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

Chapter 1: the structure of Finnegans Wake,   pp. 5-26 PDF (1.4 MB)


Page 26

26 The Sigla of Finnegans Wake 
the mythical colonist Parthalon, supposedly a direct descendant of Noah,
because the name Parthalon was once anglicized Bartholomew. In 1697 William
III presented Vanhomrigh with 'a collar of SS' (recalled at 292.29) for the
city. The comparison with George IV's concession is clearest at 623.04Ä20.
The command performance relates additionally to one at the Smock Alley Theatre,
which was famous in connection with Dublin's two great eighteenth-century
rival actor/managers, the imperious Mossop and the emotional Barry (respectively
A and ':at 569.30). In 1784 the Viceroy, the Duke of Rutland, commanded there
the production of John Home's Douglas ('My name is Norval, on the Grampian
hills . . .'). But having recently made himself unpopular he was hissed and
groaned on the command night. 
 Sir Jonah Barrington"4 gives us a later portrait of Sir Abraham Bradley
King. It seems that, as his name was King and his coat of arms included a
crown, members of the common council began to address him familiarly as 'your
majesty'. Now, this phrase is a frequent m pointer in FW. For example at
the opening of 111.3, where X are questioning Yawn for information about
m, they complain that his language has not one pronounceable term to signify
majesty (478.08Ä12). 
 The third tableau of 111.4 sees m plotting the extension of his ville to
Dun Laoghaire (Dun Leary), renamed Kingstown in honour of George's departure
thence (582.35Ä6). Meanwhile in the house a contraceptive act occurs
between m and A. This passage, with its extensive employment of cricketing
allusions, has been discussed by Mr Atherton."5 The fact that it is
contraceptive adds to the sterility of book III: the fruitful thunderwords
have ceased to appear since 424.20Ä22. 
 m in 111.4 is slightly suggestive of Joyce's father as presented by Stanislaus."6
Just as in 1.3 (o5 1.1 iÄi5) we found m telling three little boys the
story of an earlier m, so at 587.06 'three jolly postboys' who have just
come from the Theatre Royal remember meeting the declining m in a pub. A
praiser of his own past, he still drinks the King's health, but his ambitions
are battered down by a progression of calamities (589.20Ä590.03). The
last tableau sees 
m and A in ultimate isolation from the dream's encumbrances. As day breaks
they pass into the circle of ricorso, book IV. 
 34Personal Sketches of His Own Time (London, Colburn 1832) III, i8. 
 35'Sport and Games in Finnegans Wake, in Twelve and a Tilly, ed. Jack P.
Dalton and Clive Hart (London, Faber and Faber 1966), 56Ä8. 
36 The Complete Dublin Diary, ed. G. H. Healy (Ithaca, Cornell University
Press 
1971), 175Ä8. 


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