Thursday, 27 February 2014

Mamalujo, 1924

Here’s Ford Madox Ford's transatlantic review, of April 1924, which gave the public a first glimpse at what would become Finnegans Wake.  Ford put Joyce's piece into his ‘From Work in Progress’ section. Joyce liked the phrase ‘Work in Progress’ so much he used it as his working title for the next fifteen years.

Joyce called the piece ‘the Mamalujo episode’, combining the names of the four evangelists1 . It's made up of the composite memories of four decrepit old men, Matt Gregory, Marcus Lyons, Luke Tarpey and Johnny MacDougall. Joyce told Harriet Shaw Weaver that Mamalujo was a ‘study of old age’, and he developed a rambling repetitive style to represent the processes of the senile mind.

As far as I know, Joyce was the first artist to set senility down at length. Listening to an educated man, dying of hardening of the arteries, I realized that he spoke in the manner and matter and very rhythm of the Four. Joyce does not prettify his senescent Four—they are boring, repulsive, sinister—but he does leaven them. A crazy beauty hangs about the honeymoon section... Adaline Glasheen, A Third Census of Finnegans Wake, p97

Mamalujo was written directly after Tristan and Isolde, and as a companion piece to that sketch. So Tristan ends, above the ship, with the birds of the sea singing a mocking song about King Mark.  Mamalujo begins with the four old men listening to the same birdsong:

And there they were too listening in as hard as they could to the solans and sycamores and the migratories and mistle thrushes and all the birds of the sea, all four of them, listening: They were the big four, the four master waves of Erin, all listening, four. There was old Matt Gregory and then besides old Matt there was old Marcus Lyons, the four waves, and oftentimes they used to be saying grace together right enough, here now we are the four of us: old Matt Gregory and old Marcus and old Luke Tarpey: the four of us and sure thank God there are no more of us: and sure now you wouldn't go and forget and leave out the other fellow and old Johnny MacDougall....

The old men are listening to Tristan kissing Isolde, and confusing this kiss with their own nostalgic 'remembored' kisses, mixed up with the plays of Dion Boucicault:

And so they were spraining their ears listening and listening to the oceans of kissening with their eyes glistening all the four when he was kiddling and cuddling his colleen bawn that was very wrong and most improper and cuddling her and kissing her with his poghue like Arrah-na-poghue the dear old annual, they all four remembored who made the world and how they used to be at that time cuddling and kiddling her from under her mistlethrush and kissing  and listening in the good old bygone days of Dion Boucicault....

Pogue is Irish for 'kiss'. Arrah-na-Pogue is Arrah of the kiss.

Later they are described as voyeurs 'peering in, so they say, through the steamy windows into the honeymoon cabins on board the big steamadories'

Like Tristan, this is in mostly clear English, but in several ways, it represents a new development. Joyce has started inventing new words, like 'remembored' and 'steamadories' (a 'dory' is a boat and a fish). He was discovering new techniques, which pointed the way forwards for Finnegans Wake


 'Time and the river and the mountain are the real heroes of my book....I am trying to build many planes of narrative with a single esthetic purpose' 

Joyce quoted by Eugene Jolas, My Friend James Joyce.

The earlier sketches, Roderick O'Conor and Tristan, had only a single plane of narrative. Although Tristan kissing Isolde is described as a football goal, this functions as a metaphor. Isolde's teeth are not really football players.

Mamalujo is the first sketch with many planes of narrative. Joyce's characters are not just old men, in a hospice for the dying, they are also waves of the sea!  Just as Anna Livia Plurabelle would be a woman and a river; HCE a man, a city and a mountain; Shem and Shaun would represent time and space; and Issy would be a rain cloud.

So it's very appropriate that the transatlantic review has a big wave and a ship on its cover! 

As the ‘waves of Erin’, the four are magical waves, drawn from Irish myth, which would roar a warning in times of danger:

‘The Three Tonns or Waves of Erin are much celebrated in Irish romantic 
literature. They were Tonn Cleena in Glandore harbour in Cork; Tonn Tuaithe 
[tooha] outside the mouth of the Bann in Derry; and Tonn Rudraidhe [Rury]  
in Dundrum Bay off the County Down. In stormy weather, when the wind blows 
in certain directions, the sea at these places, as it tumbles over the sandbanks, 
or among the caves and fissures of the rocks,  utters an unusually loud and 
solemn roar, which excited the imagination of our ancestors. They  believed 
that these sounds had a supernatural origin,  that they gave warning of the 
deadly danger, or foreboded the approaching death, of kings or chieftains, or 
bewailed a king's or a great chief's death. Sometimes when a king was sore 
pressed in battle and in deadly peril, the Three Waves roared in response to 
the moan of his shield. The Welsh people had a similar legend:  when the 
young Welsh hero Dylan was killed, " he was lamented by the Wave of Erin,
the Wave of Man, the Wave of the North, and the Wave of Britain of the comely 
hosts." Though the three Irish Waves named above were the most celebrated, 
there were several other noted Tonns round the coast. Scotland also had its 
voiceful waves, as our old books record.’

P. W. Joyce’s A Social History of Ancient Ireland, Vol II p.525

This Welsh myth explains why, later in the episode, Joyce calls the old men ‘the four of the Welsh waves’.

Joyce would later name his four waves: ‘The soundwaves are his buffeteers; …the wave of roary and the wave of hooshed and the wave of hawhawhawrd and the wave of neverheedthemhorseluggarsandlistletomine.’ 23.26


I have discovered the importance of numbers in life and history. Dante was obsessed with the number three. He divided his poem into three parts, each with thirty-three cantos, written in terza rima. And why always the arrangement of four – four legs of a table, four legs of a horse, four seasons of the year, four provinces of Ireland? Why are there twelve tables of the law, twelve Apostles, twelve months, and twelve Napoleon's marshals?

Joyce to Adolf Hoffmeister, 'Portrait of Joyce' in Portraits of the Artist in Exile

The men have multiple roles, based on the number four. Apart from being four waves and evangelists, they are the Four Masters – Franciscan friars who, in the 1630s, compiled a history of Ireland from the Biblical flood to the death of Hugh O’Neill in 1616. They are also the four barons who spy on Tristan and Isolde in Joseph Bédier's version of the story.

Joyce associated the old men with many different four groupings. In the Wake, they function as a musical quartet, elements, dimensions, beasts from Revelation, four Irish ecclesiastical sees, compass points, provinces of Ireland, parts of the day, senators, cardinals, margins of the page, judges, seasons, bedposts, ingredients in a salad, corners in a ring, and four magical objects from Irish myth: Nuad's irresistible Sword of Light, Dagda's Cauldron of Plenty, the invincible Spear of Lug (of Victory), and the Stone of Fal (of Destiny). Fweet has this list of their appearances, using Joyce's symbol for the four, a cross.

Joyce associates Mamalujo in his notebooks with the four waves of Erin, compass points, (VI.14.76), with 'cold, warm, moist and dry' (VI.B.17.91), and Blake's Zoas (VI.B.13.228)

Robert-Jan Henkes and Eric Bindervoet, Genetic Studies in Joyce, Issue 4

There are four cardinal points . . . the East and the West, the North and the South. Now, each of these has had its man. There were four men appointed to record all the wonderful events that had taken place in the world. Two of them were born before the Deluge and escaped from the waters, namely Fintan [q.v.] whose duty was to preserve the histories of Spain and Ireland, or the Western World...; and Fors [q.v.]. . . his lot to record the events that happened in the East.. . the others are a grandson of Japheth [q.v.], and a greatgrandson of Shem [q.v.}. The first, whose mission was to do the Northern world ... the other was entrusted with the South. This audacious legend was transcribed into the Leabhar na hUidhre about the year 1100. 

Jubainville, The Irish Mythological Cycle, 46  quoted by Adaline Glasheen, Third Census of Finnegans Wake, p.97


'here now we are the four of us: old Matt Gregory and old Marcus and old Luke Tarpey: the four of us and sure thank God there are no more of us'

Joyce is quoting an old US drinking song here:

Singing Glorious! Glorious!
One keg of beer for the four of us!
Singing glory be to God there are no more of us;
For one of us could drink it all alone! 
This makes repeated appearances in the book, serving as a motif to indicate the presence of the old men. It is one of more than a thousand motifs in Joyce's book, catalogued by Clive Hart in Structure and Motif in Finnegans Wake.

Other Mamalujo motifs are Auld Lang Syne'repeating themselves' (itself, himself etc) 'grace before/after fish', 'half a tall hat', and forgetting and remembering.


The old men have four exclamations or sighs: 'Ay, ay!' 'Ah ho!' 'Ah dearo dear!' and 'And so. And all.' Hart identifies each sigh with one of the four, but in the Mamalujo episode, they are used collectively, expressing changes of mood. When the old men assert a platitude, they say 'ay ay': 'The good go and the wicked is left over. Ay, ay.' When they are overcome with nostalgia, they exclaim 'Ah ho!': 'Ah ho! It brought the dear scenes all back again as fresh as of yore'.  Their self pity is evoked by 'Ah dearo, dear!' : 'Ah, dearo dearo dear! It was so sorry for all the whole twice two four of us'. When their narrative runs out of steam,  they say 'And so. And all.': 'and so now pass the loaf for Christ sake, Amen. And so. And all.'


The old men have lived through all of human history, though the events they 'remembore' are confused, and even sexual identity breaks down. Since they are waves, it's not surprising that many of their memories are of floods, naval landings and drownings.


'the drowning of Pharoah and all his pedestrians'
F.A.Bridgman, Pharaoh's Army Engulfed in the Red Sea


all they could remembore long long ago in the olden times and Lally when my heart knew no care and after that then there was the landing of Lady James Casement in the year of the flood 1132 and the christening of Queen Battersby the Fourth according to her grace the bishop, alderwoman J.P. Bishop, Senior, and then there was the drowning of Pharoah and all his pedestrians and they were all completely drowned into the sea, the red sea, and then poor Martin Cunningham out of the castle on pension when he was completely drowned off Dunleary at that time in the red sea and a lovely mourning paper and thank God there were no more of him.

the landing of Lady James Casement - The old men are thinking of Roger Casement, who landed from a German submarine in Banna Strand, Tralee, in April 1916.

the year of the flood 1132. This date appears more than thirty times in Finnegans Wake.  It may relate to 'thirtytwo feet per second per second' (Bloom in Ulysses on the Law of Falling Bodies). There are lots of theories about this number. 1+1+3+2= 7, a magic number in the Wake

Queen Battersby the Fourth - Battersby Brothers,  Dublin auctioneers on Westmoreland Street near Trinity College. This is one of the central Dublin locations that run through the piece:

near Clery's beside that ancient Dame street where the statue of Mrs Dana O'Connell behind the Trinity college that arranges all the auctions of valuable colleges. Battersby Sisters, like the auctioneer Battersby Sisters that sells all the fine statues and powerscourts James H Tickell, the jaypee, off Hoggin Green

That includes Dame Street, the statue of Daniel O'Connell, Clery's Department Store and Trinity College.  There was a James H. North J.P., auctioneer and estate agent, at 110 Grafton Street (south of my map).

The old men, stuck in the past, use old place names. They use Hoggin Green, the tenth century name for College Green - the site of the Viking Thing, or assembly. They do not know that Dunleary was renamed Kingstown in 1821, in honour of George IV's visit (The Irish Free State then changed its name back to Dún Laoghaire, with the Irish spelling).


poor Martin Cunningham out of the castle on pension when he was completely drowned off Dunleary at that time in the red sea

Martin Cunningham is a character in Dubliners (Grace) and Ulysses. He was based on a friend of Joyce's father, Matthew F Kane, who was Chief Clerk of the Crown Solicitor's Office in Dublin Castle. Kane really did drown off Dunleary on 10 July 1904. Joyce attended his funeral, and used it as the basis for Paddy Dignam's funeral in Ulysses. This means that Martin Cunningham, a main character in the Hades chapter, is actually attending his own funeral!  Kane's grave in Glasnevin records his role as a model for characters in Ulysses.  It's a shame it doesn't mention Finnegans Wake!

I visited his grave in April 2019, during finnegans wake at 80
He's called 'poor Martin Cunningham' in Dubliners too:

His own domestic life was not very happy. People had great sympathy with him, for it was known that he had married an unpresentable woman who was an incurable drunkard. He had set up house for her six times; and each time she had pawned the furniture on him.

Everyone had respect for poor Martin Cunningham. He was a thoroughly sensible man, influential and intelligent. His blade of human knowledge, natural astuteness particularised by long association with cases in the police courts, had been tempered by brief immersions in the waters of general philosophy. He was well informed. His friends bowed to his opinions and considered that his face was like Shakespeare's. 

In 1903, Joyce wrote a review of Lady Gregory's folk story collection, Poets and Dreamers:

In her new book...she has explored in a land almost fabulous in its sorrow and senility.  Half of her book is an account of old men and old women in the West of Ireland. These old people are full of stories about giants and witches, and dogs and black-handled knives, and they tell their stories one after another at great length and with many repetitions....The story-tellers are old and their imagination is not the imagination of childhood. The storyteller preserves the strange machinery of fairyland, but his mind is feeble and sleepy. He begins one story and wanders from it into another story, and none of the stories has any satisfying imaginative wholeness. 

This is a good description of the Mamalujo episode, and it makes me wonder if this is the reason that the first old man is called Matt Gregory. 

Joyce would also have been thinking of Swifts immortal decrepit struldbrugs - he calls his own four 'strulldeburghers' (623.23)

They were not only opinionative, peevish, covetous, morose, vain, talkative, but incapable of friendship, and dead to all natural affection, which never descended below their grandchildren. Envy and impotent desires are their prevailing passions....They have no remembrance of anything but what they learned and observed in their youth and middle-age, and even that is very imperfect....If a Struldbrug happen to marry one of his own kind, the marriage is dissolved of course, by the courtesy of the kingdom, as soon as the younger of the two comes to be fourscore; for the law thinks it a reasonable indulgence, that those who are condemned, without any fault of their own, to a perpetual continuance in
Thomas Morten's struldbrugs, scanned by Simon Cook
the world, should not have their misery doubled by the load of a wife.

Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels, Chapter 10

Joyce's four old men have also been divorced:

they were all summarily divorced four years before, so they say, by their dear poor shehusbands in dear bygone days and never brought to mind....

The Mamalujo episode provided Joyce with one of many examples of what he believed to be his book's magic power to predict the future:

It is strange that on the day I sent off to you a picture of an epicene professor of history in an Irish university college seated in the hospice for the dying etc after 'eating a bad crab in the red sea' I received a paper from Dublin containing news of the death at the age of 41 of an old schoolfellow of mine in the hospice for the dying, Harold's Cross, Dublin, professor of law in the University of Galway....More strangely still his name (which he used to say was an Irish (Celtic) version of my own) is in English an epicene name being made up of the feminine and masculine personal pronouns – Sheehy. It is as usual rather uncanny.

Letter to Harriet Shaw Weaver, 23 October 1923, Letters Vol I


'As soon as Joyce had invented his Old Men...he quickly decided he needed to make them as demented as possible, and he started studying old age and its effects in some depth by delving into serious medical literature. This literature, in turn, supplied him with ideas of what the Old Men should actually be doing in their state of dementia.' Robert-Jan Henkes

That's a quotation from Genetic Joyce Studies, Issue 14. Robert-Jan Henkes identified Dr Costanza Pascal's La Démence Précoce (left) as a major source for Mamalujo. She was a doctor in a clinic who recorded many of the symptoms of patients suffering from dementia. For example, she writes:

'They don’t get into their beds anymore, sleep on the blanket, under their bed, or under those of other people.’

This inspired the anarchically demented behaviour, and the shared bed, of the four old men in Joyce's episode:

'when they were in dreams of yore, standing behind the door, or leaning out of the chair, or kneeling under the sofacover and setting on the souptureen, getting into their way something barbarous, changing the one wet underdown convibrational bed or they used to slumper under...'393.36-394.04. 

Another symptom of dementia described is the breakdown of language, as 'syntactical links (‘but’, ‘by’, ‘if’, etc.) are randomly placed and unite disparate sentences. [...] Nouns, adjectives, verbs are often the casualties of the language of these patients; conjunctions, prepositions grow less numerous. [...] Finally, nouns, adjectives, etc., eventually fade and disappear. Neologisms of dementia, which represent the last stage of erasing images, are constructed with the remains of all these elements.'

Henkes shows how Joyce used these ideas in creating the senile style of Mamalujo, deliberately mislaying prepositions and conjunctions. To create 'neologisms of dementia', he went through the text erasing letters, so that, for example, 'beautiful' at top left, became 'beaufu'.


 You can download the whole article here 


One of the readers of the transatlantic review was Joyce's brother Stanislaus, who wondered if it was James Joyce who was going senile!


I have received one instalment of your yet unnamed novel in the Transatlantic Review. I don't know whether the drivelling rigmarole about half a tall hat and ladies' modern toilet chambers (practically the only things I understand in this nightmare production) is written with the deliberate intention of pulling the reader's leg or not....Or perhaps– a sadder supposition – it is the beginning of softening of the brain. The first instalment faintly suggests the Book of the Four Masters and a kind of Biddy in Blunderland and a satire on the supposed matriarchal system. It has certain characteristics of a beginning of something, is nebulous, chaotic but contains certain elements. But! It is unspeakably wearisome. Gorman's book on you practically proclaims your work as the last word in modern literature. It may be the last in another sense, the witless wandering of literature before its final extinction.

Stanislaus Joyce, Letter to James Joyce, 11 July 1924, Letters Vol III p 102-3

1 Joyce might also have been thinking of the Sicilian ‘mammalucco’, or the Spanish ‘mamelujo’, both meaning simpleton (though he hadn’t started punning in other languages yet).

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Tristan and Isolde

Act One of Wagner's Tristan and Isolde is set on a ship, sailing from Ireland to Cornwall. The hero knight Tristan is bringing Isolde, an Irish princess, to Cornwall to marry his uncle, King Mark. By mistake, they drink a love potion, and fall into a passionate embrace.
Ludwig Schnorr von Carolsfeld and his wife Malvina as the lovers

Tristan: Isolde!
Isolde: Tristan!
Tristan: Sweetest maid!
Isolde: Dearest man!
Both: How our hearts
beat in exaltation!
How all our senses
are enraptured!
Swelling blossoms
of yearning passion, 

Blissful glow
of languishing love!
Now joyful longing
in our breast!

Wagner's Tristan, Ludwig Schnorr von Carolsfel
Joyce went through a short Wagnerian phase in his youth, saying in his 1900 lecture, 'Drama and Life', 'Even the least part of Wagner – his music – is beyond Bellini.'  By 1914, he had reversed this opinion.

Joyce had no patience with the current adulation of Wagner, objecting that 'Wagner puzza di sesso' (stinks of sex). Bellini he said was far better.
 Ellmann, James Joyce, 382

I looked up Wagner in the index to Portraits of the Artist in Exile (ed Potts) and found 'J dislikes', with four entries.  Here's August Suter, who had visited a record shop with Nora Joyce in 1922:

Joyce asked about our doings. I pointed out that Mrs Joyce had become a Wagner enthusiast and had been sticking to Wagner records exclusively. Joyce's remark about Wagner was derogatory. Madame Joyce retorted with some excitement: 'Oh there are many obscenities in your book too!'

'Some Reminiscences of James Joyce'.

We had exchanged our opinions about music, though our tastes were not alike. I had the narrow tastes of my age and liked... chiefly Wagner, whom Joyce could scarcely tolerate.

Jacques Mercanton, 'The Hours of James Joyce'

He could not stand modern music and except for Die Meistersinger and some arias from The Flying Dutchman he had a dislike for Wagner; the Tetralogy (The Ring cycle) irritated him. 'Operetta Music,' he used to say.

Louis Gillet, 'Farewell to Joyce'.

I shall not mention again the tastes of my friend, his determined preference for vocalised singing, his dislike of Wagner and instrumental music.

Louis Gillet, 'The Living Joyce'.  


In March 1923, Joyce was beginning Finnegans Wake, writing comic sketches based on medieval Irish myth and history. After the first one, about Roderick O'Conor, the last High King of Ireland, he turned to Tristan and Iseult, a theme which had always interested him.  

There are indeed hardly more than a dozen original themes in world literature. Then there is an enormous number of combinations of these themes. Tristan und Isolde is an example of an original theme. Richard Wagner kept on modifying it, often unconsciously, in Lohengrin, in Tannhauser; and he thought he was treating something entirely new when he wrote Parsifal.

Joyce to Georges Borach in 1917, 'Conversations with James Joyce,' in Portraits of the Artist in Exile.

The story attracted him because of its Dublin connections. Iseult was linked with Chapelizod, which would be a main setting of Finnegans Wake. Tristan was a foreign invader, associated in Joyce's mind with Sir Amoricus Tristram, the Anglo-Norman knight who, in 1177, landed in Howth and defeated the Irish, becoming the first Earl of Howth. Tristan and Amoricus Tristram are combined on the Wake's opening page:

Sir Tristram, violer d'amores, fr'over the shirt sea had passencore rearrived from North Armorica to wielderfight his penisolate war. 3.04 

Joyce liked 'Armorica', the old name for Brittany, because it sounded like America and was part of Amoricus Tristram's name. 

Joyce's 1923 Tristan sketch is a pastiche of Wagner's love scene on the ship. The style is still close to Ulysses, in particular resembling the parodies of 'Cyclops' and the fizzing style of 'Nausicaa'1 Isolde, a combination of a wholesome Irish girleen and a 1920s flapper, is a lot like Gerty MacDowell. Tristan is a football champion filmstar hunk:

As slow their ship, the sea being slight, upon the face of waters moved by courtesy of God that handsome brineburnt sixfooter Gaelic, rugger and soccer champion and the dinkum belle of Lucalizod quite charming in her oceanblue brocade and an overdress of net darned with gold well in advance of the newest fashion exhibits bunnyhugged scrumptiously when it was dark whilst they dissimulated themself on the eighteen inch loveseat behind the chieftaness stewardess’s cabin whilst also with sinister dexterity he alternately rightandlefthandled fore and aft, on and offside her palpable rugby and association bulbs.  

As slow their ship, the sea being slight. Joyce took this becalmed setting from the French philologist, Joseph Bédier, whose reconstruction of the Tristan story was the main source for the myth in the Wake. This is the setting for the love potion scene in Joseph Bédier:

Tristan and Isolde by John Duncan
One day when the wind had fallen and the sails hung slack Tristan dropped anchor by an Island and the hundred knights of Cornwall and the sailors, weary of the sea, landed all. Iseult alone remained aboard and a little serving maid, when Tristan came near the Queen to calm her sorrow. The sun was hot above them and they were athirst and, as they called, the little maid looked about for drink for them and found that pitcher which the mother of Iseult had given into Brangien’s keeping. And when she came on it, the child cried, “I have found you wine!” Now she had found not wine — but Passion and Joy most sharp, and Anguish without end, and Death.
the dinkum belle of Lucalizod - this is the first appearance of Joyce's combination of the Dublin suburbs of Chapelizod and Lucan (See also 'the hungerlean spalpeens of Lucalizod' 32.16 and 'folkrich Lucalizod' 101.11).

John William Waterhouse's Tristram and Isolde
While Tristan is fondling 'her palpable rugby and association bulbs', Isolde, who wants more romance,  asks him for 'the six best national poetry quotations reflecting on the situation'. He responds with a quotation from Byron ('Rollon thoudeep andamp anddark blueo ceanroll!') followed by the Wagnerian cry 'Isolde!', three times, and an incomprehensible speech about love as 'pearlwhite passionpanting intuitions of reunited selfhood in the higherdimensional selfless Allself'.

In Joyce's version it's the romantic setting which acts as the love potion:

it was a stroke or two above it's a fine night and yon moon shines bright and all to that, the plain fact of the matter being that being a natural born lover of nature in all her moods and senses, by the light of the moon, of the silvery moon she longed to spoon before her honeyoldmoon at the same time drinking in long draughts of purest air serene and revelling in the great outdoors.

Unable to resist Tristan's seductive routine, and the romantic setting, Isolde kisses Tristan, and he seizes the opportunity to stick his tongue into her mouth:

the vivid girl, deaf with love, (you know her, that angel being, one of passion's fadeless wonderwomen! You dote on her! You love her to death!) with a queer little cry reunited milkymouthily his her then their disunited lips when, tonguetasting the golden opportunity of a lifetime, quick as greased pigskin the Armorican champion with one virile tonguethrust drove the advance messenger of love flash past the double line of eburnean forwards rightjingbangshot into the goal of her gullet.

The 'advance messenger of love' is his tongue and a football, and the 'eburnean forwards' are her ivory teeth and Irish (Hibernean) football players. It's an act of sexual penetration and a football goal!

While the kiss is going on, Joyce asks us to sympathise with Isolde - why shouldn't she prefer the handsome virile Tristan over tiresome old King Mark?:

Now, I am just putting it direct to you as one manowoman to another, what the blankety blank diggings do you for example candidly suppose that she, a strapping young modern old ancient Irish princess a good eighteen hands high and scaling nine stone twelve paddock weight in her madapolam smock with nothing under her hat but red hair and solid ivory not forgetting a firstrate pair of bedroom eyes of most unholy hazel cared at that precise psychoanalytical moment about tiresome old King Mark that tiresome old milkless ram with his duty peck and his bronchial tubes, the tiresome old ourangoutan beaver in his tiresome old twentytwoandsixpenny shepherd's plaid trousers? Not as much as a pinch of henshit and that's the meanest thing now was ever known since Adam was in the boy's navy.
She has 'nothing under her hat but red hair and solid ivory not forgetting a firstrate pair of bedroom eyes' - i.e. she has no brains.  Anna Livia Plurabelle would also have red hair.

After the 'regulation ten seconds' have elapsed, Tristan relaxes his grip and withdraws his tongue. The delighted Isolde speaks:

— I’m right glad I ran on to you, Tris, you fascinator you! Miss Erin said, when she had won free, laughing at the same time delightfully in dimpling bliss, being awfully bucked by her gratifying experience of the love embrace from a highly continental bigtimer the like of him possessed of a handsome face well worth watching with an interesting tallow complexion from which great things very expected as a film star for she fully realised that he was evidently a notoriety in the poetry department as well...

This is followed by a cinematic cut, up to the birds of the sea, who are circling the ship and watching the lovers kiss. This is the end of the sketch.

Over them the winged ones screamed shrill glee: seahawk, seagull, curlew and plover, kestrel and capercailzie. All the birds of the sea they trolled out rightbold when they smacked the big kuss of Trustan with Usolde.

There's an echo of Who Killed Cock Robin? here ('All the birds of the air fell a sighing and a sobbing, when they heard the bell toll for poor Cock Robin').

The birds sing a mocking song about King Mark: 

So sang seaswans:

   Three quarks for Muster Mark
Sure he hasn’t got much of a bark
And sure any he has it’s all beside the mark
But O Wreneagle Almighty wouldn’t un be a sky of a lark
To see that old buzzard whooping about for uns shirt in the dark
And un hunting round for uns speckled trousers around by Palmerston Park.
Hohohoho moulty Mark
You’re the rummest old rooster ever flopped out of a Noah’s ark
And you think you’re cock of the wark.
Fowls, up! Tristy’s the spry young spark
That’ll tread her and wed her and bed her and red her
Without even winking the tail of a feather
And that’s how that chap’s going to make his money and mark!

It's a famous poem, which appears on page 383 of the book, giving physicists the name 'quark.'  Ellmann claims that it was inspired by the squawking of the seagulls on Bognor strand. However, it first appeared in Joyce's fair copy, which the Joyce Archive volume dates to April 1923 - Joyce didn't go to Bognor until July (Ellmann never let facts get in the way of a good story).

Joyce's April fair copy, from the Garland Archive volume
Harriet Shaw Weaver typed the episode for Joyce, who then changed 'Wreneagle Almighty' to 'Wreneagle Highflighty' on the typescript. Unfortunately, Joyce used a duplicate of the typescript for later work, and this addition was lost. I love 'Highflighty' because it explains why the wren got to be the 'king of all birds' - by hitching a ride on the eagle's black and then flying higher.

This version was published in the James Joyce Broadsheet in June 1989

After finishing the 1923 medieval sketches, Joyce set them aside, only incorporating them in the Wake when he was finishing the book in 1938. While the other sketches survived intact, Tristan was taken to bits and inserted into another sketch, Mamalujo, to become Book Two, Chapter Four. Jed Deppman has a vivid description of Joyce's method:

Resembling a modern subatomic physicist more than a copyeditor, he actively pulverized and recombined his textual elements, notably shattering 'Tristan' and scattering its pieces into 'Mamalujo'.
  Jed Deppman, 'A Chapter in Composition: Chapter II.4', How Joyce wrote Finnegans Wake, p 309

As an example of this, Tristan's operatic cry to Isolde 'from his toploftical voicebox' became part of a community singing scene in an old people's home!

their community singing (up) the top loft of the voicebox, of Mamalujo like the senior follies at murther magrees, squatting round,two by two, the four confederates, with Caxons the Coswarn, up the wet air register in Old Man’s House, Millenium Road 297.10 

Another line, describing Isolde swallowing Tristan's tongue - 'she lovegulped her American's pulpous propellor' was turned into 'whoever the gulpable, and whatever the pulpous' (396.23) 

Joyce also translated much of the clear English of the Tristan sketch into dense Wake language. So Isolde not caring 'a pinch of henshit' for Mark is transformed into 'it were too exceeding really if one would to offer at sulk an oldivirdual a pinge of hinge hit.' (396.19-20). 'Since Adam was in the boy's navy' became 'since Edem was in the boags noavy' (396.22).

It's a shame that Joyce never published the original Tristan sketch which, by the way, was the only thing Joyce wrote after 1922 that Ezra Pound approved of!2

Here's the whole piece, from the duplicate typescript made by Harriet Shaw Weaver in August 1923, as reproduced in the Garland James Joyce Archive volume. Yes, not only did Harriet Shaw Weaver support Joyce financially while he was writing the Wake (a book she didn't even like), she also acted as his occasional typist!  And she later gave his manuscripts to the British Library, where we can read them today.

Three cheers for Harriet Shaw Weaver!


1 'I have not written a word of Nausikaa beyond notation of flapper's atrocities and general plan of the specially new fizzing style (Patent No728SP.ZP.BP.LP>)'Joyce to Frank Budgen, undated letter, Letters I 132

2 'I will have another go at it, but up to present I make nothing of it whatever. Nothing so far as I make out, nothing short of divine vision or a new cure for the clapp can possibly by worth all the circumambient peripherization. Doubtless there are patient souls who will wade through anything for the sake of a joke...but...having no inkling whether the purpose of the author is to amuse or somma....Up to the present I have found diversion in the Tristan and Iseult paragraphs that you read years ago...mais apart ça...And in any case I don' see what which has to do with where...' Pound to Joyce, 15 November 1926, Letters, Vol III p.145