“Finnegan’s Wake” Outline – Book 1: Chapter 1 ( notes)

Intro.

Finnegan’s Wake is laid out as an epic poem. Joyce uses Kabbalistic and Talmudic reasoning, throughout the text. The book makes references to history, the Tanakh and the New Testament. Finnegan’s Wake makes many parallels to Paradise Lost and borrows many of its techniques.

Book 1: Chapter 1

Finnegan falls off a wall, while repairing/working on it. (Parallels and Talmudic and Kabbalistic reasoning are made and used to and with: creation & destruction, Tower of Babel, Wall of Jericho, and Humpty Dumpty)

Finnegan falls head first, toes in the air, in an orange grove. (Oranges are often used in film and literature to foreshadow disastrous events.)

Finnegan was omened earlier – via putting his toes in water and seeing a sign – he would have a fall.

Meanwhile, a past lover, with an umbrella, spots him.

A museum is near the wall. The museum is having a Napoleon exhibit. A tour of the artifacts from the Battle of Waterloo is taking place. People are asked to tip, as they pass by each artifact in the exhibit. (The museum and the tour are meant to show the history of creation and destruction, rise and fall, the epic nature of life, etc. It also parallels the contemporary event of Finnegan’s wall fall, with the past.)

The lady, who spots Finnegan, is given detail and poetic digression – lover’s history, etc. 

We enter a history of dates of men, their affairs with these ladies and their fall because of these affairs. (Epic poetic parallel made between the past and the present.)

A love affair is recounted. (Parallel between fall of man, love with women, and Finnegan’s relation with those types of events. It, as the rest of the text, deals with creation and destruction)

Men appear and attempt to figure out how Finnegan fell off the wall, who pushed him, whether or not he was intoxicated.

Deciphering the Epic Achievement of Literature’s Jester King

I am working on deciphering Finnegan’s Wake by literature’s jester king, James Joyce. James Joyce was addicted to language, allusion, and pun. 

Joyce is my favorite author, so it is not a complete chore. I decipher, on the premise, Finnegan’s Wake is structured as an epic poem. The book is not structured like a novel. It should not be read as one.

Gravity’s Rainbow, though more novelistic than Finnegan’s Wake, also used a similar structure.

I deciphered 47 pages of the work so far, within the past 3 days. 

The proposed epic structure hypothesis appears to work, as applied-methodological-decipherment.

I will post progress updates, as I further decipher the text.

I am also working on an essay on small used bookstores. The essay should be 3,000 words or more when completed.

Faulkner’s “Artist at Home.”

William Faulkner’s Artist at Home concerns Roger Howe, a writer, who decides to take, struggling poet, John Blair into his home.

Both John and Roger are engaged at their artwork throughout the story.

While John Blair is staying that Roger’s house, he follows and attempts to seduce Howe’s wife.

At one point in the story, Roger confronts Blair over his behavior. Blair replies, “I kissed your wife”. John says he plans to do it again.

Later on, Blair disappears.

John Blair, through the rest of the work, sends Roger and his wife correspondence.

Near the end of the work, Roger discovers Blair has published a peace in a literary magazine.

However, The magazine’s publisher failed to keep a safeguard on Blair’s copyright of the poem.

Several magazines placed the author’s work in their magazines, without bothering to pay John, as a consequence.

This does not affect John Blair because he died before the poem’s publication.

The story ends with Roger handing over a short story he has written to his wife for her to read.

The short story Roger wrote parallels the couples experience with John Blair.

Artist at Home is well constructed and shows insight into the personal loneliness and pain other artists can inflict on one another. The tale also provides a good account on human betrayal. 

The reaction of the characters in the story is realistic. Faulkner never over dramatizes the characters responses to the events in the story.

Faulkner’s care, in his application of these story attributes and attention to realism gives the work strength.

Oddly, however, The Post rejected the story when Faulkner submitted it. This rejection caused Faulkner to be late on his mortgage. Luckily, Faulkner’s landlord allowed for this delay.

Historic Public Avoidance of Social Engagement Literature

Companies and the American government should have, keep, and maintain organizations, which do not expect profit returns.

Not everything of value generates huge sums in return. Value should not be measured in pure cash flow.

Often, the greatest works of art churned very little cash, soon after their creation.

Generations passed until the populace and accredited institutions began to discover the worth of many of the world’s greatest masterpieces.

Contemplative and socially challenging literature (i.e. social engagement literature) traditionally, often churns little cash flow.

Social engagement literature makes a rare appearance on the best-seller list but these odd literary gems swim in a sea of mediocre but seasonably popular thrillers.

Individuals who read social engagement literature are those who have been brought up to appreciate it or were introduced to them through college.

Even in college, it is often the liberal arts majors, who continue to read these works after graduation. Those who major in technical fields tend to ignore social engagement literature.

Most students enrolled in technical oriented majors stick to technical manuals after graduation. These students only read those works assigned in the one or two literature courses they were required to take to complete their degree.

Most citizens, outside of college institutions, when they come home from their workplace are too tired to read something, which will challenge their perceptions.

Most of these citizens are dealing with high levels of stress and do no want an artwork, which will further compound this stress. So, they often look for escapist work.

Escapist work is a piece of art, which is often shallow but provides visual or other excitement.

These works do not require deep reading. The reader does not question the social context of the ideas or environment discussed or displayed in the work, when they turn of the monitor or close the book.

Many citizens are brought up to avoid social engagement work. They are taught to keep away from art and books, which may encourage social engagement.

Many citizens are taught life contains problems you are not supposed to think about because there is little you can do about them. So, many do not even read the day-to-day news. Many citizens claim topics brought up in the news depress them.

Their fellow peers who do read these works and make efforts to participate in the world discussion are often marginalized.

One only need looks at history to verify the general public’s avoidance of social engagement literature.

Herman Melville’s first two books Typee and Omoo sold well. Moby Dick, when it was first published, sold poorly.

Decades later, it only managed to sell a few thousand copies, though it was critically well received. Melville’s contemporaries wrote favorable reviews of the book. These efforts did not generate sales, however.

Typee and Omoo were light tales of adventure. Neither dealt with major social problems of the time.

Melville’s original readers were not expecting an introspective narrative, filled with epic poetic digressions. They were not expecting a book, which challenged their religious assertions and their societal bias toward different culture groups.

The same is true of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby, in comparison, to the work he wrote before it.

This Side of Paradise and The Beautiful and the Damned were best sellers. The Great Gatsby sold horribly.

This Side of Paradise and The Beautiful and the Damned showed wealthy society and wealth accumulation in a favorable light.

The Great Gatsby showed the negative sides of wealth and the tragedy surrounding wealth accumulation. The populace was not ready nor wanted to hear a sad social tale

Both Moby Dick and The Great Gatsby sold poorly because these books were not what Melville’s or Fitzgerald’s readers were expecting out of either of these authors.

Melville Fan’s were expecting a shallow but fun adventure tale. Fitzgerald’s fans expected a fun and shallow romance about the wealthy.

The low sales at-the-time-of-publication of both Moby dick and The Great Gatsby seem odd today because Gatsby and Moby Dick are often the only of Fitzgerald’s or Melville’s works, which remain widely read or discussed.

The rest of Melville’s or Fitzgerald’ bibliographies, outside of a few short stories remain largely ignored – outside of a small number of people, who read them out of curiosity or for a paper or treatise they are employed on concerning these authors or the works of the period, when Melville or Fitzgerald lived.

The societal trend to stick to shallow works of art was the topic in George Gissing’s New Grub Street.

New Grub Street is a tale of two writers Jasper Milvain and Edwin Rearden.

Jasper focused only on cash and societal acceptance of work and cared little for artistic merit of a piece.

Edwin focuses on artistic merit and decides not to focus on the amount of money a work would make, despite the poverty he suffers, as a consequence.

Despite the fact that great works often do not generate large cash flow, I understand that it is important to churn enough profit to keep a business afloat.

Despite this, if a company or government only values a work’s possible profit, countless great works of art will be thrust into the trash ben.

If authors focus only on sales generation over quality and depth of a work, we will be deprived the greatest future American masterpieces.

Therefore, we must keep grants open for writers who dare to write works the public may not appreciate soon after publication, but are works of great artistic value, nonetheless.

Books must be Morphed into Fashion Models

Most books on digital or brick and mortar store shelves today exist in a banal and mass-produced format.

Most stores only or mostly stock paperbacks. The hard backs, once the dust cover is removed, are mostly all identical.

Book covers may vary slightly in color shade, but they are, except in a rare case, boring and flat.

The decline from physical to digital book copies should be no surprise. The customer is not missing anything the physical object offers. So, many bookstores and publishers have or are set-to close.

Bookstores and publishers will decline further if something is not done. 

A remedy must be introduced to combat the decline of the brick and mortar store and keep publishing houses open.

Physical books must regain their market dominance. I propose a solution to re-install the dominance of physical paperbound objects.

Today, is the time for publishers and book sellers to return viewing a book as an object of decoration.

Publishing houses must stride to fashion the covers and innards of the printed volumes piling up in warehouses and wheeled out to brick and mortar stores to fashionable cover and page appeal.

Books stores must arrange books, in a way, which flatters each binding and cover.

Each individualized book must be viewed as a model strolling up a runway.

Many older books are ornaments of fashion. Many older books contained sketches, embedded designs – some had edge painting (i.e. an imaged on the edge of the pages which would show when the pages were fanned forward.)

Before the printing press, monks administered beautiful calligraphy and multi-color ink-pen artwork to each page of text, as they hand copied ancient documents in dark, candle-lit cells.

Publishers should employ innovative page and cover design techniques today to their future inventory stocks.

Designers and bookbinder should unite and combine their talents to create a beautiful, paper-bound creation, which is a proud ornament to a shelf or coffee table, while maintaining an affordable price to an average consumer.

Color and black and white sketched illustration should be inserted into as many volumes as possible. Appropriate paper-stock should be decided for this artwork

Perhaps, scent artists could implement a special scent into each page of a text.

A Plea for Equal Human v. Beast Combat

man-vs-bear
Kabardino-Balkaria v. Bear – The Guardian

Mankind should hunt creatures capable of putting up a good fight. A two-foot rabbit is not a match for a six-foot man. I would hardly call the game fair. This is bully play. The fight is less equal than a heavy weight pounding a toddler.

A good match-up would be a samurai soldier v. bear fight. I am not so crazy, as to say, a man should go naked.

A bear is covered in fur. A bear is bigger and stronger. The sword, armor, and the superior intelligence of the man should equal the match and should place the game on equal ground. I would call the set-up match true sport.

Man-or-woman-behind-bushes or trees v. unsuspecting deer on-all-fours-licking-salt-off-dirt is not sport. It is murder.

The man or woman is shooting the opponent, while their back is turned.

If the match-up arrangement were a man or woman in the position of the deer, new stations, print or web publications would claim the arrangement a coward’s set up.

We must insist this field set-up arrangement is a case equal here.

Beasts and humans are related. They share, at least, a tiny portion of the same DNA down the evolutionary line. So, beast and humans are distant cousins. So, they should be given equal credence.

The United States must attempt to implement fairness in our national sport event pastimes.

The U.S. must say the arrangement is at least equal to man shooting an unarmed man or woman behind a bush, while his or her back is turned.

American’s must insist the person does not even have the guts to face the deer aware and in an open space.

I think unfair sporting arrangements should be outlawed. I think only fair play should play out. I think an article should be penned and placed in the U.S. Constitution embedding this concept.

The Romans, while brutal, at least knew how to arrange a fair set-up against human and beast.

Old Spain was more progressive in arranging equal mammal matches than the United States.

The Spanish knew how a human v. beast match should be laid down – Matador v. Bull – now, that is a good set-up, when not tampered with.

What could show an individual’s toughness and sportsmanship more than charging and maneuvering against the horns and stamina of a bull?

The match is more fair and entertaining – dare I say more humane – than a slaughterhouse.

In the Roman arena, a gladiator was placed in armor and carried a sharp and deadly object.

The gladiator could face the swifter beast, bearing claws and teeth, with their superior intelligence; while slicing, whacking, and stabbing the animal with this sharp object.

I say if a man or woman wants to hunt a beast, they should step into a modern gladiatorial ring or like sporting grounds with a beast of equal power.

I say let the best mammal win. I say let the match begin.

Gertrude’s Great Instructions to her Great Pupil

Paris Group: Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, etc.

Gertrude Stein tutored Earnest Hemingway. Stein taught him word economy. Economy often is the difference between a passible and a great writer. Adjectives and adverbs should be used sparingly.

Gertrude, likely, took her instructive methods from Mark Twain who said “ If you catch and adjective or and adverb kill It.” He went on to say not utterly because you should use them on occasion.

When adjective and adverbs are used, there must be a reason for their usage. They are not ornaments and glitter to throw around at leisure.

Gertrud would say to Hemingway, during her tutelage, “Hemingway don’t use very.”

Stein also insisted on a real sounding phrase. Gertrude said a phase should give no more or less emotion than the act or thought, which the sentence describes in life.

I agree. Over emotional or flat writing destroys a work.

Over dramatization of emotion is why many works of the past, especially works of the 19th century, are forgotten.

Writing should also be active. Passive voice often deadens a phrase. This is not to say passive voice is not ever necessary – it should be used only when needed.

Writing is both impulse and calculation. One often hears, the more one writes the better they are.

This advice is not always true. Writing more words does not mean one is a better writer. Hemingway’s 500-word goal per day triumphs over Steven Kings or other thrillers writers 2,000 word habit.

Gertrude’s instruction morphed Hemingway into one of the greatest and most influential writers of the 20th century.

Hemingway denounced Stein later on, after his tutorship.

Stein’s instruction, however, was treasured, weather he acknowledged or was grateful toward Gertrude later on or not.

Hemingway would later recount Stein’s instruction in A Moveable Feast, published 3 years after his death.

Problems with Many Political Oriented Groups

Activism Must Correlate with Objective

Activism is good but a plan should exist. Activism without a detailed objective is like an animal swatting a fly at the opposite window-side. 

The problem with many groups and their meetings is there is no real blueprint outside of rallies and protest events. Many of these groups keep to discussions on immediate social issues, outside overall governmental structure, and form rallies based around them.

These groups do not, typically, discuss a goal for the future or the time spent in future-goal-discussion is slimly portioned compared the other issues discussed.

I hear: 

Let us protest for this cause or that cause. 

I respond, mentally: 

Ok, but what is the overall goal? All right, but what do you really want? What is shouting with signs going to accomplish?

Also, when it comes to issues outside the national sphere, there is no control a group can obtain over them.

If a group claims to support an ideology, they need to form a platform around it. 

For instance, in the case of Marxism, there is no detailed Marxist post-revolutionary structure.

Karl Marx never, really, laid out a detailed post-capitalist system. Marx was a capitalist critic. He was not a Utopian world builder. At least 95% of what Marx wrote were analysis treatises of capitalism.   

Revolutionary Left-Wing and social critic Slavov Zizek said, “The old Marxist phrase, “Philosophers have only interpreted the world the time is to change it.” Perhaps, the lesson of the 20th century is perhaps we tried to change the world too quickly. It is time to start thinking again.”

I agree with Zizek. We need to start thinking again. The Internet changed how commerce works and how we interact with one another. We need to base a system around this social, cultural and commercial-influencing updates. 

Once a plan is in place, we need to build up a foundation. Once a foundation is constructed, it is time for us to rally.

Oversimplification Problem 

Most ideological centered groups latch on to oversimplification. Their papers are littered with biased language.

Biased language in a blog is fine. When this language exists in a publication, it may not work to a groups favor. 

Most Issues Exist in a Blend of Shades 

Most issues and events one faces in life are not black and white. There are some issues, which exist in pure shades. Most grey. Often, both sides of an issue are wrong. 

The best mode of action to take, when both sides of an issue are engaged in negative, social behavior, is to keep out and let a fight rage on – without personal involvement. 

This would save our country the lives of many young men and women. It would also save our country money. Taking Washington’s advice and staying out of most international issues would shrink the national debt.

Issues to Focus on for the Future Election

The main issues to focus on in the next presidential election are: 

1.) a livable wage

2.) school debt

3.) a minimum and maximum on income

4.) closing up the tax loop holes

5.) national healthcare

6.) eliminating corporate funds from campaigns

7.) insistence on maintaining the right to free speech/ other first amendment elements.

MAILER: The Philosopher of Existential Hip

Mailer with Vonnegut and Vidal

Norman Mailer is one of the most important novelists of the later half of the 20th Century. Norman stands next to Gore Vidal and Kurt Vonnegut, in a picture taken nearly a decade ago.

This photographed group of men were America’s great veterans – along with Joseph Heller, the writer of Catch 22 – who fought in World War 2 and wrote at least one novel on the war.

Mailer’s Naked and the Dead is often listed as the greatest novel on World War 2.

Mailer was among the “New School” of Journalists, along with Joan Didion, Tom Wolfe and Hunter S. Thomson.

The “New School of Journalism” sought to combine reportage with the novelistic voice, format, and length.

Norman Mailer is to be listed among the major writers/contributors of the New York Review of Books  in Scorsese’s upcoming documentary on the history of the magazine.

Most of Mailer’s fictional novels incorporate nonfictional elements to the boundary-point between fiction and non-fiction.

Mailer was among the most televised authors of the 50s – 70s. He was featured and debated William F. Buckley, the leading conservative television commentator of the 50 -70s, on Buckley’s show the Firing Line.

Mailer’s fiction and non-fiction are not universally and nationally enjoyed or recognized, as of national importance.

Many writers and critics underrate him and attempt to ban  or keep him from the national and western canons. They often exist among extreme politically correct (PC.) circles. 

Extreme PC conscious critics and detractors call Mailer’s prose narcissistic, violent and sex obsessed – thus, dismiss him for these reasons.

Mailer seldom appears on a community college or university syllabus. He seems to be rarely read among book groups. Perhaps PC prevalence may be the cause.

Despite these dismissals, Mailer participated and reported on many of the important events, which occurred during his writing career.

Mailer was also a best seller; during those decades – to downgrade his importance is foolish, despite his perceived foibles. This is especially apparent, upon consideration of the prizes he was awarded, during his writing career.

Mailer won two Pulitzer Prizes – one for the Armies of the Night in 1968 and one for The Executioner’s Song in 1979.

Armies of the Night concerned Mailer’s reportage and personal involvement on the march on Washington. The Executioner’s Song dealt with the requested death penalty and execution of Gary Gilmore.

Norman Mailer liked to use third person perspective, when inserting himself into a work. He portrayed himself as a cynical, narcissistic, loud mouthed, charismatic bourbon-enthusiast reporter or political incumbent.

The most effective use this voice was employed in Armies of the Night, The Fight, and some of the pieces and commentaries on those pieces in Advertisements for Myself and Existential Errands.

Existentialism, Freud and Marx were main themes he conglomerated in his bibliography. Sex – both heterosexual and homosexual is on full display, in many of his works.

Homosexual repression and its negative outcome are present in the general in The Naked and the Dead and Harry Hubbard in Harlot’s Ghosts.

Mailer also showed Hollywood’s insistence on hiding and suppressing the homosexuality of their big stars, during the 50’s, in The Deer Park.

Existential force is displayed in Mailer’s most famous and praised essay The White Negro.

The essay discusses how the Negro used sex as a tool of survival, in a world against him, since he/she was robbed of their cultural identity.

This loss and use of sex enabled the Negro to display a detached, yet engaged image in America, which the white culture, who was responsible for his/ her loss of culture roots, accessorized.

The Fight is a narrative on Mailers reportage of the Muhammad Ali v. George Forman fight, held in Kinshasa, Zaïre.

Mailer showed Ali’s boy-picking-legs-off-insect toying with his opponents and his gravitational charismatic allure with the crowd.

The Fight displayed the cockiness of Ali and the rage of Foreman. The description of the match was as detailed and intense as Hemmingway’s descriptions of bull fighting in Death in the Afternoon.

The Existentialism of Sex is best shown in The Prisoner of Sex, Marylyn and Of Women and Their Elegance.

The Prisoners of Sex is a book length, Freudian musing on the difficulties and being a man and the biological boundaries of women. Mailer attracted a lot of negative responses from the book from certain sectors of the feminist lobby.

Of Women and Their Elegance is a fictional account of Marylyn Monroe’s inner thoughts. Mailer was obsessed, as was American with Marylyn seductive charm. He was also interested in her fragile, neurosis. Mailer later went on to do a non-fictional account of Marylyn, incorporated a suggested FBI instigated murder link to her death.

There is an account of Mailer being furious with Henry Miller, her then husband, who he shared apartment building occupancy with in New York. The rage was over Miller’s refusal to introduce him to Marylyn. The truth was Marylyn was scared of him.

Existentialism of Murder, Power and how power dominates sexual relations and is linked to possible violence is portrayed in The Executioners Song, The American Dream, and Ancient Evenings

The American Dream deals with sexual jealousy, which leads the protagonist of the work to kill his wife, then haunt the bars, and low life establishments of New York.

Gary Gilmore in the Executioners Song influences his girlfriend, from his prison cell, to co-commit attempted suicide with him.

Ancient Evenings deals with Pharaoh Rule and the sexual power the Pharaoh has over his subjects – along with giving insight into the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and the Ancient mental consciousness.

Mailer comments on Existential paranoia and its influence and how paranoia influences the abuse of power in Harlots Ghost and Barbary Shore.

Both Barbary Shore and Harlots Ghost deal with the Communist witch trials. Harlots Ghost also deals with self-instituted CIA missions, without presidential ok in Cuba and elsewhere.

I believe Norman Mailer’s insight into the above listed modes of existentialism and his influence and participation in “New Journalism” and his commentaries on the events of the 40s through the 70s should place him on a milestone platform in American Letters and the Western Canon.