Posted by: Lisa Hill | October 29, 2017

Finnegans Wake, (1939), (2014 Folio Edition) by James Joyce #14 Chapter 13

Well, here we are at Part III!

Tindall tells me, in A Reader’s Guide to “Finnegans Wake” that that Joyce chose the title ‘Shaun’ for Part III, and he approves because three of the four forthcoming chapters are indeed about Shaun, who has superseded his father HCE a.k.a. Earwicker.  Reminding me that the four parts of FW are the Vico’s Four Ages (see Chapter One if, like me, you need reminding about what they are), he says that this part is the human age.

So, reminded that this age is signified by burial; that it produces cities, laws, civil obedience and eventually popular government; and that its language is vulgar speech, abstract discourse, and (in FW) radio and TV, I should be good to go!

Well, not quite.  Because, says Tindall, there are wheels within wheels. As well as structuring the whole book into four parts, the Viconian Ages also shape each chapter within each part, i.e. in this Part III shaped by Vico’s Human Age, within each of the four chapters there is a divine age, an heroic age, a human age and a ricorso (a period of confusion). (#WrySmile That last one, I recognise.)

So.  HCE is upstairs in bed, dreaming of his son Shaun incarnated as Jesus the Postman.  Shaun follows the Way of the Cross, a salve a tour, taking up his heaviest crux in this chapter:

a Salvator about to tour his fourteen stations, of which taking up the cross is the second. (Tindall, p.224)

And this is how he’s dressed, while messonger angels be uninterruptedly nudging him among the winding ways of random:

Ay, he who so swayed a will of a wisp before me, Hand prop to hand, prompt side to the pros, dressed like an earl in just the correct wear, in a classy mac Frieze o’coat of far suparior ruggedness, indigo braw, tracked and tramped, and an Irish ferrier collar, freeswinging with mereswin lacers from his shoulthern and thick welted brogues on him hammered to suit the scotsmost public and climate, iron heels and sparable soles, and his jacket of providence wellprovided woolies with a softrolling lisp of a lapel to it and great sealingwax buttons, a good helping bigger than the slots for them, of twentytwo carrot krasnapoppsky red and his invulnerable burlap whiskcoat and his popular choker, Tamagnum sette-and-forte and his loud boheem toy and the damasker’s overshirt he sported inside, a starspangled zephyr with a decidedly surpliced crinklydoodle front with his motto through dear life embrothred over it in peas, rice, and yeggy-yolk, Or for royal, Am for Mail, R.M.D. hard cash on the nail and the most successfully carried gigot turnups now you ever, (what a pairfact crease! how amsolookly kersse!) breaking over the ankle and hugging the shoeheel, everything the best – none other from (Ah, then may the turtle’s blessings of God and Mary and Haggispatrick and Huggisbrigid be souptumbling all over him!) other than (and may his hundred thousand welcome stewed letters, relayed wand postchased, multiply, ay faith, and plultiply!) Shaun himself.

Finnegans Wake (Penguin Modern Classics Kindle edition) (p. 404-5).

Not meaning to make the ingestion for the moment that he was guilbey of gulpable gluttony Shaun is fortified on his rounds by:

…meals of spadefuls of mounded food, in anticipation of the faste of tablenapkins, constituting his three-partite pranzipal meals plus a collation, his breakfast of first, a bless us O blood and thirsthy orange, next, the half of a pint of becon with newled googs and a segment of riceplummy padding, met of sunder suigar and some cold forsoaken steak peatrefired from the batblack night o’erflown then, without prejuice to evectuals, came along merendally his stockpot dinner of a half a pound of round steak very rare, Blong’s best from Portarlington’s Butchery with a side of riceypeasy and Corkshire alia mellonge and bacon with (a little mar pliche!) a pair of chops and thrown in from the silver grid by the proprietoress of the roastery who lives on the hill and gaulusch gravy and pumpernickel to wolp up and a gorger’s bulby onion (Margareter, Margaretar Margarasticandeatar) and as well with second course and then finally, after his avalunch oclock snack at Appelredt’s or Kitzy Braten’s of saddlebag steak and a Botherhim with her old phoenix portar, jistr to gwen his gwistel and praties sweet and Irish too and mock gurgle to whistle his way through for the swallying, swp by swp, and he getting his tongue arount it and Boland’s broth broken into the bargain, to his regret his soupay avie nightcap, vitellusit a carusal consistent with second course eyer and becon (the rich of) with broad beans, hig, steak, hag, pepper the diamond bone hotted up timmtomm and while’twas after that he scoffed a drakeling snuggily stuffed following cold loin of veal more cabbage and in their green free state a clister of peas, soppositorily petty, last. P.S. but a fingerhot of rheingenever to give the Pax cum Spiritututu. Drily thankful. Burud and dulse and typureely jam, all free of charge, aman, and. And the best of wine avec.

 Finnegans Wake (Penguin Modern Classics Kindle edition p. 405-6). .

Because I might need them throughout this Part III, I’ve copied the Way of the Cross from Wikipedia:

The standard set from the 17th to 20th centuries has consisted of 14 pictures or sculptures depicting the following scenes:

  1. Pilate condemns Jesus to die

  2. Jesus accepts his cross

  3. Jesus falls for the first time

  4. Jesus meets his mother, Mary

  5. Simon helps carry the cross

  6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

  7. Jesus falls for the second time

  8. Jesus meets the three women of Jerusalem

  9. Jesus falls for the third time

  10. Jesus is stripped of his clothes

  11. Jesus is nailed to the cross

  12. Jesus dies on the cross

  13. Jesus is taken down from the cross

  14. Jesus is placed in the tomb

BTW These fourteen Stations of the Cross have inspired some exquisite art work in Catholic Churches.  This series is from the Church of Notre-Dame-des-Champs, Avranches, Manche, Normandie, France:

The Way of the Cross in Limoges enamel (Source: Wikipedia Creative Commons)

“We” (the readers) ask Shaun fourteen questions, one for each station of the cross, and one of the questions is about the author of one of the letters he carries.  It turns out to be Shem and it’s no surprise that he is scornful about every aspect of it.

Shaun, being human, can’t find it in himself to love his brother Shem.  He’s also childish, so his sermon includes nursery rhymes, fairy tales, fables and parables.  These, continues Tindall, put children to sleep, and so the congregation sleeps through his address, including two thunderclaps, the first (according to Campbell in A Skeleton Key to “Finnegan’s Wake”: James Joyce’s Masterwork Revealed)  coming from his father upstairs or (according to Tindall) from Shaun clearing his throat before he begins his lecture predicting a rise after a fall, to the assembled audience  :


The second, Tindall says has not 100 letters, but 101, making a total of 1001 for all the ten thunderclaps :


1001 is not just the number of books, films, artworks and foods &c that you should consume before you die, it’s also the number of renewal – and salvation – as we know from The Arabian Nights.

John Vernon Lord’s illustration for this chapter (see here) focusses on the tale of the Ondt and the Gracehopper, which is based on the fable of the Ant and the Grasshopper in which the grasshopper mocks the ant for his industrious preparations for the winter, and gets his comeuppance when the starving grasshopper sees the ant enjoying the grains he had laid by during the days of plenty.  In Joyce’s version, as told by Shaun, Shem is the wastrel and Shaun is the practical businessman, but he falls into the river Liffey.  The picture also shows some of the philosophers who get a mention in the text.

On to Chapter 14!


A Reader’s Guide to “Finnegans Wake” by William York Tindall, Syracuse University Press, 1969; and

A Skeleton Key to “Finnegan’s Wake”: James Joyce’s Masterwork Revealed, by Joseph Campbell and Henry Morton Robinson, Collected Works Edition, New World Library, 2005

Finnegans Wake (Modern Classics) read by Jim Norton with Marcella Riordan, Naxos AudioBooks 2009

Finnegans Wake (Penguin Modern Classics), introduction by Seamus Deane, Penguin, 2015.  (I’m using the Kindle edition ASIN B00XX0H95S, just to make quoting easier because typing the text is such a provocation to AutoCorrect).)



  1. Hey! You’re meant to be reading FW and telling us what’s in it, not making us read it too. Though if I found lots of the excerpts above intelligible I guess that’s down to your instruction.


    • Ha! I’ll send you my audio book version and you can ponder it as you barrel up and down the highways in WA.


  2. […] and perhaps we’ll find wheels within wheels, according to Tindall, (see Chapter 13) shaping each chapter within each part, so we may find a divine age, an heroic age, a human age and […]


  3. […] Finnegans Wake, (Folio Edition) by James Joyce #14 Chapter 13 […]


  4. […] Finnegans Wake, (Folio Edition) by James Joyce #14 Chapter 13 […]


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