thunder words


quantum retrocausality said...

Joyce described the book as a downwards parabola into sleep, or as a tunnel going through a mountain. As HCE moves through the dream, the "thunderwords" track his movement. There are 10 thunderwords, the first 9 of 100 letters each, the last of 101, for a total of 1,001--tales of a thousand and one nights, appropriate for this book of sleep.

As each thunderword leads into another part of the book, it fits into Joyce's usage of Vico's philosophy to tell the story. Each thunderword leads to a new cycle and a deeper part of sleep, and a deeper, more muddled state in HCE's mind (where the "mudmound" of his body fades from view and even the acrostics for HCE become muddled, as hec, ech, etc.). Thunder itself was important in Vico's philosophy as a motivating force and a symbolic marker of events in history.

"There are ten thunders in the Wake. Each is a cryptogram or codified explanation of the thundering and reverberating consequences of the major technological changes in all human history. When a tribal man hears thunder, he says, 'What did he say that time?', as automatically as we say 'Gesundheit.'" -- Marshall McLuhan

"It took months of concentrated effort to begin to winkle out the thousands of words in the thunders; now, several of them have yielded thirty or more pages of words, each word denoting or alluding to a theme in the episode or an associated technology. Prior to our discovery of the thunders and their significance, Marshall McLuhan looked up to Joyce as a writer and artist of encyclopedic wisdom and eloquence unparalleled in our time.... After, he recognized in Joyce the prescient explorer, one who used patterns of linguistic energy to discern the patterns of culture and society and technology." -- Eric McLuhan

"His [Urizen's] voice to them was but an inarticulate thunder for their Ears Were heavy & dull & their eyes & nostrils closed up" (William Blake: Vala, or The Four Zoas, Night the Sixth, p. 70, l. 42f) Urizen represents - "in Eternity" - Faith and Certainty and - "in the Fall" - Doubt, Authoritarianism, Limitation and Abstraction. He is the supreme tyrant-god-priest-king-father figure.

quantum retrocausality said...














quantum retrocausality said...

Having done the longest day in literature with his monumental Ulysses (1922), James Joyce set himself an even greater challenge for his next book -- the night. "A nocturnal state.... That is what I want to convey: what goes on in a dream, during a dream." The work, which would exhaust two decades of his life and the odd resources of some sixty languages, culminated with the 1939 publication of Joyce's final and most revolutionary work, Finnegans Wake.

A story with no real beginning or end (it ends in the middle of a sentence and begins in the middle of the same sentence), this "book of Doublends Jined" is as remarkable for its prose as for its circular structure. Written in a fantastic dream-language, forged from polyglot puns and portmanteau words, the Wake features some of Joyce's most hilarious characters: the Irish barkeep Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker, Shem the Penman, Shaun the Postman, and Anna Livia Plurabelle. Sixty years after its publication, it remains in Anthony Burgess's words, "a great comic vision, one of the few books of the world that can make us laugh aloud on nearly every page."