Finnwake.com claims that "egourge", in the following line from Finnegans Wake (p.g. 49-50), derives from "egoourgos (gr) - worker for the self", but Google Translate does not seem to know of any word "egoourgos".

Now let the centuple celves of my egourge as Micholas de Cusack calls them, — of all of whose I in my hereinafter of course by recourse demission me — by the coincidance of their contraries reamalgamerge in that indentity of undiscernibles where the Baxters and the Fleshmans may they cease to bidivil uns and (but at this poingt though the iron thrust of his cockspurt start might have prepared us we are well- nigh stinkpotthered by the mustardpunge in the tailend) this outandin brown candlestock melt Nolan's into peese!

Can anyone justify this derivation, or source a reference in the literature?

I have asked essentially the same question on our sister site English Language and Usage.

  • 2
    Interesting question! Anderson's Joyce's Finnegans Wake: The Curse of Kabbalah says "egourge" is simply a portmanteau of ego + urge, with no Greek source required. I couldn't find any source in the literature for the connection with "egoourgos".
    – Rand al'Thor
    May 3, 2019 at 18:34
  • @Rand al'Thor Thanks for the reference. Which also makes much more sense to my reading.
    – fundagain
    May 3, 2019 at 18:42
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    Dramaturge comes from Greek dramatourgos, which breaks down into drama + ergos (worker). Similarly for thamaturge, from Greek thamatourgos. So egourgos, which probably isn't a real Greek word, would presumably be ego + ergos.
    – Peter Shor
    May 3, 2019 at 20:48
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    The "word" egoourgos has an extra "o", which not only isn't in Finnegan's Wake, but probably wouldn't be in any actual Greek word formed from ego + ergos.
    – Peter Shor
    May 3, 2019 at 20:53
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    I feel reluctant to write an answer based on my comments, because I don't know any Greek. So somebody else who does, feel free to.
    – Peter Shor
    May 4, 2019 at 21:54

1 Answer 1


Warning: I don't know any Greek (ancient or modern), so trust this answer at your own risk.

Dramaturge comes from Greek dramatourgos, which breaks down into drama + ourgós (worker). Similarly for thamaturge, from Greek thamatourgos, which breaks down into thamato (wonder) + ourgós. So egourgos (or egoourgos), which isn't a real Greek word, would presumably be ego + ourgós.

Given James Joyce's facility at languages and his proclivity for inventing new words, this seems like a reasonable derivation for egourge.

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