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McHugh, Roland / The sigla of Finnegans wake

Chapter 3: roles of [carat] in book III,   pp. 39-48 PDF (637.3 KB)

Page 39

Chapter 3 A 
Roles of A in Book III 
Book I occurs in the daytime and contemplates the dark creature ':,book III
at night before the radiant A. Joyce called its four chapters the watches
of A, implying a parallel with the four watches of the night in Roman history:
Conticinium, Concubium, Intempesta Nox and Gallicinum.' The intensely sexual
second chapter would reasonably correspond to Concubium (which at 244.32
Joyce called 'The time of lying together') and the fourth to Gallicinum by
the important cockcrow of 584.27. Intempesta Nox, the dead of night, may
be suggested by the inert body of Yawn in 111.3, although of course the Viconian
cycle taints all book III with death. VI.B. 14.142 states 'A pretends to
die' (this could however refer to a local event). The final equation of Conticinium
(the silent early part of the night) with III.i is less happy. The narrator
is indeed externally conticent, but then so are those of the other watches.
He is lying in bed and hears midnight chime, after which, jogging along in
a dream, he comes upon A. 
 The narrator identifies himself with the ass who usually accompanies X:
'I, poor ass, am but as their fourpart tinckler's dunkey' (405.06Ä7).
He always interrogates Shaun in the first person plural: 'we remembered',
'we explained' etc. He must then be speaking for and with X. When we reach
111.3 the ass is the interpreter between X and A: 'I am told by our interpreter,
Hanner Esellus' (478.08); 'carrying my dragoman, Meads Marvel, thass withumpronouceable
tail' (479.08Ä9). Note that Esel is German for 'donkey'2 and that a
dragoman is an interpreter, in the Middle East." 
The ground narration of book I is due to A-biased powers; here 
'See J. S. Atherton, 'A Man of Four Watches: Macrobius in FW', AWN IX.3 
(1972), 39Ä40. 
'H. Bonheim, A Lexicon of the German in 'Finnegans Wake', 136. 
3Census II, i8. 

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