourteen cities named Dublin] germinating in the United States" (130.28), that St. Patrick had not yet converted the Irish to Catholicism nor had Old Father Abraham, still further back in time and space, nearly sacrificed his son Isaac in obedience to Israelic tribal ritual, that the two-in-one "sisters" Stella and Vanessa, both called "Esther" of the invading Dutch family Van Homrigh, one of whom became Mayor of Dublin, were "wroth" and deserted by Jonathan Swift [*1], that the sons Shem and Shaun sought like other Irish the solace of the dominant alcoholic industries. Time speaks for space; an event's location is well known.

In unfixed time there occurred a sudden thunderous fall (3.15) of an upstanding and predominant citizen, a builder named Finnegan (3.19) whose story has been told through the ages and who left his geographic imprint to the west of Dublin in the hills of Phoenix Park where Orange and Green (3.23) political contenders have owned its land and built its facilities, its folklore, and its heritage upon the basis of the typical Irish Devlin [dubh or dark sir] and Livvy/ Liffey.[*2] Eventually his contemporary name of Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker will be known, his paradigm in Joyce's time a London journalist, W. T. Stead (1849-1912). Earwicker is the generality, the "everyman" that Joyce conceived of, and Stead provides the specifics.

Joyce utilizes from Stead's four articles titled "The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon" (1885) the inceptive "sin in the park" that released a powerful "flood" with its attributes of thunder, rainbow, raincoat, umbrella, pursuit of the female, maidens as flowers, Stead's law and the jury trial; secret wealth; the fish and practical aspects of smoking and drinking. Added are Stead's Yorkshire origins, affiliation with Cromwell, Puritan consciousness of time, intense religion, world peace efforts, visits to Russia, skill in sailing , and the management of Earwicker's "Inn." Other allusions are stereotypes of the time; maidens were regarded as fruit, especially the apple or apple blossom, about to be plucked. Following Viconian decline, in Chapter 16 the chief memory of Stead is the rumor he found most unjust, that he had obtained secret wealth from sales of the Tribute (589.4-14); his paper actually lost money through loss of advertising. Joyce felt the same viper's sting of public incomprehension when Browne and Nolan rejected his manuscript.

So many mysteries are imbedded in the brief first-page history that the Listener fairly explodes with questions: "What clashes here of will gen wonts"? [*3] There would have been, as W. T. Stead predicted of his "Maiden Tribute" fall-an expose of London child trafficking in 1885-a generative energy of strife reaching the monarchy. Unless the Maiden Tribute of London is shorn of its worst abuses, he admonished, resentment might spark a social revolution: "It is the one explosive which is strong enough to wreck the Throne" (5 July 1885 PMG: 2), resembling the "battle in heavens" of ancient mythologies. The contending east-west gods or oyster and fish gods (4.1) are reduced to "Brekkek" squawking.[*4] They may be expected to punish man with a flood, for the judge at Stead's trial lectured the journalist: "you deluged some months ago our streets and the whole country with an amount of filth [the journalistic expose] . . . a disgrace to journalism." The archetypal fall is a certainty of human nature that is central to the dogma of Finnegans Wake: "Phall if you but will rise you must" (4.15). W. T. Stead had said "I get the thing done that I want to get done, but I go under pro tem. Only pro tem., because I always keep bobbing up again!" (Whyte 1: 21).

"What then brought about this municipal sin business?" (5.13). Not only did Stead expose child vice and crime in London's fair city; he also blamed the city itself, measured against sinful Paris: "London say those who are engaged in the white slave trade, is the greatest market of human flesh in the whole world" (10 July 1885 PMG 1-6). The speaker insists upon a companion: "Our cubehouse [earth's four directions] still rocks as earwitness to the thunder [applause] of his [Earwicker's] arafatas [curtain call] but we hear also. . . that shabby chorus of unqualified muzzle-missiles that would blackguardise the whitest stone ever hurtled out of heaven." Earwicker is both praised and blamed. "Stay us therefore in our search for righteousness" (5.15-18).[*5] Overlook narrators can view the Park better "when the clouds roll by" (7.36) and complain of wet and low visibility (51.3) Soon they descend and look around with a question "So. This is Dyoublong?" The Teller replies "Hush! Caution! Echoland [HCE's land]!" (13.4-5).

The prompting Listener puts the Teller in an odd position in Chapter 6. The introduction imports the echo, a phenomenon of nature talking back to man, evidenced in Ireland among the famed "Seven Wonders" of the village of Fore in Co. Westmeath.[*6] Nature, therefore, both listens and replies as part of its mystic powers. Listener Shaun Mac Irewick is "set by" the echo of himself, Jockit Mic Ereweak. The first question of the riddle, not the first answer, is in itself an extensive telling; the answer, only two words: "Finn MacCool" (139.14). Backing up to the chapter's first line (126.1), the introductory "So?" is spoken conversely (but consistent with the answer that is a question) by the "teller," the question "Who do you know tonight?" by the Listener , and the answer "The echo is where" by the Teller. This sequence prepares the alternating route for the "Teller" to ask a question of thirteen pages![*7] As Chapter 6 demonstrates, how many variations of the basic dialogue Joyce could construct is a marvel in itself.

In Chapter 7, the Shem chapter, the Overlook narrators at first glance appear to be subtle and suppressed. Bracketed stage directions, however, interrupt the flow of the Teller narrative twice, to interpret stage directions for Shaun-Johns (172.5-10) in the midst of berating Shem, and to explain Shem-Jymes's unemployment and search for female companionsip (181.27-33). The dual narrators are present in "our' and 'ours," and the second narrator plainly asks, "What . . .? " (179.9-16). The following paragraph begins with "The answer . . ." (179.17). The second narrator finishes a Teller's paragraph exclaiming "Hake's haulin! . . . (180.30). Finding who controls the narration is simply a matter of watching for those identifying insertions. The second narrator comments in a paragraph (187.15-23) preceding JUSTIUS. For this, Shaun has a direct voice role (187.24), suitable to a stage play, still justifying himself and blaming his brother. The conclusion of direct voice is a brief intrusion of the telling Overlook voice explaining Shaun's pointing the deathbone (193.29). Shem as MERCIUS speaks directly but indirectly replies to the charges. He forgives Shaun by displacing blame in a cycle of existence that modulates into the voice of Anna Livia, promising renewal. The Overlook narrator concludes "He lifts the lifewand" (195.5).

Some Overlook narration is more conspicuous: the Listener beginning the classic Chapter 8 in typographic triangle (delta) shape implores, "O tell me all about Anna Livia" (196.1), and each sentence can be clearly marked as spoken by Teller or Listener/Questioner. The washerwomen chatter about the river ALP, interrupted only by the mystical speech of the river, set apart in italics, to insist on the correspondence of nature and human nature. The Chapter 6 echo prepares for the river speech, but nothing else in the novel mimics it. The Teller washerwoman commands the Listener "Tarn your ear/ore ouse! Essonne/listen inne/in!" ( 201.4), for the listener (Shaun) is partly deaf. Ultimately, as Joyce divulged in a letter to Harriet Shaw Weaver [*8], at the end the Teller-washerwoman in Chapter 8 is transformed into a tree; the Listener into a stone. "My foos won't moos," she says. The Teller replies "I feel as old as yonder elm" (215.34). The Listener never hears much and understands less, and must be told over and over again; she ends as she began, begging again like a drumbeat to be told again (215.3). Anna Livia in her own voice swears not by an eastern or western god but nature, "By earth and the cloudy" (201.5), and complains like a put-upon wife about her husband taking his winter doze, a commonplace of Frazer's Golden Bough in which Spring awakens and revitalizes the earth. Would a dashing hero on a white horse, a "knight of the shire," arrive and rescue her from her housekeeping burdens while she darns her husband's socks and searches for food? But for duty to her spouse, she would enjoy the freedom of youth and "the race of the saywint/seawind up me ambushure/embouchere [river mouth; mouthpiece of wind instrument]" (201.20). In short, Anna Livia participates in the yearly cycle of nature, abides with an indolent husband, yearns for an improved future, and regrets the loss of her carefree youth.

Associative thinking has advanced beyond stream of consciousness, yet remains one means by which the Overlook narrators work and the text advances. Readers can suppose that, as the pair of narrators cross a bridge (262.4) approaching Earwicker's Inn in Chapter 10, they "speak broken heaventalk" (261.28) while they carry with them knowledge of philosophers who must have crossed similar bridges for centuries, and then they arrive at the children's study above Earwicker's Inn. Of course, most of us don't know much about who crossed bridges back in Roman, or other, times. But all of those philosophers must be known in the afterlife.

Far more than recognizing Shaun-said and Shem-said, these dualities permeate Finnegans Wake. Book 3 (comprised of Chapters 13, 14, 15, and 16) opens to new dimensions of the Overlook narration, when the consciousness of the Teller is clearly marked "I"; and in Chapter 16, among a horde of events, they simply stage another version of the trial. Chapter 13 opens with an assertive Narrator human enough to recognize his limitations and once refers to himself companionably as an ass (405.6). Joyce had spoken of constructing "planes of narrative" (Ellmann 554), and Chapter 14 begins with an Overlook "I" speaking of Shaun-Jaun: "He was there, you could planemetrically see, when I took a closer look at him" (429.9). The two narrators of Chapter 15 have become participants in the theater of their engagement. "As were you suppose to go" (474.13) brings the Listener into the observation of sleeping Shaun-Yawn, who was "All of asprawl" lying amid the poppies "and I can tell you something more than that, drear writer, profoundly as you may bedeave [believe in/cleave] to it" (476.22). In Chapter 16 a strolling narrator comments "We shall too downlook on that ford" (570.32).

A gradual intensification of Teller and Listener in these earthly activities culminates in the magical Chapter 16, in which the Immortals, as many philosophers have claimed, walk on earth among us. At first they awaken as from an earth sleep with the Listener ever prompting: "Expatiate then how much times we live in. Yes?" (555.3). They require a moment to orient themselves to the scene they have descended into precisely at the time that an infant's cry awakens the sleeping parents: "Where are we at all? and whenabouts in the name of space?" (558.33). Most humanely, while the narrative advances on several levels, the Teller observes that the Listener needs to visit the outhouse (570.26), and they walk together to it. Consistently a creative act, elimination is merged with memories of the adolescent Issy (571.15) in the tones of her prior loveletter now addressed to "my precious" (571.21), despite the fact that in the chief plane of this chapter she is an infant, one of the sleeping children in the Porter house.

The overlooking personality of the "'Stead' Script," quoted above in the epigraph, had conveyed to his listener, the medium Catherine A. Dawson Scott, "The air is thick. There is a thickness between us this morning" (180). The view of earth is occasionally obscured. Fog threatens a distraction as Chapter 13 opens (403.6) and lingers into the commencing of Chapter 16 (555.1). Joyce's cosmography is completely conceived and precisely executed.


Apparently missing from the Wake's second paragraph is the urgent requirement of the tree and stone to begin and end all Wakean sequences. Subtly, however, those are "topsawyer's rocks" (3.7), and only harvested trees can be hewn by the pair, the top and bottom sawyers (see "bottom sawyer" 173.28). Here, translated into cosmic time, is the beginning of the brother duality known as Shem and Shaun. Topsawyer stands for Shem's intelligence, as Shaun calls him "neighbor topsawyer" (299.18). The twin or "twain" duality is essential to all of the Wake's conception.

Having already represented the existence of inhabitable planets other than earth, near the close of "The 'Stead' Script" the Speaker addresses a matter pertinent to Finnegans Wake: "however different from each other may be the beings who inhabit the many planets of the many solar systems, they are alike in this that they are dual, and you can still, therefore, term one male and the other female. These are the two principles of material life. In another universe these principles may be unified, but I only know of this" (191) [*9]. Oneness of the immanent deity, inherent in nature and human nature, exists in Eastern philosophies; Joyce makes dualities of the transcendent "above and beyond" deity thematic. Since my initial representation of the Shem-Shaun distinctions [*10], I can further represent them in parallel form as endemic in the Wake.

Shem in general stands for the artist, partially blind, the teller, the tree, obsessed with his task of producing misapprehended, elusive "truth"; the hawk or eagle, the head (high as a tree), though in public disputation he is the proverbial underdog, even a disgrace. His literary production is condemned as obscene (see 17.15), his work is called a forgery. Through poverty or preference, he is generally starving and abstemious. His cooking eggs, symbol of fertility, reinforces impressions of his extraordinary creativity. His shape, especially his head, is elongated; Shaun's is oval.

Shaun, the practical and personal opposite of Shem, in general stands for the public, which is reactive and staunchly, badly informed, indifferent about art, or uncomprehending. Shaun is partially deaf or sleeping (see "snore" 17.10), in motion never soaring like the eagle of Stephen Dedalus but hopping like the low-flying partridge (447.29); he is known not by the head but the feet (low as a stone). Praised and exonerated from birth as a saintly good boy, he accepts his doting caregiver's esteem as his faith-won virtue. His vocation as mail carrier gives him an ersatz position in the writing process, although he brags that his creative writing surpasses that of his brother. Prior to Book 3, Shem has faded out of existence, leaving Shaun to dominate the four chapters in which his noticeable occupations are eating, sleeping, and threatening his sister with his lechery. Naturally his bulk interferes with the physical exertion his vocation necessitates; he must rest. In Chapter 13 he saves his feet and conceals his bulk in a barrel rolling backward to a fresher, we assume, more neutral Liffey.

On which side of a social issue or event either Shem or Shaun stands depends on the issue. Shem sides with James Joyce and resembles him, in arcane intellectual pursuits, in the "adze of a skull" (169.11). Shaun-Jute complains as he looks at his companion that Shem-Mutt is "almost inedible" and has "One eyegonblack" (16.29). Like mischievous twins everywhere, they "swap hats" and temporarily reverse their roles, so that when they reappear Shaun-Muta asks and Shem-Juva replies (609.25). Since knowledge is illumination and enlightenment, Shem would be Ahura Mazda or Ormuzd, although Shaun claims the distinction for himself (163.2). Whereas HCE is Festy King, Shaun as Wet Pinter is serenaded as "Show'm the Posed" (92.13) and Shem is the annoying intellectual mud-encrusted Pegger Festy. Shem-Glugg is the "bold bad bleak boy of the storybooks" (219.36) who "knew to/too mutch" (220.1) and Shaun-Chuff "the fine frank fairhaired [favored] fellow of the fairytales who wrestles for tophole" with Glugg (220.13). Chuff in the children's games of Chapter 9 stands for the moral order: "Lord Chuffy's sky sheraph and Glugg's got to swing" (226.19). Shem is Cain and Shaun is "Abelbody in a butcherblue blouse from One Life One Suit [his faith]" (63.16), whereas Shem prefers baked goods and disgraces himself exploring alternative faiths. As victim robbed of his birthright, Shem is Esau and Shaun is Jacob, who greedily stole his brother's birthright and in modern Dublin consumes Jacob's biscuits. Consistent with his appetite, Shaun is Ham, and Shem is Shem. Among Noah's sons Japheth the third son does not figure in the twin controversies but cannot be ignored; in Irish mythology he generated the descent of the Gaels. As an artist who sings his way through the summer, Shem is the Gracehoper and Shaun his critic the Ondt; everybody knows that artists are generally starving while they live for their art.

Which would kill Caesar? Since Jesus advised that Caesar should guard the state treasury, Joyce poses two food products vital to the stock market. The "seeingscraft" of Shem-Cassius of famous "clarety" is independent of outer light, for his seeingscraft is intelligence. He could make out like an ostrich with head in sand, or in pitchblack darkness, "the green moat in Ireland's Eye" (162.30), for the green of Ireland abides. Shaun-Burrus, as Shaun assures himself, is the "genuine prime" (beef), a Tory having the round head that goes with "thofthinking defensive fideism" (162.23) to church and state, defender of the Sandhurst (162.8) military faith. The text proposes that people are born this way, since the earliest faces of the brothers carry the military/artistic distinction in parallel nursery rhyme: "Primas [St. Patrick] was a Santry/sentryman [gentleman] and drilled all [came of] decent people. Caddy/Taffy went to Winehouse [my house] and wrote o peace a farce [stole a piece of beef]" (14.13-15). Subjects of Queen Victoria like Shaun defended the Boer War because of patriotism, my country right or wrong; others, like Shem and W. T. Stead, considered it immoral, so that Shem refuses it and seeks sanctuary, kuskykorked up tight in his inkbattle house (176.31). Shaun-Burrus since a youngster is a "king off duty [in his own estimate] and a jaw for ever!" (162.35). It seems in Book 3 that he will never stop talking. While "eggs will fall cheapened all over the walled [Wall Street] Bure/beurre will be dear on the Brie [cheese]" (163.27). Eggs, products of the journalistic hen, are Shem's unappreciated writings.

Consistent with Shem's abstruse knowledge, Shem is Taff, the "smart boy" looking through the roof (338.5) and Shaun is Buckley who shoots the Russian General, like a "wide sleever" (352.15) priest in robes or a white slaver, a sex trafficker. Standing together, they are not conjoined like Siamese twins, but stand united by an event, the Tsar's freeing of the serfs that unshackled both "slave-wagers" and former feudal foes of the Tsar (354.7). Shaun overrates his own intelligence and consistently brags about it. Shaun's shooting of the Russian General is prompted unthinking by the sight of the General's abuse of Ireland's sacred turf; Shaun's jingoism is undeniable.

The debate originates in a perceived preference of the caretaker for the infant Shaun that the public adopts for its own. Firstly, the old woman at Finnegan's wake dotes on the infant Kevin derivative of St. Kevin and disapproves of Shem, the Jerry of whom "the devil does be in that knirps of jerry sometimes" (27.5-9). Lastly, the parents in the Porter household of another generation visit the "bright bull babe Frank Kevin" who looks like the blessed angel and, when he wets the bed, "will smell sweetly" (562.22-28). Shem-Jerry's wetting the bed spills "from his foundingpen as illspent from inkinghorn," Jerry Jehu (563.6). Subsequent public misapprehension makes Shaun Mick stand for St. Michael and Shem Nick for "old Nick." When the twins appear in the Children's Lesson of Chapter 10, Shem is Dolph, whose excessive intelligence reduces the fertility of his mother and the universe to a diagram (293.11), while Shaun persists as listening Kev. Shem-Jerry, always discontent with the current state, which in his mind constantly demands improvement, expresses the biblical jeremiad.

Joyce's special treatment of these separate characteristics charts his social message. The broadest distinction awards good to Shem and evil to Shaun, conveyed in social prejudice as well as knowledge and ignorance. In Chapter 7, responding to savage criticism, Joyce applied to Shem the faults the critics found with him while maintaining the basic brother-distinctions. Shem has "not a foot to stand on" (169.16), asks the riddle of the universe (170.4) and opposes the English, as he would prefer to "wipe alley english spooker . . . off the face of the erse" (178.6). An alchemist, he poaches his eggs in an athanor (184.18). Fastidious about food somewhat in the sense of Kafka's "Hunger Artist" who couldn't find the food he liked, his diet is that of leftovers, a "hambone dogpoet" (177.21). Nothing will prevent his unburdening himself of his urgent message, even to the extent of making ink of his own excrement, a matter that the old woman at Finnegan's wake foreshadowed about Jerry "making encostive inkum out of the last of his lavings" and writing on his shirt (27.10). It emerges full-blossom in Latin in the children's Chapter 10 (185.14-26), or as Stead said of his researches in London brothels "For days and nights it is as if I had suffered the penalties inflicted upon the lost souls in the Moslem hell, for I seemed to have to drink of the purulent matter that flows from the bodies of the damned" (6 July 1885 PMG: 3).

Meanwhile Shaun-Johns with his healthy appetite is "a different butcher's" and divorced from baking (172.5-7), while Shem "took the cake" (170.22) answering one of his riddles. Shaun delivers a severe, lengthy tongue-lashing against his brother and points a deathbone (193.29). Justice demands punishment for evil to assuage the victim; mercy promises forgiveness. Who could doubt that Shaun would be hard-line JUSTIUS and Shem forgiving MERCIUS, as Joyce applies the basics?[*11] MERCIUS speaks briefly to the union of their twin origins and looks to the future when the turning cycles of rebirth promise that "all that has been done has yet to be done and done again" and the characters in rebirth will be reversed, much like Yeats's phases of the moon [*12], when at the end of day's [life's] woe "you're doomed, joyday dawns and, la, you dominate" (194.10-12). The narrative voice modulates to that of the river, "gossipaceous Anna Livia." Shem "lifts the lifewand and the dumb speak" (195.5).

Inflated to mythic time, human activity engenders its own decline from the optimism of its birth. For this, Joyce welcomed the philosophy of Giambattista Vico's Scienza Nuovo (1725) as a human supplement to the old deiform mythologies, wherein the ages recurred in four phases. As the plot progresses, the characterization comports with Viconian decline through three ages, a decline eventually that through weight of its own immensity must collapse into reversal and renewal in a fourth brief phase called a "Ricorso" (Chapter 17). At a time of soul-defining social change, particularly in Ireland of the fifth-sixth centuries, preservation and virtue subsisted in the hands of the faithful, balanced in pagan or Christian creeds, dramatized in a final confrontation between Shaun/St. Patrick and Shem/Archdruid. The issue is resolved in that both see "green." Joyce overcame many crossovers, like Shem's preference for baking and Shaun's consumption of Jacob's biscuits, to construct the clear lines of his dualities. The extent of both in practical affairs is often contradictory. Trees objectified both reverence and death (in winter), and gravestones were enlivened with the spirits of the dead. "Skatterlings of a stone" marching "up hill and down coombe" (73. 30-34) reminded the narrator of Cromwell's soldiers; the powers of Shem the writer could bring "alliving stone allaughing down to grave clothnails" (283.18). St. Patrick and the Catholics could not be credited with the magnificent St. Patrick's Cathedral, to build which the Anglo-Norman conquerors demolished the Gaelic See of Glendalough and plundered the stones.[*13]

Dual nature and unity of theme begin with Stead's interpretation of the Scandinavian World Tree Yggdrasil: "Its boughs are the Histories of Nations. In every leaf there is a biography; in every fibre an act or word" (28 Dec 1974 Northern Echo). In his journalistic maturity he clarified the notion of a newspaper as a World Tree: "The rustle of its myriad sheets, unfolded afresh every morning and folded for ever at night, supplies a realistic fulfillment of one part of the old Norse saga of the Ashtree Ygdrasil [sic], whose roots were watered by the Norns, and on whose leaves were written the scenes of the life of man. . . . A man without a newspaper is half-clad, and imperfectly furnished for the battle of Life (Journalist on Journalism 56). Joyce phrased it "we are fed of its forest, clad in its wood, burqued by its bark and our lecture is its leave" (503.36-504.1). Applied, it states the purpose of newspapers: "Is it in the now woodwordings . . . where the branchings then will singsingsing tomorrows gone and yesters outcome?" (280.4-7).

The elaborate Tree of Life (503.30-505.13), as viewed in the Scandinavian Eddas, vaunted an eagle watching from the top and the Nithhogg serpent gnawing the roots below, anticipating its end. Together, the "Treestone" (113.19) comprises the animate (tree) and inanimate (stone) halves of nature. "Pebble crusted laughta" heard from the stream among the trees planted for the growth of the nation voices a preference for ignorance: "and still one feels the amossive silence of the cladstone/Gladstone" indifference (31.30-32).[*14] The World Tree spawned the folktale of Jack and the Beanstalk, known in "beanstale" (126.11), "our sovereign beingstalk" (504.19), and "beamstark" (615.25).

Not only trees but also "wood" clearly transitions to journalism, which attempts to combat ignorance, and "word," the book itself "a puling sample jungle of woods" (112.4). Carrying the Maiden Tribute rain, the wood tells how to interpret a passage: " On Umbrella Street [the rain of the MT] where he did drinks from a pumps, a kind of workman, Mr. Whitlock, gave him a piece of wood" (98.25). Shipbuilders leaving work marked a piece of wood to track their hours, but the presence of "Umbrella" points to the Maiden Tribute: Mr. Whitlock gave him a newspaper. More entertaining, perhaps, the commands of the Allhighest rendered by the "torchpriest" regulate female behavior: "Lave that bloody stone [Catholic doctrine] as it is! What are you doing your dirty minx and his big treeblock way up your path? Slip around, you, by the rare/rear of the ministers' [get married]!" (80.29-31). Stead's Maiden Tribute with its sale of Eliza, age 13, for £5 was faulted by Sir Richard F. Burton, whose Arabian Nights was famous for lubricity, for conveying dangerous and forbidden knowledge: "The little gutter-girls and street-lasses of East London looked at men passing-by as if assured that their pucelages were or would become vendible at £3 to £5." [*15] As part of the burgeoning "sin," the public imagined more than one "victim," although Stead had seen Eliza only once at tea; consequently Issy considers the prospect of her father "foundling/fondling a nelliza [an Eliza] the second . . . for merry a valsehood whisprit he to many a lilying earling" (291.14-21).

The basic format of ears and eyes and tree and stone continues in the Shaun-Mookse and the Shem-Gripes episode: "The Mookse had a sound eyes right but he could not all hear. The Gripes had light ears left yet he could but ill see" (158.12-13). The Gripes perches on a limb of the elm (153.10) and the Mookse sits on a stone (153.23). When they bring their ecclesiastical argument to a close, a "woman of no appearance" carries the Mookse to her invisible dwelling, for "he was the holy sacred solem and poshup spit of her bishop's/boshop's apron [covered genitals]" (158.31) and a "woman to all important . . . plucked down the Gripes . . . from his limb" and carries him to her unseen shieling" (158.32-36), both dwellings in the afterlife. Then there was left "an only elmtree and but a stone" (159.4).

To recognize those twins without initial capitals, "tim" is the pervasive Irish anybody and 'tom' derives from the British soldier Tommy Atkins or, among London journalists, the average "British tomfool" (hence "tomfoolery") was the concern of practical management in its strife with idealistic editors (R. Scott 67).


The "not yets" of the first page veil a pseudohistory, for Joyce represents history to serve his novelistic purposes, despite his providing a "key" for Harriet Shaw Weaver.[*16] Mark Twain, suggested by "top sawyer," is not famous for instilling Tom Sawyer's influence in the state of Georgia (although he could have); nor do the fallen Finnegan's toes rumple the earth in Phoenix Park. Folklore, however, is legitimate culture with a caveat or two. "Christian minstrelsy" is problematic, possibly oxymoronic, since "minstrelsy" dwindled along with the druids when the monk-scribes replaced the traveling bards. The mythical Fall is "retaled" throughout anyone's lifespan, "early in bed and later on life" (3.17). The "humptyhillhead" of Finnegan dates back to a "brontoichtyian form" (7.20) of the age of dinosaurs. Accepting that Finnegan lived in prebiblical times (4.20), the tale that the washerwoman recites of Anna Livia corresponds: "It was ages behind that when nullahs [watercourses] were nowhere" (202.36).

Time in the world's dominant mythologies passes through four "ages," from ideal origins to the disarrayed present. Ovid marked those ages Gold, Silver, Bronze and our own Iron age. Hindu mythology conveys a mixture of human chronicles with unimaginable spans of mythic or divine years that far outpace human chronicles as they decline through Four Ages of holy dharma--through Krta, Treta, Dvapara, and Kali (the present age), during which a flood is part of the final dissolution--and equals 4,320,000 human years. One day and night in the life of Brahma comprises a thousand units of four Ages. Vico represents divine, heroic, and human ages that Joyce adapted and reformulated by adding a ricorso, a cycle of recurrence (Chapter 17).

In Finnegans Wake, the Listener of the second page descends rapidly from the time of gods clashing in heaven (Golden Age of Ovid) to the human clashings of the Iron Age that enraged Jove, when the intolerable "cannibalistics" of Lycaon prompted Jove to send the flood. A new moral order forbade innocent cuddling, and cohabiting became "fornication" (4.8-12). Subsequently, interrupting a certain sequence of fateful decline was a sign that "fanespanned" the heavens. A rainbow? Was it Iseult? The Listener remembers that humans attempted to brook the flood by diverting it into sewers.[*17] Logic dictates that only geologic eras could achieve the span of years necessary for a species to die out, to be replaced by another species: "The oaks of ald now they lie in peat yet elms leap where askes/ashes lay" (4.4.15). Joyce makes the tree by the River Liffey an elm; the former Scandinavians who inhabited Ireland honored the ash for their tree Yggdrasil. Both carry the theme of the rise and fall.

Ending Joyce's present age is not the cannibalism that angered Jove but the religious sin of incest. Everybody at the end of the novel is accounted for and explained in a sort of Juke and Kallikek (Amerian degenerates) ecclesiastical-court version of the trial in which the dramatis personae are conniving and incestuous. Honuphrius is said "to be practicing for unnatural coits/coitis with [Shaun] Eugenius and [Shem] Jeremias (572.24). Insisting upon duality for origin of the Universe, Joyce chooses transcendence over immanence and limits his One to its numerical significance of initiating recurrence: "There extand by now one thousand and one stories, all told, of the same" (5.28).


The old woman at Finnegan's wake admonishes the corpse "don't be walking abroad" (24.17). Certainly two Overlook narrators descending and walking abroad generates a philosophical and thematic quandary: who are those narrators? Who were, or who are the gods? The Teller-washerwoman believes HCE and ALP originated human parentage and "Gammer and gaffer we're all their gangsters" (215.15), following pre-human global landscaping. Three questions remain: (1) how Joyce presents the new world of his creation with those Overlook narrators, (2) who those narrators are and (3) whether the "Oneness" of nature in some cultures is favored or, losing its mysticism, must compete with the dualities.

A gap in the development of Irish culture has been authenticated by the Welsh scholars Alwyn Rees and Brinley Rees in Celtic Mythology: "Celtic tradition has preserved no native story of the creation of the world and of man. Even in the oldest documents that have survived, the Biblical Adam and Eve have already been accepted as the first parents of mankind [and the myth] proceeds from the Creation to the story of Noah and the Flood, the Dispersal of the Nations, and the descent of the Gael of Ireland from Japheth son of Noah" (95). The "learned work," the Lebor Gabála Érenn, compiled in the middle ages, provides "a 'history of the Irish and of the peoples who occupied Ireland before them, with its accompanying List of Kings" (27) and describes basics like the familiar "Five pre-Gaelic Invasions of Ireland and the five provinces" (121).

On a controlling theme of eternal return, Joyce offers his new creation mythology (how the world and its beings came into existence) that he titled Finnegans Wake while bridging a gap in Irish culture, which has no Mãhãbhãrata (India) or Kalevala (Finland) but Codexes or manuscripts like the magnificent Book of Kells--a religious document--and the Tain bò Cooley--a hero myth. The Scandinavian Eddas are geographically and thematically close to Ireland; and Joyce, who excerpted Hebraic Genesis and Exodus, utilized, as Atherton perceived, the Egyptian Book of the Dead [*18] with its Osiris-resurrection as culturally similar to the Judeo-Christian. Lack of Irish precedent clears the slate for Joyce to write his own mythology. For a statement of his intention, see "here where race began" (80.16) and any passages concerned with the past restarting, e.g. bringing "fassilwise to pass how" (13.32). For a further example of the "not yets," see the first half of the "football match" song" (175.7-28). Since life begins in water, the earth seen from above is a "whallfisk," the hero is a salmon, and he is called Human Conger Eel (525.26). Mythic time blurs the edges of specific cultural events and reveals them forgotten or half-forgotten, sequentially misarranged, variously modified, accepted or rejected as philosophy or religion.

Human interchange with the environment, common in Celtic mythology with its many tales of the "Other World," is integral to the Wake's characterization in that the mountain reposes as the hero Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker; the river his spouse Anna Livia Plurabelle; the tree and stone his sons Shem and Shaun, and the cloud or rainbow Issy his daughter, all capable of delivering a message from the secret morning, a spiritual cognition. For one of those exchanges, as a sleeping mountain Earwicker gradually awakens hearing Anna Livia speaking to him: "With lipth she lithpeth to him . . . if he could bad/but twig [understand] her! Impalpabunt, he abhears. The soundwaves are his buffeteers" (23.23-26). The land's fertility reaches its river strength with his placing his hands in or drinking of the revivifying stream, as testified by the washerwoman-witness-folklorist: Anna Livia was seduced by his "reverend" named Michael Arklow when "he plunged both of his newly anointed hands . . . in her singimari saffron strumans of hair, parting them and soothing her and mingling it, that was deepdark and ample like this red bog at sundown" (203.21-26). Moreover, rejecting confinement to one word or idea, HCE bears multiple identities. The wizard Amairgen of Celtic mythology, "describes himself as wind, wave, roar, bull, vulture, dew-drop, flower, boar, salmon, lake, mountain, word of skill, point of weapon, god" (Rees 349). Absence of specific dates in mythological time offers Joyce the opportunity to create his own, "timing the cycles of events" (13.31) to express his purposes.

Two such cycles have already occurred, their phases unlayered like exposing the pages of a book. In the first, at 1132 A.D. men viewed from above looked like ants wandering upon a stranded Whalefish (13.34) lying in a runnel, merging land and water forming the globe itself. Turning back a page, in 566 A.D. on the night of Baalfire (May 1) after the deluge a crone gathering turf came upon sandals, symbol of the common class but elegant (14.4). The sixth century recorded the historic changeover from Druidism to Catholicism. After a period of "Silent" (14.6) , another cycle recorded similar dates.[*19] In the second 566 A.D. a maiden was raped "by the ogre Puropeus Pious" (14.9), a hint of St. Patrick and the pia and pura bella religious wars that Vico discussed and, in 1132, events occur near the present time. The "Silent" between cycles signals a new Irish Ginnungagap. In the second phase, two sons were born, carrying the initial distinctions that organize the novel. Caddy writes and Primas drills "all decent people" (14.13), for this was the century of the Norman invasion in 1170.

Into the middle of the Ginnungagap or primal void of the Scandinavian Eddas, the Gods dragged Ymir, the first man, and made from him the world. But what happened between the two Irish cycles is a matter of speculation, "between antediluvious and annadominant," when the copyist [as of Book of Kells] must have fled with his scroll or met with an accident, or a scribicide, or someone broke the rules by meddling "with the drawers of his neighbour's safe [his wife]" (14.27). Signatures of early inhabitants can be read, of the vanished Fomorians, the Tuatha Dé Danaan, and the Firbolgs, succeeded by the Danes and the Norse, arriving at the present time when "jerrybuilding" was left to the "Kevanses," and relics like "paxsealing buttonholes have quadrilled [four-cycled] across the centuries" (15.9). Always the sexual temptations continue: "Pluck me whilst I blush!" (15.22) and the dancing at the wakes. A pair of Neanderthal types, Mutt and Jute, have survived among the immortals and now, descended to earth, greet each other, talking of the present scene.

From this "claybook" [written of earth] it is assumed that the previous cultures "lived and laughed ant loved end left" as all cultures have done, the "meandertale" coming from the time when the old Head-in-Clouds [HCE] "walked the earth" (18.23). Among the "middenhide hoard of objects" (19.8) remaining, the business of the Wake, through its Overlook narrators, is to tell the tale of those signs.

Who those Overlook narrators are stands its severest test and nearest solution in Chapter 10, the children's study session. Unnamed and unheralded, at the beginning of the chapter they cross a bridge approaching Earwicker's Inn, where--mindful that the Emerald Tablet instructed everyone "The tasks above [the children's studies] are as the flasks [Earwicker's pub] below" (263.21)--they pass a steppingstone for mounting a horse that reminds them of the "skimmelk steed" above, the Milky Way (the road by which the gods traveled), with its groundloftfan [floor] below (262.22) and seek "the clarience of the childlight in the studiorum upstairs" to dwell on "homiest powers" (266.13). The point of view in this chapter is somewhat similar to a variation on and extension of the "double mediumship" that Yeats recorded from Henri Bergson, "a spirit medium and a human medium" together (Saddlemyer 51). The two Overlook spirit mediums step into the human scene and tell the story throughout, narrating the children's activities in third person.

For this task, Joyce precisely explained the children's writing of the marginal notes and the footnotes, thereby distinguishing their script from Overlook authorship. The Immortals' messages mixed with human discourse is historically known to "spiritualists" like Yeats, Stead, and Frederic Myers, who through the ages have taken dictation through table tapping, Ouija boards, Tarot cards, automatic writing, "direct voice," ghostly apparitions, whatever means possible, and often making entire books available, as did Hester Travers Smith who received the Oscar Wilde messages. Immortal messages filtered through living minds often were "stained," try as the sensitives or mediums would to keep their human minds clear. Hence the distinctive speech that characterizes each of the three children infiltrates the narration. Issy inserts ironic comments on her pregnancy, being "wallfloored/wallflowered . . . for the better half of a year or so" (269.9), her figure making public confession by its globular shape (271.14), herself tearing up her lettereens/lettrines (276.6) and contemplating suicide (279.9 Footnote 1).[*20] The children intend to "follow up with endspeaking nots/notes for gestures" (267.9) which indeed appear as sketches at the end of the chapter.

Issy's letter explains why she cannot marry the father of her child. The "person suppressed for the moment" is F.M. or Father Michael (280.12) with whom she exposes her following in her mother's footsteps. Those Overlook beings now on the scene announce their presence in the midst of the children's ruminations with: "And!" and "Nay, rather" (281.28-19). They need not hear (or see) more. "A.M.D.G." (282.6), which headed Joyce's schoolroom papers at Belvedere, appears to transfer the telling to Shem, but not so fast. Those Overlook people must offer additional observations, among which Shem-Dolph's "born to write" (282.11) fingers convey their faith in the "happy cyclic order" (285.1) of birth and rebirth, not to be violated by contemporary magic like "a mierelin/Merlin roundtableturning, like nuts in May, the zitas runnind hare and dart with the eggs in their middle, or like seven wingless arrows (285.3),[*21] for anything unexpected may be emitted from the unrelenting hand of Shem. Irish mythology consigned these violations of the natural order to the category of impossible things, whereby "Coincidences of opposites and of other irreconcilables give a shock to the understanding and transport the spirit to the gateway of the Other World" (Rees 344). Those two narrators had already conceded "Length Withought Breath" (261.13) to Earwicker, and, the Rees brothers explain, such "symbolize the supernatural in the realm of space," where nuts in May number among the "betwixts and betweens," produced when the season is neither winter nor summer (Rees 345).

Shem resumes (286.4) with his strongly masculine voice filtered by the Overlook explanations, e.g. "expecting the answer" (286.27) or "the virtuoser prays" (287.1). A diversion signaled by "husk, hish, a spirit spires" (287.18) brings for the Overlook narrators a message from another spirit in Latin italics about "the priests Giordano [Bruno] and Giambattista [Vico]" the notion that we reside in pre-birth on the bank of this side of life because of divine intention and "finally that everything recognizes itself through something opposite" (287.27). Dolph is no angel, having coached rebels at Backlane University, altered letters for them, and argued "doublecrossing two-fold truths" (288.3). Sketching with compass and straightedge two circles and triangles to illustrate the secret anatomy of the mother (293.11), Dolph angers Kev, who strikes him hard enough (301.23) that Dolph sees "rayingbogeys rings round me" (304.9). More than Kev's received insult, the question is how many two-fold truths Dolph can violate between this sketch and the end of the chapter. This is where Joyce makes humorous the mystic Oneness on the other side of the great cultural divide between the immanent and transcendent deities. Dolph's sketch itself resembles paired interlocking gyres. Both approaches, as Saddlemyer explains, reflect Yeats's "need to comprehend the macrocosm in relation to the microcosm, this world and the other" (106).

By drawing two circles Dolph mocks (or corrects) W. B. Yeats' attempt to contain all knowledge in gyres and phases of the moon sketched in one Great Circle. Issy's "beast of boredom," not slouching to Bethlehem, lurks "gyrographically" where the Platonic Great Year should imply the mating of two gyres, "Plutonic loveliaks twinnt Platonic yearlings" (292.30). Issy recalls Byzantium (294.27), and her "old game of haunt the sleeper" reminds her of "dreaming back" (295.11). The twins are Shaun-Kev and "that Other" (Shem) who, by the help of his Creative Mind, sought to deliberate the mass/mess from the "corructive mund" of "our Same" (Shaun), assisted with bounteous food (300.20). In kabalistic lore, Ainsoph or sefiroth is the infinite or "without bounds," as Michael Schneider explains, "an uncreated eternal zero having had no beginning or eventual end," seeming not to exist at all, "like the zero before the one" (13). This sacred means by which God reveals himself, now in the logic of the Overlook narrators appears not as nothing and one but as a male and female pair: "this upright one, with that naughty besighed him zeroine" (261.26), in other words the universal parents HCE and ALP. Dolph enlightens Kev: "I bring down noth [nothing: Lady Zero-ALP] and carry [unite with] one/awe [Male Ainsoph]" (294.5). Not to lose the sacred presence of the male deity, Joyce makes Father Michael the "riverend" (203.18) seminator for both Anna Livia and Issy.

Eastern mythology expresses humanity through the three gunas or cosmological constituents. A left-margin note lists these: sattva, rajas, tamas (294.L2), the first governing light, wisdom and serenity; the second governing dynamics, passion, and strife; and the third, inertness, indolence, and ignorance. When the created world is annihilated, rajas reside in sattva and tamas. Oneness with everything not the Self, generally expressed in tat tvam asi ("Thou art Thou" or "You are That"), which assures that the individual is identical with the universal, is expressed variously as "itiswhatis" (223.27), "As this is" (278.L8), "that which Itself is Itself Alone" (394.33), and "thoo art it thoo" (601.11). Joyce favors the duality of transcendence in place of the Oneness of immanence, for nature depends upon the generative forces that prevent the existence of a "power of empthood/emptiness" (298.12) or nothingness. That anything in this power must be greater than or less than one (298.13) is the Cusan-Brunonian concept of the deity as One and that anything in nature cannot be greater than or less than the One. Those Overlook narrators or the "evertwo circumflicksrent circlers/searchers never film in the ellipsis of their gyribouts those figures which are returnally reproductive of themselves" (298.18). Such is impossible, says Dolph. Creation, it follows, requires two: male and female (line and circle). The river ALP requires mating with "the constant of fluxion, Mahamewetma" (297.30), the Great Wetness or Earwicker, the bull of the sea, the "tidled boare" from the Atlantic. Thus despite the "happy cyclic order" known in nature in the recurring seasons of the year, and the circles of infinity (284.11), a line that encloses space, Joyce's quarrel with Wyndham Lewis must end on the declaration of duality: "common sense . . . is gogoing of whisth to you sternly how . . . you must, how, in undivided reawlity draw the line somewhawre" (292.30).[*22]

Who those Overlook narrators are derives from the text itself. That they are former earthbound people promoted after death to a vaster realm is historically preceded by the Euhemerist theory that kings and chieftains in a later period were deified. That the vaster realm is available to all persons is implied by many references to ghosts, some of them humorous: "I don't know is it your spectre or my emanation" (299.5). A convincing "thump in thudderdown/ eiderdown" would change skeptics of ghosts into believers with the extended blessing: "Rest in peace! But to return" (295.14). The ghost in the candle was playing "his old game of haunt the sleeper. Faithful departed" (295.10). Human energy beyond normal perceptions--chakras (303.L1) and auras (306.1)--complete the picture. Allusions to automatic writing (302.19, 303.19) promise that the person receiving messages from the afterlife by automatic writing can, after death, become a sender, as did Stead and Myers (Review 38: 284-89) and others. Stead's Julia of Letters from Julia died at Boston, Mass and lends the spiritual element to the midden letter (301.5). The chapter closes with the gesture of thumb to nose--for in Yeats's A Vision, spirits signaled their presence with smells--and with a sketch of crossed bones and cutlery (death and food for life) and a Nightletter.

The Nightletter from the "night" of death extends greetings from the children to their deceased parents, implying that the parents are the enlightened Overlook narrators, the "old folkers below [from the sky perspective] and beyant [beyond human discourse]" (305.18) wishing them merry Incarnations on this earth. Aside from kabalistic content,[*23] at the late-Victorian level, the sketched hand with open palm signals Cheiro, the famed palmist who warned Stead not to sail in the month of April (on the Titanic). The first footnote reads "Kish is for anticheirst (antiCheiro)," for Stead declared while departing England that he felt like the biblical Kish who left home in search of his father Saul's asses and founded a kingdom. Those irrepressible children win the last word. Their "gags for skool" alludes to Shem's intelligence and "crossbuns" to Shaun's appetite, and they direct their "drawings on the line," not the circle, to settle the argument.

In Joyce's new Irish mythology time is continuous-simultaneous (linear-circular). Somewhat like the Vedas--thought to antecede the universe--the world of Finnegans Wake comes into being as the novel discloses it. What Joyce combats is the notion of a bachelor male creator, either the Judeo-Christian God of Genesis or the Brahma of the Vedas. Joyce insists upon the presence of a female generative force from the beginning of life, not diminished to origination from Adam's rib, of a duality that must exist from time primordial. An effective duality near the close of the novel advises "there are two signs to turn to, the yest and the ist, the wright side and the wronged side, feeling aslip and wauking up, so an, so farth" (597.12).

Joyce's new Irish mythology is centered in the Heliopolis of Dublin, with Irish hero HCE and heroine ALP the progenitors of the Irish race. Their omnipresence is evidenced on the landscape, from which they impress the alert human consciousness. Omniscient, they absorb all our achievements and our failures and our inquiries into the infinitude. They abide in all time, our time. Replacing the ancient eschatalogies is an undeniable "constant of fluxion," for all of nature like the sea is constantly changing. The "Stead Script" acknowledged a "life force" that preceded sex and concluded "It is possible He [God] is also evolving, that the universe is evolving" (179).

1. Joyce said Swift "made a mess of two women's lives" (Ellmann 545).
2. Joyce's father, walking through the Park one night, was accosted by a tramp at the location where a murder occurred in Le Fanu's novel The House by the Churchyard (1836). Kevin Sullivan noticed that Gypsy Devereux says to Lily Walsingham that the river "has a soul, Miss Lily, and a character . . . . I've seen that river spirit; and she's like-very like you!" (315-34). See also "What Gipsy Devereux vowed to Lylian" (563.20).
3. Joyce's "key" to the first page may be found in his letter to Harriet Shaw Weaver, 15 Nov. 1926. Letters of James Joyce, 246-47.
4. Brékek: the New Zealand football team in 1907 brought their war cry adapted from Maoris to football matches in England; the cry was imitated at Yale beginning "Brekekakéx, hõáx, kõáx" and ending "Yale, Yale, Yale/Rah . . . ." See also Aristophanes, The Frogs.
5. Breaking a Puritan embargo on the theater, Stead decided he would defend it if it proved itself "righteous," or contributing "to the innocent recreation and general mirth of mankind" (R 30: 32).
6. Courtesy of Frances Kiely.
7. See Eckley,
8. Dated 7 March 1924. Selected Letters 301.
9. Without additional proof, I do not maintain that Joyce possessed the Stead Script; however, it would have strengthened his resolve.
10. "Shem Is a Sham But Shaun Is a Ham," Modern Fiction Studies 20 No. 4 (Winter 1974) 468-81.
11. Joyce's note to Miss Weaver dated 16 Jan 1924 refers to "Shem-Ham-Cain-Egan etc," which does not necessarily mean that Shem is the biblical Ham. For Joyce's reply to his critics in Chapter 7, see Ingeborg Landuyt, 142-62.
12. Yeats: "Man seeks his opposite or the opposite of his condition, attains his object so far as it is attainable, at Phase 15 and returns to Phase 1 again" (A Vision B: 81).
13. The novelist Grant Allen's book The Evolution of the Idea of God in 1897 addressed broad issues of spirit survival and gravestones (Review 16: 519-25). Seumas MacManus discusses, in the century following the Norman conquest, the process of "incastellation," or building castles from destroyed Irish structures (331-39).
14. Although Gladstone boldly spoke for Irish independence in 1886, his massive silence on the Maiden Tribute moved Stead to complain: "For men Mr. Gladstone has done much. For women, he has done nothing" (R 5: 465), in spite of his nighttime ramblings with prostitutes.
15. Burton, Supplemental Nights 6: 320.
16. Dated 15 Nov 1926. See Letters of James Joyce 247-48.
17. "Before Iseut": Tristan and Isolde broke the moral code that the church upholds. "Before sewers": after the cholera epidemic in 1849, London government schemed to abolish 300,000 cesspits by construction of "Main Drainage" emptying into the Thames, that created a powerful stench and killed fish. (Courtesy of John Squires.) For Main Drain of the Liffey, see the washerwomen (214.3). Complaining of filth, Reverend Spurgeon wrote about Stead's MT that "even sewers must be cleansed," although "many [people] are unaware of the dunghills which reek under their nostrils" (8 July 1885 PMG:1).
18. The Book of the Dead is now more accurately denominated "Chapters of Coming Forth by Day."
19. Scholars have noted that 566 denotes a doubling of the date of Finn MacCool's death in 283 A.D. and that four times the date equals 1132.
20. For Lucia Joyce's pregnancy, see Shloss, 192-93, 256-58, 435. Although November 1932 was a dark time, apparently Joyce decided on 1132 for an auspicious date prior to the pregnancy. Lucia was "sent away" for seven days in January 1934. The biography does not confirm that Lucia tore up her lettrines (illuminated letters). Lucia's biography provides details but, independent of his daughter, Joyce needed Issy pregnant for the ongoing cycle.
21. Arthur's Round Table is combined with the tableturning or rapping of the spiritualists. Architectural frieze design is egg and dart. The song about gathering nuts in May possibly was corrupted from "knots [bunches of flowers] in May," an Irish custom, or pignut tubers gathered in May.
22. Wyndham Lewis accused Joyce of plunging his readers into the dead past, into a torrent of matter that he called the "flux of Ulysses" (101). Joyce's reply is that the "constant of fluxion" is a matter of universal, ongoing creation.
23. In Campbell and Robinson, see Dolph's diagram of ALP footnote 186, the kabala footnote 193, and children's sketches in footnotes 194-95.

Works Cited:

Atherton, James S., A Conceptual Guide to "Finnegans Wake," ed. Michael H. Begnal and Fritz Senn. University Park, Pennsylvania State UP, 1974.

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