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Finnegans Wake - H.o.L. Link?

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  • Finnegans Wake - H.o.L. Link?

    As a forewarning, I began reading H.o.L. less than a week ago. As of this moment, I am in the first pages of the appendices. I should also apologize now, rather than later, because this post will likely be uninteresting to anyone who has not (attempted to) read Finnegans Wake. I will try to summarize what I can, but this is no small task.

    The first time I tried to describe the to an unfortunate soul who had not yet discovered it, I had difficulty in explaining what it was I was reading. The first book that came to mind, in fact, was James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake." But, not until I had nearly finished The Navidson Record did I really think about comparing the two.

    Of all the literary devices Joyce used in the Wake, his "dream language." For the Wake-'impaired,' the book is intended to be the dreams of a man in Chapelizod (near Dublin). Because he is dreaming, the words in the book are frequently "misspelled" in such a way that they evoke at once multiple meanings.

    A simple example would be "guenneses," which is both Genesis (and is preceded on the page by 'deuteronomy,' 'Helviticus' and 'joshuan judges') and Guinness, which needs no explanation.

    The of Leaves has similar means for playing with language, be it the unusual page formatting, (with page 432 of the 2nd edition being my personal favorite) or the missing letters, words and pages of the last hours of Holloway.

    That is not why I am writing, however. I was inspired today while trying to figure out who, exactly, wrote The Navidson Record. For some time now, I had been making notes about how one character is paralleled by another, or multiple others in the different "worlds" of the book. These "worlds" being, firstly, Zampano, J.T., Thumper, Lude, P, etc. And secondly, the Navidson family and friends,

    In Finnegans Wake, every character serves as a symbol for a specific personality role/mythological figure/Jungian archtype. So, we have the following as the work's archtypes:

    Daughter: Issy
    Mother: A.L.P. (Initialed because she has as many names as the has species of darkness)
    Crone: Kate

    As a side note, each of the female archtypes are part of the same whole. In the Wakean mythos, all women pass through each of these three stages in their lives. Issy is the young temptress, ALP is a middle-aged mother and all that entails, and Kate is an old washerwoman, fond of gossip.

    Elder Male: H.C.E. (Who, like ALP, has many names)

    Passive Son: Shem
    Aggressive Son: Shaun

    The sons are twins and, to make a long story short, they both compete to become the next Alpha Male, the next HCE. Of course, Shaun always wins, but his victory is a pyrric one - the next generation will threaten his hard-won place and he will be dethroned, only to repeat the cycle. I'll get back to the notion of the cycle later. As stereotypes, Shaun-sons are burly, of average intelligence, typically pudgy and support the status quo. Shem-sons are artists (i.e. Shem = James Joyce) who protest against all that Shaun symbolizes and defends, which includes attempts at bringing down the Father.

    I will be the first to admit that this theory has significant holes, but it also provides a (radically?) new way of looking at Karen and the other women of the H.o.L.

    As you may have guessed, Karen is the ALP figure of the . Below is the list of whom I believe corresponds to who.
    I am separating the "worlds" of the book, with the Navidson-world first, and J.T.'s second.
    Issy - Delial (Daisy? Delial is more a temptress, in a sense, but Daisy plays a larger role in the work - or does she?)/J.T.'s many one night stands
    ALP - Karen/Thumper
    Kate - Karen's mother & other minor players/P

    HCE - W. Navidson/Zampano
    Shem - Holloway(?)/J.T.
    Shaun - Tom (and Reston?)/J.T.

    I am beginning to realize that what I had origally hoped to be a short post is becoming a short novel. Before I continue I'd like to get feedback -- is this line of thought worthwhile? Is it even sensical? There are so many subtleties I could comment on already, but perhaps they are for another day and another post.

    M. MuChao

  • #2
    Intersting read (12 years!). I think the "error" on page 146 - "Barthe’s" -was a nod to how many people mistake Finnegans Wake as Finnegan's Wake (also see For Further Reading). I allways thought that HoL was more like Ulysses than FW (Johnny as Telemachus/Stephen Dedalus/Joyce, Zampano as Homer/Ulysses/Bloom and Pelafina as Penelope/Molly).