It's not for nothing that riverrun calls James Joyce "the greatest English prose stylish who ever lived". But did you know that Finnegans Wake is more approachable than your english teacher may have let on? It has toilet humor and puns, so that just when you've given up on understanding anything, the sounds will flow into double entendres. The lack of narrative structure is freeing: it's a dream! Dreams may mean things, but anything can be read into them. So stop worrying so much about understanding, relax, take a drink, put on a brogue and dive in.
1. What secondtonone myther rector and maximost bridgesmaker was the first to rise taller through his beanstale than the bluegum buaboababbaun or the gianteous Wellington Sequoia; went nudiboots with trouters into a liffeyette when she was barely in her tricklies; was well known to clad a conciliation cap onto the esker of his hooth; sports a chainganger's albert solemnly over his hullender's epulence; thought he weighed a new ton when there felled his first ladapple; gave the heinousness of choice to everyknight betwixt yesterdicks and twomaries; had several successivecoloured serebanmaids on the same big white drawringroom horthrug; is a Wilbeforce to this hour at house as he was in heather; pumped to the catholick wartrey and shocked the prodestung boyne; killed his own hungery self in anger as a young man; found fodder for five when allmarken rose godflooded; when Irish tutores Cornish made easy; voucher of rotables, toll of the road; bred manyheaded stepsons for one leapyourown daughter; is too funny for a fish and has too much outside for an insect; like a heptagon crystal emprisoms trues and fauss for us; is infinite swell in unfitting induments; once was he shovelled and once was he arsoned and once was he inundered and she hung him out billbailey; has a quadrant in his tile to tell Toler cad a'clog it is; offers chances to Long on but stands up to Legge before; found coal at the end of his harrow and mossroses behind the seams; made a fort out of his postern and wrote F.E.R.T. on his buckler; is escapist-in-chief from all sorts of houdingplaces; ... is a farfar and morefar and a hoar father Nakedbucker in the villas old as new; squats aquart and cracks aquaint when it's flaggin in town and on haven; blows whiskery around his summit but sets stout upon his footles; stutters for he falls and goes mad entirely when he's waked; is Timb to the pearly morn and Tomb to the mourning night; and an he had the best bunbaked bricks in bould Babylon for his pitching plays he'd lost for the want of his wan wubblin wall?
- Answer: Finn MacCool!
Does your mutter know your mike?
- Answer: When I turn meoptics, from suchurban prospects, 'tis my filial's bosom, doth behold with pride, that pontificator, and circumvallator, with his dam night garrulous, slipt by his side. Ann alive, the lisp of her, 'twould grig mountains whisper her, and the bergs of Iceland melt in waves of fire, and her spoon-me-spondees, and her dirckle-me-ondenees, make the Rageous Ossean, kneel and quaff and layre! If Dann's dane, Ann's dirty, if he's plane she's purty, if he's fane she's flirty, with her auburnt streams, and her coy cajoleries, and her dabblin drolleries, for to rouse his rudderup, or to drench his dreams. If hot Hammurabi, or cowld Clesiastes, could espy her pranklings, they'd burst bounds again, and renounce their ruings, and denounce their doings, for river and iver, and a night. Amin!
3.Which title is the true-to-type motto-in-lieu for that Tick for Teac thatchment painted witt wheth one darkness, where asnake is under cover and birds aprowl are in rookeries and a magda went to monkishouse and a riverpaard was spotted, which is not Whichcroft Whorort not Ousterholm Dreyschluss not Haraldsby, grocer, not Vatacandan, wintner, not Houseboat and Hive not Knox-atta-Belle not O'Faynix Coalprince not Whon Squarr Roomyeck not Ebblawn Downes not Le Decer Le Mieux not Benjamin's Lea not Tholomew's Whaddingtun gnot Antwarp gnat Musca not Corry's not Weir's not The Uval nothing Grand nothing Splendid (Grahot or Spletel) nayther Erat Est Erit noor Non michi sed luciphro?
- Answer: Thine obesity, O civilian, hits the felicitude of our orb!
What Irish capitol city (a dea o dea!) of two syllables and six letters, with a deltic origin and a nuinous end, (ah dust oh dust!) can boost of having a) the most extensive public park in the world, b) the most expensive brewing industry in the world, c) the most expansive peopling thoroughfare in the world, d) the most phillohippuc theobibbous paùpulation in the world: and harmonise your abecedeed responses?
abcd)A bell a bell on Shalldoll Steepbell, ond be'll go massplon pristmoss speople, Shand praise gon ness our fayst moan neople, our prame Shandeepen, pay name muy feepence, moy nay non Aequallllllll!
- Answer: Semus sumus!
Best when read aloud.
All garnered from pages 130-168 of Finnegans Wake. The ellipses might mean that I cut out a sentence or two, or they might indicate an absence of pages. It's even better in the original. Seriously. Buy it. James may not need the money, but you certainly need the book.