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Finnegans Wake and beesknees

Posted: Mon Aug 05, 2019 6:28 pm
by gdwdwrkr
I have been ignorant of James Joyce and Finnegans Wake but thanks to an article about computers analyzing literature according to the probabilities of one word following another, and that Finnegans Wake has been found to be the least-predictable piece in the "English language" (!?), I have taken-up reading it, and have come across the word "beesknees", which appears to be his word-of-the-moment for "business". Any insights? Thanks in advance.

I did find myself wondering how a proofreader might check the text for errors, but Joyce would have had to do that himself, I think.

I am reading it as a stream in the dream world and am finding myself laughing on occasion when things do find their ways through my very-limited mental capacities. I imagine you laughing more often; my hat is off to you!

Re: Finnegans Wake and beesknees

Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:53 pm
by Bobinwales
I think you are very brave reading James Joyce, he is pretty hard work.

I can only assume that the character pronounces "business" as "bees knees". It is an odd way of doing things though.

Re: Finnegans Wake and beesknees

Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:22 pm
by tony h
gdwdwrkr wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 6:28 pm
I have taken-up reading it, and have come across the word "beesknees", which appears to be his word-of-the-moment for "business". Any insights? Thanks in advance.
I wonder how you managed to survive until beesknees without a serious call for help.

I remember my brother trying to read a part of it aloud, in order to convey its wonder. It was an experience that I was quite happy to have had in order to know that on a future occasion I would avoid it.

Re: Finnegans Wake and beesknees

Posted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 12:10 am
by trolley
As kids, we used "beeswax" as a substitute word for business...
"Mind your own beeswax!" I'm not even sure why we needed a euphemism to soften "business".

Re: Finnegans Wake and beesknees

Posted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:26 am
by tony h
The opening paragraphs of Finnegan's Wake. I have highlighted one of his eccentric long words which never quite made it into common usage:

riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.
Sir Tristram, violer d’amores, fr’over the short sea, had passen-core rearrived from North Armorica on this side the scraggy isthmus of Europe Minor to wielderfight his penisolate war: nor had topsawyer’s rocks by the stream Oconee exaggerated themselse to Laurens County’s gorgios while they went doublin their mumper all the time: nor avoice from afire bellowsed mishe mishe to tauftauf thuartpeatrick not yet, though venissoon after, had a kidscad buttended a bland old isaac: not yet, though all’s fair in vanessy, were sosie sesthers wroth with twone nathandjoe. Rot a peck of pa’s malt had Jhem or Shen brewed by arclight and rory end to the regginbrow was to be seen ringsome on the aquaface.
The fall (bababadalgharaghtakamminarronnkonnbronntonner-ronntuonnthunntrovarrhounawnskawntoohoohoordenenthur — nuk!) of a once wallstrait oldparr is retaled early in bed and later on life down through all christian minstrelsy. The great fall of the offwall entailed at such short notice the pftjschute of Finnegan, erse solid man, that the humptyhillhead of humself prumptly sends an unquiring one well to the west in quest of his tumptytumtoes: and their upturnpikepointandplace is at the knock out in the park where oranges have been laid to rust upon the green since dev-linsfirst loved livvy.
What clashes here of wills gen wonts, oystrygods gaggin fishy-gods! Brékkek Kékkek Kékkek Kékkek! Kóax Kóax Kóax! Ualu Ualu Ualu! Quaouauh! Where the Baddelaries partisans are still out to mathmaster Malachus Micgranes and the Verdons cata-pelting the camibalistics out of the Whoyteboyce of Hoodie Head. Assiegates and boomeringstroms. Sod’s brood, be me fear! Sanglorians, save! Arms apeal with larms, appalling. Killykill-killy: a toll, a toll. What chance cuddleys, what cashels aired and ventilated! What bidimetoloves sinduced by what tegotetab-solvers! What true feeling for their’s hayair with what strawng voice of false jiccup! O here here how hoth sprowled met the duskt the father of fornicationists but, (O my shining stars and body!) how hath fanespanned most high heaven the skysign of soft advertisement! But was iz? Iseut? Ere were sewers? The oaks of ald now they lie in peat yet elms leap where askes lay. Phall if you but will, rise you must: and none so soon either shall the pharce for the nunce come to a setdown secular phoenish.

Re: Finnegans Wake and beesknees

Posted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:53 pm
by gdwdwrkr
It's not so bad.
Though I will never get it done within the 2-week inter-library-loan time-limit.
So I'll blame them.

Re: Finnegans Wake and beesknees

Posted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:24 am
by Erik_Kowal
Imagine being in solitary confinement and having only that to read...

Re: Finnegans Wake and beesknees

Posted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 3:46 pm
by Bobinwales
Many years ago I was a part-time youth leader. Technically, I was there to encourage music and musicians but as I was the only arty one on the staff I had to encourage painters and poets as well. One such poet was a young man who had ridden a motorbike into a wall, damaging his head. His poetry consisted of the longest words that he could manage without any consideration of what they actually meant. Guess who he reminded of!
One nice thing did come out of his efforts. He was determined to be published. I knew that he didn't stand a chance of course, but he begged me to help. More in desperation than hope I sent a manuscript to a leading university's publishing house, which will remain nameless. After about a week they returned the manuscript with the most wonderful letter explaining to my charge that his work, although it had merit, was not quite suitable for any of the publications that they were dealing with at that time, but perhaps he would like to send some of his poetry to a local publisher. The boy could not have been more thrilled if they had printed his stuff in hardback! I had to change youth clubs, so I never did find if he achieved his ambition. I hope he did, but I seriously doubt it.

Re: Finnegans Wake and beesknees

Posted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 5:33 pm
by tony h
Bobinwales wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 3:46 pm
I hope he did, but I seriously doubt it.
My father was a director of various book publishers. He would say that for most authors the only thing worse than not having their book published was having your book published. Either it failed miserably or they could never write a second.