James Joyce

The Autodidact in Finnegans Wake


When Phishlin Phil wants throws his lip 'tis pholly to be fortune flonting and whoever's gone to mix Hotel by the salt say water there's nix to nothing we can do for he's never again to sea. It is nebuless an autodidact fact of the commonest that the shape of the average human cloudyphiz, whereas sallow has long daze faded, frequently altered its ego with the possing of the showers (Not original!). Whence it is a slopperish matter, given the wet and low visibility (since in this scherzarade of one's thousand one nightinesses that sword of certainty which would indentifide the body never falls) to idendifine the individuone in scratch wig, squarecuts, stock lavaleer, regattable oxeter, baggy pants and shufflers (he is often alluded to as Slypatrick, the Had in the llane) with already an incipience (lust!) in the direction of area baldness (one is continually firstmeeting with odd sorts of others at all sorts of ages!) who was asked by free boardschool shirkers in drenched coats overawall, Will, Conn and Otto, to tell them overagait. Vol, Pov and Dev, that fishabed ghoatstory of the haardly creditable edventyres of the Haberdasher, the two Curchies and the three Enkelchums in their Bearskin ghoats! Girles and jongers, but he has changed alok syne Thorkill's time! Ya, da, tra, gathery, pimp, shesses, shossafat, okodeboko, nine! Those many warts, those slummy patches, halfsinster wrinkles, (what has come over the face on wholebroader E?), and (shrine of Mount Mu save us!) the large fungopark he has grown! Drink!


SOURCE: Joyce, James. Finnegans Wake (1939). New York: The Viking Press, 1966 (1958). This passage: Book I, Chapter 3, pp. 50-51.

See also:

Finnegans Wake - Desktop Version: Book I, Chapter 3, p. 50.

Elucidations in context, in Finnegans Wake Extensible Elucidation Treasury (Fweet).

Note: Boldface added by RD. A curious aspect of scholarship is that word-by-word elucidations and attempts at plot summaries are readily available, but meanings of specific passages and the import of specific keywords can be difficult if not impossible to find in the secondary literature. Also, the most obscure allusions are painstakingly documented, but the reader can easily come up with others that were either not intended (who can know?) or not thought up by scholars. For example, I immediately associated 'commonest' with 'communist'. Does it make sense to even ask whether this makes sense? ―RD


Robots in Finnegans Wake?

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