the most important thing: the book-title has no apostrophe, but the song-title does
song: annotated lyrics
the book is a cyclical dream of all history, and a call for all of us sleeping 'Finnegans' to awaken
the song tells of Tim Finnegan who fell off a ladder at work and was pronounced dead, but then woke up in the middle of his own wake
Finn-again would also be the Irish hero Finn MacCool returning again (or even Finnish invaders)
006.14 “Fillagain’s chrissormiss wake"
358.22 "Fenegans Wick"
453.03 "primmafore’s wake"
537.34 "Fanagan’s Weck"
565.14 "jibberweek’s joke”
he kept the title secret until it was guessed in 1938, using the substitute "Work in Progress" instead. starting in March 1924 he called it "◻" in his notes, referring variously to buildings, letters in envelopes, mailboxes, coffins, etc. By 1923 he was already mentioning wakes in his notes.
[fwk] [fwt] [fwc]
French 'reverons' = let us dream together
rivers run eternally to the sea, where they evaporate into clouds that rain down and start the cycle over again. Joyce equated the river with Anna Livia Plurabelle, ALP = △
there's a secondary theme of the widowed Mrs Finnegan writing a letter to a 'Revered Majesty' and the opening word 'Revered' or 'Reverend' is blurred here
615.12 "Dear. And we go on to Dirtdump. Reverend."
and this first word is a continuation from the last sentence of the book (sometimes indented to midpage)
chapter one wasn't begun until November 1926, while other sections were underway in 1923.
past Eve and Adam's,
the cycle began before the first human couple
the river is all rivers, but especially the Liffey that runs through Dublin, past Adam and Eve's Church, founded in a tavern in 1618
from swerve of shore
to bend of bay,
shore/bay = land/water
swerve/bend = active/passive?
fdv2: "brings us to Howth Castle & Environs!"
we're following the river
by a commodious vicus of recirculation
fw1 has "commodius"
'commode' implies it's an odious/odorous sewer, too
Vico's theory of cyclical history was one of Joyce's inspirations
'vicus' is Latin for street (Healy says VICKuss, i say VIGHcuss. other possibilities: VEEcus, WIHcus or WEEcus. "Vico" is always VEEco, I think.)
|the course of the Liffey river|
back to Howth Castle & Environs.
'back' = we've been there/here before (an infinity of times)
Howth Head juts out into Dublin Bay. it has a castle dating back 700 years.
Howth rhymes with oath.
the initials HCE are a shorthand for the fallen Finnegan (via Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker, aka "E") that's echoed on almost every page (474 out of 626)
Healy says ENNvihruns (rhymes w/riverrun?), i say enVIGHruns
fdv1: "Howth Castle & Environs!"
fw1 spells out "and"
evolution of text