Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Dublin's Phoenix Park as a Giant Male Arse

Here's a male arse, from the Farnese Hercules 

'This is his big wide harse' 8.20
And here's a map of the Phoenix Park. Can you see the similarity?

James Joyce could!

In Book 3 chapter 4, we are taken on a tour of Earwicker's pub at night, where most of the family is sleeping. After visiting the rooms of Issy and the twins, we go into the parents' bedroom. The first thing we see is Earwicker's huge backside, as he lies on top of Anna Livia in another of the book's grotesque sex scenes.

'Jeminy, what is the view which now takes up a second position of discordance, tell it please? Mark! You notice it in that rereway because the male entail partially eclipses the femecovert. It is so called for its discord the meseedo. Do you ever heard the story about Helius Croesus, that white and gold elephant in our zoopark? You astonish me by it. Is it not that we are commanding from fullback, woman permitting, a profusely fine birdseye view from beauhind this park? Finn his park has been much the admiration of all the stranger ones, grekish and romanos, who arrive to here. The straight road down the centre (see relief map) bisexes the park which is said to be the largest of his kind in the world. On the right prominence confronts you the handsome vinesregent’s lodge while, turning to the other supreme piece of cheeks, exactly opposite, you are confounded by the equally handsome chief sacristary’s residence. Around is a little amiably tufted and man is cheered when he bewonders through the boskage how the nature in all frisko is enlivened by gentlemen’s seats. Here are heavysuppers — ’tis for daddies housings for hundredaires of our super thin thousand. By gum, but you have resin! Of these tallworts are yielded out juices for jointoils and pappasses for paynims. Listeneth! ’Tis a tree story. How olave, that firile, was aplantad in her liveside. How tannoboom held tonobloom. How rood in norlandes. The black and blue marks athwart the weald, which now barely is so stripped, indicate the presence of sylvious beltings. Therewithal shady rides lend themselves out to rustic cavalries. In yonder valley, too, stays mountain sprite. Any pretty dears are to be caught inside but it is a bad pities of the plain. A scarlet pimparnell now mules the mound where anciently first murders were wanted to take root. By feud fionghalian. Talkingtree and sinningstone stay on either hand. Hystorical leavesdroppings may also be garnered up with sir Shamus Swiftpatrick, Archfieldchaplain of Saint Lucan’s. How familiar it is to see all these interesting advenements with one snaked’s eyes! Is all? Yet not. Hear one’s. At the bodom fundus of this royal park, which, with tvigate shyasian gardeenen, is open to the public till night at late, so well the sissastrides so will the pederestians, do not fail to point to yourself a depression called Holl Hollow. It is often quite guttergloomering in our duol and gives wankyrious thoughts to the head but the banders of the pentapolitan poleetsfurcers bassoons into it on windy woodensdays their wellbooming wolvertones. Ulvos! Ulvos!' 

564.01-565.05

This is a verbal equivalent of an 18th century puzzle picture - popular prints of landscapes with human features concealed within them.

Joyce read a description of the park in Warburton Whitelaw and Walsh's 1818 History of the City of Dublin, which I've found online. So 'man is cheered when he bewonders through the boskage how the nature in all frisko is enlivened by gentlemen’s seats' is inspired by this passage:


'The straight road down the centre (see relief map) bisexes the park which is said to be the largest of his kind in the world.'

Earwicker's arsecrack is the long straight Chesterfield Avenue, which bisects the park.  A relief map would show the rising buttocks on each side. 

Elsewhere Joyce says that Dublin 'can boost of having...the most extensive public park in the world' 140.10.  But look how Joyce has made the park male ('his kind').

'On the right prominence confronts you the handsome vinesregent’s lodge while, turning to the other supreme piece of cheeks, exactly opposite, you are confounded by the equally handsome chief sacristary’s residence.'

The right buttock has the Viceregal Lodge, the left cheek the Chief Secretary's lodge.   Look out for the HCE initials ('equally handsome chief').

 
'The black and blue marks athwart the weald, which now barely is so stripped, indicate the presence of sylvious beltings.'

The marks on the relief map are a belt of trees – and black and blue bruises on Earwicker's stripped/striped bum. They indicate the presence of beltings erotic flagellation.  'Weald' is an old English name for woodland which also includes 'weal', a red swollen mark.  
'Sylvious' - associated with forests, from Latin 'Silva', and so birchings. Maybe also 'serious'.

This reminds me of Leopold Bloom in Circe:

THE HONOURABLE MRS MERVYN TALBOYS (Stamps her jingling spurs in a sudden paroxysm of sudden fury.) I will, by the God above me. I'll scourge the pigeonlivered cur as long as I can stand over him. I'll flay him alive.
BLOOM (His eyes closing, quails expectantly.) Here? (He squirms.) Again! (He pants cringing.) I love the danger.
THE HONOURABLE MRS MERVYN TALBOYS Very much so! I'll make it hot for you. I'll make you dance Jack Latten for that.
MRS BELLINGHAM Tan his breech well, the upstart! Write the stars and stripes on it!
MRS YELVERTON BARRY Disgraceful! There's no excuse for him! A married man!
BLOOM All these people. I meant only the spanking idea. A warm tingling glow without effusion. Refined birching to stimulate the circulation.


'A scarlet pimparnell now mules the mound where anciently first murders were wanted to take root.'

The Phoenix Park murders location is marked by a pimple on the bum, a scarlet pimParnell in the park, because Parnell was falsely accused of complicity in the murders, with forged letters written by the journalist Richard Piggott - who was found out by his mispelling 'hesitency'.


Joyce doesn't play with the word 'assassination', even though it includes the American form of 'arse' twice – too obvious for him?

'Do you ever heard the story about Helius Croesus, that white and gold elephant in our zoopark?'
 
An elephant I photographed in the Phoenix Park Zoo in 2010
 

Parnell's enemy, Tim Healy, is also here, as the elephant in the zoo - the elephant who says his prayers in the Phoenix Park Nocturne.  When Joyce started writing the Wake, Healy was Governor General of Ireland, and lived in the park in the Viceregal Lodge.  



'At the bodom fundus of this royal park, which, with tvigate shyasian gardeenen, is open to the public till night at late, so well the sissastrides so will the pederestians, do not fail to point to yourself a depression called Holl Hollow. It is often quite guttergloomering in our duol and gives wankyrious thoughts to the head but the banders of the pentapolitan poleetsfurcers bassoons into it on windy woodensdays their wellbooming wolvertones. Ulvos! Ulvos!'


This is the Hollow, the unnamed area above between the Zoological Gardens and the People's Garden on the map above. There's a bandstand here, representing Earwicker's arsehole - the 'Hol Hollow'.
 
Earwicker's anus, from google earth

The windy sound of the Dublin Police brass band instruments are farts - and the howling of the twelve wolves hunting down Parnell/HCE.

In Dublin this week, for Finnegans Wake at 80, I made a pilgrimage to Earwicker's arsehole


'I go to bed and then that man sits in the next room and continues laughing about his own writing, And then I knock on the door, and I say, 'Now Jim, stop writing or stop laughing.'  

Nora Barnacle to Carola Giedion-Welcker

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

The Cad with a Pipe


'They tell the story...how one happygogusty Ides-of-April morning...ages and ages after the alleged misdemeanour when the tried friend of all creation, tigerwood roadstaff to his stay, was billowing across the wide expanse of our greatest park in his caoutchouc kepi and great belt and hideinsacks and his blaufunx fustian and ironsides jackboots and Bhagafat gaiters and his rubberised inverness, he met a cad with a pipe.'  35.01-11

This is Earwicker's encounter in the Phoenix Park with the cad with a pipe, a meeting that sets in motion the 'plot' of Finnegans Wake. The cad greets HCE in Gaelic, and asks him the time. Earwicker takes the encounter as an attack, and fears 'being hurled into eternity right then, plugged by a softnosed bullet from the sap.' He launches into a defence of his character, stammering guiltily that 'that there is not one tittle of truth, allow me to tell you, in that purest of fibfib fabrications.' 

The cad goes home and tells his wife 'as many of the bigtimer’s verbaten words which he could balbly call to memory'. She then tells an 'overspoiled priest', who is then overheard giving 'a slightly varied version' of it. And so it goes on until HCE's reputation is destroyed by a deluge of gossip.

This is based on a real encounter that Joyce's father had in the Phoenix Park, which Joyce told Frank Budgen was 'the basis' of his book. Yet there is no definitive account of what happened.  

PADRAIC COLUM'S VERSION


One version is given by Joyce's friend, Padraic Colum. In 1929, Colum helped Joyce prepare 'Haveth Childers Everywhere', for publication. This is another self-defence from HCE, where the cad reappears at the beginning:

'I protest there is luttrelly not one teaspoonspill of evidence at bottomlie to my babad....The caca cad!' 534.09,

'I see (Joyce) now standing in the middle of his apartment, laughing reminiscently because of a word that has come up. 'The caca cad!' H.C.E, cries, denouncing an accuser. 'A cad on a bicycle' had asked Joyce's father for a match in the Phoenix Park. Relating the incident when he got home, his father had used the word 'cad' abusively. But what did 'cad' mean?  A cadet, a younger son. And why should the 'younger son' amount to a term of abuse? 'A cad on a bicycle' – Joyce was in a convulsion of laughter as he repeated it. Was the comedy in the fact that his father should be enraged because a young man on a bicyce addressed him? Or was it that the dark expanse of garden a man asking for a light, the ferocious reaction of the one accosted, suggested the comic side of a myth?'

Mary and Padraic Colum, Our Friend James Joyce, 1958, p159

FRANK BUDGEN'S VERSION


Here's another version, from Frank Budgen:

'Commenting on a precis of Le Fanu's book I made for him in 1937, Joyce wrote, referring to the spot in Phoenix Park where the fierce Dangerfield struck down Sturk: 'The encounter between my father and a tramp (the basis of my book) actually took place in that part of the park.''

Joyce's 'Chapters of Going Forth by Day' in James Joyce and the Making of Ulysses, OUP, 1972, p330, 

So Colum's young man on a bicycle has become a tramp - which is why I've put a picture of W.H.Davies, the Super-Tramp, at the top. But have you ever seen a tramp on a bicycle? 

'Le Fanu's book' is Sheridan Le Fanu's House by the Churchyard, one of only four books, according to Gorman's biography, which made up Joyce's father's 'library'. 

In the book, Doctor Sturk is stunned and left for dead by Dangerfield, the book's villain. Here's the moment when Dangerfield, after the assault, finds a crowd gathered around Sturk's house:

'There was an indescribable something about the group which indicated horror and excitement. Dangerfield quickened his pace, and arrived just as the adjutant rode out.
Saluting both as he advanced, Dangerfield asked—
'Nothing amiss, I hope, gentlemen?'
'The surgeon here's been found murdered in the park!' answered Lowe.
'Hey—Sturk?' said Dangerfield.
'Yes,' said the adjutant: 'this boy here says he's found him in the Butcher's Wood.'
'The Butcher's Wood!—why, what the plague brought him there?' exclaimed Dangerfield.
''Tis his straight road from Dublin across the park,' observed the magistrate.'  

Sherdian Le Fanu, The House by the Churchyard, Chapter 53

In a later chapter, the congregation in Chapelizod church see Sturk's place empty:

'many, as from time to time the dismal gap opened silent before their eyes, felt their thoughts wander and lead them away in a strange and dismal dance, among the nodding hawthorns in the Butcher's Wood, amidst the damps of night, where Sturk lay in his leggings, and powder and blood, and the beetle droned by unheeding, and no one saw him save the guilty eyes that gleamed back as the shadowy shape stole swiftly away among the trees.'  

Sherdian Le Fanu, The House by the Churchyard, Chapter 56

This assault is in the Wake:

'dangerfield circling butcherswood where fireworker oh flaherty engaged a nutter of castlemallards and ah for archer stunned’s turk.' 80.08

Thanks to this, we know that Joyce's father's encounter took place in the Butcher's Wood, a remote part of the park in the north west, by Castleknock. It's on the left here.



Brendan Nolan, in his Phoenix Park: A History and Guidebook (2005) says that the wood was a notorious hideout of robbers. It got its name because butchers from the City markets would gather here to settle quarrels, which were fought out in ritual ways using the tools of the trade.

RICHARD ELLMANN'S VERSION


There's yet another version of the encounter in Richard Ellmann's biography. Here it becomes an actual attempted robbery, which took place when John Joyce was working as a rates collector: 

'The bravery he had once displayed in defending his collector's pouch against an assailant in the Phoenix Park was forgotten, to be remembered only in Finnegans Wake.

Ellmann 1982, p35

Ellmann, as so often, gives no source for his story.

JOHN WYSE JACKSON AND PETER COSTELLO'S VERSION


In their biography John Stanislaus Joyce, John Wyse Jackson and Peter Costello expand on Ellmann's story. They give some alternative versions of 'whatever it was that happened to (John Joyce) if anything did at all':



It's shame that, like Ellmann, they don't give any sources. Peter Costello repeats the story in his book The Years of Growth, where he places the robbery outside the Viceregal Lodge near the site of the Phoenix Park murders, at the bottom right on this map – quite a distance from the Butchers Wood.






So we have many different stories proliferating, and no definitive account. The funny thing is that this is exactly what happens to the story of the encounter with the cad in Finnegans Wake. The big difference is that Joyce gives us the line of transmission, as the cad's story is passed on by various rumour mongers until Hosty turns it into the scurrillous Ballad of Persse O'Reilly.

'Therewith was released in that kingsrick of Humidia a poisoning volume of cloud barrage indeed. Yet all they who heard or redelivered are now with that family of bards and Vergobretas himself and the crowd of Caraculacticors as much no more as be they not yet now or had they then notever been.' 48.04

Thanks to Ian Garvie for sharing Charles Peake& Company's performance of Hosty's ballad.

 

Monday, 1 April 2019

April Fool's Day

'Not even an escort of battleships and the loan of a bulletproof vest could induce me to set foot in your Free-fire [sic] State.'

James Joyce refuses an invitation to meet Eamon de Valera, the new Irish President, in 1932.
Eamon De Valera
Today is April Fool's Day, which gives me the excuse to share the greatest ever Joycean April Fool. It's an anonymous book review, written in 1985, from the Economist. I learned about the story at the time from an Irish friend, who sent me a report about the article from the Sunday Tribune, which you can read at the bottom. Searching online recently, I found that, in 2009, Hal O'Brien had posted the original book review on his blog. O'Brien was taken in by the article, only realising it was a hoax twenty years later. 

The article appeared in The Economist, a weekly journal, on 30 March 1985:

AFTER THE WAKE: A Selection from the Papers of James Joyce in the National Library of Ireland

Edited, and with a commentary by Dermot O’Grady.
The University College Press, Cork. 185 pages. I£15

It has long been a source of annoyance to Joyce scholars that the National Library of Ireland should have imposed a seal on those private papers of James Joyce that came into its possession shortly after the second world war. These papers, consisting of several thousand letters to and from the harassed and impecunious author, a great many unpaid bills and what appears to be the first draft of a long poem intended to be the successor to Finnegans Wake, were retrieved from his apartment in Paris a few weeks after Joyce’s death in January, 1941, by his honorary secretary, Mr Paul Léon. Mr Léon handed the papers to the Irish Free State’s ambassador to Vichy, with the instruction that they should be deposited in the National Library under a 50-year seal if he should fail to survive the war.
 
Mr Léon perished at the hands of the Gestapo and the papers were duly sent to Dublin, since when they have languished in 16 metal boxes in Kildare Street, uncatalogued and unread until Professor O’Grady was allowed access to them. The senior tutor in Celtic studies in University College, Cork, he has hitherto enjoyed a career undistinguished even by Irish academic standards and it is difficult to imagine why he should have been chosen as the recipient of this honour.

Constantine Curran with Paul Léon
The seal on the papers had been imposed by the library on the advice of Constantine Curran, a schoolboy acquaintance of Joyce’s, whose adherence to the Roman Catholic faith was steadfast, and was not due to expire until 1991. This earlier examination of the papers was allowed apparently on the personal intercession of Dr Garrett Fitzgerald, the taoiseach (prime minister). He has opened a hornet’s nest.

Professor O’Grady is exceedingly parsimonious in his quotation from the correspondence. This is not surprising, given the incendiary quality of many letters, particularly those written to Joyce by his wife, Nora Barnacle, and by the sensitive nature of the private exchanges, previously unsuspected, which passed between him and Eamon De Valera. Joyce was formally invited to meet de Valera, shortly after the latter’s installation as president of the executive council of the Irish Free State in 1932, and answered in most unrepublican terms. 'Not even an escort of battleships and the loan of a bulletproof vest', he wrote, 'could induce me to set foot in your Free-fire [sic] State, nor would I wish to put in jeopardy the pension which has been so generously been bestowed upon me by the British at the behest of Sir Edmund Gosse. I notice, incidentally, that you persist in the impudence of depicting on your postage stamps a map of the whole island of Ireland although your write [sic] runs in only three-quarters of it.'

The letters written to Joyce by his wife are, as previously suspected, highly pornographic. Professor O’Grady does not sully his pages with more than the barest allusion to their content. Joyce was several times away from Nora Barnacle on what he alleged were business trips and she was in the habit of sending him, at his own request, what he called 'dirty letters'. Professor O’Grady makes it abundantly clear that large stretches of the Penelope episode of Ulysses (commonly known as Molly Bloom’s soliloquy) were the work not of James Joyce, but of his wife. The passages quoted show convincingly why Constantine Curran, after he had examined the papers for the library in 1951, passionately pleaded for their destruction. In his introduction, Professor O’Grady also calls for continued suppression of the papers for a further period of 50 years beyond 1991.

His argument appears to rest on his contention that to allow the publication of Joyce’s comments on his own work and on the work of other modernist masters, particularly Eliot and Pound, would deal literary scholarship a blow from which it would be a long time recovering. This is a tendentious argument, and the standard of Professor O’Grady’s own scholarship falls well below mediocrity. His text is by no means free of error (Chapelizod, for example, is not in County Wicklow), and the bibliography is grossly inadequate and there is no index. The whole publication is shoddily printed and bound. The publication date — the Monday after this issue of The Economist is published — seems entirely appropriate.

According to the Sunday Tribune, the author was 'an Irish writer', 'a Joycean scholar' and 'a man of many parts'. Parts of his piece remind me of Myles na gCopaleen's 'Cruiskeen Lawn' column in the Irish Times ('a career undistinguished even by Irish academic standards', 'Joyce was several times away from Nora Barnacle on what he alleged were business trips').

The article is close enough to the truth to be convincing. Paul Léon really did save Joyce's correspondence, which was kept by the Dublin Library under a 50 year seal. Here's Lucie Léon, his widow:

'He took all of his and Joyce's private correspondence over the years of their friendship and put it in a large envelope on which he wrote: 

Private correspondence between James Joyce and Paul Léon. In the event of my death I bequeath these letters to the Dublin library. They are not to be opened before fifty years from now (1990). Only the immediate family of James Joyce and his literary executors may have access to these letters, when necessary.'

Lucie Léon, James Joyce and Paul L Léon: The Story of a Friendship, 1950 p36

Léon also risked his life to save many papers from Joyce's final address.  

'Paul and a handyman we sometimes employed made two trips with a pushcart, and it was only later that I realised how distasteful entering someone else's home and rummaging through their private possessions had been to my husnband. He told me he hoped he had saved everything of importance, and I suggested that he go once more and make sure. Paul looked at me steadily and said very gently, 'Do you realise what you are saying?'

Lucie Léon, James Joyce and Paul L Léon: The Story of a Friendship, 1950 p3

Unike the correspondence, these papers, which included Joyce's working notebooks for the Wake, were not Léon's property. Giorgio Joyce later sold them to the Lockwood Memorial Library of the University of Buffalo. So the Economist author has combined two separate sets of documents here.

When the Dublin library papers were finally opened to scholars in1992, Danis Rose was there:

'At a special ceremony held at the National Library on 5 April 1992, and attended by inter alia the present author, Albert Reynolds (the Taoiseach), Stephen Joyce and Alexis Léon (Paul's son), these important papers were made available for inspection by the public for the first time. But not quite all. Some were resealed for another fifty-odd years, and others were handed over to Stephen Joyce. This occasioned much controversy. David Norris, a well-known Joycean raised the matter in the Irish Senate but failed to get any satisfaction.'

The Textual Diaries of James Joyce, 1995, p9

According to the New York Times, Stephen Joyce's call for the continued suppression of the papers caused 'Senator David Norris, to stalk angrily out of a reception at the library'.

So Professor O'Grady's call for 'continued suppression of the papers for a further period of 50 years beyond 1991' was partly successful!

'Not even an escort of battleships and the loan of a bulletproof vest', he wrote, 'could induce me to set foot in your Free-fire [sic] State'

This sounds like something Joyce could have written. He really did believe that if he visited the Irish Free State he risked being shot. In 1922, Nora, Giorgio and Lucia, visiting the Barnacle family in Galway, were on a train carrying Free State troops which was fired on by Irregulars: 

'Joyce persuaded himself that the attack had an ulterior motive and, incredible as it sounds, that he was being aimed at through his family....Equally he is reported as believing some silly, quite groundless story that his books were burned at some date or another on the steps of the National University.'

Constantine Curran, James Joyce Remembered, p 81 

'No doubt you will see Nora some other time when she goes to revisit her native dunghill, but it is doubtful that Giorgio and Lucia will go. The air in Galway is good but too dear at the present price.'

Joyce to his aunt, Josephine Murray, October 1922.

'nor would I wish to put in jeopardy the pension which has been so generously been bestowed upon me by the British at the behest of Sir Edmund Gosse.'

Joyce, a British citizen all his life, refused offers of an Irish passport, even during World War Two, when it would have helped him escape from occupied France. 

At Yeats's request, in 1916 Edmund Gosse did help Joyce get £75 from the Royal Literary Fund, though not a pension. Gosse, who had not read Joyce's writing at the time, later regretted helping him:

'I have difficulty in describing to you in writing the character of Mr Joyce's notoriety. It is partly political, partly a perfectly cynical appeal to sheer indecency. He is not of course entirely without talent, but he is a literary charlatan of the extremest order. His principal book, Ulysses, has no parallel that I know of in French. It is an anarchical production, infamous in taste, in style, in everything. 
  Mr Joyce is unable to publish or sell his books in England, on account of their obscenity. He therefore publishes a 'private' edition in Paris and charges a huge price for each copy. He is a sort of Marquis de Sade, but does not write so well.  He is the perfect type of the Irish fumiste, a hater of England, more than suspected of partiality for Germany....There are no English critics of weight or judgment who consider Mr Joyce an author of any importance....He is not as I say without talent, but he has prostituted it to the most vulgar uses.'

Edmund Gosse to Louis Gillet, 7 June 1924, quoted by Ellmann, James Joyce 1982, p528


A 'fumiste' is a chimney sweep, with the additional slang meaning of crackpot, joker or fraud.

Joyce knew all about this letter, and responded to it in Gorman's official biography:

'Louis Gillet...luckily knew when to spice Anglo-Saxon advice with a large pinch of salt and the senseless and unforgiveable judgement of the author of 'Peach and apple and apricot' bore no weight with the French writer.'

Herbert Gorman, James Joyce, p338. 


'I notice, incidentally, that you persist in the impudence of depicting on your postage stamps a map of the whole island of Ireland although your write [sic] runs in only three-quarters of it.'

Finn Fordham tells me that Joyce made a similar comment in a letter to Harriet Shaw Weaver:

'Shaun's map: for this see any postage stamp of the Irish Free State. It is a philatelic curiosity. A territorial stamp, it includes the territory of another state, Northern Ireland.'

24 March 1924, Letters p.213 

Joyce was explaining Anna Livia's gift of 'a sunless map of the world including the moon and stars for Shaun the Post' which later became 'a sunless map of the month, including the sword and stamps, for Shemus O'Shaun the Post' 211.31):

Some Free State stamps show a Sword of Light

Having created credibility, a good April Fool should suggest something startling. Here we have the suggestions that Nora Barnacle co-wrote 'Penelope' and that Eamon De Valera, an arch-conservative Catholic, wanted to meet James Joyce – known in Ireland as a writer of dirty books and an enemy of the Church.  

De Valera appears in Finnegans Wake, where his name becomes 'the devil era' (473.07).

There's also the tantalisising mention of 'what appears to be the first draft of a long poem intended to be the successor to Finnegans Wake'.

What wouldn't we give to read that!