By Eric Wagner
Special guest blogger
Well, I have begun to look at Joyce’s works with a “mind controls everything” model as previously described. I came across this sentence on pg. 97 of the paperback Finnegans Wake: “Preservative perseverance in the reeducation of his intestines was the rebuttal by whilk he sort of git the big bulge on the whole bunch of spasoakers, dieting against glues and gravies, in that sometime prestreet protown.” (A hardcover edition of Finnegans Wake has a different pagination. I have seen multiple books on the Wake which say that all editions of Finnegans Wake have the same pagination. As Tim Leary used to say “T.F.Y./Q.A. – Think For Yourself and Question Authority.”)
The expression “reeducation of his intestines” struck me. In an earlier entry I mentioned that in November I went to the emergency room for diverticulitis, a disorder of the intestines. Back around 1990 I told Bob Wilson I hoped to write Science and Health with Key to Finnegans Wake, a guide to using Finnegans Wake for healing paralleling Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to Scriptures. Bob responded that he had always wanted to do a cut-up of Eddy’s book and Korzybski’s Science and Sanity and call it Science and Sanity with Key to Scriptures.
Well, over the past thirty years I’ve tried to use Finnegans Wake for healing in much the same way Christian Scientists uses the Bible, but I have not had a ton of success. Due to Bob’s influence I read Science and Health with Key to Scriptures, and I used its methods back in the 1990’s to try to heal my checkbook without much success.
At the present moment I feel tired and overwhelmed by the world of 2021. I just read the final pages of the fourth chapter of Finnegans Wake three times. Over the past ten years I have started Finnegans Wake four different times with groups of high school students. The first three times we only got about as far as page 80. (One of those groups had a large membership, but most of them started as juniors, and we usually only met for fifteen minutes a week, making it hard to make it through much of the book.) This year’s Finnegans Wake Club started once again at the beginning, and we’ve already reached page 95. We have all freshmen in the club this year, and they seem like they may want to carry on over their high school careers and read the whole book. Our pace seems good. I’ve decided to read the book three more times along with them, finishing the three previous starts I’ve made over the past decade. About ten years ago I had a large Finnegans Wake Club that read the whole book over three years. I remember the joyous day when we reached the final sentence and returned to the beginning of the book, “riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s….” A number of students who hadn’t participated for a while joined us for that final meeting just before they graduated.
One can’t step in the same river twice, and one can’t read the same book twice. Studying the Wake over Zoom in 2021 differs from any other reading of the book I have done. I will continue to use Joyce’s work to reeducate my intestines.