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McHugh, Roland / The sigla of Finnegans wake
(1976)

Chapter 4: the mirror and the rainbow,   pp. 49-63 PDF (1.3 MB)


Page 49

Chapter 4 -I I- 
The Mirror and the Rainbow 
The House by the Churchyard, a portrait of old Chapelizod by 
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, is frequently utilized in FW. A 
fragment of song appears amongst its pages, sung by the tenor 
Devereux to the heroine Lilias: 
And she smiled upon the stream, Like one who smiles at folly, A dreamer on
a dream. 
 The mirror is a vehicle of abstraction. Impermeable to sounds, smells and
physical contagia, the specular universe remains inert, clinical, indifferent.
Its corporeal inaccessibility allies it to the dreamworld; its countless
facets, each as divisible as its material complement, fascinate incessantly
by the precision with which they contradict. The motivations distinguishing
':and A can be rationalized verbally, but the female split is too absolute
for this. As ÄI stares into the river she can see nothing but lateral
inversion. No observer can derive her polarities from a specific influence,
for they are simultaneously all differences and no difference. 
 ÄI calls her reflection 'nurse Madge, my linkingclass girl. ... I 
call her Sosy because she's sosiety for me and she says sossy while 
I say sassy and she says will you have some more scorns while 
I say won't you take a few more schools and she talks about ithel 
dear while I simply never talk about athel darling' (459.04Ä14). 
Mr Atherton observes: 
 To oppose the identity of opposites which causes a fusion of opposed characters
Joyce sets a tendency on the part of all his characters to split up into
two parts. The chief source for this has already been pointed out by Adaline
Glasheen. It is The Dissociation of a Personality by Morton Prince, a neurologist
who had as patient in Boston, Mass., a young 


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