Rachel's Blog: sessylU s'ecyoJ semaJ

Sun, 18 Apr 2004

There's a line in one of the episodes of DAAS Kapital (Pride) that Paul McDermott sings:
If you're happy and you know it, give dyslexic children copies of James Joyce's Ulysses to read. Backwards.
I would like to state for the record that this is totally unnecessary. Forwards is confusing enough. After 40 pages I have given it the flick. Not because I wasn't enjoying it, but because I was frustrated at the number of references within the text that I simply didn't get. Even the notes at the back of my copy were woefully inadequate, despite their being 200 pages long.
Take for example the sentence:
Agenbite of inwit.
There's no note for these three words. None of my dictionaries shed any light. Fortunately Google leads us to an explanation. But I'm not going to take my computer to bed just so I can look up archaic phrases.
It's a shame because I could follow the story just enough to realise that it was really interesting and just enough to make me feel thoroughly uneducated. Perhaps when I retire I'll spend a year studying it.

Comment by cynthia on Sat, 18 Feb 2006

"Agenbite of Inwit", which means remorse of conscience, also contains the word "finnegan," and could be an
anagram for something like "I, Finnegan,
I,we to b(e). Joyce loved puzzles, and everything has multiple meanings.Finnegans Wake was a title Joyce disn't use (kept secret?),
until final publication, even though parts were published serially as "Work in Progress."
Similarly, the recurrent "Agendath Netaim," ( also misspelled), is an
anagram for "death met again." Both phrases contain many words, and all words in Joyce are deliberate(d).