FW p.69 Drawing Detail 1

Clinton Cahill’s Illuminating The Wake no.25

FW p.69 Drawing Detail 1

Welcome back to Illuminating The Wake, a personal visualization of Finnegans Wake through pictorial notation and ‘reading-through-drawing’.  If this is your first visit to this blog, well basically I’m trying to explore some of the meaning of the text by recording mental images generated at the point of reading.  Hence the resulting densely layered surface, which is offered not so much to clarify specific meanings but as a depiction of the cumulative effects of the text.   Some areas become layered, contradictory and opaque whilst others remain clear and relatively consistent.  The ‘Illumination’ in this project is lies in its attempt to bring something to light, from interior to exterior.  In terms of illustrative convention, its more about celebrating and exploring Joyce’s playful elaborations and complexity more than trying to arrive at any particular clarification of the text.

My last post brought us to the report of HCE’s ambiguous ‘encounter’ as it was given by a policeman in court, and a description of what subsequently happened to the two young girls involved in the Phoenix Park misdemeanour, a section which ends in a strong whiff of blackmail and ‘whispered sins’ (p.69.4)

FW p.69 sketchbook DPS

On FW pages 69.5 – 74, meanwhile, HCE/Finn has sought refuge behind the walls of his ‘archcitadel’. In effect he has fled not only in space but also simultaneously in time.  ‘Simultaneously’ because he also still appears to be in whatever counts as the ‘present’ of his current tribulations.  Earwicker’s defensive regression is into the distant past of the ‘toofarback’ of p.4,  the antediluvian homestead of Finn.  Its thick wall protects a paradise.  A wall before the fall. It has a prehistoric ‘stone hinged’ gate, livestock, furniture and a retinue of (P)porters. The gate also serves as containment for HCE, keeping him out of trouble.

‘ Now by memory inspired, turn wheel again to the whole of the wall.’ FW p. 69.5 – 29, drawing

Nevertheless trouble does follow Earwicker to the shack/citadel of his Garden of Eden. It arrives in the form of a German lodger, a visitor over for the holidays and mixing business with pleasure. Evidently some kind of journalist reporting on the fall of Adam for a ‘payrodicule’ – and a mercenary writer intent on ridicule. Across time and space this ‘Northroomer’, Herr Betreffender, brings rumour and ridicule to Earwicker’ door. Demanding more drink at first the drunken Betreffender tries to get access by eliciting sympathy through trickery. He blows Quaker Oats through the keyhole, pathetically pretending to be outside in a gale. When this doesn’t work he takes a more threatening tone until finally releasing the full ‘atillery’ (Atilla) of his invective, carrying on his tirade from 11.30 to 2.00pm.

Nevertheless trouble does follow Earwicker to the shack/citadel of his Garden of Eden. It arrives in the form of a German lodger, a visitor over for the holidays and mixing business with pleasure. Evidently some kind of journalist reporting on the fall of Adam for a ‘payrodicule’ – and a mercenary writer intent on ridicule. Across time and space this ‘Northroomer’, Herr Betreffender, brings rumour and ridicule to Earwicker’ door. Demanding more drink at first the drunken Betreffender tries to get access by eliciting sympathy through trickery. He blows Quaker Oats through the keyhole, pathetically pretending to be outside in a gale. When this doesn’t work he takes a more threatening tone until finally releasing the full ‘atillery’ (Atilla) of his invective, carrying on his tirade from 11.30 to 2.00pm.

‘…there was a north roomer, Herr Bettfrender, out for the zimmer hole digs, digging in number 32 at the Rum and Puncheon (Branch of Dirty Dick’s Free house)…’ FW pp.69.30 – 70.34, drawing

Hunkered down with his thermos, ‘longsuffering’ Earwicker sits it out in his conservatory keeping a written record of the insults hurled against him.  Joyce presents part of this record  to us on pp.71 – 72.  The bizarre name-calling constitutes a an catalogue of the kind seen in the sections known as ‘The Mamafesta’ and the ‘The Quiz’ (pp.104 – 125 and 126 – 168).

Hunkered down with his thermos, ‘longsuffering’ Earwicker sits it out in his conservatory keeping a written record of the insults hurled against him.  Joyce presents part of this record  to us on pp.71 – 72.  The bizarre name-calling constitutes a Wakean catalogue of the kind seen in the sections known as ‘The Mamafesta’ and the ‘The Quiz’ (pp.104 – 125 and 126 – 168).

‘Earwicker…long-suffering although whitening under restraint in the sititout corner of his conservatory,…’ Fw p. 71 sketchbook detail (a)

‘ …compiled…a long list (now feared lost) to be kept on file of all the abusive names he was called…’ FW p. 71 sketchbook detail (b)

 

FW p. 73 sketchbook detail

Earwicker continues his passive resistance to Bettreffender’s siege, refusing his assailant’s challenges and (though its really far from clear) resisting the temptation to telephone for help – though perhaps he does summon assistance while insisting on his own innocence. This would account for the ‘earlier’ courtroom protestations of innocence by the drunkard, followed by Earwickers insistence on the seriousness of the disturbance (p.63.27 – 64.15), a potential reversal of cause and effect, one of the backward flowing (upstream) temporal currents in the Wake.

FW p.72 sketchbook DPS

Bettreffender throws some river pebbles at the gate before subsiding somewhat and inviting Earrwicker to come outside to defend his honour. Eventually, with insults reduced to a sign off of Shakespearian thumb biting, the assailant slouches off in the direction of the ‘duff and demb institution’ (where presumably there is neither speaking nor listening) a thousand years’ lurch away.

FW p.74 sketchbook DPS

Thus ends the siege of Earwicker’s ‘arch citadel’.  However,  traces of it remain  in the cairns and scattered rocks of the mythical landscape, under which HCE/Finn rests, like King Arthur awaiting return in the hour of need.  His organs are shutting down, brain like cold porridge, blood slowing, barely breathing.  Beyond the analogy which sees words and people in sleep as being small and numerous as rain forever falling, until it stops, there is the suggestion here of the sleeping Mr. Porter/HCE perceiving actual rain falling through the Dublin night outside his pub in Chapelizod. ‘Rain.’, ‘Drops.’, ‘Drain.’ – the gentle downward movement of the Innkeeper, Mr. Porter, listening to the drain allowing himself to be lulled and ‘drained’ like rain into a deeper dream.

‘…when thy green woods went dry but there will be sounds of manymirth on the night’s ear ringing when our pantriarch of Comestowntonobble gets the pullover on his boots’ FW p.74 sketchbook detail (a)

‘Rain. When we sleep. Drops. But wait until our sleeping. Drain. Sdops.’ FW p. 74 sketchbook detail

A final drop of imaginary language and the chapter

 

‘Sdops.’.

 

In my next post we will be entering ‘chapter’ IV,  through the teargarten, where a lion remembers the nenuphars of his Nile…

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