Finn MacCool is the legendary warrior-leader of the Fianna
a band of Irish
warriors dating back to the second or third century.
Finn (or Fionn Mac Cumhail
) was the bravest and most generous of all who served King Cormac
a central figure in the Ossianic cycle of Irish heroic tales.
Finn and his band were superhuman and enjoyed contact with the
Celtic Underworld. It is said that because he had once held
the Salmon of Wisdom, Finn could receive enlightenment merely
by sucking his thumb. (The Salmon of Wisdom is the incarnation
of Fintan MacBochra, the only Irish survivor of the Flood, which
assured him a place in the Celtic Underworld as a god of Wisdom.)
Finn MacCool is an avatar of Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker, the
hero of James Joyce's Finnegans Wake. He is represented
as a Nordic/Irish giant who lies sleeping beneath Dublin, his head
forming the Ben of Howth, and his feet two hills
near Phoenix Park.
The book's title refers to "the wake and the awakening of Finn, that
is, of our legendary Celto-Nordic hero," Joyce wrote in a March
1940 letter to his friend Fritz Vanderpyl.
Both Finn and Earwicker, who should be treated interchangeably,
are powerful examples of the mature male archetype, but at they
same time they are comedic, particularly as regards their
relationships with women throughout the book.
References to Finn MacCool are liberally sprinkled throughout
the Wake as variants on the name--Fingal; Huckleberry Finn;
Tim Finnegan, of the Irish drinking song; and Finn's Hotel
(where Joyce met Nora Barnacle, his wife-to-be, in 1904).
Shades of Joyce:
a nice cool glass of Joyce
Anna Livia Plurabelle
Cashel Boyle O'Connor Fitzmaurice Tisdall Farrell
Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker
Issy the Teenage Rainbow
Our Exagmination Round His Factification for Incamination of Work in Progress
Shem the Penman
Ulysses is not pornography