Thursday, October 22, 2009

slipping into the chittering waters

I'm still reading the Psychopathology of Everyday Life in my giant book of Freud. Chapter 5 deals with mistakes in speech, what he called parapraxis and we've come to call the Freudian slip. Freud's examples are interesting* but not up to this one from "Last night while working at Blockbuster I asked someone if they wanted any coke or popcorn, but it came out as poke or cockporn. We finished the transaction in silence. MLIA."

Mistakes in speech merge into the murkiness of witty verbal extravagance including intentional and unintended malapropisms and puns as well as neologisms and, ultimately, the linguistic gymnastics of Joyce's Finnegans Wake.

For example (from the eighth chapter of the first book) —
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 (peats be with them!) used to rustle that time down by the dykes of killing Kildare, for forstfellfoss with a plash across her. She thought she's sankh neathe the ground with nymphant shame when he gave her the tigris eye! O happy fault! Me wish it was he! You're wrong there, corribly wrong! Tisn't only tonight you're anacheronistic! It was ages behind that when nullahs were nowhere, in county Wickenlow, garden of Erin, before she ever dreamt she'd lave Kilbride and go foaming under Horsepass bridge, with the great southerwestern windstorming her traces and the midland's grain-waster asarch for her track, to wend her ways byandby, robecca or worse, to spin and to grind, to swab and to thrash, for all her golden lifey in the barleyfields and pennylotts of Humphrey's fordofhurdlestown and lie with a landleaper, wellingtonorseher. . . . .

Can't hear with the waters of. The chittering waters of. Flitter-ing bats, fieldmice bawk talk. Ho! Are you not gone ahome? What Thom Malone? Can't hear with bawk of bats, all thim liffey-ing 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 daughter-sons. 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!

Youtube has a video of Joyce himself reciting from this chapter of the book. You can tell from it that what he's given us is a musical setting of an extended prose poem which falls easily on the ear.

{James Joyce "Anna Livia Plurabelle" Poem Animation Movie}
The text of this reading can be found at Anna Livia Plurabelle, Finnegans Wake. In addition, The online shorter Finnegans Wake gives a paraphrase.

{James Joyce; source: Fractal Ontology}

{See contents of this composite image here; source: Flashpoint Mag}

{Click image to view many other Joyce images; source:}


What can we learn from slips of the tongue?

Finnegans Links

The mystery of the muse: Anna Livia Plurabelle uncovered

Lucia Joyce is Anna Livia Plurabelle



*Example 1: "Two women stopped in front of a drugstore, and one said to her companion, 'If you will wait a few moments I'll soon be back,' but she said movements instead. She was on her way to buy some castoria for her child.

Example 2:
A lady once expressed herself in society -- the very words show that they were uttered with fervour and under the pressure of a great many secret emotions: "Yes, a woman must be pretty if she is to please the men. A man is much better off. As long as he has five straight limbs, he needs no more !"

This example affords us a good insight into the intimate mechanisms of a mistake in speech by means of condensation and contamination (cf. p. 72). It is quite obvious that we have here a fusion of two similar modes of expression: --
"As long as he has his four straight limbs."

" As long as he has all his five senses."
Or the term "straight" may be the common element of the two intended expressions: --
"As long as he has his straight limbs."

"All five should be straight."
[ -- Freud does not elaborate beyond this point.]

No comments: