Today I finished reading a chapter in Finnegans Wake (Book I Chapter 5). Part of the way I read this book, is that I read in the corresponding section in Joseph Campbell’s commentary first.
Then I read a page in the Oxford edition whose numbers correspond to many of the reference books I use.
Then I go to my old Viking book club edition and make notations including indicating the Oxford pagination.
I then consult the McHugh’s Annotations to Finnegans Wake (Third edition).
I began this process a while back in the middle of the book and am now about done with one entire pass in this manner.
This sounds so much more serious than the way it feels since I find Joyce endlessly hilarious and rewarding. One of the insights I have had is realizing the true depth of meaning in words. To limit words to simple clear definitions is a bit reductive, since a glance at dictionaries and etymologies shows the resonance that already exists in them before Joyce starts to cut them up and patch them together for his own ends.
I’m also at the point in Ellmann’s bio of Joyce where Joyce has begun serious work on Finnegans Wake. This is a great biography.
I have been thinking that social distancing or even intellectual distancing is the way I live. I know no one who loves the stuff I love, like Joyce, Dante, and Shakespeare. I find Harold Bloom is practically a living, breathing teacher for me, if not a bit of a ghost companion.
Anyway for all you Joyce fans out there (sarcasm) here is a lovely, lovely interview with Sylvia Beach, the proprietor of Shakespeare and Company Bookshop in Paris which was a haunt of Joyce’s and also published Ulysses.
One of the commenters says that this was filmed the year she died. She is charming and this video is worth watching even if you don’t like Joyce.
The chapter I just finished in Finnegans Wake draws on Edward Sullivan’s 1920 publication of The Book of Kells. I ordered a cheapo reprint copy and it arrived just in time. I have been reading in it and seeing the relationship of Sullivan’s written commentary to Joyce’s prose about the “letter” in the trash heap which corresponds a bit to The Book of Kells. Fun stuff.
It’s been a weird week for me regarding my church job. We had another Zoom staff meeting Wednesday. Rev Jen tried to draw me out a bit regarding my understanding of web sites since we are working on a Covid-19 update of it. After this meeting I began to feel over whelmed by a sense of guilt since I’m receiving a paycheck from Grace and not doing very much to earn it. I was torn by noticing that no one on staff really has the understanding and experience I have making web sites and using WordPress. I reached out to some of the people on staff who are working on it but they did not respond.
Mary Miller gave me her log on and I did enough poking around to realize that I could be helpful. I don’t really want to be the web master.
Jen and I had a meeting scheduled for Thursday with a staff meeting to follow (all on Zoom of course). I spent the morning boning up on the liturgical theology of Holy Week. In this meeting, Jen clarified for me that I would only be responsible for helping provide content for resources for our parish online and that others would be responsible for actually putting it in the web site. This was a relief.
I was able to help Jen a bit in her preparation for how to lead Grace Community through this time via screens and resources. Unsurprisingly, there are some very fine things happening online like The Episcopal Church in Colorado Resource Page and Building Faith: A Ministry of the Virginia Theological Seminary.
There are also some cool videos on YouTube from the latter on doing the Triduum during Quarantine starting with this one.
By the time our staff meeting ended yesterday I was feeling much better about my role in my job during this weird time.