46 votes
Accepted

Meaning of "bababadalgharaghtakamminarronnkonnbronntonnerronntuonnthunntrovarrhounawnskawntoohoohoordenenthur-nuk!"

It's a nonce word and is used only in Finnegans Wake. I have no clue why Joyce made it so long (perhaps he wanted to catch readers' attention and persuade them to read Finnegans Wake). It's defined by ...
44 votes
Accepted

Why doesn't James Joyce ever use quotation marks?

James Joyce preferred dashes to quotation marks for aesthetic reasons. He even went so far as to call quotation marks "perverted commas". He remarks on his dislike of quotation marks at various ...
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14 votes

Why doesn't James Joyce ever use quotation marks?

It's called "quotation dashes," or "theater style," or "the continental manner." The latter term is because it's used (among several other styles, like < > ) by many languages common in continental ...
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12 votes

Meaning of "bababadalgharaghtakamminarronnkonnbronntonnerronntuonnthunntrovarrhounawnskawntoohoohoordenenthur-nuk!"

Ahh yes, the impeccable word: bababadalgharaghtakamminarronnkonnbronntonnerronntuonnthunntrovarrhounawnskawntoohoohoordenenthur- nuk! only opposed by Shakespeare's honorificabilitudinitatibus and the ...
10 votes
Accepted

Where and how did James Joyce condemn Hamlet as a failure?

TL;DR: Joyce criticized dramatic flaws in Hamlet, but never condemned the play as a “failure”. Summary Richard Ellman’s biography of Joyce makes it clear that Joyce thought Henrik Ibsen a better ...
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10 votes
Accepted

In Ulysses, why does Stephen finally decide not to stay with Bloom?

This question has been well discussed. See for example Kenner Chapter 13. Here is my take. All the quotes are from the penultimate chapter. That is the ending Bloom desires. Bloom gets the son he lost....
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10 votes
Accepted

Who is “our greatest living phonetic expert” in “Ulysses”?

The passage quoted in the question continues as follows: Our greatest living phonetic expert (wild horses shall not drag it from us!) has left no stone unturned in his efforts to delucidate and ...
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8 votes
Accepted

Does Joyce, in Finnegans Wake or Ulysses, link the sound form "hoe" to "whore"?

Most of these aren't saying "whore". The one that does is "Hohore", which according to this page is actually "ho whore"; "ho" here is the exclamation. Also, note the r in "hore". The Oxford English ...
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8 votes
Accepted

Why is there so much stream of consciousness in Ulysses?

You are correct to point out that Joyce's use of the stream of consciousness technique developed over his career. While there are only inklings of it in his early work, there is quite a bit of it in ...
  • 1,064
8 votes

What languages should one know to appreciate Finnegans Wake?

I found some quotes from Wikipedia about how to read it. They seem to suggest that you should appreciate the rhythm more than anything. Eugene Jolas said: Those who have heard Mr. Joyce read ...
6 votes

What is the purpose of all the lists in chapter 12 of Joyce's Ulysses?

To add to andejons' answer regarding the Gilbert schema's technique of "gigantism", I'd suggest Joyce may also have been referencing, parodying or even honouring the 16th century Gargantua and ...
6 votes

What is the purpose of all the lists in chapter 12 of Joyce's Ulysses?

According to the Gilbert schema for understanding Ulysses, created by Joyce for his friend Stuart Gilbert, the technique that is used in the "Cyclops chapter" (a designation that also comes from the ...
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5 votes
Accepted

How did Ibsen's writing in A Doll's House influence the James Joyce character Molly Bloom?

While Ibsen was indeed a great influence on Joyce in many ways, there is no evidence that Ibsen's writing in A Doll's House influenced Joyce's character Molly Bloom from Ulysses. While the onus really ...
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5 votes

Why do we see so little mention of Leopold Bloom's social isolation in his internal monologue?

Because the statement "A key theme of the novel is Bloom's relative social isolation" is false. Answering this in the negative, when no evidence to the positive has been presented whatsoever, is ...
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5 votes

What does "perverse madonna" mean?

It may have a double meaning. Perverse can iteslf mean showing a deliberate and obstinate desire to behave in a way that is unreasonable or unacceptable and contrary to the accepted or expected ...
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4 votes

Why was/is James Joyce's writing revolutionary for its time?

Joyce's work was revolutionary in a number of ways. In most of them it was not that he innovated new techniques, but in the degree to which he pushed them. To start with, it is worth considering what ...
  • 15.3k
4 votes
Accepted

What does Stephen Dedalus mean: "History is the nightmare from which I’m trying to awake”?

To understand this, once needs to know a little Irish history. Essentially Ireland has been an island riven by violence almost continually for over a thousand years. First it was the Vikings, raiding, ...
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4 votes
Accepted

Does Joyce use interior monologue in "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man"?

tl;dr Stream of consciousness, partly; interior monologue, no. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is narrated largely through indirect discourse limited to Stephen Dedalus's point of view. ...
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4 votes

Did Joyce "estimate" how many readers would understand Finnegans Wake?

I found a quote that may be what you're remembering, or slightly misremembering. It's not from Joyce himself, but I think it's close enough to be worth posting as an answer. It concerns Work in ...
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3 votes

Who wrote the well-known Outline of Chapter Contents in the Penguin edition of Finnegans Wake?

I suspect that the ‘Outline of Chapter Contents’ was written by Seamus Deane, who edited the Joyce editions for Penguin in the early 1990s. The evidence I have for this is that the following editions ...
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3 votes
Accepted

What does Nuvoletta's disappearance signify in Finnegans Wake?

As I understand it, Nuvoletta ... disappeared in the end of the excerpt. In Finnegans Wake, no one ever disappears, at least not for very long, because they always have to begin again! While the song ...
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3 votes
Accepted

Is the impenetrability of Chapter 14 of Ulysses deliberate, or a consequence of its stylistic pastiches?

To respond to what I think is the core of your question, yes, it is possible to translate the style of old forms of literature while still being quite readable for a present day audience. However, ...
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3 votes

What is Leopold doing in the chapter Aeolus in Ulysses?

Bloom is an ad salesman. He is trying to broker a business deal, in which the Telegraph will run an ad for his client, “Alexander Keyes, tea, wine and spirit merchant.” Bloom brings a clipping of an ...
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2 votes

Is this idea about incompatibility in marriage because of social status found in James Joyce's "The Boarding House"?

The idea of incompatibility due to social status certainly comes up later in the story, in the context of the relationship between Polly Mooney and Bob Doran: [Doran's] family would look down on ...
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2 votes

Meaning of "bababadalgharaghtakamminarronnkonnbronntonnerronntuonnthunntrovarrhounawnskawntoohoohoordenenthur-nuk!"

tl;dr The hundredlettered name again, last word of perfect language. [III.1.424.23] That long thunder sounding onomatopoeic word, is was the sound of Finnegan as he falls to his death from a ladder, ...
  • 1,566
2 votes

What is the purpose of all the lists in chapter 12 of Joyce's Ulysses?

Parody of long lists in the original Odyssey or in epic poetry in general? The Odyssey grinds to a halt when the travelers arrive in Hades and see all the most beautiful women in history, both real ...
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2 votes

Typographical inconsistency in James Joyce's "Araby"

Since “left” makes sense in context and “felt” does not, the simplest explanation is that the former is correct and the latter an error. The 1914 Grant Richards edition of Dubliners is available via ...
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2 votes
Accepted

How do we know that Bloom was never circumcised?

When I put ulysses bloom circumcised into Google, the top result was this Jstor page for the academic article Erwin R. Steinberg, "James Joyce and the Critics Notwithstanding, Leopold Bloom Is ...
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2 votes
Accepted

Does "egourge" in Finnegans Wake derive from the Greek "egoourgos" meaning "worker for the self"?

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 ...
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Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible