Monday, December 04, 2006

Wrunes and Wreedles

Joyce breaks the fourth wall/page to give a kind of apologia in the below passage, which I think concerns the impossibility of decoding the secrets of the world, the mind, and the Wake itself. A bit sad, but Joyce points out there’s a lot of joy to be had telling stories anyhow.

But the world, mind, is was and will be writing its own wrunes for ever, man, on all matters under the ban of our infrarational sense fore the last milchcamel, the heartvein throbbing between his eyebrowns, has still to moor between the tom of his cousin charmian where his date is tethered by the palm that’s hers. But the horn, the drinking, the day of dread are not now. A bone, a pebble, a ramskin; chip them, chap them, cut them up always; leave them to terracook in the muttheringpot: and Gutenmorg with his cromagnom charter, tintingfast and great primer must once for omniboss step rubrickredd out of the wordpress else is there no virtue more in alcohoran. For that (the rapt one warns) is what papyr is meed of, made of, hids and hints and misses in prints. Till ye finally (though not yet endlike) meet with the acquaintance of Mister Typus, Mistress Tope and all the little typtopies. Fillstup. So you need hardly spell me how ever word will be bound over to carry three score and ten toptypsical reading throughout the book of Doublends Jined (may his forehead by darkened with mud who would sunder!) till Daleth, mahomahouma, who oped it closeth thereof the. Dor.

Cry not yet! There's many a smile to Nondum, with sytty maids per man, sir, and the park's so dark by kindlelight. But look what you have in your handself! The movibles are scrawling in motions, marching, all of them ago, in pitpat and zingzang for every busy eerie whig's a bit of a torytale to tell. One's upona thyme and two's behind their lettice leap and three's among the strubbely beds. And the chicks picked their teeths and the dombkey he begay began. You can ask your ass if he believes it.

The “book of Doublends Jined” is the Wake, as the first sentence of the book is the end of the last sentence of the book, though naturally there are other meanings: “Doublends” is one of the many puns on “Dublin,” which I take here to mean joining the chaos of Dublin together into a whole—a similar trick to the beautiful last passage of the Dubliners story “The Dead”:

His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.

The book also is joining double-ends in its union of opposites such as death and rebirth, and man and woman, often literally. Nothing like a bit of Joycean smut. I’m not ashamed to say that when I get lost in this book, it’s a relief to push forward and come upon a naughty bit. Those parts are not so difficult to decipher.


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