Beginning the day thinking studying zoology would be apropos, decide instead to challenge myself trying to understand a difficult book that many, including myself, find unreadable, that is Finnegans Wake. It was intended to supersede Ulysses, a recognized masterpiece, and people don’t often seem to know what’s going on with this other one. Joyce spent a third of his life writing it. Apparently he used Giambattista Vico’s New Science as a scaffold for it. It really gets on my nerves that white males are interested in this kind of stuff instead of being imbeciles 24/7, we need to do something about that. Anyway to understand great works oftentimes one has to understand other great works. What, you thought this would be easy? Go watch a “show” or something philistine.
Let’s make it even more difficult
We must never forget that Vico was a professor of rhetoric and was therefore familiar with the techniques of cautious writing. It is our conviction that the New Science is an exoteric book which means that it contains two levels of meaning: one which conveys a popular and orthodox message, and another which conveys a philosophical message addressed to philosophers.
The New Science was published in 1725. Finnegans Wake was published in 1939. It’s pretty standard to take Benedetto Croce to be the chief interpreter of Vico- some others believe it is Joyce. The latter “interpreter” isn’t as easy to understand.
Wrapping your mind around a “futural poet” is no simple task. His close friend, another poet, Samuel Beckett claims that he created a new language.
Are we speachin d’anglas landadge or are you sprakin sea Djoytsch?
Speaking of tricksters. Speaking of a sublime, forbidding mountain.
question was raised: whether anyone would say what he or she thought the book was about. Hearing no response, I
Quite odd when this is a normal thing to see
Paul Valéry said in order to appreciate Joyce’s master work one ought to know seventeen languages. Should probably begin with the “Vico language” since Joyce himself instructed people to understand that to understand Finnegans Wake.
I feel like I’m drowning trying to understand all this–and that’s a good thing. This isn’t like today’s pseudo-art where the message is simply “diversity good!” “What value does it have then??” Don’t worry, it’s a girlboss manifesto, there, are you interested now? Just kidding.
Vico subscribed to the cyclical view of history. The first is the divine age, the second the heroic, the third the human, the fourth the chaotic. I’d have to say we’re in the fourth.
“What are you talking about, this is the age of heroes.”
AHAHAHAAH!!!! Oh you were joking, okay, my mistake.
An Irishman is probably reading all this thinking “What do YOU know about that book?” That it’s pretty close to unreadable and I want to understand it? I’d like to locate its “center”, for starters.
The New Science for Finnegans Wake seems to play a similar role the Odyssey plays for Ulysses
It makes little sense to suppose that the realist who in Ulysses had invested so much care in the portrayal of a single man in a single city on a single day in history should have ended his career writing a book in polyglottal puns in order to transmit the news that the same things happened over and over again in quadrupartite cycles.
The New Science was published only a few years after Robinson Crusoe, and likewise describes the “state of nature”
Interesting in the context of sublimity, it’s the boom of thunder that begins it all, for Vico. And this of course has its precedence in Homer, where the chief god Zeus is more or less defined by thunder and lightning, clouds, storms.
I’m rather fond of this Vico character
he preserved sacred history by locating the Hebrew race outside of the secular world–and essentially beyond the scope of his history—at a region of earth isolated by deserts and centuries from the rest of humanity
Vico’s history is a “goy history” – not sure whether this figures in Joyce.
Zooming out, Finnegans Wake seems clearly to be itself a part of this chaotic age.
He was so well-read and he chose this book – why?
Strange that I mentioned zoology at the beginning of this post
Nature gives Vico’s man the mind of an unconscious animal; Vico’s history is the process by which man, of his own blind, stumbling power, slowly builds that natural mind toward consciousness, interdependently with language and civil institutions.
Yeah I get it, reading these things on a site like this might make you “sigh”. I’m just trying to understand a hermetically-sealed artwork.
A note on the culture Joyce grew up in
a time when the verb “to like” was synonymous with the preposition “like,” and when to “like” someone meant that one found the likeness of his own race and blood in them.
“That’s backwards!” That DNA of friendship book I posted about recently confirms it’s an empirical fact. “I purposely live in a Latino section of the city to prove people like you wrong!” Yeah right, you’re probably surrounded by whites you hypocrite. “Lying makes me money and gives me status.” Whoa some honesty for once, bravo.
Heh for a similar reason only a ~particular type~ of person will probably be interested in Joyce and Vico.