Impossible Joyce

Impossible Joyce: Finnegans Wakes

PATRICK O’NEILL
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 336
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/j.ctt5hjx5g
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  • Book Info
    Impossible Joyce
    Book Description:

    Impossible Joyceexplores the fascinating range of different approaches adopted by translators in coming to grips with Joyce's astonishing literary text.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6567-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-10)

    Finnegans Wakeis a literary machine designed to generate as many meanings as possible for as many readers as possible.Impossible Joyce: Finnegans Wakes, the present exercise in the long and widening wake of theWake, focuses on the extended capabilities of that machine in the course of a sustained examination of transtextual effects (a concept to which we shall return) generated by comparative readings, across a range of languages, of translated excerpts from a work that has repeatedly been declared entirely untranslatable.

    Fritz Senn has commented that ‘everything Joyce wrote has to do with translation, is transferential’ (1984, 39)....

  5. I Work in Progress

    • 1 Finnegans Wakes
      (pp. 13-30)

      To begin with, let us briefly survey the international growth of what we may think of as the multilingualFinnegans Wakepolysystem, constituting a progressive polyglot extension of an already extravagantly polyglot original text. Our survey will involve, first, a rapid overview of the chronological sequence of would-be translations (fragmentary, partial, or complete) into more than twenty languages to date; second, an even more concise overview of the degree to which particular languages have been involved in translations of and from theWake; and, finally, a brief account of how the iconic titleFinnegans Wake, so obsessively guarded by Joyce...

  6. II Words in Progress

    • 2 Riverrun
      (pp. 33-62)

      To begin our transtextual explorations, let us turn to a comparative consideration of a group of would-be translations of the opening three-line sentence (or sentence fragment). In doing so, we shall focus on three complementary and interactive questions. First, and very briefly, what are the primary textual features that we are likely to grasp as readers on a first exposure to the opening sentence in theWake’s highly peculiar brand of English – and what do we in all likelihoodnotyet understand but find out subsequently to have been implied from the beginning? Second, how is this progressive layering of textual...

    • 3 Tristrams
      (pp. 63-89)

      du Bouchet (French, 1962): Sire Tristram, violeur d’amores, d’oultre la manche mer, n’avait à corps ravivé du Nord de l’Armorique ès bords d’icel huisthme hérissé d’Europe mineure pour reluivreferre sa guerre péniseulte:

      Lavergne (French, 1982): Sire Tristram, violeur d’amoeurs, manchissant la courte oisie, n’avait pâque buissé sa derrive d’Armorique du Nord sur ce flanc de notre isthme décharné d’Europe Mineure pour y resoutenir le combat d’un presqu’Yseul penny:

      Wilcock (Italian, 1961): Sir Tristano da oltre il mare piccolo, violista d’amori, non era ancora riarrivato da Nord Armorica, in questa parte dello scabroso rouistmo d’Europa Minore, a brandibattere la sua guerra...

    • 4 Rocks and Fires
      (pp. 90-121)

      du Bouchet (French, 1962): marmerocs de sommescieur le long du calme Oconee ne s’étaient pour lors exagerés en gorgios de Laurens County doublin l’arrombe de mot en mot: [text missing]

      Lavergne (French, 1982): ni près du fleuve Oconee les roches premières ne s’étaient exaltruées en splendide Georgi Dublin de Laurens Comptez en doublant ses membres tout le temps: nulle voix humaine n’avait dessouflé son micmac pour bêptiser Patrick:

      Wilcock (Italian, 1961): né si erano le alte rocce accanto al fiume Oconee esagerate fino ai gorghi della contea di Laurens mentre il loro numero si raddublinava continuamente; né la voce dal...

    • 5 Passencores
      (pp. 122-150)

      du Bouchet (French, 1962): pas plus qu’encore, quoique pentecôte près, n’eut son roux cadet filoué un ameugle isaac chevrauné: et bien que rien hait neuf en vanessie, point n’avaient les susisthoeurs déruthé leur doublempair Nathanjoe. Et mie Jhem ou Shaun, sous volts arctiques, lampé le malt palternel et de l’arcen-cil l’irroré se pouvait à la ronde boire sur l’aquaface.

      Lavergne (French, 1982): pas encore, mais nous y venaisons bientôt, n’avait un jeune blancbec flibutté le blanc bouc d’Isaac: pas encore, bien que tout soit affoire en Vanité, les doubles soeurs ne s’étaient colère avec Joe Nathan. Onc mais n’avaient Jhem...

  7. III Rivering Waters

    • 6 Tales Told
      (pp. 153-177)

      A particularly intriguing aspect of comparing translations ofAnna Livia Plurabelleis the fact that Joyce himself was significantly involved in at least two of them – each of which, even more interestingly, is now available in two different versions. The primary French version is theNouvelle Revue Françaisetranslation published in 1931 (Beckett and Joyce 1931), but an earlier version of this, prepared by Alfred Péron and Samuel Beckett in 1930 though not separately published until 1985 (Péron and Beckett 1985), is also available for comparison.¹ The primary Italian version is now agreed to be the translation prepared by Joyce...

    • 7 Opinions Voiced
      (pp. 178-204)

      A central topic of the two washerwomen at the ford, as they enthusiastically wash the family’s dirty linen in public, is the shameful delinquency of the reprehensible HCE. We will limit ourselves over the next few pages to a very select anthology of just a few of their preliminary opinions and comments – investigating how these opinions and comments survive their multilingual transformation, becoming in the process the views of washerwomen at once the same and entirely different concerning an HCE likewise both still the same and entirely different. We shall once again have the opportunity to compare the strategies employed...

  8. IV Naming Names

    • 8 Here Comes Everybody
      (pp. 207-236)

      The protagonist ofFinnegans Wakeis called by many different names in constantly changing narrative contexts, but is very frequently identified, as we have seen, by the initialsHCEor some permutation of them (HEC,ECH,CHE, and so on). Sometimes the initials are those of a character or pseudo-character (such as Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker, Huges Caput Earlyfowler, or Haroun Childeric Eggeberth), sometimes they occur as a sequence of initials in phrases whose relevance may be fairly obvious (such as ‘this man of hod, cement and edifices’) or considerably less so (such as ‘Heinz cans everywhere’).Finnegans Wakecan be...

    • 9 ALPs Allonymous
      (pp. 237-262)

      As in the case of HCE, we will limit ourselves in this chapter to following the comparative interlinguistic fortunes of ALP, Anna Livia Plurabelle – ‘Anna was, Livia is, Plurabelle’s to be’ (FW215.24) – as exemplified by a number of variations on her name, her acrostic presence in the text, and selected other references to her. Our coverage, once again, will of course be merely suggestive rather than exhaustive.

      If HCE represents the city of Dublin, ALP represents the river Liffey, on which the city, a much later arrival, was eventually built. During the early Middle Ages the Liffey, estimated to...

    • 10 Dear Dirty Dublin
      (pp. 263-286)

      As part of his early attempt to explain to Harriet Weaver some of the logic of the extraordinary undertaking that would becomeFinnegans Wake, Joyce wrote in November 1926 that ‘some of the words at the beginning are hybrid Danish-English. Dublin is a city founded by Vikings’ (L1: 213). Prior to its fortification by the Vikings, early medieval Dublin grew up around two neighbouring settlements on the river Liffey,Áth Cliath and Duibhlinn. The former centred on an ancient and strategically important ford, near the present site of the Four Courts, made of hurdles, or interwoven branches, across the...

  9. Conclusion
    (pp. 287-296)

    In William York Tindall’s memorable formulation, ‘Finnegans Wakeis an imitation of life. Undiscouraged by what is beyond us in life or in this book of life, we must keep on trying … Some things will yield some meaning somehow sometime.Finnegans Wake, then, is the record of reality, of man’s attempt to explain it, and an invitation to explain.Finnegans Wakeis aboutFinnegans Wake’ (1959, 264). TheWakeitself offers one opinion (among various others) on its own readability, referring to ‘irremovable doubts as to the whole sense of the lot, the interpretation of any phrase in the...

  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 297-316)
  11. Index
    (pp. 317-322)