Tuesday, December 30, 2014

An Analysis of My Summer of Love by Pawlikowski

What sets the film, My Summer of Love, apart from other films is that it narrates in a rather subtle, indirect way one woman's choice between two different forms of love: divine love for God versus satanic lust for a human.  The central character is Mona.  She is an orphan, roughly 18 years old, speaks with a working class accent, and not very attractive.  She lives with her brother in his late 20's, an ex-con, and now a fanatical Christian.  Mona is not an intellectual, not a very good artist, probably sees herself as low down on the social hierarchy and does not understand other people's intentions too well.  The reason for this belief is that early in the film we learn that she allows herself to be used for sex by a married man roughly twice her age who quite unceremoniously dumps her after the deed has been accomplished.  If she was really wise as to the ways of men it is unlikely that she would have allowed this to happen.  Further, when asked what she wants to do with her life, she responds: "I'm going to be a lawyer, work in an abattoir, work really hard, get a boyfriend who is like a bastard, and chillin out with all these kids, right?, with mental problems and then I'm going to wait for menopause."  These are not words from a person who has a very strong grip on reality.  And we later learn she is not able to guess Tamsin's intentions either.
    The other main character is Tamsin, also roughly 18 years old.  Tamsin is a sophisticated, sensitive intellectual.  She plays Saint Saëns on the violin admirably well, listens to French music and knows where Luxor and Omsk are located.  Tamsin is the satanic figure.  This is not to say that we believe in a literal devil, rather, the satanic figure is simply a character that causes another character to harm themselves.  What is beautiful though about the film is that Tamsin's satanic self is not completely obvious at first sight.
    She reads Nietzsche and she summarizes his philosophy as follows: "[H]e just believed that there are some people  that are put on this planet - that are made to succeed - or just made to blossom and it doesn't matter how many mere mortals suffer - it doesn't matter just as long as they succeed,  you know like Shakespeare and Wagner - And your brother with  all that crap, I mean Nietzsche would strangle him up with all that stuff about God. God's dead." It is not too outrageous to infer that Tamsin sees herself as one of these great beings, that she is made to blossom and that the suffering she causes along the way is not all that important.  However, it must be pointed out that this inference is not all that certain since if Tamsin does see herself as a sort of Nietzschean Übermensch she does a very good job of hiding it since she does not come across as arrogant or snooty.  We also learn very early in the film that she has been suspended from school since she is a bad influence on the kids.
    Also important is that Tamsin has a very uneasy relationship with the truth.  She invents this elaborate story that her sister has died of anorexia and that her mother has insisted that her room be kept exactly the same.  This is not just some momentary lapse of reason rather Tamsin later uses a ouija board which she undoubtedly believes is a hoax to trick Mona into believing that she can communicate with her dead sister.  And on yet another occasion she narrates in tears the death of her sister in rather gory detail.  So these are not just slips of the minds but quite deliberate lies.
    Another instance of her tendency to lie and also a good insight into what she views as an appropriate use of her time, is that she and Mona visit the family of the man with whom Mona had sex with.  Tamsin tells the woman of the house that Mona has just had an abortion which was her husband's fetus and that Mona is now clinically depressed.  None of this is too outrageous and at first the woman of the house is actually interested and would like to hear more.  But we then learn that Tamsin has no interest in righting a wrong but is just interested in being sadistic to the woman as she tells her that the talk of the town is that 'you're not satisfying him' and then she almost gets into a fight with her before she runs away.
    While we are learning all this we are getting quite a good look at Mona's brother, Phil whose name means Love in Greek.  He is the ring leader of a band of about 10 fanatics who meet in a pub which has been converted into a sort of temple.  How the spectator views these fanatics depends highly on one's own religion.  If one is deeply religious then the fanatics seem to be quite sane people and everyone else is misguided.  If one is skeptical of God and religion then the fanatics come across as just another failed solution to life's mundaneness.  I lean more to the side that belief in God is a good thing but to believe that God is pulling strings to reward good behavior strikes me as false.  It is rational to have a deep respect for that thing that sustains existence, but when we start believing that this thing is talking to us and saving us then inevitably the temptation arises to fight those who appear to be against God. We don't get to learn all that much about Phil but we do know that he is building a roughly 20 foot cross which he plans to erect on top of a mountain overlooking the small village where he lives.
    Mona does not appreciate Phil's new self.  She tells him that she wants the old Phil back.  When she describes this state of affairs to Tamsin she says that the only three people who live in her home is herself, her brother and God which she finds absurd.  We can gauge that Tamsin's atheism has a strong influence on Mona since she once tells the group of fanatics bluntly that God is dead.  I am thus of the opinion that the main drama being played out in this film is Mona's struggle to determine the reliability of these two solutions to life's dreariness: a life of fanatic love for God or a life of passionate lesbianism with an unbelieving, lying atheist. 
    I now want to examine to what extent we are to take seriously that Tamsin is a sort of satanic figure.  There are two possible interpretations of her identity: on one extreme she is a Nietzschean atheist who believes she was put on this Earth to blossom, it does not matter how many people she steps on in the process, she knows exactly what she is doing with Mona, has no intention of taking the affair beyond anything more than a summer dalliance and does not allow her emotions to ever get out of control.    Further, she enjoys telling lies and causing others suffering.  We have already recounted the incident where she confronts the wife of the man that used Mona but she also gets a kick out of tormenting Phil, the fanatical Christian.  There is one incident where she sunbathes with Mona, topless, and Phil shows up and she makes no effort to cover herself and seems to even enjoy the pain she is undoubtedly causing him.  On another occasion, Phil shows up at Tamsin's house looking for Mona (Tamsin's parents are almost never home).  Lightly dressed she reveals to him that she has trouble letting Jesus into her heart.  As the conversation continues she gradually encourages him to kiss her and when he takes the bait she laughs and reveals that she was pretending.  Our interpretation of Tamsin as a satanic figure becomes all the more credible in light of the fact that Mona actually pretends to be the antichrist or the devil.  Although it's clear that she's just doing this for some laughs and not meant to be taken all that seriously, it is also the case that had Mona not been in a relationship with Tamsin that she probably would not be saying these things.   
    On the other extreme, Tamsin, is still a liar but has become one due to a bad upbringing.  Early in the film the girls drive to where Tamsin's father is having an affair with his secretary.  As Tamsin explains the state of affairs and points out her father's car to Mona she even starts crying as she describes her father's secretary.  What especially annoys her is that she has all the traits of a sensual woman: big tits, high heels and no brains.  What we can gather from this incident is that the most important man in her life has betrayed her and she is seriously traumatized by it.  This informs us that Tamsin is not a completely callous, insensitive liar but one with real feelings.  We further learn how badly her father's infidelity affects her when during the ouija game she claims that her sister died because her father did not love her.  It is reasonable to conclude that since Sadie is still alive that it is the case that it is Tamsin who is suffering from the absence of her father's love not Sadie.
    However, since Tamsin is a liar we have to ask ourselves how we know she's telling the truth.  We know for a fact that her father's car is far away from home because we see the same Jaguar in two different locations.  But that is not enough evidence to conclude that her father is really having an affair.  It seems odd that if her father was not having an affair that she would make this special trip but that too is not enough evidence of anything.  All we can conclude is simply that Tamsin is in fact a liar and her father's infidelity might explain why.  
    There is also some evidence but not much that Tamsin does have a desire for a more honest way of life.  When Phil invites Mona and Tamsin to the cross-raising ceremony, it is Tamsin who urges Mona to go.  I do not believe it is the case that Tamsin is just going there as an elaborate scheme to seduce Phil even though she does eventually accomplish that.  The reason why I believe this is due to the look on her face during the ceremony.  She really seems intrigued by the whole thing and it does not appear to be the expression of someone who thinks the whole thing is a farce.  She does later say to Phil that 'It must be interesting to believe something' and although we cannot determine how sincere this statement is, my hunch is that Tamsin does have some desire to believe in something that makes life meaningful but her conviction that only "the here and now is what is real" is stronger.
    Another piece of evidence for a more positive interpretation of Tamsin's character is how she reacts when Phil takes Mona away from her.  After the seduction, Phil learns that Mona is in the house.  Tamsin had told him earlier that she was out but would be back in a moment.  When Phil sees her, he forces her to leave with him.  Tamsin is quite upset about this and in one of the most beautiful shots in the movie we see a look on Tamsin's face which is just as profound as anything painted by Rembrandt.  It should also be pointed out that this shot of Tamsin behind a window pane is probably an intentional foreshadowing of her face below the water when Mona attempted to drown her at the end of the film.  We should also stress that that scene of Tamsin's face behind the window pane is the most intense moment of pain that Tamsin ever suffers due to Mona and it is probably only half as anguished as the grimaces that Mona will eventually experience when she learns that their love is over.  Although fiction gets us very far into the innermost depths of people, it only takes us so far, so we will never know where Tamsin really lies between these two extremes: callous liar, on the one hand, making her best effort to experience goodness but failing, on the other hand.
    Phil's character is important insofar as he offers an alternative lifestyle to Mona's relationship with the satanic, Tamsin.  But we have to ask ourselves if what Phil offers is any better than what Tamsin offers?  After all, so powerful is his love for Jesus that when Tamsin asks if he has a girlfriend, Mona responds that he does not need a girlfriend since his intimacy with God is like "one life-long orgasm."  Further, the cross-raising ceremony is in fact an impressive display of love and community.  Roughly 30 people participate in the raising, they sing hymns and everyone is happy and serene.  On another occasion, early in the film, Phil swoons during the religious services, overwhelmed by passion, his eyes closed, the whole nine yards.  Mona witnesses this but this is not the type of lifestyle she is drawn too.    
    However, Phil's divine love for Jesus is not completely positive.  It appears to be just as unreliable as Mona's love for Tamsin.  Phil, after all, does snap, revert to his old behavior of violence and yells at everyone, telling them to leave, throwing the Bible at them.  Further, he also quite easily gives in to Tamsin's seduction.  So although Phil's love for God was so strong that it lead him to raise a rather impressive cross atop a mountain, it did not remain stable and unwavering throughout the film. 
    It is also worth asking how sincere Phil's devotion to God is.  Both Tamsin and Mona call him a fraud.  And when he swoons it is hard to believe that this is not some form of trickery.  However, I am still of the opinion that Phil's religiosity is in fact sincere since when he locked Mona in her room he said to Jesus: "Don't leave me," and this was during a moment when no one was around to witness his behavior.
    The film begins to work towards a climax when Mona starts to become seriously enthralled with Tamsin.  There is a quite beautiful scene where the girls take some acid then go to their small town dance-hall and have quite a psychedelic experience.  Later, there is another sumptuous shot where the girls vow to never part from each other and it is here that they say they love each other for the first time.  Tamsin says that if Mona leaves her, she will kill her which is probably not all that sincere.  Mona then says the same thing but adds she will kill herself after the deed is done and we later learn that there was some sincerity in these words. 
    One recurring theme we see in fiction is a temporary escape from reality.  Ordinary people get sick of their lives of powerlessness and boredom and for a brief moment they manage to escape into a new world filled with excitement.  Reality eventually reasserts itself and the characters have to deal with the crushing reality again though this time with the added burden of their previous sins hanging over them.  That is what happens in this film.  Mona ascends into a new life of excitement and passion with Tamsin where everything around her is colored with the awe of love.  This is the meaning of the Robert Browning poem where he simply describes just another walk at night but when we are in love everything around looms and is lustered in splendor:

The grey sea and the long black land;
And the yellow half-moon large and low;
And the startled little waves that leap
In fiery ringlets from their sleep,
As I gain the cove with pushing prow,
And quench its speed i' the slushy sand.

Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;
Three fields to cross till a farm appears;
A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch
And blue spurt of a lighted match,
And a voice less loud, thro' its joys and fears,
Than the two hearts beating each to each!

    After Phil forbids Mona to see Tamsin, Mona resolves to run away from her brother and live forever with her lover.  Although Tamsin did at one time say that "we must never be parted", these were not elaborate and detailed plans to run away together.  Mona however takes them way too seriously and decides to show up at Tamsin's with a suitcase.  When she arrives she learns that the jig is up.  Tamsin is going back to boarding school.  Even worse, Mona learns that Tamsin's sister is still alive and that yet again she's been had.  Mona returns to where they shared their first kiss and Tamsin makes the mistake of following her there.  Here we get a good look at just how seriously Tamsin viewed the relationship.  She sits next to Mona in quite a stoic posture.  We then have the infamous discussion where the rejecter tries to reason with the rejectee and tries unsuccessfully to persuade them that the ending of the affair is not a very big deal.  She adds the line 'you can't tell me we didn't have fun,' which tells us just how much the affair meant to her: it was just a bit of fun.     
    In light of this interpretation of the film I think there are certain scenes in the movie which make more sense.  Why does Tamsin describe Edith Piaf's life as "wonderfully tragic"?  I looked up the details of Edith Piaf's life on Wiki and found that they do not correspond to what Tamsin said.  She did not kill her husband who was a boxer and one of her other husband's died in a plane crash and her third husband outlived her.  What matters though is Tamsin has a fascination for romances that end in death and disaster and she finds this sort of thing 'wonderful'. 
    What is the meaning of the first scene?  In the first scene Mona is resting by the road, lying down, almost asleep and Tamsin comes up to her on a horse.  Mona is bewildered and the camera is upside down.  Why this happens is because Tamsin sees herself as a conqueror and Mona is her conquest.  Mona is off-balance and does not understand what is going on or exactly what Tamsin is.
    I suppose I should also comment on whether or not the lesbian love between the characters had any deeper significance.  I don't think it did.  The director gave no indication that he viewed lesbian love as sinful.  Perhaps we could do some research into sociological statistics and try to determine if lesbian love is more or less stable than heterosexual love but it's not all that obvious that it is or it is not.  The only function I think the lesbianism served was that it made it less obvious that this was a tale of seduction.  We often see seduction as something that men do to women or vice versa, so when it's done by a young woman to another we are caught off guard.
    Finally, we should comment on the role that death plays in this film.  The film almost ends with Mona killing Tamsin but the former stops short of this.  I think the director made the right choice in not ending the film in death because the passion in the film did not reach a high enough level of intensity.  Nevertheless, this near death is foreshadowed by the fact that Mona's mother died, by the lying reports of the death of Tamsin's sister and the inaccurate report of the deaths in Edith Piaf's life.


Friday, April 08, 2011

on the elusivity of truth

sir galahad sought a clear, tangible,
and explicit goal, namely,
the holy grail.
the goal i seek, truth, knowledge,
answers to questions that have for so long
shredded the intellect in fire,
and ravaged the thought and comprehension,
on the contrary,
can never truly be known,
nor can one be certain that they have
ascended the everest of riddle,
nor completely exited plato's cave of delusio-strife.
moreover, academia is a poor judge
of intellectual rigor and brilliance.
take, for example, the case of ludwig wittgenstein.
here was a man of whom john maynard keynes said:
God has arrived, i saw him on the 5.15 train,
here was a man who blinded intellectuals
with his tractatus, who thrillamazed,
illuminated and hypno-struck
the philosophers with his insights and mind-surge.
had he died before 1928 his tractatus
would today be laureled
with jasper, crimson and magnificent bloom.
wittgenstein later renounced the work,
and declared it a slurred piece of drivel,
no more valuable than a junk-goat or an rust-ox.
if academia has been guilty of such
horrendous errors in the past,
if they have mistaken mind-mud
for a symphony of jasper before,
then they have surely done it other times.
i am certain that many of the philosophers,
heideggar, hegel, derrida,
no more obtained an illumino-vision of life,
or understood truth's shimmerado,
its streams of perplexica,
its rivers of sparklado and mesmerado
than your average dim-wit or fop,
and yet academia lauds these charlatans
as knights, paladins and crusaders.

or take, for example, the certainty
with which the educated class
once proclaimed in the existence of the ether.
although they believed this substance
to have been measured,
and its material to have permeated all of space,
they were wrong, drowning in the confusio-fen,
blinded by nature's complexica and anti-intuition.
it is clear that one cannot rely on scholarly consensus
for direction, wisdom and knowledge.

i have thus no way of confirming
my grasp of truth's radiant elixir,
no means of knowing if i have decisively
understood the nature of things,
and effectively banished falsehood's
lechers and lemurs from my circle.
i am in a battle therefore with illusions.
if i defeat one illusio-vex
i will never know if hallucination
strangles and paralyzes me,
or if i have actually conquered the bloke.
if i feel myself exiting from one of plato's cave,
i will not know if i have merely
entered another one more raving,
and populated with madness than before.

nevertheless, it must be conceded
that when i enter into a new subject,
when i scan its contents, study its tomes,
acquaint myself with its procedures and jargon
that i do sense a certain star-triumph
when i feel that i have mastered its lore,
and reached a satisfactory plateau.
although this is a mere subjective feeling,
which in no way can be demonstrated,
in spite of that, this feeling does have
a certain objective capacity to intoxicate the mind,
and render it mad with flight-joy.
there is something about diving deep into a new subject,
being confronted with all sorts of bewildering
images, concepts, ideas and terms,
understanding the subjects' most basic
precepts, axioms, principles and inferences,
then feeling that one has understood
the confusing barrage of puzzle,
and reasonably fit its pieces into a plausible scenario.

witness, for example, my affair with finnegans wake.
here is a book that embodies enigma,
here is a book for which mind-gnarls abound,
here is a book that consumes the intellect
in thistled jungles of confusion,
that wracks the breaking brain with the blinding
strife of nebula, the gray film of obscurity.
when i first read the book only a jumble of dust
radiated in my memory when i recalled what i read,
only a muddled array of blindness greeted me
when i attempted to order the madness.
but after much effort, much research,
i was able to uncover many indisputable facts
which banished the obscuro to the night-nothing.
although i cannot make sense of every word,
nor comment intelligently on each paragraph,
nor cohere a complete, all-encompassing theory
that makes all the scattermento uniform,
that arranges all the hodge-podge into a bright
cluster of radiant enlightenment,
i still am deeply satisfied of that which i have discovered,
i still am happy that i've unearthed many ores from
this convoluted mine of what was once thought
to be an impenetrable, illegible, bewildering miasma.

or take, for example, my study of the genome.
before i began, i had no inkling of what composed it,
how it operated, sustained itself, transmitted information,
provided the body with form and structure,
and preserved the being from the dragoned descent
into chaos' abysmal invasions of thunder.
but after much labor, much study,
i was eventually able a wealth of information,
a huge treasure trove of fact to procure.
although there is still much about the genome
that remains hidden not just to me but to everyone
behind nature's cloak of inscrutability,
and the unknown's humungous ocean of ignorance,
nevertheless, that which i have learned,
provides me with an undeniable surge of rainbow,
and an irrefutable splash of turquoise sparklado.

one can never be one hundred percent certain
that one has obtained truth's grail,
or rode on the back of minerva,
nevertheless, there is a clear, decisive,
and undeniable difference from being zero percent certain, totally naked before a subject's precepts,
and then spending a thousand hours on the riddle,
and thus being undeniably closer to the truth than before.

this will be my grail:
to always strive knowledge to obtain,
to ever seek truth's vaults to open,
to continually ascend the everest of learning,
to assiduously cultivate the sugars of wisdom.
i will never fully obtain my objective,
nor ever completely possess my disiderata,
nevertheless it is better to spar eternally with an undefeatable
leviathan, never winning, yet always improving,
than it is to defeat easy and clear opponents.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


and now, dylan, i rage-wrestle
with the ambiguous pleasànto-spice of desire.
in the one valley hopes, dreams, goals,
wishes, the flourish of anticipation,
the flashing sun-shine of accomplishment
embellish life in looming cloud-awe,
and sugar it with joy-bliss and hymn-dance,
in the other valley, dylan, desire
can be that rage-lion that fangs the soul,
that cobra-serpent that shreds the mind,
all of one’s tranquillo kidnapped,
their former rainbow to dungeon consigned.
thus i am split, dylan, between diminishment
of self, bitter resignation to life’s saliva-blare,
an embrace of the cold and the impoverished
on the one moon,
and an all-out plunge into action,
full-throttled rage into the new,
a rampaging quest for experience,
on the other.

man, dylan, gallops forth naked
in his quest for fulfillment of soul,
he confronts the dragons of delusion
weaponless, defenseless and ignorant.
just as christopher columbus
sailed forth into the void-ocean
with a map that placed japan
in the location of north america,
or just as the voyager space-craft
has been propelled beyond
neptune and now drifts aimlessly
through pain-space and knife-night,
or just as those pre-champolion europeans
wandered through the egyptian
pyramids completely unable
to make sense of the heiroglyphs
glaring at them in the face,
so too does man wander through life,
barely cognizant of the forces against him,
scarcely aware of the magno-light
that animates the happiness,
nor knowledgeable of what courses
and what paths lead to that rush
of felicio-strike or that upheaval
of bliss-flow.

we, dylan, unlike the
nonreflective plentitudes,
are acutely sensitive to man’s plight,
his current asphixiation amongst snarl,
the iraqis’ present plunge in bile,
their wholesale relegation to weeds.
we, dylan, hear that banshee
of injustice crying, shrieking,
we listen to that tornado-romp
of the greed-lurches that trample,
and the war-pigs that now fume.
thus my present search for balance
between antartic resignation
and hot desire brazilian
is forever acidified with a sharp
concern for the world’s oppressed.
i pine when i learn that one fourth
of the homeless are veterans,
i weep jail-sweat when i hear
that the state executes the innocent,
their life-force extinguishing,
them to dreg-demons ostracizing.
how can we succumb to the religion
of the denial of desire
when the masses are choke-locked
in oppressive rust, dylan?
how can we banish desire from our temple
when it motivates us the enstrangled
and the venomized to liberate?
how can we honestly lay desire
on the altar of denial of self
when oil-dragons and wolf-men
are out there employing slave-labor,
always the concubine wanting,
always the whore-stain soliciting?

one desire that especially
afflicts me ad momentum, dylan,
is an intense yearning for women.
when i see this photo

i am angry with rage-foam
that beauty captivates me in such thrill-spasm,
i am hot with blood that
the allure and the entice
waylay, molest and drill me,
i am rebellious with curdling scorpion
that shine-glitter moves me,
that glamour-glitz compels me.
i would much prefer the spirit to inform me,
i would much rather that one’s
dedication to the poor and unfortunate
rile me with thrashing excitica, dylan,
that one’s emanation of altruism
truly smote me with scarlet,
and enwhirled me with mind-jazz,
not pulchrome’s strike to the eye,
or its arrestation of the senses.

as an anarcho-primitivist, dylan,
you are probably much less susceptible
to beauty’s toxicity of jail,
and its harmful captivation of mind
than my grenadiers, my soldiers and my buffalo.
your lifestyle and your sensibility
despises traditional conventions
of beauty and crimson face,
your affinity-group distrusts
the poison of the lipstick,
and scorns the cocain of gold,
yet i,
my interior ever insurgent with jaguar-wind,
my flock ever mutinous with daggerang,
am much more susceptible to the caress,
and much weaker before the gembrace
than you.

i also harbor a deep, ravenous
hunger, dylan, for truth.
i want to cram my memory
with philosophical arguments,
i want to know the themes
of the most famous philosophical debates,
i want ontology, aesthetics, and poetry
to resonate in my ken,
and animate amid my corpus,
i want each scene in finnegans wake
to be at a moment’s recall,
i want each of the world’s four
great cultures, the western,
the islamic, the hindu and the orient
to not be shades of ignorance,
but bright song-angels of familiarity,
i want each of the most creative films’
strata, substances, layers, contingencies,
echoes and contradictions to lie
fully in the range in my mind,
and euphoriate deep in my orchestra,
i want the origins of life
to no longer be specters that haunt
my quaking ignorance
and molest my trek through winter,
but a breadth of concepts and principals
that warm my dreams in blithe,
and symphonize my ear with wonder.

i am well aware, dylan, that since
the age of twenty-five the size
of my mental library has expanded enormously.
i have now not only heard rumors
of that bewildering leviathan
that mongrels its enemies in ruthlèssum,
but actually confronted its spike and its claws.
i have not only heard tales
of homer’s famous pulse and flow
but now actually swam amid his song,
and touched my lips to his blaze.
no longer are the ideas of abu nuwas
simply a sleeping book of the dead,
or a walking corpse to be avoided,
but i now wholly acquaint myself with his blitz,
and am fully aware of his firmament.
and yet i am just as blooded,
just as furious with wind-noise,
just as bellicose, just as omnivorous
for knowledge’s ambivalent elixir now
as i was five years ago.

what then am i to do, dylan?
i well know that budhism scorns desire,
considers it null,
renders it no more account than ants.
busiri as well, the author of the arab world’s
most memorized poem, the burda,
lamented his subjugation to desire’s burns,
and its impalement of coal and sulfur.
saint francis as well counseled us
to be humble, poor and chaste,
and yet did he not yearn
to evangelize in muslim-held lands?
did he not once fester alone and unwanted
at the gates of saint peter’s?
did he not desire poverty’s nails,
and hunger for destitution’s grime?

this then is a paradox, dylan,
just as the greek word pharmakon
is both a medicine and a poison,
so too is desire the source of both
wonder-bliss, cloud-roam and ferment,
as well as tarantula, bug-bears and fang.
i do not know if i will ever fully
find serenity so long as desire gnaws,
or its henchmen subterfumigate,
or its mercenaries demand their pay,
nevertheless i will find whatever comfort
i can find in my quest for felicio-lightning,
and my search for rose of mind,
desire ever simmering,
desire always in the foreground,
desire lurking, desire hunting.

nov 2007

all your political activities

some say the most beautiful thing
upon the black earth is cavalry,
others that it is soldiers,
sill others navies,
but i say that it is love.

- Sappho, fragment 16

all your political
activities will lead to naught, dylan,
unless love informs you.
it is love that led mohatma ghandi
two hundred thirty miles to the sea to march
so as the ghastlo-oppressive salt-laws of the british to protest,
and their hate-bitter regime to confront.
it was love that inspired doctor king
thistled days in the birmingham jail to spend,
there languishing, there in furnace,
all for the sake of his people’s rights,
and their delecto-taste splendido of freedom.
it was love for the mexicans
that motivated thoreau civil disobedience
to commit, the state’s wrath-mind to rebuke,
always love guiding him, nourishing him,
always love the altar and the halo.
and it was love that led mother theresa
to leave her isolated convent
and plunge into the very arms of the poor,
their needs minding, bandaging, not hers,
their plight mitigating, limiting, not hers.

i of course applaud your efforts
frederick demilitirized to render,
ourselves the biological-weapons
capital of the world to discontinue,
my soul effuses falcon-flight
when i see you castigate the world-bank,
and throw slime-foam at their jails,
my being convulses in spasmo-joy
when i see you reading the iww web-site,
your concern on the working-man focused,
your mind on their grind and their sweat fixed.
yet at the same time i also
know that the road to soul-kill
is layered in dreams of philanthrophy,
and primrosed with visions of altruism.
for this reason, dylan, it is absolutely essential
that love must permeate all of your actions in joy-gold,
and wash each part of your being in psych-splendor.
love must be for you
what a debate interview with bill o’reilly is for noam chomsky,
what the victory of the presidency is to dennis kucinich,
what a stateless society is to emma goldman,
what laura de sade of carpentras was to francesco petrarcha,
what beatrice portinari was to dante allighieri,
in short, nothing less than that essence
that completely unifies the soul in flourish,
all of one senses in haloesque accord,
their whole being pulsing and flowing with felicia,
a bright jasmo-dolphin of brilliance
arising from the sea in unalloyed triumpho.

just as sappho said it two thousand
seven hundred years ago so must it be said again:
some say there is nothing more magno-blitheful,
nothing more rapt in fire-trance,
nothing more illuminating of awe-shine
than armies marching, conquering,
armed ships sailing in conquest,
swords and shields prominent and large,
others say that it is isaac newton absorbed
to the point of insanity in scientific research,
his seamless concentration kidnapped,
inquiry, investigation and experimentation devouring him,
himself for the laws of nature lusting,
still others say it is marcel proust,
his mind roaming into disparate
and unrelated fields, his curiosity
meeting no hindrance, no hurdle,
his joy for interpersonal analysis unparalleled,
his ability life to explore all-consuming,
these of course are certainly
bright profusions of the great manifest,
and wild symphonies of searing delecto,
but i say that the most beautiful thing
upon this bewildering earth
is when love permeates
and pervades your every move,
love your omni-radiant beacon,
love your pan-enlightening torch,
love your guide, love your agent.

this then is my great hope for you, dylan,
that your every political decision,
that your every whim and caprice,
that all your dreams, all your aspirations
will all be decided within the context of love.
thus i encourage you to persevere
in your political endeavors.
continue poverty’s wrangle to combat,
persist in your confrontation
with the maul of the oil-man,
the hate-strike of the sloth-merchant,
uplift those who are walmarted,
those auschwitzed by napalm,
free those slave-children in china working,
liberate those defenseless mind-cripples
who are to the electric-chair destined,
but only do this if and only if
love pervades all your estuaries,
all your harbors, all your mountains,
do this if and only if
the rainbow of love abounds in your valley,
and glowphoriates in your temple.

nov 2007



what do i like about wood?
it solidness, its firmness, the fact that although some wood is as hard as concrete there is, in spite of its density, expanding, vigorous life-blood within it
its imitation of human history, strong, humble, simple and unassuming in the beginning of its life, yet megalo-glorious, beauteous, and magno-awesomo when it has completed its quest
the variety of its species, the texture of its bark, the giganticum astonishum of its height
its hidden foundation, its occult support, its unseen base, just as the spiritual medicine of love, charity and hope is invisible
its self-sufficiency, its individuality, requiring nothing more from the world than the rays of the sun and the fluid-spray of celestium
its indifference to man continuing to grow whether or not a murder is committed in its midst or a pagan sect is worshipping it
its explozja, its galacto-bloom, its flourish, the fact that the top of the tree is sometimes twenty to thirty times larger than the base
the richness of its fuel, the usefulness of its state, warming the human hand when succumbing to the tiger-wrath of conflagaration
its gradual conquest of plain, its tenacious resistance to erozja, to mudslide, and to avalanche
its courageousness when confronted with hurricanum, tornado, hail, blizzard, wind, and tempest
its mystical silence, its intractable aloofness, its unshakeable otherworldliness, its thoughts never to be penetrated by human silence
its poverty of nerves, never shrieking out in anguish when the chainsaw rends it in sections
the simplicity of its design, one base, several branches and leaves
its similarity to a river system, nature’s imprint recurring again and again throughout its domain
its smell, the intake of its perfumes and odors reminding man of the immense variabilitum of life’s manifestasha
its dazzlezza, its glitterebo, its reflectica, the sun’s radiant gems shimmering off its leaves in sparkling diamamazement
the uniformity of its color, associating green unequivocally with life, with flourish, with health, with stability, with calm, and nutrition
its shield of solitude, its protective aura, enclosing man in a corner, away from the hustle and bustle of urban chaotica
its oceanic hegemony, entire colonies of wood existing in utter contrast to the lifeless steel, concrete, brick, iron and asphalt of man’s cities
its triumphant collapse when death finally malaria-strikes it with undeniable belch
its resoluteness, its tenacity, its unflinching determinasha to resist the onslaught of flood, deluge, or inundazja
its aura pleasentica when planted next to building, or lining the street, or enhancing the home
its unreal, ineffable, and indescribale serenity untroubled by the stress of war, nor toxified by the bubonicum of tyranny, nor scurvy-blasted by the blight of economic earthquake
its analogous structure to that of a human being, we, as well, in need of strong roots, a firm trunk, and as many branches and leaves as possible


i hold a piece of wood in my arms
this wood, cream-smooth, ivoryesque, and heart-moving – how flame-stunning it is that it is my cousin
both the animal and the plant arose from single celled organisms
ninety percent of our dna is found in the enigmatic recesses of wood’s glory-thrall
how slowly life progressed into the freedom of movement!
i derive peace, comfort, serenica and robust relish from the magnificata of this wood
i kneel down in contemplation, invisible butterflies sky-dancing in haze, the majesticum of the wood’s essence invigorating me with nirvana
i feel the leaves’ sparkling reflection of helios’ emanasha enriching my spectrum with cognac blush
i am one with the one
the wood is in me, around me, its ebullient mesmer flowing through me
i inhale the fructo-spasm of wood
at once, i am cleansed of the aridity, the staleness, the lifelessum, and the stagnant stench of urbana
i succumb to an avalanche of green gems, the leaves and the bark unite to lull me into a hypno-glowing stupor
again, i have found refuge in the wood, my distant cousin, the regenerator of the earth, the foundation of life, the cleanser of toxin

apr 2003

majestium unparalleled

majèstium unparalleled

cougar scat has been found in my neighborhood confirming the witness of a neighbor

how this event fills my heart with rave-blush, thrill-pulse and amazum

to think that i came so close to seeing a feline world renown for his predatory astuteness, his razor-fangs resistlesso, and his claws slicendo

how i wish it could have been
me who observed his stealth mesmerendo
me who saw his ferocity unchecked
me who set eyes upon his glorium extranormum
me who witnessed his majèstium unparalleled

and in that moment of vision, reckless, synapse-firing, and jumping, i would have gained a greater understanding of a beast
that completely shuns society
that categorically rejects improvement
that considers himself entirely sufficient
that heeds his impulses without anguish
that ecstatically exults in ambush
that eternally resides in the present
that guiltlessly stalks his prey

how i would have exploded in extra-miraculosity as i became closer to a predator
whose feverish instincts enable it to rapier-pierce his victim with mutilating gash!
whose freedom is only restricted when his strike-weapons fail to fuel his appetites carniverum!
whose contempt for society permits him to obey any urge that invades his being!

o that i for one month might be a cougar!!
at war with everything that crossed my path!
sleeping each night in a different location!
subject to no law save the fury of famine!
stalking my prey in hidden combustion!
unbound by relationships, by property, or by family!
depending on myself for all my resources!
requiring nothing more than my jaws of explozja!
and my claws of steel-wrath!

how contrary would this existence be to my present one!!

how i would exalt in newness, in variety and in diversity!
how i would appreciate the evolution of the human!
how i would travel to a galaxy newvellum!
how i would witness reality in a completely different light!
how i would understand the advantages of primitivity!
how i would increase my comprehension of my own species!

jun 3 2003

Monday, September 14, 2009

Finnegans Wake chapter 4

In explaining chapter 4 I do not have the time here to prove my reasons for the identity of all the characters. That would take a lot of time. I just wanted to write this up for a facebook group that is currently working on that chapter. If you would like to join that group can be found here:

facebook group

I'll worry about justifying all my theories when I get down to writing my book on the Wake, so for the moment you'll just have to trust me though there are doubtless mistakes in this reading.

The first paragraph concerns three speculations concerning why something happened, what that is is not clear but the building of HCE's grave in the later paragraphs is a likely candidate. The first theory is rather obscure but one clause in the sentence: "it may be ... those lililiths undeveiled which hat undone him," Izzy is often identified with Lillith later in the book. "And knew not the watchful treachers at his wake," mostly likely refers to HCE's three sons, though the evidence is not conclusive. The second theory is also obscure but allusions to Izzy, Shaun and Shem are made though not in what capacity since the verbs reglimm and presaw are not clear: "It may be ... that he reglimmed? presaw? ... Ysit [Izzy] shamed [Shem] and shone [Shaun]."

The third theory is very difficult to explain to a beginner. In short what the sentence is saying is that he prayed that his wordwounder, the Cad who is the combination of his sons, Shem and Shaun, or perhaps wordwounder is just Shem, might unfold (grow up to be) the first of a distinguished dynasty, the main idea of the sentence shifts and discusses that his most besetting of ideas was the formation of a prison that would jail the Cad thereby eliminating him from all classes and masses. The first part of the sentence mostly concerns clues that the subject is HCE. King Billy (William III of Orange) on a "white horse" and Finglas mill where William had his headquarters at the battle of the Boyne are three solid clues that it is indeed HCE: "It may be ... that with his deepseeing insight ... within his patriarchal shamanah, broadsteyne ... He Conscious of Enemies, a kingbilly whitehorsed in a Finglas mill, prayed." We then return to what HCE is praying about. The evidence that the wordwounder is his son, the Cad, is rather overwhelming. Angels and devils, sheep and goats and pigs are all symbols for the Cad, plus wordwounder is a reasonable description of Shem. The Cad is associated with pigs because Spigott, the man who tried to incrinimate Parnell with a forged letter, his name looks like pig. Moreover, the fact that he is praying that this wordwounder would develop his dynasty further leads us to suspect that it is his son he is praying for: "and bred with unfeigned charity that his wordwounder (an engles [angel] to the teeth who ... would go anyold where in the weeping world on his mottled belly [snake, devil, an allusion to the Genesis passage] (the rab, [Irish for pig] ...) ... might ... unfold into the first of a distinguished dynasty of his posteriors, blackfaced connemaras [sheep] not of the fold but elder children of his household." The sentence then shifts and discusses HCE's most besetting idea. Mountjoy is a prison as well as Castle of Ham which even housed Napoleon III who is an unequivocal symbol for HCE's sons, Ham as well being the son of Noah that corresponds to Shaun (in the museyroom Lipoleum is the three sons since there were three Napoleons and Wellington is HCE): "his most besetting of ideas ... being the formation ... where ... the Mountain of Joy receives ... Ham's cribcracking yeggs, thereby at last eliminating from all classes and masses ...: sigarius (sic!) vindicat urbes terrorum (sicker!): and so ... the obedience of the citizens elp the ealth of the ole." It is not completely clear that one can fairly say HCE will thereby eliminate "him," since him does not appear in the phrase, the problem is that the sentence ends with a quote by Augustine whose significance I don't understand, as well as the Dublin motto: the obedience of the citizens is the city's happiness whose meaning I also do not fully understand.

The text then moves on from theory and concerns the real action which is the building of HCE's grave and his subsequent escape: "Now gode. Let us leave theories there and return to here's here." The most important aspect of the following sentence is that we realize that it is HCE's three sons, often called Tom, Dick or Harry but also refer to Noah's three sons, Shem, Ham and Japhet that are making his grave: "The teak coffin ... was to turn in later ... near the porpus [corpus] ... Any number of conservative public bodies ... before voting themselves and himself, town, port and garrison [Tom, Dick and Harry] by a fit and proper resolution ... made him ... their present of a protem [temporary] grave in Moyelta of the best Lough Neagh pattern." I realize that town, port and garrison are rather different from Tom, Dick and Harry but in reviewing the entire Wake virtually any two one syllable names, followed by a third multiple syllable name refers to Tom, Dick and Harry. Also important is that underneath Lough Neagh was a mythical city which seems to explain the following sentence.

The sentence beginning with "It was in a fairly" I don't understand.

When I first read this next passage I thought it was HCE building the grave even though that did not make sense. I now favor an ambiguous interpretation which says that it is the Cad digging the grave and HCE blasting out of the grave at the same time. I have counted nine clues that point to the Cad digging the grave and five clues that suggest that HCE is blasting out of the grave. First the HCE clues: Adam, the masterbuilder, Sygstryggs, a variation of the 11th century Danish king, Thor, and Abraham who purchased the cave of Machpelah for a family tomb are all strong HCE figures. The cad figures include: Patrick, Cassivellaunus, a British chief who resisted Caesar since the Cad is identified with resisting foreign invasion, Saint Thomas à Becket because he was killed by a king, Saint Laurence O'Toole because King Dermot married his sister and the word occaecatus which means made blind in Latin refers to Shem. The other clues are harder to understand, three refers to the Cad, "Sygstryggs to nine," is 6 to 9, numbers which are mirror images of each other and have nothing to do with the sexual position, are a reference to Izzy who often talks to her mirror image in the book. Lastly the Cad is identified with tree and stone because treestone looks like tristan. "Blaetther begins to fail" refers to trees since Blaetther is leaves in German, and the stone slab refers to tree and stone. Another possible interpretation is that it is only one person who is doing the action it's just that many characters in the wake share characteristics from two sigla.

Our masterbuilder, the Cad/HCE, openly damned and blasted this underground heaven (the city underneath Lough Neagh), exploded from a T.N.T bombingpost and fused into tripupcables. The Cad/HCE afterwards neared it and lined it with bricks and mortar thus encouraging public councils to present to him a stone slab with the motto written: "We have done ours gohellt with you, Heer Herewhippit, overgiven it, skidoo!"

This wastohavebeen underground heaven, [the city underneath Lough Neagh] ... (its architecht, Mgr Peurelachasse, having been obcaecated [blind, Shem] lest he should petrifake [Patrick] suchanevver while the contractors Messrs T. A. Birkett [Thomas à Beckett] and L. O. Tuohalls [Laurence O'Toole] were made invulnerably venerable) ... our misterbilder, [masterbuilder] Castlevillainous, [Cassivellaunus] openly damned and blasted ... exploded from a reinvented T.N.T. bombingpost ... to sternbooard out of his aerial thorpeto, [thor] ... and fused into tripupcables, [three] ... and playing down from the conning tower into the ground battery fuseboxes, all differing as clocks from keys ... some saying ... it was Sygstryggs [Sitric, six] to nine, [6 9]... He afterwards whaanever his blaetther [TREE leaves] began to fail [fall] off him ... and, stoop by stoop, he neared it ... carefully lined the ferroconcrete result with rotproof bricks and mortar ... so encouraging ... additional useful councils public ... to present unto him ... a STONE slab with the usual Mac Pelah [Abraham] address of velediction, a very fairworded instance of falsemeaning ADAMelegy: We have done ours gohellt with you, Heer Herewhippit, overgiven it, skidoo!

Just as Egyptian pharoahs were buried with all sort of objects so too would HCE be buried with all kinds of bric au brac so that he could live out the rest of the days of his life: "Show coffins, winding sheets, goodbuy bierchepes, cinerary urns, liealoud blasses ... any kind of inhumationary bric au brac ... would ... naturally follow ... enabling that roundtheworlder wandelingswight [wight: man] ... to live all safeathomely the ... days of his life ... whaling away the whole of the while ... embalmed, of grand age."

HCE then bolts out of his grave though it is not clear why he is called Blueblitz. One possibility is that he is often linked with Thor, blitz meaning lightning in German: "Blueblitzbolted from there, knowing the hingeworms [worms entering coffins at the hinges] ... buried burrowing in Gehinnon, [Hell, Gehenna] to proliferate through all his Unterwealth [Underworld] ... and revisit our Uppercrust Sideria." The remainder of the sentence which seems to be an adjective clause describing Sideria I do not understand.

In the next sentence there is a parenthetical phrase that is very difficult to grasp: (for Breedabrooda [Shem] had at length presuaded him to have himself to be as septuply buried as the murdered Cian [Cad] in Finntown). Breedabrooda is a Hungarian king that came to power after murdering his brother which would link him to Shem since Cain murdered his brother. The Cian character, not to be confused with Cain, is an Irish king that could change into a pig at will which would link him to the Cad. That would suggest that Shem persuaded the Cad to have himself buried in place of HCE for the whole sentence reads: "The other spring offensive on the heights of Abraham may have come about all quite by accidence, Foughtarundser [our father, HCE] (for Breedabrooda [Shem] had at length presuaded him to have himself to be as septuply buried as the murdered Cian [Cad] in Finntown), had not been three monads [minutes] in his watery grave ... when portrifaction [putrefication] ... began to ramp, ramp, ramp." However that interpretation seems rather unsatisfactory, it suggests that Shem is trying to help HCE by deceiving the Cad and it never happens in the wake that Shem helps HCE. That is the only meaning I can get from the sentence. Also problematic is that HCE bolted out of his grave in the last paragraph, not that the Wake's narrative thread is always logical.

The next three sentences I can also not translate. Hoodenwinkle is probably HCE due to hat, since Finn MacCool means white hat and also because Tim Finnegan is a man of hod. Patrizien is probably Shaun because of Patrick. And Shem is druiven because it means grapes in Dutch, the subjects are clear but the verbs and objects attached to them are not: "A hoodenwinkle [Dutch hatshop, Hod] gave the signal and a blessing paper freed the flood. Why did the patrizien [Shaun] make him scares with his gruntens? Because the druiven [Dutch grapes Shem] were muskating at the door."

The next sentence fits into two halfs. The first half concerns the identity of the two warring camps. It seems to be the Cad and HCE. The Cad is often identified with the new, the south and Ireland. HCE is often identified with Scandinavia, Russia, England and consequently Northern Ireland, here Ulster: "From both Celtiberian camps (granting at the onset for the sake of argument that men on the two sides in New South Ireland [Cad] and Vetera [old] Uladh [Ulster])[HCE] ... each, of course, on the purely doffensive ... were drawn toowards their Bellona's Black Bottom." [perhaps Izzy] I have no evidence that Bellona refers to Izzy. Bellona is a Roman war goddess which Izzy is never associated with to my knowledge, nor is she ever associated with black or bottom or even BBB but that is the most logical candidate. However the word their is used and both the Cad and HCE possess something in common, Izzy.

The second half of the sentence tells why the person suggests the appearance of the "old wugger" the reason being he had been feeding off the flesh of his own misplaced fat, ie, hump during his hibernation or his incarceration: "the person garrotted [a weapon like a chain] may have suggested ... the first old wugger [Earwicker] of himself in the flesh ... for there had circulated freely fairly among his opposition the feeling that in so hibernating Massa Ewacka, [Earwicker] who ... had been known ... to get outside his own length of rainbow trout and ... devour his threescoreten [90] of roach per lifeday ... was ... all this time of totality secretly and by suckage feeding on his own misplaced fat."

The paragraph beginning with Ladies did not disdain I have no explanation for.

All in all these paragraphs are pretty tough going for the Wake but they do eventually yield enjoyment if you work at them.

Butt and Taff, Finnegans Wake analysis

To see this in Google Docs go here

Butt and Taff

The Identities of Butt, Taff
and the Russian General

I have read through the Butt and Taff narrative and used the allusions so as to pinpoint to which sigla each character belongs. Many believe that Buckley is a Cain character and the Russian General is an Abel character. My research however shows that Buckley is primarily Cad and secondarily he seems to show traits equally from Abel as from Cain. Taff is primarily HCE and secondarily Abel. The Russian General is primarily HCE. His secondary identity is problematic since he exhibits more Cain characteristics than Abel. Most likely I have misinterpreted the symbols and further research will eventually show him to be Abel. Each character has aspects of all the sigla but ultimately they embody one sigla more than its opposite.
Let me say a few words on the art of interpreting symbols. First there are many allusions which I cannot yet attach to any sigla. For examples there are allusions to the Bakerloo London underground, the Tuileries in Paris, Swift's Yahoos, none of these I see any relation to any of the sigla. All of these have been ignored. Then there are allusions which definitely are associated with certain sigla but they cannot be attached to any of the three characters. For instance on line 341.05 it reads: "Buckily buckily, blodestained boyne!" That could be mean that Buckley was a victim of the Battle of the Boyne (Cad) or that he perpetrated the Battle of the Boyne (HCE). Those allusions as well I have ignored.
These observations should be taken with a grain of salt as I don't understand the Wake's symbols fully.

There is a table at google docs which is much easier to see, here it doesn't work.

Butt Taff General
abel 10 2 2
cad 31 2 7
cain 12 3
hce 14 13 32
france 2
mookst 1
ondt 3
patrick 1
pope 2 1 2
shaun 2
berkely/nihilism 2
cain 1 1
ear/eye 1
gracehoper 1 1
heresy 2 1
japanese 3
rebellion 1
shem 1
ant/gracehoper 1
brown/nolan 2
cad 2 1
communism 1
fw enjoyed 1
goat/sheep 1
horus 1
jonathan swift 2
kersse/tailor 2 1
napoleon 1
new ireland 1
peter/paul 2 2
piggott/anti parnell/hesitency 4
resistance to invasion 1
shinn fein 1
son 1
st stephen 1
stephen deadalus 1
three soldiers 6
tristan, tree/stone 2 2
E sigla
adam 1
against 3 soldiers 1
bartholomew vanhomrigh 1
buddha 1
cromwell 1 1
czar 3
duke of wellington 1 1
earwicker 1 1 1
fascism 1
father 1
finn maccool 1 1
fish 1
HCE 1 2
hump 2 1
humpty dumpty 3
invaders 1 2
jesus 1
jove 1
king 2 1 6
king mark 2
mohammed 1
pederastry 2
pierce o'reilley 1
protestant ireland 2
ragnarokr 2
resurrection 2
sailor 1
sechseläuten 1
seven items of clothing 1
strongbow 1
viking 1 1


Abel sigla

Because Saint Patrick came from France this characteristic is usually associated with the Abel sigla. This is made most explicit in chapter 3.3.
351.14 François Achille Bazaine: French Army Marshal, best known for his surrender of Metz (1870), his courtmartial and death sentence, which was replaced by twenty years in prison, and his escape to Madrid where he died. Butt simply blurts out: "Banzaine!"
351.16 Butt says: "Paddy Bonhamme he vives! Encore!" petit bonhomme il vit encore: man in the street still lives ('Jacques Bonhomme' personifies France).

338.17 Taff says to Butt: "Conscribe him tillusk, unt."
340.33 Taff says to Butt "your ant's folly."
343.20 Butt says nixnixundnix, the home of the Ondt.

346.22 Taff says Patrick my son in Irish to Butt. Irish Páid a mhic: Pat, my son. "And don't live out the sad of tearfs, piddyawhick!"

The Mookse is associated with the Pope though I am not certain that the Pope is also not an E sigla character which would make sense as the Pope represents the status quo.
339.01 Butt uses the fisher's ring which is the pope's ring of investiture: "as that flashermind's rays [ring] and his lipponease longuewedge wambles."
345.02 Butt mingles his Hail Mary's and Gospels: "I immingled my Irmenial hairmaierians ammongled his Gospolis," this allusion could plausibly be associated with the Pope but it is iffy.

343.14 Butt put his coat over his shoulders to look more like the jauntlyman
350.11 Butt has a mailbag: "with sunflawered beautonhole pulled up point blanck by mailbag."

Cain sigla

341.12 Butt wines for tar water. Berkely saw tar water as a panacea
346.32 Butt "is a niallist [nihilist] of the ninth homestages."

354.04 Cain said: 'My transgression is greater than pardon.' Butt at the exact moment where he describes shooting the Russian General was "pulling alast stark daniel with alest doog at doorak while too greater than pardon."

350.29 Butt was "feeding and sleeping on the huguenottes."
350.31 Butt "had been ... raiding revolations over the allbegeneses," The Albigensians were 13th century Spanish heretics.

Berkely in Book 4 is associated with things Japanese. Because Berkely is a definite Cain sigla these allusions are categorized under Cain.
339.01 "as his (Butt's) lipponease (Japanese) longuewedge wambles."
351.14 Butt simply blurts out: "Banzaine!" Bonzai
351.20 While describing the halcyon days Butt says: "It was buckoo bonzer, beleeme." [believe me] Bonze: Japanese Buddhist priest

338.35 Butt "switches on his gorsecopper's fling weitoheito [whitehot] langthorn."

344.31 Butt swears by son of shem, arram: "But, meac Coolp, Arram of Eirzerum."

Cad sigla

351.35 "send us (Butt and others) victorias nowells and brownings, dumm, sneak and curry."
352.16 Perhaps Brown/Nolan is associated with Butt but we can not be sure. in describing Taff it says that "he senses that they have given bron a nuhlan." They could be giving someone else a brown a nolan but Butt is a likely candidate.

343.11 Taff calls butt "Myles-na-Coppaleen," a man who shot the hunchback Danny Mann in Boucicault's The Colleen Bawn, since hunchbacks are associated with the E sigla this makes him a cad.
350.33 Butt says: "like we chantied on Sunda schoon, every warson wearrier KADDIES a komnate in his schnapsack."

343.08 Taff calls butt a "comeylad."

351.25 ear/eye. Butt "could always take good care of himself, eyedulls or earwakers."

Finnegans Wake (enjoyed it)
351.02 Butt says: "and all the fun I had in that fanagan's week." Because Butt enjoyed the wake of Tim Finnegan that implies caddish behavior.

350.23 goat/sheep. "their lambstoels in my (Butt's) kiddeneys and my ramsbutter in their sassenacher ribs."

Jonathan Swift
Jonathan Swift's nickname was the Dane, the Irish pronunciation of dean which is an E sigla characteristic. But because of his vehement opposition to England and the establishment he is primarily associated with the Cad.
347.28 Desires Stella and Vanessa. Butt was: "Gidding up me anti vanillas and getting off the stissas me aunties."
347.29 Butt was "swiping a johnny dann sweept."

343.02 Taff says to Butt: "you collier carsst on him (general)."
352.25 Taff says to Butt: "you were shutter reshottus," a reference to Carlyle's Sartor Resartus."

350.33 Napoleon: 'Every French soldier carries a marshal's baton in his knapsack.' Butt says: "like we chantied on Sunda schoon, every warson wearrier kaddies a komnate in his schnapsack."

New Ireland
348.16 Butt mentions the people of New Ireland: "i give thee ... the arrest of the whole inhibitance of Neuilands."

338.09 Taff says to Butt: "What see, buttywalch?" a reference to the antiparnellite archbishop of Dublin, Billy Walsh.
349.03 Taff says to Butt: "mind your p's and q's if you pigotts."
350.12 "the hissindensity buck [thus] far of his (butt's) melovelance tells how when he was fast marking his first lord for cremation."
350.17 Butt says "I Pack pickets, [Piggott] pioghs and kughs to be palseyputred."

350.22 Butt says: "I had my billyfell of duckish delights the whole pukny time on rawmeots and julianneswith," This could be a possible Cad sigla since the two lovers rebelled against the existing order but it is iffy.

resistance to invasion
346.19 Taff says to Butt: "you are on for versingrhetorish," Vercingetorix resisted Caesar's invasion of Gaul.
344.25 Buckley "hears amid the shieldfails awail of the bitteraccents."

346.22 Taff says Patrick my son in Irish to Butt. Páid a mhic means Pat, my son in Irish. "And don't live out the sad [sod] of tearfs, [turf] piddyawhick!"

Stephen Deadalus
348.21 Butt says that he and the three soldiers went to Clongowes Wood College, the school in Portrat: "Clongowes Wood College."

Three Soldiers or the number three
348.03 Butt is described as "in his difficoltous tresdobremient," tres means three in Spanish.
348.10 Butt says his boyars are fusiliers: "I now with platoonic leave recoil in ... me misenary post for all them old boyars ... I dring to them, bycorn spirits fuselaiding," the three soldiers are referred to as Welsh fusiliers in chapter 1.2.
348.18 Butt says the three soldiers were "Meould attashees the currgans ... Cedric said Gormleyson and Danno O'Dunnochoo and Conno O'Cannochar." Cedric or Sitric Silkenbeard, of Leinster, son of Gormfhlaith (his mother), led the Danes at the Battle of Clontarf. Domhnall O Donnchadha (O'Donoghue), of Munster, fought on the Irish side at the Battle of Clontarf. Ruaidhri O Conchobhair (Roderick O'Connor), of Connacht, was the last high king of Ireland. There are many contradictions however with these names. Sitric Silkenbeard is an E sigla, Domhnall is a Cad sigla and Roderick O'Connor is an E sigla.
351.07 Butt's fellows were "praddies three and prettish too," the conjunction of three and two refers to three soldiers and two temptresses.
351.26 Butt "did not care three tanker's hoots, ('sham! hem! or chaffit!)"
351.35 "send us (Butt and others) victorias nowells and brownings, dumm, [Tom] sneak [Dick] and curry." [Harry]

Tristan, tree/stone
346.34 King Anguish was the father of Isolde. Here Butt is seen as a challenger to him. "lest he (butt) should challenge himself, beygoad, till angush." [anguish]
348.22 While describing his attachees at clongowes Butt says: "with those khakireinettes, our miladies in their toileries, the twum plumyumnietcies, Vjeras Vjenaskayas, of old Djadja Uncken (uncle) who was a great mark," the words Uncle and mark in such close proximity make this a reference to King Mark and Butt his nephew.

E sigla

Duke of Wellington
351.34 Butt swears by General Blücher who fought against Napoleon at Waterloo: "respectables soeurs assistershood ... they would never ... let me down. Not on your bludger [Blücher] life, touters!"

351.25 Butt "could always take good care of himself, eyedulls or earwakers."

Finn MacCool
344.28 Butt says "no lie is this," a quote from the Youthful Exploits of Finn by Comyn.

HCE (initials)
353.08 Butt is "making a bashman's haloday out of the Euphorious HagiohygieCynicism of his die and be diademmed."

352.27 Butt "miraculises into the Dann Deafir," Danny Deever is a ballad about a British soldier hanged for murder in India.

343.05 Taff says butt retreated along the stations of the cross

351.35 jove. Butt swears by him: "And, by Jova, I never went wrong nor let him doom."

346.32 Butt "is a niallist of the ninth homestages," Niall of the Nine Hostage, an Irish king.
352.12 Butt says: "Thistake it's meest! And after meath the dulwich," Louis XIV said the state if me.

353.06 Butt momentarily scoffs: "maomant scoffin," here Mohammed resembles the Italian operatic translation Maometto.

Protestant/British ireland
339.01 Butt says "ulster to victory."
347.07 Butt was in the Royal Irish Militia: "higheye [I] was in the Reilly Oirish Krzerszonese Milesia, since the word Royal is used this links it to British dominated Ireland.

The Bell of Sechseläuten
344.27 "my (Butt's) bill it forsooks allegiance." The bell of Sechseläuten is a reference to the burial of winter where each year a symbolic effigy of winter is officially burned. This is a plausible symbol for the passing of the elder generation embodied in the E sigla.

348.14 Swaran: Norse leader defeated by Fingal. Butt says I "give thee our greatly swooren."

Izzy sigla

350.11 Heliotrope originally meant any sunflower. Butt has a "sunflawered beautonhole."

P & Q
349.03 Taff says to Butt: "mind your p's and q's if you pigotts," since the p's and q's are the possession of Butt this allusion has been assigned to Butt.
350.17 Butt says: "I Pack pickets, pioghs and kughs to be palseyputred."

Oval sigla

351.05 Provençal arc-de-sedo: rainbow. Butt says: "Arcdesedo! Renborumba! [rainbow] Then were the hellscyown days."

Other important allusions

343.09 Taff calls Butt "perfedes albionias," Albion meaning England.

a brother
347.29 While describing the time and place of the shooting Butt was: "Gidding up me anti vanillas and getting off the stissas me aunties. Boxerising and coxerusing." Box and Cox were unwitting brothers that let the same room, the landlord each day would remove their belongings. One worked at night the other worked at day. They were also both betrothed to the same woman.

brother and son at the same time
341.17 Butt says: "my pife for his cgar!" in Portrait: "Simon says of his father: 'We were more like brothers than father and son. I'Il never forget the first day he caught me smoking... I was standing... with some maneens... we had pipes... the next day... he said, try one of these cigars'

343.04 Taff says Butt had been gambling on "cerberating." [cerberus]

I'm pretty sure the Cad is Irish but I haven't confirmed this yet.
338.36 Butt is "fed up the grain oils of Aerin"
344.06 Taff calls Butt "a papist."
344.31 Butt swears by Ireland, Arram of Eirzerum. "But, meac Coolp, Arram of Eirzerum.
347.04 Butt says "after a power of skirmishes," Ghazi Power, an Irish journalist used the phrase a power of skirmishes.
351.06 "our fellows, the loyal leibsters, [Leinster] and we (Butt and friends) was the redugout rawrecruitioners."

Oscar Wilde
345.13 Butt quotes Wilde's de Profundis: "I met with whom it was too late." Wilde to Douglas in De Profundis: 'but I met you either too late or too soon'
350.10 Butt uses "a gisture expansive of Mr Lhugewhite Cadderpollard." Lady Colin Campbell said Oscar Wilde was like a great white caterpillar.
350.11 Wilde wore a flower in buttonhole at his first trial as Butt has a "sunflawered beautonhole."
350.12 Wilde was tried at Oldbally Court as Butt has "a sunflawered beautonhole pulled up point blanck by mailbag mundaynism at Oldbally Court."
350.14 Wife of his bottom is a possible allusions to sodomy and enter his behind is a definite allusion to sodomy: "the whyfe of his (Butt's) bothem was the very lad's [last] thing to elter [enter] his mehind."
350.17 Butt says: "With askormiles' [Oscar] eskermillas. I had my billyfell of duckish delights."

350.17 Butt says: "I Pack pickets, pioghs and kughs to be palseyputred." [paul/petered]
351.14 Butt cries out: "S. Pivorandbowl!"

The Royal Divorce
This symbol should be associated with the Cad since it concerns Napoleon's divorce from Josephine and his marriage to Louise but I'm not yet familiar with it enough to equate definitely with the Cad.
348.14 Butt gives Taff "our royal divorce."

351.36 Butt says: "risky wark rasky wolk, at the head of the wake," the person at the head of the wake would be a cad character. Russian russkii volk: Russian wolf.


Abel sigla

339.35 Taff was "born into the monkst of the vatercan"

345.24 Taff offers Butt to drink of this cup: Trink off this scup." an allusion to mass: "and be bladdy orafferteed!" communion: Butt then "takecups the communion of sense at the hands of the foregiver of trosstpassers."

Cad sigla

341.09 "Trovatarovitch! [troubadour] I trumble!" Verdi's opera. 'Il Trovator! Io fermo!'': 'the troubadour! I rage!' In Verdi's opera il Conte di Luna's rival for his lover is also his brother.
343.20 Butt says to Taff: "Never you brother me for I scout [doubt] it."
344.08 Taff is "giving his scimmianised twinge." (Butt)

346.35 Butt says to Taff: "Horrasure, toff!"

339.18 Bulgarian terziya: tailor. Taff is described as: "all Perssiasterssias shookatnaratatattar at his waggonhorchers."

346.28 Taff says "free bond men lay lurkin on," James Larkin, Irish labor leader. Labor activists represent a challenge to the current status quo, hence rebellion.

E sigla

338.13 Butt says to Taff: "but da," as if he's trying to get his attention.

353.33 Taff has "wools gatherings all over cromlin."

Duke of Wellington
338.09 Taff says "All was flashing and krashning blurty [bloody] moriartsky [murder] blutcherudd?" [Blücher]

Earwicker/Persse O'Reilley
340.35 Taff says: "my farst [fist] is near to hear [EAR] and my sackend [WICKER CHAIR] is meet to sedon while my whole's a peer's aureolies." [PIERCE O'REILLEY]

338.10 Butt appears to be calling Taff father by saying: "but dada."

345.24 Taff tells Butt to "drink of this scup." Scup means fish.

339.02 Norwedgian pukkel: hump. Butt says to Taff: "Sehyoh narar, pokehole sann!" Sann could be interpreted as son but the Japanese sann as a term of respect is stronger.
352.20 Taff has a lumpy hump.

346.27 Taff says: "Shinfine deed [dead] in the myrtle of the bog." Because Shinn Fein is mentioned as dead this allusion can be classified as a characteristic of invasion.
339.26 Butt gives taff "allasundery [Alexander] the bumfit of the doped"

340.27 Taff sees Saint Patrick visiting Izzy: "he sees Bishop Ribboncake ... going forth on his visitations of mirrage [Izzy] or Miss Horizon." Because Taff is concerned about this, this makes him a King Mark figure.

338.09 Russian moriak: sailor. Taff says "All was flashing and krashning blurty moriartsky blutcherudd?"

Strongbow was the first Anglo-Norman to invade Ireland. He could be classified as an invader but since he is referred so often he gets his own category.
343.04 Taff gambles on his tomb: "I'll gogemble on strangbones tomb."


Each sigla seems to be associated with a certain animal. I'm pretty sure that the fox is an E sigla, and Bear is a cad but not certain.
342.35 bear, he takes "takes the dipperend (big dipper, big bear) direction" and orients himself towards the constellations where the big bear lies, saggitarius and draco: "orients by way of Sagittarius towards Draco on the Lour"

345.22 Taff had been lavishing "words of silent power [which] ... have resulted in a momstchance ministring of another guidness."

Oscar Wilde
352.20 Taff has a lumpy hump off homosodalism (homosexuality)

Osiris is both an Abel sigla since he was killed by his brother and an E sigla since he returned to life.
345.19 Words of silent power is a Book of the Dead reference. Taff had been lavishing "words of silent power." Since the hero of the book of the dead, Ani, is called so often throughout Osiris-Ani this allusion can be safely categorized as an Osiris reference.

Russian General

Abel sigla

349.18 The Russian general appears in "the figure of a fellowchap in the wohly ghast, POPEy O'Donoshough, the jesuneral of the russuates."
349.25 In the italicized portions describing the General: "It is for the castomercies mudwake surveice. The victar," victar is close to vicar, ie, Vicar of Christ, Pope.

Cain sigla

338.17 Jubal and Tubal were Cain's descendents. Taff says the General was "in his jubalant tubalence."

338.18 Taff says: "Conscribe him (general) tillusk, unt, in his jubalant tubalence, the groundsapper."

Cad sigla

343.23 One of the two says: "Of all the quirasses and all the qwehrmin in the tragedoes of those antiants their grandoper, that soun of a gunnong, (the general) with his sabaothsopolettes."

St Stephen
340.34 "ye (Butt's) post is goang ... on his (general's) Mujiksy's Zaravence, (czar) the Riss, the Ross, the sur (czar) of all Russers." This is a variation of what kids would say while collecting candy on Saint Stephen's day going door to door: "the Wren, the Wren, the king of all the birds."

Tristan, tree/stone
350.02 tree/stone: the general "touched upon the tree of living ... in the place of the stones." However this allusion could be assigned to the cause of his death since it seems that his touching of the tree causes his death.
349.22 The Russian general "wears the latchet of jan of nepomuk." Jan of Nepomuk: Czech patron saint of Bohemia, whose tongue alone had not decayed when tomb was opened in 1719, 330 years after being drowned in the Vltava river for refusing to disclose to Wenceslas IV the secrets of the king's wife's confession. Because he is killed by a King this makes him a tristan figure.

E sigla

350.02 The general "touched upon the tree of living."

against three soldiers
340.22 The russian general "conforted [confronted/comforted] samp, tramp and marchint."

Bartholomew Vanhomrigh
353.05 Bartholomew Vanhomrigh: father of Esther (Swift's Vanessa), Lord-Mayor of Dublin. "his (general's) boortholomas vadnhammaggs."

343.31 Butt says: "the reverend and allaverred cromlecks, and when I heard his (the general) lewdbrogue."

339.06 Butt says of the general: "Bog carsse [czar] and dam neat, sar, gam cant!" which probably means because and damn it, sir, he can't!
340.34 "ye (Butt's) post is goang ... on his (general's) Mujiksy's Zaravence, (czar) the Riss, the Ross, the sur (czar) of all Russers."
344.33 Butt says: "I looked upon the Saur of all the Haurousians."

339.14 After the description of the seven items of clothing Butt notes: "Here weeks hire pulchers!"

344.22 Butt says: "I got inoccupation of a full new of his old basemiddelism, in ackshan, ... by the veereyed lights of the stormtrooping (Nazi stormtroopers) clouds."

Finn MacCool
344.36 Comyn: The Youthful Exploits of Fionn: 'there was fear with her the sons of Morna for him.' Butt says: "there was fear on me the sons of Nuad for him." (general)

HCE (initials)
339.29 ECH. Butt says: A bear (general) raigning in his heavenspawn consomation robes. ... Erminia's Capecloaked Hoodoodman!
352.33 HCE. Butt in describing the Russian General says: "He'll umbozzle no more graves ... His Cumbulent Embulence."

344.35 French bosse: hump. Butt "rueckenased the fates (face) of a bosser."

Humpty Dumpty
343.23 Butt says: "Of all the quirasses and all the qwehrmin in the tragedoes of those antiants their grandoper, that soun of a gunnong, (the general) with his sabaothsopolettes." The first part is a variation of and all the King's horse and all the King's men.
353.21 Butt "didn't give to one humpenny dump touching those slavic generals."
352.15 Butt says: "I shuttm, (general) missus, like a wide sleever! Hump to dump!"

344.16 The general puts down his pants like nebuchadnezzar.
344.27 Butt "caught the pfierce tsmell of his (general's) aurals, orankastank, a suphead setrapped, like Peder the Greste."
344.33 Butt says: "I looked upon the Saur [Saul] of all the Haurousians."
344.35 Irish God-King Nuad. Butt says: "there was fear on me the sons of Nuad for him." (general)
349.21 The Son of Heaven: Chinese emperor. The Russian general: "wears the star of the son of heaven."
349.21 Michael Palaeologus: Byzantine emperor. The Russian general wears the cross of him

King Mark of Cornwall
351.22 Butt "didn't give to one humpenny dump touching those slavic generals of tana kornwall."
340.22 "he (general) devoured the lilies of the field." This quote from the gospel of Mathew usually refers to Izzy and since he devoured them this reference alludes more to King Mark than it does to Tristan.

344.27 Butt "caught the pfierce tsmell of his (general's) aurals, ... like PEDER the GrESTe."
349.33 "He (the general) boundles alltogotter his manucupes with his pedarrests.

Persse O'Reilley
352.10 Butt in talking of the General says "percy rally got me."

Ragnarokr is death of the gods in Norse Mythology. Since the E sigla sometimes refers to Zeus and Jove this is a plausible E sigla allusion.
339.10 "With all his (the general) cannoball wappents. In his raglanrock and his malakoiffed bulbsbyg."
353.21 Butt in describing how he raised his weapon against the general says: "With my how on armer and hits leg an arrow cockshock rockrogn."

344.33 Armenian Haroutioun: resurrection. Butt says: "I looked upon the Saur of all the Haurousians."
349.18 Popey O'Donoshough: chieftain supposedly living in a palace under Lake of Killarney, supposed to emerge annually if good harvests were on the way. The Russian General appears in "the figure of a fellowchap in the wohly ghast, Popey O'Donoshough, the jesuneral of the russuates."

(many other russian allusions were ignored since it was so obvious that he is russian)
339.12 Prince Menshikov, a Russian, inept superior of General Todleben who fought at Crimea. one item of clothing is: "scarlett manchokuffs."
344.27 Peter the Great. Butt "caught the pfierce tsmell of his (general's) aurals, orankastank, a suphead setrapped, like Peder the Greste."

seven items of clothing
339.10 The General wears "all his (general) cannoball WAPPENTS. In his raglanrock and his malakoiffed BULBSBYG and his varnashed ROSCIANS and his cardigans BLOUSEJAGGED and his scarlett MANCHOKUFFS and his treecoloured CAMIFLAG and his perikopendolous GAELSTORMS."

343.31 Ragnar Lodbrok: Viking chief. Butt says: "when i heard his lewdbrogue." (Lodbrok) (the general's)


339.29 Bear. Butt says: "A bear (general) raigning in his heavenspawn consomation robes."
352.02 Latin ursus: bear. he is described as the "urssian general."

352.05 "his (general's) brichashert offensive."

344.27 Butt "caught the pfierce tsmell of his (general's) aurals ... like Peder the Greste, altiPALtar."
349.23 The Russian General "wears the puffpuff and pompom of peter and paul."

Percy Wyndham Lewis
I have not yet identified Lewis with any of the sigla but I suspect he is both Cain because he once had a very close relationship with Joyce and betrayed him and also the E sigla since his name is Percy.
352.11 Lewis wrote "the enemy." Butt says "the enemay (general) the Percy rally got me."
352.14 Butt says: "before he (general) could tell pullyirragun to parrylewis, I shuttm."

Roman Catholic
344.15 The Russian General "attempts like a rudeman cathargic."