Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Page 126 (7.468-501) "Thanky vous... MacHugh responded."

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Thanky vous, Lenehan said, helping himself.

The editor came from the inner office, a straw hat awry on his brow. He declaimed in song, pointing sternly at professor MacHugh:

'Twas rank and fame that tempted thee,
    'Twas empire charmed thy heart.

"'Twas rank and fame that tempted thee, 'Twas empire charmed thy heart; But love was wealth, the world to me; Then, false one, let us part. The prize I fondly deemed my own Another's now may be; For ah! with love life's gladness flown, Leaves grief to wed with me." [more]

The professor grinned, locking his long lips.

— Eh? You bloody old Roman empire? Myles Crawford said.

(MacHugh's teaching specialty is Latin)

He took a cigarette from the open case. Lenehan, lighting it for him with quick grace, said:

— Silence for my brandnew riddle!


Imperium romanum, J.J. O'Molloy said gently. It sounds nobler than British or Brixton. The word reminds one somehow of fat in the fire.

George Moore had singled out Brixton as typifying the worst of British middle-class culture
which word? not 'romanum', so 'British'?
"fat in the fire" is a proverbial bad thing, an escalation to be avoided

Myles Crawford blew his first puff violently towards the ceiling.

— That's it, he said. We are the fat. You and I are the fat in the fire. We haven't got the chance of a snowball in hell.

(traditional Irish values threated by British rule?)


— Wait a moment, professor MacHugh said, raising two quiet claws. We mustn't be led away by words, by sounds of words. We think of Rome, imperial, imperious, imperative.

why "claws"? "pawing... spaugs... claws"

He extended elocutionary arms from frayed stained shirtcuffs, pausing:

— What was their civilisation? Vast, I allow: but vile. Cloacae: sewers. The Jews in the wilderness and on the mountaintop said: It is meet to be here. Let us build an altar to Jehovah. The Roman, like the Englishman who follows in his footsteps, brought to every new shore on which he set his foot (on our shore he never set it) only his cloacal obsession. He gazed about him in his toga and he said: It is meet to be here. Let us construct a watercloset.

HG Wells had written a 'highly appreciative' review of Portrait in 1917 but complained that Joyce had 'a cloacal obsession'. [more] Ellmann says "Joyce replied to Frank Budgen later, 'Why, it's Wells's countrymen who build water-closets wherever they go' ...But privately he said to a friend, 'How right Wells was!'"

— Which they accordingly did do, Lenehan said. Our old ancient ancestors, as we read in the first chapter of Guinness's, were partial to the running stream.

pun: Genesis

— They were nature's gentlemen, J.J. O'Molloy murmured. But we have also Roman law.

— And Pontius Pilate is its prophet, professor MacHugh responded.



[DD 00:19-03:24]

[IM 28:41-30:51]

[LV1 24:50-26:43]

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