Mingling in the mess of creation

June 28, 2017

28th June

Only a slight hangover this morning. Celebration of Jimmy Joyce’s 1924 letter to Miss Weaver regarding Bloomsday went well yesterday.

Talk of the great book’s opening with its mockery of the mass – which in turn reflects the Last Supper and Christ’s words: ‘Do this in memory of me’; so that the mass is an act in which the mystery of Christ is not just commemorated, but made present, living over again. All in that Martello Tower. Daedalus, Mulligan, and the Englishman Haines – a pun on the French la haine, ‘hate’ as the man is anti-Semitic and English – perched in the omphalos over breakfast –

Conversation touched on many subjects, including Flann O’Brien. Then, out of the blue, mention was made of Finnegans Wake.

How many people had read that book? God alone knows how many copies sold, but how many read? Published 4th May 1939, the ‘Wake’ has puzzled multitudes. Joyce, as we all know, spent a third of his life on this one book –

Read at age fifteen. Peedeel must confess that he approached this book, this incredible allegory of the fall and resurrection of humankind, with trepidation. He decided to read a small part each morning – while sitting on the lavatory, in actual fact – and consider its enigmas throughout the course of the day. Like Ulysses the main action occurs in Dublin and its environs (where the product of Guinness’s Brewery is the magic elixir of life, thus the immortal drink of heroes and gods) –

The book’s impact was (is) profound. We come to recognise the story as our own. Just as in the Egyptian Book of the Dead, where we follow the journey of a soul through the dreamlike landscape to the Throne of the Lord of the Dead, so here the voyager is not specifically this man or that, but Man, that is to say ourselves –

And this morning, clear away the empties: bottle of brandy, two bottles of wine, a torn cardboard outer of beer and eight pizza boxes. Oh what piggies we were, we were!

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