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TextWordPassage & CitationAnalysis Contributor(s)
Finnegans Wake mishe “nor avoice from afire bellowsed mishe mishe to taufauf thuartpeatrick” (FW 003.09-10) Irish: mise, “me” or “I am”. Here, an affirmative, ecstatic answer to “the windy words of the apostle”, as Joyce described them in a letter to Harriet Weaver (Selected Letters of James Joyce ed. Richard Ellmann, 317). Ciaran McMorran & Terence Killeen
Finnegans Wake mumper "they went doublin their mumper all the time" (FW 003.08-09) A begging impostor, (see McHugh), but also in this context “number”. Ciaran McMorran & Terence Killeen
Finnegans Wake nathandjoe “sosie sesthers wroth with twone nathandjoe” (FW 003.12) Nathan and Joe; Jonathan (in the context of the earlier allusion to Vanessa (see vanessy), this word alludes more specifically to Jonathan Swift. Ciaran McMorran & Terence Killeen
Finnegans Wake passencore “Sir Tristram […] had passencore rearrived from North Armorica” (FW 003.04-05) “Sir Tristram […] had passencore rearrived from North Armorica” echoes the French phrase “pas encore”: “not yet”. The introduction of an additional “s” further accommodates the French phrase, “passe encore”, meaning “still happening”. In French, something which “se passe” is bearable but by no means enjoyable. Such seems to be the case for Sir Tristram’s journey from “North Armorica” to “Europe Minor’’, and indeed the entire history of the Wake which follows. The word “passenger” may also be involved here. Joyce also mentions (Selected Letters 317) that the ricorsi storici of Vico are also being alluded to, presumably via the word “encore”. penisolate (003.06) In context with war (003.06) “peninsular”, as well as possibly referring to Isolde. Ciaran McMorran & Terence Killeen
Finnegans Wake pftjschute “The great fall of the offwall entailed at such short notice entailed the pftjschute of Finnegan” (FW 003.18-19) French: chute, fall (n.). Pronouncing the additional plosive prefixes “pft-” and “tj-” involves accentuating the prematurity and “short notice” of Finnegan’s chute verbally. Ciaran McMorran & Terence Killeen
Ulysses philirenist “Struggle for life is the law of existence but but human philirenists, notably the tsar and the king of England, have invented arbitration.” (U 15.4434–36) A peace-lover from the Greek philo- (lover) and eirene (peace). Ronan Crowley
Finnegans Wake prumptly “the humptyhillhead of humself prumptly send an unquiring one well to the west in quest of his tumptytumtoes” (FW 003.20-21) Baby-talk: promptly, in the style of Humpty Dumpty (see humptyhillhead, humself, tumptytumtoes). Ciaran McMorran & Terence Killeen
Finnegans Wake regginbrow “the regginbrow was to be seen ringsome on the aquaface” (FW 003.14) German: Regenbogen, rainbow; brow. The rainbow describes the curved brow of the “aquaface”. The rainbow is curved (“ringsome” plus German “ringsum” (around) on the face of the water. Ciaran McMorran & Terence Killeen
Ulysses rtststr “Rtststr! A rattle of pebbles. Wait. Stop! He looked down intently into a stone crypt. Some animal. Wait. There he goes.” (U 6.970) One of the many instances of onomatopoetic language in Ulysses, “Rtststr” connects the themes and stylistic preoccupations of the episode “Hades.” On one hand, the sound comes immediately after Bloom’s famous musings on the ability of a gramophone recording to memorialize the voices of the dead: “Put on poor old greatgrandfather. Kraahraark! Hellohellohello amawfullyglad kraark awfullygladaseeagain hello hello amawf krpthsth. Remind you of the voice like the photograph reminds you of the face” (6.962). And throughout “Hades,” we find ironically stylized descriptions of many characters’ faces—“Mr Power’s goodlooking face” and “Martin Cunningham’s large eyes… Intelligent. Like Shakespeare’s face” (this echoing his appearance in “Grace”)—that parody a desire to idealize and make picturesque the burial and mourning of Paddy Dignam (6.242, 6.792). On the other hand—as the garbled transcription of the gramophone recording suggests—perfect memorialization is impossible and, indeed, often comes through primarily as noise. Moreover, behind the noise is not necessarily a sentimental icon of the departed but a reminder that life itself always frustrates our attempts to memorialize it. For “Rtststr” is the sound of an “obese gray rat” who stands in for the self-consuming and mutable nature of living matter. The real “greatgrandfather,” the rat is simply “the grey alive” to Bloom, and “crush[es] itself in under the plinth,” echoing Bloom’s earlier vision of how, even in corpses, “cells or whatever they are go on living. Changing about. Live for ever practically. Nothing to feed on feed on themselves” (6.974, 6.780). Initially an instance of what Derek Attridge has named “nonlexical onomatopoeia,” (“the use of the phonetic characteristics of the language to imitate a sound without any attempt produce recognizable verbal structures”), “Rtststr” is quickly revealed in the next sentences to be phonologically and graphologically shaded with the name of what caused it: not just the “rattle” of pebbles but also the “obese gray rat” that makes the sound (1120). The onomatopoeia is thus also partially “lexical,” in Attridge's terms, having a semantic connection to its sound. That the rat-like spelling of “Rtststr” comes before Bloom identifies its source, however, suggests in the context of “Hades” that the emergence of meaning is tied not just to the capture and reproduction of experience (whether through photographic or gramophonic means) but through a disappearance, or evacuation, of the part of biological life for which Joyce makes animals stand. We know the animals are there, and we forget that a basic, animal-like precarity lines our humanity—until the zero-degree of death reminds us that we are just cells and pebbles. Like the many other animals represented, thought of, and alluded to in “Hades”—the donkeys that hide themselves away for “shame of death,” the billy goat from which Robinson Crusoe steals his coat in a song that floats through Bloom's thoughts (6.837, 6.813)—the rat makes a concrete appearance before withdrawing, leaving the room required for abstract, symbolic culture: “Good hiding place for treasure,” Bloom thinks in the rat’s wake (linking him to Stephen, who earlier, in the presence of “a warren of weasel rats” and the “bloated carcass of a dog” on the shore, also thinks of hiding gold [3.286]). Yet however long our gold might outlast us, it is death that reminds Bloom that nothing we do as humans—whether accumulating wealth, memorializing experience through the rituals of language, or merely dying—can mean anything without some other party to give it meaning. “A fellow could live on his lonesome all his life. Yes, he could. Still he’d have to get someone to sod him after he died though he could dig his own grave. We all do. Only man buries. No, ants too” (6.809). Works Cited Attridge, Derek. “Language as Imitation: Jakobson, Joyce, and the Art of Onomatopoeia.” MLN 99.5 (1984): 1116-1140. Cliff Mak
Finnegans Wake sesthers “sosie sesthers wroth with twone nathandjoe” (FW 003.12) Sisters; Dutch: zes, six, i.e.: six sisters. If Susanna (“sosie”, or Susie), Esther (“sesthers”) and Ruth (“wroth”) each had a counterpart (French: sosie) then there would be six sisters in total. As noted by Joyce (SL 317) Swift’s Stella and Vanessa were both called Esther. Ciaran McMorran & Terence Killeen