In a letter to his patron Harriet Weaver dated December 30, 1924, Joyce wrote,
“[FW] is all so simple. If anyone doesn’t understand a passage, all he need do is read it aloud.”
Here’s a recording of Joyce reading the ALP (Anna Livia Plurabelle) section. http://www.ubu.com/sound/joyce.html
brings us back to Howth Castle & Environs. Sir Tristram, violer d’amores, had passencore rearrived on the scraggy isthmus from North Armorica to wielderfight his penisolate war; nor had stream rocks by the Oconee exaggerated themselse to Laurens County, Ga, doublin all the time; nor avoice from afire bellowsed mishe to tauftauf thuartpeatrick; not yet, though venisoon after, had a Kisdcad buttended a bland old isaac; not yet, though all’s fair in vanessy, were sosie sethers wroth with twone jonathan. Rot a peck of pa’s malt had Shem or Shen brewed by arclight and rory end to the regginbrow was to be seen ringsome on the waterface.
(Page 595 here).
[So I took this text from Questia, a random virtual “library” of articles. And I’m posting it here, to share. If anyone hounds me about copyright violations, I’ll take it down. Lalalala.]
BY JAMES JOYCE
SHAKESPEARE AND COMPANY PARIS 1927
Publication Information: Book Title: Pomes Penyeach. Contributors: James Joyce – author. Publisher: Shakespeare and Company. Place of Publication: Paris. Publication Year: 1927.
He travels after a winter sun,
Urging the cattle along a cold red road,
Calling to them, a voice they know,
He drives his beasts above Cabra.
The voice tells them home is warm.
They moo and make brute music with their
He drives them with a flowering branch before
Smoke pluming their foreheads.
Boor, bond of the herd,
Tonight stretch full by the fire!
I bleed by the black stream
For my torn bough!
WATCHING THE NEEDLEBOATS AT SAN SABBA
I heard their young hearts crying
Loveward above the glancing oar
And heard the prairie grasses sighing:
No more, return no more!
O hearts, O sighing grasses,
Vainly your loveblown bannerets mourn!
No more will the wild wind that passes
Return, no more return.
A FLOWER GIVEN TO MY DAUGHTER
Frail the white rose and frail are
Her hands that gave
Whose soul is sere and paler
Than time’s wan wave.
Rosefrail and fair–yet frailest
A wonder wild
In gentle eyes thou veilest,
My blueveined child.
SHE WEEPS OVER RAHOON
Rain on Rahoon falls softly, softly falling,
Where my dark lover lies.
Sad is his voice that calls me, sadly calling,
At grey moonrise.
Love, hear thou
How soft, how sad his voice is ever calling,
Ever unanswered, and the dark rain falling,
Then as now.
Dark too our hearts, O love, shall lie and cold
As his sad heart has lain
Under the moongrey nettles, the black mould
And muttering rain.
TUTTO E SCIOLTO
A birdless heaven, seadusk, one lone star
Piercing the west,
As thou, fond heart, love’s time, so faint, so far,
The clear young eyes’ soft look, the candid brow,
The fragrant hair,
Falling as through the silence falleth now
Dusk of the air.
Why then, remembering those shy
Sweet lures, repine
When the dear love she yielded with a sigh
Was all but thine?
ON THE BEACH AT FONTANA
Wind whines and whines the shingle,
The crazy pierstakes groan;
A senile sea numbers each single
From whining wind and colder
Grey sea I wrap him warm
And touch his trembling fineboned shoulder
And boyish arm.
Around us fear, descending
Darkness of fear above
And in my heart how deep unending
Ache of love!
O bella bionda,
Sei come l’onda!
Of cool sweet dew and radiance mild
The moon a web of silence weaves
In the still garden where a child
Gathers the simple salad leaves.
A moondew stars her hanging hair
And moonlight kisses her young brow
And, gathering, she sings an air:
Fair as the wave is, fair, art thou!
Be mine, I pray, a waxen ear
To shield me from her childish croon
And mine a shielded heart for her
Who gathers simples of the moon.
Goldbrown upon the sated flood
The rockvine clusters lift and sway,
Vast wings above the lambent waters brood
Of sullen day.
A waste of waters ruthlessly
Sways and uplifts its weedy mane
Where brooding day stares down upon the sea
In dull disdain.
Uplift and sway, O golden vine,
Your clustered fruits to love’s full flood,
Lambent and vast and ruthless as in thine
Gaunt in gloom,
The pale stars their torches,
Ghostfires from heaven’s far verges faint illume,
Arches on soaring arches,
Night’s sindark nave.
The lost hosts awaken
To service till
In moonless gloom each lapses muted, dim,
Raised when she has and shaken
And long and loud,
To night’s nave upsoaring,
A starknell tolls
As the bleak insense surges, cloud on cloud,
Voidward from the adoring
Waste of souls.
And long and loud,
To night’s nave upsoaring,
A starknell tolls
As the bleak insense surges, cloud on cloud,
Voidward from the adoring
Waste of souls.
A MEMORY OF THE PLAYERS IN A MIRROR AT
They mouth love’s language. Gnash
The thirteen teeth
Your lean jaws grin with. Lash
Your itch and quailing, nude greed of the flesh.
Love’s breath in you is stale, worded or sung,
As sour as cat’s breath,
Harsh of tongue.
This grey that stares
Lies not, stark skin and bone.
Leave greasy lips their kissing. None
Will choose her what you see to mouth upon.
Dire hunger holds his hour.
Pluck forth your heart, saltblood, a fruit of tears,
Pluck and devour!
The eyes that mock me sign the way
Whereto I pass at eve of day,
Grey way whose violet signals are
The trysting and the twining star.
Ah star of evil! star of pain!
Highhearted youth comes not again
Nor old heart’s wisdom yet to know
The signs that mock me as I go.
Come, give, yield all your strength to me!
From far a low word breathes on the breaking
Its cruel calm, submission’s misery,
Gentling her awe as to a soul predestined.
Cease, silent love! My doom!
Blind me with your dark nearness, O have mercy,
beloved enemy of my will!
I dare not withstand the cold touch that I dread.
Draw from me still
My slow life! Bend deeper on me, threatening
Proud by my downfall, remembering, pitying
Him who is, him who was!
Together, folded by the night, they lay on earth.
From far her low wordbreathe on my breaking
Come! I yield. Bend deeper upon me! I am
Subduer, do not leave me! Only joy, only
Take me, save me, soothe me, O spare me
in ‘Flood’ for ‘in thine’ read ‘is thine’ in ‘Nightpiece’ for ‘bleak insense’ read ‘bleak incense’ in ‘A Prayer’ for ‘O spare me’ read ‘O spare me!’
Stuart Gilbert’s Ulysses (1930).
Virginia Woolf in A Room of One’s Own: “Masterpieces are not a single and solitary birth, but the outcome of many years of thinking in common.”
“Borges and I.”
“Some Version of Homer” (1932).
Borges’ 1925 review of Ulysses.
“I love flowers …”
“Invocation to Joyce” — B: “I am those unknown to you and saved by you.”
… is temporarily offline, but will be up again shortly with the rest of his JJ portal.
The online shorter Finnegans Wake
(synoptic table of contents)
Jorn Barger Aug-Sept 1999
This annotated, shortened edition of Finnegans Wake is broken up over multiple webpages of about 120k each, plus this summary/table of contents.
Discussion areas exist for each chapter here (individually linked at the end of each chapter on the main pages).
- Synoptic table of contents
- FW I.1 thru I.4, ch1-4
- FW I.5 thru I.8, ch5-8 [Joyce’s reading]
- FW II.1 thru II.4, ch9-12 [‘quark’ origin]
- FW III.1 and III.2, ch13-14
- FW III.3, ch15
- FW III.4, ch16
- FW IV, ch17
Synopsis of the full work: (all the material below is duplicated across the various main pages, with twenty times more quotes and many notes. I’d hate to think you’ll read the paraphrase below but skip the full treatment! Any ‘#’ hash-link will take you directly to that point in the shortened text. But I recommend you skip the summary altogether and just dive in at the start of the shortened text. #.)
# chapter one (I.1)
riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.
The first chapter reviews the main themes. HCE is Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker, husband to Anna Livia Plurabelle or ALP (the Liffey river). The stages of HCE’s lifecycle: peace, intoxication, sexual slip, overthrow, exile, inspiration, return.
HCE suffers a fall that transforms him into the landscape upon which Dublin is built. (Here we get the first hundred-letter thunderclap.) At his peak he’s a builder of cities, which is strangely equated with masturbation. Like Finnegan in the song “Finnegan’s Wake” he falls from his building while drunk. The funeral from the song is re-enacted as well. “Tee the tootal of the fluid hang the twoddle of the fuddled, O!”
HCE’s corpse becomes a meal spread for the mourners… but he vanishes like a conman before they can eat him, like Jesus failing to return. “Whase on the joint of a desh? Finfoefom the Fush. Whase be his baken head? A loaf of Singpantry’s Kennedy bread.”
The first of three vignettes that dominate the chapter:
# The Museyroom: A museum commemorates HCE’s ambush by two pissing girls (the maggies) and three spying soldiers. The older ALP (Kate) gives a guided tour of this Wellington Monument in Phoenix Park, accompanied by a flickering silent film, full of Freudian suggestiveness, layered onto the battle of Waterloo. “This is the Willingdone on his same white harse, the Cokenhape.”
Acknowledging the dream as sexually harrowing, we’re offered relief in a view of ALP as a hen scratching up battle-relics from a midden heap after the fall/Flood.
And even if Humpty shell fall frumpty times as awkward again in the beardsboosoloom of all our grand remonstrancers there’ll be iggs for the brekkers come to mournhim, sunny side up with care…. But all they are all there scraping along to sneeze out a likelihood that will solve and salve life’s robulous rebus, hopping round his middle like kippers on a griddle, O…
We shift to a historical view of HCE and ALP with their daughter Issy, and their warring sons Shem and Shaun. “1132 A.D. Men like to ants or emmets wondern upon a groot hwide Whallfisk which lay in a Runnel. Blubby wares upat Ublanium.” The mysterious ‘Silent’ phase in this history is further discussed. A lovely sentence compares older and newer penal codes, and a literary parody contrasts wars with wildflowers and courtship.
# Mutt and Jute: A longer, brilliant prehistorical vignette, an explorer encountering an indigene. “Let us swop hats and excheck a few strong verbs weak oach eather yapyazzard abast the blooty creeks.” Jute offers a bribe to calm Mutt; then as Jute goes into denial about what Mutt tells him, Mutt regains his tongue.
Mutt.– Ore you astoneaged, jute you?
Jute.– Oye am thonthorstrok, thing mud.
The hen’s rubbish is also an alphabet (“When a part so ptee does duty for the holos we soon grow to use of an allforabit”) and a form of money. The alphabet leads us to storytelling; storytelling leads to daughter Issy, and the seductive sound of her urination. Which somehow leads to the vignette of the prankquean.
# The Prankquean: This pirate queen is the historical Grace (Granuaile) O’Malley and the vignette retells her (legendary) spat with the Lord of Howth. She kidnaps a twin because HCE gives her the wrong answer.
And the prankquean pulled a rosy one and made her wit foreninst the dour. And she lit up and fireland was ablaze. And spoke she to the dour in her petty perusienne: Mark the Wans, why do I am alook alike a poss of porterpease?
The story then repeats with the second son, and concludes with another thunderword. Issy’s urination is compared to the hidden source of the Nile. Finnegan wakes (“Did ye drink me doornail?”) but the mourners urge him to stay dead. He’s offered instead a chatty progress report on Shaun and Shem and Issy and ALP and her cat. HCE should stay dead because his successor has arrived, the new HCE.
# chapter two
Chapter two is the start of the narrative proper. HCE’s plowing is interrupted by the king’s hunting party, the king asking him a question directly.
…honest blunt Haromphreyld answered in no uncertain tones very similarly with a fearless forehead: Naw, yer maggers, aw war jist a cotchin on thon bluggy earwuggers.
Somehow the key here is that the King gives HCE a new name– Earwicker– that brings the status of nobility, symbolised by his seating at the theater. But the new initials also have a secondary, dishonorable reading. (“A baser meaning has been read into these characters the literal sense of which decency can safely scarcely hint.”) And now we get the story, hinted thruout chapter one, of HCE spying on two pissing nursemaids, spied upon by three soldiers, followed immediately by a second, innocent, apparently authoritative version, in which HCE meets only a cad with a pipe.
# The Cad:
They tell the story… how one happygogusty Ides-of-April morning… ages and ages after the alleged misdemeanour when the tried friend of all creation, tigerwood roadstaff to his stay, was billowing across the wide expanse of our greatest park… he met a cad with a pipe.
HCE is unsure if he’s being propositioned, so he simultaneously accepts and denies accepting, and adds a stuttered self-defense. “I am woowoo willing to take my stand, sir, upon the monument… that there is not one tittle of truth, allow me to tell you, in that purest of fibfib fabrications.”
This is really the climax of the narrative, and the rest of the book is more or less downhill, plot-wise. The strange tale of HCE’s speech circulates thruout Dublin, starting via the cad’s wife. It descends the social ladder, thru the criminal Frisky Shorty (“he was, to be exquisitely punctilious about them, both shorty and frisky”) and the suicidal musician Hosty. The lowlifes get drunk and write a ballad about HCE.
# The Ballad:
It was during some fresh water garden pumping
Or, according to the Nursing Mirror, while admiring the monkeys
That our heavyweight heathen Humpharey
Made bold a maid to woo…
# chapter three
Chapters three and four next ‘deconstruct’ the rumor, calling into question every aspect of it, starting with the fates of the balladeers (whose very names and genders continue to mutate). We get a comparatively vivid scene that depicts Joyce himself in July 1923, vacationing in Bognor, England, telling yet another transformed version of the cad’s story, the tale taking on elements of a historical 1815 duel in which Daniel O’Connell killed a cad named Destrelle, who’d libelled him.
…he tips un a topping swank cheroot… and… says… he was to just pluggy well suck that brown boyo, my son, and spend a whole half hour in Havana…
HCE’s stuttered defense is completely rejumbled, and this version again gets retold, always mutating.
# The Plebiscite: People on the street are interviewed (“Have you evew thought, wepowtew, that sheew gweatness was his twadgedy?”). HCE gets physically assaulted… or initiates an assault.
It was after the show at Wednesbury that one tall man, humping a suspicious parcel… had a barkiss revolver placed to his faced with the words: you’re shot, major: by an unknowable assailant…
His ‘parcel’ is a fireplace guard (fender), probably the cad’s pipe deforming towards an anonymous lump. And then the assault is diminished to a banging at HCE’s gate, dealt with by his butler, rationalised to the police as an innocent attempt to open a bottle of beer.
# Peaches Browning: And suddenly by a charming 90 degree turn, the contested fender becomes a female (?).
…he would like to canoodle her too some part of the time for he is downright fond of his number one but O he’s fair mashed on peaches number two…
Then the fender becomes ALP’s letter– one of the core images of FW– and immediately a coffin. The assaulter becomes a butcher. We return to the sad fate of the maggies, and learn that blackmail was somehow involved. The history of the gate is recounted, built to keep HCE in (“unused as he was yet to being freely clodded”).
Yet another version involves a guest angry over being robbed at HCE’s hotel (“he would break the gage over his lankyduckling head the same way he would crack a nut with a monkeywrench”), or a patron refusing to leave a pub at closing time. HCE compiles a long list of the cad’s shouted insults, but refrains from replying himself, and the assaulter finally leaves.
# chapter four
Chapter four continues with the thoughts of HCE as he hides from his assaulter. Whether he’s dead or hibernating (“secretly and by suckage feeding on his own misplaced fat”) or imprisoned or hiding or disguised, HCE lookalikes are still being attacked.One assault took place on a midden-dump, leaving tracks in ALP/Kate’s excrement. And another comic version is offered (“whom for plunder sake, he mistook in the heavy rain to be Oglethorpe or some other ginkus, Parr aparrently”).
The combatants suddenly resolve things when the cad (or HCE) offers to pay back the money stolen from the hotel-guest’s coat, and HCE (or the cad) responds even more generously. (“There was a minute silence before memory’s fire’s rekindling and then. Heart alive!”) And HCE limps to the police for first-aid.
# the Trial: Now the fender becomes a pig, and the gate its sty, while HCE becomes a prisoner who rubbed dirt on his face as a disguise, and tried to sell the pig for rentmoney because it ate part of the gate “the pikey later selling the gentleman ratepayer because she, Francie’s sister, that is to say, ate a whole side of his (the animal’s) sty”. (Thunderwords for ‘whore’.)
Shaun has beaten Shem in the court of public opinion– he’s surrounded by female admirers (but singles out Issy). Shem gets off without legal penalty anyway. A long rehash of many different parts of the book follows. HCE/Shem is a hunted fox, everyone has a different theory where he’s gone, but signs confirm he still exists. And finally, in preparation for the next chapter, ALP herself steps back in, plotting to use her feminine wiles to defend him, in spite of all.
# chapter five
Chapter five is devoted to the physical letter in which ALP defends (or accuses?) HCE (which on another level is Joyce’s Ulysses, or FW itself). “In the name of Annah the Allmaziful, the Everliving, the Bringer of Plurabilities, haloed be her eve, her singtime sung, her rill be run, unhemmed as it is uneven!”After a long list of the Letter’s names, the handwriting is analysed. (“Say, baroun lousadoor, who in hallhagal wrote the durn thing anyhow?”) The letter was found in a middenheap by little Kevin/Shaun, with the help of ALP-the-hen. (“The stain, and that a teastain… marked it off on the spout of the moment as a genuine relique of ancient Irish pleasant pottery of that lydialike languishing class…”) The hen embodies instinctual wisdom.
No, assuredly, they are not justified, those gloompourers who grouse that letters have never been quite their old selves again since that weird weekday in bleak Janiveer… when to the shock of both, Biddy Doran looked at literature…
A version of the letter forgives HCE (while sounding a bit drunk). We go back to the handwriting, and the stain (“we ought really to rest thankful that… we have even a written on with dried ink scrap of paper at all to show for ourselves”). # [Kells links]
Itemising the handwriting’s characteristics– illiterate ALP’s hand was guided by Shem’s. Holes in the paper are also seen as a clue (“These paper wounds, four in type, were gradually and correctly understood to mean stop, please stop, do please stop, and O do please stop respectively…”) And finally, somehow, the handwriting is identified as Shem’s.
# chapter six
Chapter six recaps the twelve main characters (and/or elements) in a quiz show Q&A format. A late addition to Book One, many of the themes had barely been hinted up to this point. “So? Who do you no tonigh, lazy and gentleman?”Q1 is ridiculously long, with the answer being HCE, Q2 is ALP. Q3 is the letter/book, A3 is the mutated motto of Dublin. Q4 is the four corners of Ireland (Belfast, Cork, Dublin, Galway).
Q5 is HCE as the older butler Sackerson, and Q6 is ALP as the old streetcleaner Kate. Q7 is the twelve citizen-jurors (symbolised by words ending in ‘-ation’). Q8 is Issy’s seven (or 28) rainbow-classmates. Q9 is the Viconian cycle of history (maybe).
Q10 is supposedly Issy speaking to her twin in a mirror, a troubling image of Joyce’s troubled schizophrenic daughter Lucia. (“What exquisite hands you have, you angiol, if you didn’t gnaw your nails, isn’t it a wonder you’re not achamed of me, you pig, you perfect little pigaleen!”) But the early notes also suggest that Issy, in her mirror, becomes Tristan.
Q11 asks Shaun whether he’d extend a helping hand if Shem begged him. Shaun offers a million technical reasons why he wouldn’t, even invoking HCE’s self-defense as an authority, and arguing that the poor will always be with us.
# The Mookse and the Gripes: Shaun attempts a parable for his students, Aesop’s Fox and Grapes as HCE and the Cad. (“Eins within a space and a wearywide space it wast ere wohned a Mookse.”) Shaun sits on a stone (his lifeless symbol, to Shem’s green treebranch), Shem asks for… gossip? The Fox declares the Grapes to be sour, sounding like Willingdone’s cursing. Shaun would help if Shem were more manly (if the grapes were not sour). Shaun again defends himself hundreds of different ways.
This brotherly debate is eavesdropped by their adoring sister (a streamlet and then a cloudlet). As dusk falls, the brothers turn into laundry drying by the riverbank, collected by two prankqueans. Issy, brokenhearted, jumps in the river.
Then Nuvoletta reflected for the last time in her little long life and she made up all her myriads of drifting minds in one. She cancelled all her engauzements. She climbed over the bannistars; she gave a childy cloudy cry: Nuee! Nuee! A lightdress fluttered. She was gone. And into the river that had been a stream… there fell a tear, a singult tear, the loveliest of all tears… for it was a leaptear.
The parable over, Shaun addresses his audience again, with more rationalisations for shunning Shem. He offers one more short parable on the brother-dialectic as butter and cheese– Burrus was a cheerful youth, but Caseous is a stinker. This dialectic may or may not imply that Shaun should forgive Shem.
A feminine third party drives the dialectic. Shem and Shaun both write lovesongs to her, Shem singing of his lust while Shaun praises her chastity. This Burrus-Caseous-Margareen triangle resembles the canoodler with the two peaches.
A third brother Tristan synthesises Shem and Shaun, but Shaun seems to dislike him as much as he dislikes Shem. And Shaun damns Issy as well, for her disloyalty, and then refuses Shem’s request one last time. Q12 is Latin for ‘let him be accursed?’, A12 approximately ‘we are Shem’.
# chapter seven
Chapter seven is Shem’s. (“Shem is as short for Shemus as Jem is joky for Jacob.”) Physical inferiority forces Shem to exploit his wits, posing “the first riddle of the universe: asking, when is a man not a man?”
All were wrong, so Shem himself, the doctator, took the cake, the correct solution being — all give it up? — ; when he is a — yours till the rending of the rocks, — Sham.Shem was a sham and a low sham and his lowness creeped out first via foodstuffs. …he would far sooner muddle through the hash of lentils in Europe than meddle with Irrland’s split little pea…
Like Joyce, Shem favors a wine that resembles urine. Hopeful predictions of his suicide are not fulfilled– instead he wires Shaun for more money. Visitors try but fail to broach the subject of his ignoble path. A coward, he avoids fights by agreeing with everyone (hoping they’ll buy him drinks). Combatants use him as a football, and are drawn together by his lowness. He never played normal children’s games. Instead he flees home and locks the door. (Shem is frequently seen as the blackskinned Cain.)
Shem thinks he’s a better writer than Shakespeare. When he peeks out to see if the battles are over, he finds a gun pointing thru his keyhole. He claims to be writing a book. He stinks. He could have been tutoring his hosts in handwriting, but instead he’s practicing to imitate their styles (“study with stolen fruit how cutely to copy all their various styles of signature so as one day to utter an epical forged cheque on the public for his own private profit”).
Writing by the light of his nose, he portrays himself as a ladies man. And he’s not much of a housekeeper, either. (“The house O’Shea or O’Shame… known as the Haunted Inkbottle… literatured with… once current puns, quashed quotatoes, messes of mottage, unquestionable issue papers, seedy ejaculations, limerick damns, crocodile tears, spilt ink, blasphematory spits, stale shestnuts…”) He keeps hens in the WC, for their eggs.
# Shem makes ink: Boycotted by his stationers, he makes his own paper and ink (there follows a passage in Latin describing the messy process). Writing on his skin with this ink makes his soul grow darker as well.
Then… with this double dye… this Esuan Menschavik and the first till last alshemist wrote over every square inch of the only foolscap available, his own body, till by its corrosive sublimation one continuous present tense integument slowly unfolded all… cyclewheeling history…
HCE as the older butler often has a name like Sigurdsen, and a role like policeman. Next he catches Shem sneaking home drunk. His greeting echoes the cad’s greeting to HCE, but it’s a dark gentleman here instead of a fair one. Shem locks himself in (again), leaving the cop wondering (like the cad).
Now the chapter’s narrator (Shaun) speaks to Shem, as a personification of judgmental Justice (and as a priest in the confessional). (But ALP’s letter washes clean all sins.) Joyce’s notes explain that seven charges are itemised here– all distinctly autobiographical. The first is ‘Hell’ (though it sounds like doubt). (“you have reared your disunited kingdom on the vacuum of your own most intensely doubtful soul”).
The second is ‘Property’ (though it sounds like refusal to marry). The third is ‘Prophecy’ (but sounds like pessimism). (“it never stphruck your mudhead’s obtundity… that the more carrots you chop, the more turnips you slit, the more murphies you peel, the more onions you cry over, the more bullbeef you butch, the more mutton you crackerhack, the more potherbs you pound, the fiercer the fire and the longer your spoon and the harder you gruel with more grease to your elbow the merrier fumes your new Irish stew.”)
The fourth is ‘Shirking’ (but includes exile). The fifth is ‘Sin’ but seems to involve corrupting his brother. The sixth is ‘Doles” (begging for charity).
In Joyce’s notes, the seventh is ‘Mother’ and is not set off in any way from the first six, but in the published version Justice is balanced by Mercy, somehow Shem addressing himself regarding his failures to honor his mother. But ALP again forgives Shem.
He lifts the lifewand and the dumb speak.
# chapter eight
Chapter eight is the last of book one. Joyce spent 1200 hours on it by his count, especially working in puns on some 350 river names. It opens with the two washerwomen from chapter six sharing gossip by the river as dusk falls. “O tell me all about Anna Livia! I want to hear all about Anna Livia. Well, you know Anna Livia?”Like James and Nora, HCE and ALP are rumored never to have formally wed. ALP is said to have solicited other women for HCE’s pleasure. She worked her fingers to the bone to cheer him out of his depression, but he just abused her. She even tries whistling and singing for him, and the soliciting is discussed again. ALP’s song is also her letter.
Her 111 children are mentioned. Her early sexual history is detailed (“She was just a young thin pale soft shy slim slip of a thing then, sauntering, by silvamoonlake and he was a heavy trudging lurching lieabroad of a Curraghman, making his hay for whose sun to shine on, as tough as the oaktrees…”) Returning to the washing, they discuss other ALP-like identities (and their undies), Lily Kinsella and the wife of the villain Magrath.
ALP decided she must defend HCE’s sullied reputation. Her plan involved Shaun’s mailbag, and a lot of costuming. She didn’t tell HCE what she was plotting. When the shocked citizens saw her they concluded she was ‘doped’.
Her mailbag was full of presents for her children, who had apparently grown estranged. The inventory of gifts mentions many of the book’s characters. Twentyfive of the 28 rainbow girls get the same gifts. ‘Her Pandora’s box contains the ills flesh is heir to.’ The river has widened, the washerwomen on opposite sides. As night falls, the washerwomen begin to change into a tree and a stone. # [Joyce’s reading]
The fates of ALP’s children are discussed. One washerwoman thinks she sees HCE, but the other accuses her of drinking. Maybe it’s the ass belonging to the four Masters, Matthew Mark Luke and John (Mamalujo). Or perhaps it’s the light of a ship returning (Tristram rearriving as in the opening paragraphs). HCE had seven wives.
Can’t hear with the waters of. The chittering waters of. Flittering bats, fieldmice bawk talk. Ho! Are you not gone ahome? What Thom Malone? Can’t hear with bawk of bats, all thim liffeying waters of. Ho, talk save us! My foos won’t moos. I feel as old as yonder elm. A tale told of Shaun or Shem? All Livia’s daughtersons. Dark hawks hear us. Night! Night! My ho head halls. I feel as heavy as yonder stone. Tell me of John or Shaun? Who were Shem and Shaun the living sons or daughters of? Night now! Tell me, tell me, tell me, elm! Night night! Telmetale of stem or stone. Beside the rivering waters of, hitherandthithering waters of. Night!
# chapter nine (II.1)
Chapter nine concerns a guessing game played at dusk by Shem, Shaun, and the 29 Floras, assembled by Joyce out of fragments of hundreds of traditional children’s games, and framed as a play in a theater. We’ve gotten to know Shem and Shaun and Issy in Book One, but now they’re seen as children with HCE and ALP looming parentally in the background. Each is described (Issy is “a bewitching blonde who dimples delightfully and is approached in loveliness only by her grateful sister reflection in a mirror, the cloud of the opal…”) using the format of a theater program (“to be wound up for an afterenactment by a Magnificent Transformation Scene showing the Radium Wedding of Neid and Moorning and the Dawn of Peace, Pure, Perfect and Perpetual, Waking the Weary of the World”).Shem’s philosophical (and romantic) unhappiness is allegorised as his inability to win their game of guessing the color of Issy’s underwear. Shaun wants to save Issy from the wolf (Shem) but Issy is more ambivalent. Shem wracks his brain, scours the four corners of the world. He hallucinates hearing his dead mother’s last requests. He tries (?) to spy on the Floras’ undies, then asks them for a hint (?) but they cut him cold. On one level, this is a game of courtship, but Shem is shy. As in most guessing games, he gets three tries, but fails.
— Have you monbreamstone?
— Or Hellfeuersteyn?
— Or Van Diemen’s coral pearl?
Issy, though, feels she’s lost a lover– she’d fading. But out of that loss will come a husband… Shaun (“Lord Chuffy’s sky sheraph and Glugg’s got to swing”). The rainbow girls do a double-rainbow dance, including a scientifically accurate region of shadow-secrets that include theft, uncleanliness, alcoholism, poverty, timidity, superstition, triviality, stinginess, and spite.
Frustration drives Shem to violate the seven sacraments. He threatens to go into exile, declare his own utopia, and tell his parents’ sexual secrets, ie, to write Ulysses (“his farced epistol to the hibruws… a most moraculous jeeremyhead sindbook”). He foresees that someday he’ll be reunited with Issy.
Remembering his comparatively comfortable childhood turns him maudlin and he cites a verse Joyce wrote as a child. This unguarded thought of home momentarily causes self-doubt, and a horrible toothache (“His mouthfull of ecstasy… herepong (maladventure!) shot pinging up through the errorooth of his wisdom…”). But this dark teatime of the soul passes quickly, and Shem is re-inspired, perceiving (hallucinating?) Issy-Isolde to be sending him (as her Tantris) a coded message of love, despite her forced marriage to Mark/Shaun (“a butterfly from her zipclasped handbag, a wounded dove astarted from, escaping out her forecotes”).
The Floras drive Shem off, and do a dance to Shaun. Like Bloom at the end of Ulysses, they picture a future of well-off domesticity. They become flowers yearning for his pollen, wanting him to remain pure even as they beg him to deflower them.
A confusing view of Shem (or HCE?) follows– he’ll tell the whole story even if he has to go to jail for it. Shem says Father HCE offered candy to little girls, but that the other charges are all tommyrot– he’s an upstanding householder, innocent as a baby. But it sounds finally like he’s guilty of sodomising Shem, while mother ALP was perpetually angry (?) about her early deflowering (?) though divorce never entered her mind.
[section unfinished by JB. Bob Williams et al’s outline [qv] includes the sections I haven’t done yet, and I’ll paraphrase their outline to fill the gaps below.]
The scene switches to an HCE-like lamplighter as night falls. Father HCE calls the children home. Shem renews the game but fails a third time. The rivalry over Issy continues beyond the end of the game, and is mapped onto broad historical terms. The play winds down. We learn ALP’s exact measurements. The children go home to prayers and lessons.
# chapter ten (II.2) in a modified paraphrase of Bob Williams’s version
A metaphysical introduction celebrating philosophers, linguists, astronomers and painters. The Kabbala, from the mystical/abstract (Carybdis) to the rational/concrete (Scylla). The Chapelizod tavern with the children upstairs at their studies, Shem and Shaun still sexually-charged rivals. Primitive anthropology leads to a grammar lesson, then history, then the family taboos again. Issy speaks again at length, another aspect of the Letter.The Muddest Thick: The lessons turn to arithmetic and geometry. Shem tricks Shaun into drawing a triangular image of ALP’s genitals. Thruout this chapter, Shem and Shaun contribute marginal notes and Issy footnotes, but midway, Shem and Shaun switch margins.
Another version of the letter. Shaun hits Shem, who forgives him. The lesson is mathematical and philosophical. The children graduate, and there’s another version of the letter.
# chapter eleven (II.3) in a paraphrase of Bob Williams’s version
The tavern has a radio broadcasting the story of Kerrse the Tailor and the Norwegian Captain, interrupted by the patrons’ comments. The captain makes three appearances, ultimately marrying Kerrse’s daughter. The patrons’ gossip focuses on HCE. Kate enters with a message for HCE, followed by silence, then the gossip begins again.The radio is replaced by television showing comedians Butt and Taff, telling the story of Buckley and the Russian General. HCE addresses the patrons but his words betray him again, in a long speech.
Mamalujo and poetry, another version of the letter. Sockerson appears as a bouncer. Another Hosty-like ballad appears, and a long indictment of HCE. Finally, deserted but never giving up, HCE drinks all their dregs.
# Roderick O’Connor
Joyce ends the chapter with the very first FW vignette
# chapter twelve (II.4) in a paraphrase of Bob Williams’s version
Chapter twelve or II.4 was built by Joyce out of the sliced and diced bits of two early vignettes, Tristan and Isolde, and Mamalujo.Seabirds sing a satirical song about Mark. Mamalujo spy on Tristan and Isolde’s first kiss, remembering their own past. Tristan at Isolde’s request recites an appropriate verse. The four reminisce about drownings and cuddlings and catastrophes, etc. The chapter ends with a song.
# chapter thirteen (III.1)
Chapter thirteen is the start of Book Three, aka ‘the watches of the night’, which supposedly tells the story of Shaun as a mirror reversal of Book One (Shem). JAJ: “a description of a postman travelling backwards in the night through the events already narrated. It is written in the form of a via crucis of 14 stations but in reality it is only a barrel rolling down the river Liffey”As the clock strikes midnight, Shaun the postman appears to Mamalujo’s donkey, apparently the chapter’s narrator. (“And low stole o’er the stillness the heartbeats of sleep…”) Shaun’s hearty appetite parallels Christ’s Last Supper. (Shaun in Book Three is as often a priest as a mailman.) “…with his motto through dear life embrothred over it in peas, rice, and yeggyyolk…”
Shaun’s voice is heard telepathically, like Morse code via transatlantic radio. Trained in public speaking, he begins with well-rehearsed gestures, but immediately collapses from exhaustion, launching into a stream of excuses and complaints, comparing himself to Shem. He describes Shem’s energetic early curiosity (?).
Mamalujo begin a series of questions about how he came to deliver the letter, Shaun protesting what a burden it is. He recalls being crucified with the two thieves; St Columkille’s (spurious) prophecies gave him the permit to deliver the Letter. He’s desperate to avoid the job. A question angers Shaun, who blames the previous postmistress and promises to write a book explaining it all. Shaun’s book will resemble a bankbook, and another version of the Letter, and his will, and an official government report.
“…what would be the autobiography of your softbodied fumiform?” Shaun’s postman’s uniform is equated with the letter’s envelope, and Shaun shows he’s delivered it because he now wears only a barrel. (Thunderwords for ‘cough’.)
# The Gracehoper and the Ondt: Yet another fable, the Grasshopper (irresponsible Jacob/Shem) and the Ant (humorless Esau/Shaun), is laden with entomological terms.
Shem flirts shamelessly. (“The Gracehoper was always jigging ajog, hoppy on akkant of his joyicity…”) He pursues trivial entertainments (instead of scientific profundities), while Shaun practices stern looks in the mirror. Shem’s unfinished summerhouse is called ‘a thing which is no thing’, while Shaun’s winterhouse is just ‘nothing, nothing, and nothing’… or ‘deny, deny, and deny’.
Shem’s food runs out. Winter drives him to seek out Shaun’s house. ‘The gracehoper who knew the correct thing promptly tossed himself ontop his head in the snow.’ In Shaun’s version of the fable, his labors win him the very wealth Shem squandered, allowing a degree of role-reversal– he’s the opposite of a glutton, and Shem is jealous of him. Shaun is delighted by Shem’s plight, but Shem forgives Shaun for laughing.
Your genus its worldwide, your spacest sublime!
But, Holy Saltmartin, why can’t you beat time?
Mamalujo praise the fable and resume their questioning– could Shaun read Shem’s writing aloud, to HCE? He could but he won’t. The jottings on the much-forwarded envelope are described. Hasn’t Shaun used language as bad or worse than Shem’s? Could Shaun equal Shem’s language if asked? Shaun summarizes the scandal, then reverts to defaming Shem. “As often as I think of that unbloody housewarmer, Shem Skrivenitch, always cutting my prhose to please his phrase, bogorror, I declare I get the jawache!”
Shem was born old. (Thunderwords for Norse gods.) “The last word in stolentelling! …that will open your pucktricker’s ops for you… I will commission to the flames any incendiarist… who would endeavour to set ever annyma… moother of mine on fire.”
Shaun leans back, looking up at the stars to get his bearings, but loses his balance. A brilliant evocation of a barrel racing down a river follows. But Shaun/Jesus’s example is quickly forgotten. “And the lamp went out as it couldn’t glow on burning, yep, the lmp wnt out for it couldn’t stay alight.”
# chapter fourteen (III.2)
Chapter fourteen offers a sermon by Shaun (now called Jaun, ie ‘yellow’ in French) for the 28 Floras and Issy. The structure is mysterious– Shaun was in the middle of a Q&A with Mamalujo, but fell into the river. Suddenly he’s pausing on his rounds to give a speech to the Floras– at the end of which he’ll fall into the river again (probably echoing two of Jesus’s three stumbles along the Stations of the Cross). But then III.3 resumes the Q&A without any reference to the earlier chapters– so perhaps time is running backwards, too, at some level. The narrator is probably the donkey againThe Floras are dabbling their feet in a pond (or the river?), with Issy among them… and drunken Sigurdsen murmurs in his sleep in Danish: ‘this is the best, my beautiful bottle.’ We get a very long parenthesis, with Jaun now a kindly priest flirting with the Floras and Issy (“done in loveletters like a trayful of cloudberry tartlets”). His speech is framed as a farewell (Christ going off to Heaven again). Issy was an older sister who helped make him what he is.
The chapter consists mostly of Jaun’s ethical precepts, but first he curses Shem’s failure to assist him. His enumeration of taboos grows increasingly lascivious. ‘Beware the wiles of Shem.’ Jaun expresses distaste for the human body, then recapitulates the HCE-plot as The House That Jack Built (?).
Jaun rationalises the lusts that are gripping him. He offers his recommended reading. ‘Rather than part with that jewel of yours let the entire universe perish a 1000 times in a pitfall first.’
He channels his lust into images of violence toward Shem and Issy– if Issy should get pregnant he’ll beat her. He pictures their marriage when he returns, and their exemplary roles in the community. ‘We will adopt all the poorest children possible.’ The role of schoolteacher reasserts itself.
‘Let this cup pass from me.’ The scene from A Portrait is echoed, when Stephen ‘invests’ his school prize money. He’d stay chaste until he could offer her luxury. JAJ: “Jaun thinks how cold it is out in the night under the stars. His cold is getting worse and thus he snuffles.”
His destiny is to meet the Lord. ‘I wish everyone was as sure of anything in the real world as I am of everything in the other. Tell mother that. Now cheer up all. We’ll soon be dead and happy.’ He executes a rehearsed dramatic effect. And he’s been chowing down this whole time. “Give us another cup of your scald. Santos Mozos! That was a damn good cup of scald! You could trot a mouse on it…”
The journey Jaun is avoiding involves collecting a bad debt. Issy speaks up, offering a parting letter-gift (her maidenhead?), like Veronica of the Stations of the Cross. (“Meesh, meesh, yes, pet. We were too happy. I knew something would happen.”) She confesses an infidelity to Jaun (or is she just telling her twin about Jaun?).
# Dave the Dancekerl: Jaun reaches an erotic climax (?) but immediately introduces Shem as an alter ego he can hide his feelings behind. This is James returning from the continent, Patrick heeding the call of the Irish, Tristram rearriving from North Armorica. Shem displays a monk’s tonsure (shaved crown). Jaun/Shaun greets him, then presses Issy lewdly upon him.
Jaun/Shaun the emcee asks Shem the guest for a song. Jaun ‘departs like Osiris the body of the young god being pelted and incensed. He is seen already as a Yesterday… How much have we held back? To change course and so goodbye.’
# chapter fifteen (III.3)
Chapter fifteen or III.3 offers a seance conducted by Mamalujo using the now-infantile Shaun (aka Yawn) as the medium. The dream-language grows particularly deep and poetic.
Lowly, longly, a wail went forth. Pure Yawn lay low. On the mead of the hillock lay, heartsoul dormant… brief wallet to his side, and arm loose, by his staff of citron briar… His dream monologue was over, of cause, but his drama parapolylogic had yet to be…Most distressfully… to wail he did… those lashbetasselled lids on the verge of closing time, whiles ouze of his sidewiseopen mouth the breath of him… languishing as the princeliest treble treacle… Yawn in a semiswoon lay awailing and (hooh!)… which earpiercing dulcitude! As were you suppose to go and push with your bluntblank pin in hand upinto his fleshasplush cushionettes of some chubby boybold love of an angel. Hwoah!
Mamalujo are drawn by Yawn’s crying. They are Lilliputians climbing Gulliver. He’s as wide as the zodiac. The four gospellers, arguing the details of Jesus’s life story, bring an ass to the seance, for the sake of its big ears. Matt Gregory is their foreman. Yawn lies atop the hill, refracting the macrocosm of the night sky.
More than their good share of their five senses ensorcelled you would say themselves were, fuming censor, the way they could not rightly tell their heels from their stools as they cooched down a mamalujo by his cubical crib, as question time drew nighing and the map of the souls’ groupography rose in relief within their quarterings…— He’s giving, the wee bairn. Yun has lived.
The four take turns speaking. They’re preparing the nets Stephen Dedalus had to fly by, to escape the entanglements of Church and Country.
…the quivers of scaly silver and their clutches of chromes of the highly lucid spanishing gold whilst, as hour gave way to mazing hour, with Yawn himself keeping time with his thripthongue, to ope his blurbeous lips he would, a let out classy, the way myrrh of the moor and molten moonmist would be melding mellifond indo his mouth.
Yawn as Jesus is on the verge of ascending to Heaven, but they hope to keep him on Earth. He stirs in his sleep and they begin to question him, first trying to identifying the unknown spirit who’s speaking thru him. It speaks from the rubbish heap where the hen (and Kevin) found the Letter. The speaker’s native language has a rich poetic vocabulary but no word for king.
I am told by our interpreter, Hanner Esellus, that there are fully six hundred and six ragwords in your malherbal Magis landeguage in which wald wand rimes alpman… but yav hace not one pronouncable teerm that blows in all the vallums of tartallaght to signify majestate, even provisionally…
The speaker is cold and lonely, recalling Parnell and Saint Patrick at their lowest points. Mamalujo ask whether the midden wasn’t first HCE’s burialboat (“Now I suggest to you that ere there was this plagueburrow… there was a burialbattell, the boat of millions of years. Would you bear me out in that…?”) Yawn implicates HCE:
— Magnus Spadebeard… Signed to me with his baling scoop. Laid bare his breastpaps to give suck, to suckle me.
— Oh, Jeyses, fluid!
The speaker confirms the name as an acrostic. Did HCE’s crime happen in BC or AD times? Walls have ears; silence is golden; Midas has long donkey’s ears. ‘McDougal that is, coughing. I identify you.’ Kevin and the hen. A you’re-getting-colder guessing game (maybe). It seems Mamalujo are arguing among themselves. Could Kevin have been the one who hid the letter there? ‘He found it there he put it.’ ‘That innocent did I alter him towards purefat?’ Am I my brother’s keeper? ‘I don’t know but God knows I was altered first.’ The speaker considers himself a nobleman, claiming Patrick’s name ‘Sucat’.
— Suck at!
— Suck it yourself, sugarstick! Misha, Yid think whose was asking to luckat your sore toe or to taste your gaspy, hot and sour!
The speaker switches to pidgin, addressing Luke. ‘I cried because she had a jack-in-the-box and all I had was a sowbelly.’ Mamalujo recognise the speaker has changed– ‘Are you Roman road 432?’
— Quadrigue my yoke.
Triple my tryst.
Tandem my sire.— Now I, the lord of Tuttu, am placing that inital T square of burial jade upright to your temple a moment. Do you see anything, templar?
— I see a blackfrinch pliestrycook… who is carrying on his brainpan… a cathedral of lovejelly for his… Tiens, how he is like somebodies!
Joyce assigned ‘T’ as the siglum (sign) for Tristan, in the notes for FW. Mamalujo sense the presence of Tristan and produce an Egyptian wand in that shape, which induces the speaker to see a vision of a person forming that shape. The inverted ‘T’ symbolises Tristan’s mirror-image anima, Isolde. Joyce plays a game with see, hear, and feel.
— What do you hear, breastplate?
— I ahear of a hopper behidin the door slappin his feet in a pool of bran.
Joyce’s dagger definitions again:
When himupon Nola Bruno monopolises his egobruno most unwillingly seses by the mortal powers alionola equal and opposite brunoipso, id est, eternally provoking alio opposite equally as provoked as Bruno at being eternally opposed by Nola…
[to be completed by JB]
Paraphrase of Bob Williams’s version: [qv]
Growing chaos ends with “SILENCE” followed by sacred night ceremonies and the World Tree– Adam in Paradise and the scene in the park. Kerrse and the Captain again. Mamalujo threaten Yawn, but when a bone snaps into place he begins to answer in new voices, including Treacle Tom, Frisky Shorty and Issy. The questions grow lascivious, and the discussion turns to the Virgin Mary.Haveth Childers Everywhere: In a very long speech Yawn as HCE tells how he trained his wife and founded the city, along with a sociological report.
# chapter sixteen (III.4) modified paraphrase of Bob Williams’s version
Mamalujo spy on HCE and ALP as they spied on Tristan and Isolde. A cry from the nursery brings HCE and ALP to check on the three kids. HCE is naked and Issy (?) sees his nakedness (described as a park). A court scene describes sexual excesses of a family in ancient Rome, and a corrupt firm named Tangos Limited.HCE and ALP in bed making love, with shadows on the window advertising their activity to Sackerson (?). They hear a cock crow. The sex was somehow disappointing, perhaps due to the use of a condom. ‘Others are as tired of themselves as you are.’ The couple seems to fall asleep and the woman seems more satisfied in retrospect.
# chapter seventeen (IV) in a modified paraphrase of Bob Williams’s version
# Saint Kevin, # Berkeley and Patrick, # the Revered Letter Dawn, the nature of reality, St Kevin retreats to the womb. Muta and Juva place a bet. Berkeley the Archdruid reveals Leary’s secrets to St Patrick, who is shocked and perhaps hits Berkeley.
ALP stirs HCE to go and meet the Lord, regressing to her childhood as she dies and is reborn.
Don’t stop now!
If you made it this far, you just read the table of contents– don’t neglect to peek at the full treatment.
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FW reference: main : thunderwords : Quinet : ALP translations : search console : archetypes : digest : WakeOS
FW drafts: newgame : ROC : Kevin : Berkeley : T&I : HCE : Cad kernel : Mamalujo : Revered letter : Pacata Aubernia
Shorter FW: contents : I.1-4 : I.5-8 : II.1 : II.2 : II.3-4 : III.1-2 : III.3 : III.4 : IV
chapters: summary : anchors : 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12a 12b 13 14a 14b 15a 15b 15c 15d 16a 16b 17a 17b 18a 18b
notes: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
reference: Bloom : clocktime : prices : schemata : Tower : riddles : errors : Homeric parallels : [B-L Odyssey] : Eolus tropes : parable : Oxen : Circe : 1904 : Thom’s : Gold Cup : Seaside Girls : M’appari : acatalectic : search
riddles: overview : Rudy : condom : Gerty : Hades : Strand : murder : Eccles
maps: Ulysses : WRocks : Strand : VR tour : aerial tour : Dublin : Leinster : Ireland : Europe
editing: etexts : lapses : Gabler : capitals : commas : compounds : deletes : punct : typists
drafts: prequel : Proteus : Cyclops : Circe
closereadings: notes : Oxen : Circe
Joyce: main : fast portal : portal
major: FW : Pomes : U : PoA : Ex : Dub : SH : CM : CM05 : CM04
minor: Burner : [Defoe] : [Office] : PoA04 : Epiph : Mang : Rab
bio: timeline : 1898-1904 : [Trieste] : eyesight : schools : Augusta
vocation: reading : tastes : publishers : craft : symmetry
people: 1898-1904 gossip : 1881 gossip : Nora : Lucia : Gogarty : Byrne : friends : siblings : Stannie
maps: Dublin : Leinster : Ireland : Europe : Paris : Ulysses
images: directory : [Ruch]
motifs: ontology : waves : lies : wanking : MonaLisa : murder
Irish lit: timeline : 100poems : Ireland : newspapers : gossip : Yeats : MaudG : AE : the Household : Theosophy : Eglinton : Ideals
classics: Shakespeare : Dante : Pre-Raphaelites : Homer : Patrick
industry: Bloomsday : [movies] : Ellmann : Rose : genetics : NewGame
website: account : theory : early : old links : slow-portal fast-portal