|VI.B.21, 148||The Ondt and the / Gracehoper|
|VI.B.21, 154||A ondt & a G[racehoper]|
|First draft (JJA 57: 293)||The Ondt and a Gracehoper|
|Level 1 (JJA 57: 319)||The Ondt and the Gracehoper|
As a pars pro toto, this micro-genetic evolution mirrors the macro-genetic evolution of the writing process of Finnegans Wake: in a first movement, Joyce removes the definite references to the authors and contexts of the excerpts to keep only the 'indefinite articles', i.e. the anonymous amalgam of entries in his notebooks. In a second movement, he used a selection of these anonymized notes to re-dress his creation with "some definite articles of evolutionary clothing".
Both movements in the writing process mirror some fundamental ideas or - as James Atherton called them - "basic axioms upon which Finnegans Wake was constructed" (Atherton, 29). This paper is a proposal to add a few supplements to Atherton's list of ideas which helped to structure the novel and to shape its genesis.
* The first supplement is the idea that the world as we perceive it, in all its diversity, is only an illusion, according to ancient Indian philosophy, Plato, Berkeley, Kant, Schopenhauer, and other philosophies concerning perception and representation.
* The second supplement is the idea that in order to re-create such a world, art imitates nature, not just theoretically according to Aristotle's dictum, but also in accordance with Darwin's theory of evolution.
Since Joyce has packed the fable of the Ondt and the Gracehoper with names of philosophers and insects, the first part of this paper will be rather philosophical - focusing on Schopenhauer, Indian philosophy, Kant and Berkeley; the second part will deal with entomology and biology in general - focusing on Charles Darwin.
In The Books at the Wake, James Atherton mentions Schopenhauer and Kant, but only in the list of literary allusions; Berkeley is discussed under the heading "Irish Authors"; Darwin is mentioned as a literary source under the subtitle "Some Minor Authors". I think these authors should not be treated as "literary sources" but rather deserve a place amongst what Atherton calls "structural books", since they were more important for their ideas than for specific verbal expressions.
As James Atherton has pointed out, "Joyce, who was careful to explain to Miss Weaver which books she ought to read if she wished to understand his writing, never once told her to read any of the [structural] books". Therefore, it is difficult to retrieve these indirect sources. Fortunately, however, Joyce scattered some direct references to them in his text.
According to Schopenhauer "the whole world as idea is only the visibility of will". This quote seems to be echoed in the fable as "Volomundo osi videvide" (FW 416.16): "Volomundo" as the "whole world" and at the same time the "World as Will" (Lat. volo); "osi videvide", i.e. the way we see or perceive it. The Gracehoper's house, "Tingsomingenting" (FW 414.34) (Danish for 'a thing like no thing') is also spelled "thingsumanything" (FW 417.26), i.e. the illusion of diversity of the "world of differents" (FW 417.10) as opposed to the Ondt's "windhame", which is called "Nixnixundnix" (415.29) or "Nichtsnichtsundnichts" (416.17). The position of this word "Nichtsnichtsundnichts", immediately after "Volomundo osi videvide", seems to confirm the reference to Schopenhauer, more specifically to the conclusion of his pessimistic philosophy, i.e. the denial of the will, contained in the last word of The World as Will and Representation: "Nichts".
Although Joyce did not exactly rave about Schopenhauer, he apparently did appreciate his writings enough to discuss them and considered them worthy to be integrated in the Wake. Perhaps this attitude may be compared to Joyce's somewhat ambiguous appreciation of Wagner, to the adulation of whom he explicitly objected - which does not mean Wagner's operas left him cold. Joyce may ridicule the bombast of Wagner's operas, but at the same time he made extensive use of the Leitmotif technique.
One of the less explicit Leitmotifs is the "veil of Maya". Maya is Sankrit for 'illusion'. In ancient Indian philosophy Maya originally denoted the power with which a god can make humans believe in what turns out to be an illusion and thus blinds the eyes of all mortals with a veil. Schopenhauer used the old Indian image of the veil of Maya to visualize his ideas on the illusion of diversity. In Finnegans Wake it recurs several times, obviously in disguise:
* I.1, FW 020.34: "Maye faye, she's la gaye this snaky woman! From that trippiery toe expectungpelick! Veil, volantine, valentine eyes. She's the very besch Winnie blows Nay on good. Flou inn, flow ann."But Joyce might have taken the image immediately from Indian philosophy, and most probably, he did: all the above-mentioned "veils of Maya" are introduced in the last stage of the working process, in 1937-1938, when Joyce was reading a book called "La vie du Bouddha", written by A.-Ferdinand Herold (Paris, 1923). Danis Rose has retraced the passages excerpted by Joyce in notebook B.46, amongst which the name of Maya recurs twice. The "veils of Maya" were spread over the Wake and added almost immediately after he read "La Vie du Bouddha".
* II.2, FW 318.18: "Listeneath to me, veils of Mina!"
* IV, FW 611.12-13: "all too many much illusiiones through photoprismic velamina of hueful panepiphanal world"
As a "literary source", therefore, Schopenhauer's work is of minor importance. As a "structural book", however, it is more important, but only in combination with other philosophies concerning representation, such as Kant's concept of "Erscheinung" or Plato's Ideas or ancient Indian philosophy. All these philosophies are referred to by Schopenhauer himself when he readily admits that the notion of the World as Representation is not a new concept:
The substance of this doctrine is old: it appears (...) in Plato when he degrades the object to that which is ever becoming, but never being; in Spinoza as the doctrine of the mere accidents of the one substance which is and endures. Kant opposes what is thus known as the mere phenomenon ["Erscheinung"] to the thing in itself. Lastly, the ancient wisdom of the Indian philosophers declares, 'It is Mâyâ, the veil of deception, which blinds the eyes of mortals, and makes them behold a world of which they cannot say either that it is or that it is not: for it is like a dream; (...)'"(WWI vol 1, Book I §3, 8-9; cf. WWV I, 41)No matter how hard one tries to retrace the separate sources of these philosophies, Joyce seems to have been mainly interested in them as aspects of a common idea. In fact, he plays a meta-game with these philosophies, putting their common idea into practice by showing that each one of them is only one Erscheinung of the same Idea or Ding an sich. Thus, it should not surprise us that the most explicit reference to Schopenhauer, "schoppinhour", is added simultaneously with a reference to Kant ("on akkant of") and one to Spinoza ("spinooze") at level 0+ (redraft of the first draft). Plato was already present in the first draft.
An important philosophy that has not been mentioned yet is Bishop George Berkeley's theory of perception and reality, according to which objects have no knowable existence outside of the mind that perceives them, as elaborated in Book IV of the Wake, in the dialogue between the arch druid and St Patrick.
According to Joyce (in a letter to Frank Budgen) "Much more is intended in [this] colloquy (...). It is also the defence and indictment of the book itself (...)."(Letters I, 406; letter to Frank Budgen, 20 August 1939)
Obviously, one should not believe any claim by an author about his own work, but in many ways the archdruid episode is very interesting: On the one hand, it is one of the very first passages written in 1923 and the first vignette to be written in Wakean language. On the other hand, it was not finished until 1938: One of the words added at this late stage in the working process is "velamina", i.e. one of the 'veils of Maya' Joyce added to his text right after he had read "La vie du Bouddha". In the same 1938 manuscript version, St Patrick finally speaks after 16 years of silence. For in the first draft, the archdruid explains "to silent whiterobed Patrick the illusiones of the colourfull world" (FDV: 279; JJA book IV: 147), believing that it is possible to see "the thing as in itself it is". In 1938, St Patrick finally answers: "you pore shiroskuro blackinwhitepaddynger" and explains that in his opinion it is wrong to think that one can see the 'Ding an sich' on the basis of knowledge a posteriori. The Kantian overtones in this colloquy refer to the Critique of Pure Reason, in which Kant made a distinction between two ways of thinking:
1. the first method, the "speculative" approach, focuses on the similarities and identical features of creatures in order to classify them in species;Both methods continually interact in the Wake, not only as regards content, but also with respect to the writing process. This process may be divided roughly into two movements.
2. the second method, the "empirical" approach emphasizes the differences.
The first movement is Joyce's notetaking. An interesting feature of the notes is Joyce's habit of excerpting passages without indicating where they come from. By cutting off the excerpts from their original context, Joyce creates an amalgam of anonymous material in which words taken from an advertisement may happen to be on the same page as words by the greatest philosophers. They all become equal. By this process of anonymization Joyce, in a way, unveils or shatters the illusion of diversity which Shopenhauer called the principium individuationis. But as Joyce considered himself a "frightful example of the will to live" he was not likely to deny this will according to Schopenhauer's prescriptions, not even in his work, which may be regarded as a recreation of the world as representation.
Therefore, the anonymization or unveiling of the first movement is followed by a "reveiling" (FW 220.33) - to use one of Joyce's own portmanteau words. This second movement is the spreading of notebook entries over the Wake. Thus, it seems as if Joyce is addressing his own work when he writes in Book IV, immediately following St Patrick's answer: "Shamwork, be in our scheining!" (FW 613.10), i.e. be a Kantian "Erscheinung" - fully aware that it is only the way things are regarded that changes, "Yet is no body present here which was not there before." (FW 613.13).
In order to make his work an "Erscheinung", Joyce had to re-dress it by making sure it was wearing "some definite articles of evolutionary clothing".
As in the case of Schopenhauer, Darwin cannot be considered a direct source, but his writings are referred to several times in the Wake.
e.g.: III.3, twice on page 504:
- line 14: "Remounting aliftle towards the ouragan of spaces."Both the "origin of spices" and the "ourag<i>an of spaces" are part of the episode in Book III.3 where the Fall is discussed. It echoes the Book of Genesis, full of references to all kinds of mythological trees, such as the Yggdrasil ("eggdrazzles" 504.35), the world tree in Norse mythology, and the tree of knowledge. The double use of Darwin's Origin of Species is remarkable in this context and seems to suggest that the tree of knowledge in this third Viconian phase, may just as well be the Tree of Life, i.e. Darwin's visualization of descent with modification. The image of the 'tree of life' is mingled with references to the above-mentioned image of "evolutionary clothing": "such a fashionaping sathinous dress out of that exquisitive creation and her leaves, my darling dearest, sinsinsinning since the night of time and each and all of their branches meeting and shaking twisty hands all over again in their new world through the germination of its gemination from Ond's outset till Odd's end." (FW 505.8-13)
- line 28, where mention is made of the "Muddest Thick" episode about the two "boys with their underhand leadpencils climbing to [their mother's] crotch for the origin of spices". (FW 504.28)
Obviously, it is not because this episode echoes the Book of Genesis that it also echoes the genesis of the book FW, i.e. that Joyce would have applied Darwin's theories on nature to a cultural context. And yet, that is precisely what the text seems to hint at. "Charley, you're my darwing" is what the "treegrown girls" sing in Book II, where mention is made of "a selfmade world that you can't believe a word he's written in, not for pie, but one's only owned by naturel rejection." Together with the other references to the idea of natural selection in the Wake, one gets the following sequence:
|Book I (FW 117.28)||natural selections|
|Book II (FW 252.28)||naturel rejection|
|Book III (FW 504.33)||unnatural refection|
These terms (in this order) give a general but nonetheless quite accurate description of what happens in the writing process of FW: First, by excerpting and taking down certain words in his notebooks, Joyce made his "natural selections". Most of these words were left unused by "naturel rejection" since only a happy few were crossed out with the author's colour crayons, by means of which he construed his "unnatural refection". For no matter how many insects were inserted in Joyce's "unnatural refection", many of them, although they were selected in the notebooks, were rejected somewhere along the line, representing the short-lived alternatives or branches in the "tree of life" which Daniel C. Dennett calls the "billions of failed design experiments".(Dennett, 89) Several did not come further than the notebooks (e.g.: muhka, ...: VI.B.04, p. 228); others were rejected at later stages, e.g. whereas in the early drafts the Gracehoper was "drinking with the drones", these evolved and became "nautonects" at level 5, the Yale manuscript. (JJA 57, p. 35)
The origin of these species, i.e. the source(s) from which Joyce excerpted the names of all the different insects in the fable of the Ondt and the Gracehoper, has not yet been retraced. Most of them were added to the manuscript in one of the lacunae in the manuscript history, between level 1 and level 4, i.e. a period of roughly one year between March 2, 1928 and April 1929. It is possible to date the notes on insects in notebook VI.B.4 more precisely to the end of April 1929. That would mean that Joyce excerpted them almost immediately before he added them to the missing marked pages of transition 12 for the printer of Tales Told (at level 3). This quick succession of the phases of "selections", "rejection" and "refection" may indicate that in this particular case Joyce seems to have had a clear idea of the destination of the notes, i.e. mainly to make the fable buzz and squirm with insects, the way a plague of grasshoppers dims the sunlight. By means of these additions Joyce re-veiled the original versions of the fable so thoroughly that he wrote to Harriet Weaver on April 26, 1929: "You will scarcely recognise my fables now."
- Every new version is in another colour. Levels 0+, 2, 3, 4+, 6, 8, 8+ are missing or incomplete.* In the first draft, the Gracehoper "will beheld
- Silent additions (between two different versions, possibly added in an intermediary missing ms.) are marked by the colour of the level at which they were added.
- Silent cancellations (between two different versions) are marked by pointed brackets in the colour of the level at which they were cancelled.
- Additions within one version are in italics.
- Cancellations (within one version) are crossed out.
- Substitutions (within one version) are in bold face.
* Level 0
& the next time he
seesmakes the aquinetance the Ondt he will beheld hima world of differents thewith unshrinkables draping his h alltoovisibles, enjoyingrevelling in his sunnyroom
* Levels 0 + 1
<&> and the next time he
seesmakes <the> aquin<e>atance of the Ondt he will beheld hima world of differents. Behailed the Ondt thewith unshrinkables draping from his < halltoovisibles> unthinkables, simply enjoyingrevellingswarming of himself in his sunnyroom
* Levels 0 + 1 + 4
<&> and the next time he
seesmakes <the> aquin<e>atance of the Ondt after this they have met themselves he will beheld hima world of differents. Behailed the Ondt upon his dhrone thewith unshrinkables drapingfarfalling from his < halltoovisibles> unthinkables, simply enjoyingrevellingswarming of himself in his sunnyroom
* Levels 0 + 1 + 4 + 5
<&> and the next time he
seesmakes <the> aquin<e>atance of the Ondt after this they have met themselves it shall be motylucky if he will beheld hima world of differents. Behailed the Ondt, prostrandvorous upon his dhrone, in his Papylonian babooshkees, thewith unshrinkables drapingfarfalling from his < halltoovisibles> unthinkables, simply enjoyingrevellingswarming of himself in his sunnyroom
* Levels 0 + 1 + 4 + 5 + 7
<&> and the next time he
seesmakes <the> aquin<e>atance of the Ondt after this they have met themselves it shall be motylucky if he will beheld himnot a world of differents. Behailed His Gross the Ondt<,> prostrandvorous upon his dhrone, in his Papylonian babooshkees, thewith unshrinkables drapingfarfalling from his < halltoovisibles> unthinkables, simply enjoyingrevellingswarming of himself in his sunnyroom
* Levels 0 + 1 + 4 + 5 + 7 + 9
<&> and the next time he
seesmakes <the> aquin<e>atance of the Ondt after this they have met themselves, these mouschical umsummables, it shall be motylucky if he will beheld himnot a world of differents. Behailed His Gross the Ondt<,> prostrandvorous upon his dhrone, in his Papylonian babooshkees, smolking a spatial brunt of Hosana cigals thewith unshrinkables drapingfarfalling from his < halltoovisibles> unthinkables, simply enjoyingrevellingswarming of himself in his sunnyroom
* The "all toovisibles" are made invisible at level 1, where they have disappeared, and the verb 'revelling' is veiled by the verb 'swarming'.
* At level 4, the verb 'draping' is itself veiled by the verb 'farfalling'. A "dhrone" is the first additional insect.
* At level 5, more insects are added: a 'motyluckt' (cf. B.21, 185(f) and B.4, 323(c): "motyluck = [Russian for] moth"), a 'papillon' and a 'babotchka' (cf. B.4, 310(h): "babotchk = butterfly"), taking more and more space (prostranstvo = Russian for 'space'. In B.4, 310(e) this entry is followed by 310(f): vremia = time).
* At level 7, all of a sudden, the Gracehoper will beheld NOT a world of differents, as if after making "the aquinatance of the Ondt", whose house is called "Nichtsnichtsundnichts", he suddenly realizes that the diversity he perceives is only an illusion. But that does not mean a denial of the will to live and Schopenhauer does not get the last word, for evolution goes on and
* at level 9 more insects are added.
James Atherton, The Books at the Wake, London: Faber and Faber, 1959.
Mary and Padraic Colum, Our Friend James Joyce, New York: Doubleday, 1958.
Daniel C. Dennett, Darwin's Dangerous Idea, London: Penguin 1995.
Richard Ellmann, James Joyce, revised edition, Oxford: Oxford UP, 1982.
David Hayman, A First-Draft Version of "Finnegans Wake," London: Faber & Faber, 1963.
Immanuel Kant, Kritik der reinen Vernunft, Stuttgart: Reclam, 1966.
James Knowlson, Damned to Fame: The Life of Samuel Beckett, London: Bloomsbury, 1996.
Wyndham Lewis, Time and Western Man, The Essential Wyndham Lewis, ed. Julian Simons, London: André Deutsch, 1989.
Danis Rose, James Joyce's The Index Manuscript Finnegans Wake Holograph
Workbook VI.B.46, Colchester: A Wake Newslitter Press, 1978.
--. The Textual Diaries of James Joyce, Dublin: The Lilliput Press, 1995.
Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Idea, trans.
R.B. Haldane & J. Kemp, London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co.,
1903. (abbreviated as WWI).
--. Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung, Stuttgart: Reclam, 1987. (abbreviated as WWV).