Saturday, July 19, 2014

[the wakean blues]

"I detest Punningans Wake in which a cancerous growth of fancy word-tissue hardly redeems the dreadful joviality of the folklore and the easy, too easy, allegory... I am indifferent to Finnegans Wake as I am to all regional literature written in dialect..." VN

Here in 1934 he seems to be piling on old notes with almost no connective tissue (trying to get a dry engine restarted?)

I find I've started thinking of Joyce's technique in FW as 'adding barnacles' to hide the meaning, and too often in the later years it seems like 'barnacles for the sake of barnacles'.

eg: 283.29-.32 "Give you the fantods, seemed to him. They ought to told you every last word first stead of trying every which way to kinder smear it out poison long."
These barnacles have all been traced to Huckleberry Finn:
'they always give me the fan-tods'
'seemed to me'
'I ought to told her father'
'every last word'
'every which way'
'to kinder'
'pison long'

(I may start calling those passages that seem like barnacles-for-the-sake-of-barnacles 'syphilitic', not because I believe that faddish trashtalk, but as a way of confronting the unspoken fears.)

(unrelated but also-depressing: all newbies to fw will find themselves tempted to imitate its style, but be warned: any such experiments that you publish you will eventually regret. it looks easy but it's not.)

No comments:

Post a Comment