Sunday, February 8, 2015

JoyceGeek, Jorn Barger's Return, and other new Wake links

"They had heard or had heard said or had heard said written."   
- FW p. 369 

"For a surview over all the factionables see Iris in the Evenine's World." 
- FW p. 285

The links section in the sidebar of this blog needs updating now with some fresh new Finnegans Wake-focused blogs popping up around the web. Here is a look at some of the great websites I've found recently, some new, some have been around for a little while but slipped through the cracks.

The notable performer of Wake pages, actor Adam Harvey of New Mexico, has begun his own website called JoyceGeek. This is exciting news as Adam is one of the more knowledgable Wake heads out there. One of the few people in the world who can recite pages-upon-pages of the text from memory, Adam is exactly the kind of evangelist the Wake needs in our world today. Watch him perform the end of the Shem chapter (from memory) here. He hosts a Joyce reading group in Santa Fe, New Mexico and has frequently performed sections of the Wake at Joyce conferences. Most recently he did a show called "Don't Panic it's only Finnegans Wake" that looked really interesting. In that show Adam delivered some audiovisual tutorials on how to recite words or portions from the Wake, on his website you can find videos he's put together breaking down each of the 10 hundred-lettered thunderwords in the Wake. (Though I'm somewhat disappointed he didn't mention any of the material from Eric McLuhan's The Role of Thunder in Finnegans Wake.)

He also writes a blog which already has many interesting posts, the most recent of which examines the available Finnegans Wake audiobooks. Adam is not a particularly huge fan of the Patrick Healy recording, mainly because he feels Healy rushes through the text too much. (I used Healy's recording often during my full-length Wake dive and found it to be pretty fun, but I understand Adam's point.) He also links to a recording of most of the text done by Simon Loekle which I hadn't previously been aware of.

Patrick Horgan's Reading
During our last Austin Wake Reading Group meeting before Christmas, we had some visitors from the NYC Wake group who took part in our reading. One of the visitors, Suzanne from Brooklyn, alerted me to Patrick Horgan's full rendition of Finnegans Wake, a recording he made for the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Adam mentions this recording in his JoyceGeek post too, it's a really phenomenal performance, definitely far superior to Patrick Healy (whose recording I long thought was the only one available online). Horgan savors the multilingual and rhythmic prose, often adopting an ambiguously European accent that hearkens back to the expressive way Joyce himself performed a few pages in his 1929 recording. I've used Horgan's recording often during my preparation for recording the Yawn chapter for the upcoming "Waywords and Meansigns" project.

The return of Jorn Barger?
One of the things Adam Harvey wrote about on his blog is the loss of so many great websites devoted to James Joyce that now seem to be defunct, lost in the electronic ether (though they remain alive in the internet archives!). One of these happens to be Robot Wisdom, one of the web's original weblogs that was assembled by the mysterious and hirsute character known as Jorn Barger. Jorn is one of the earliest internet users (he coined the term "weblog"), an artificial intelligence aficionado, literary scholar and most importantly, a renowned expert on the work of James Joyce. His now-defunct (but archived) "IQ Infinity" page had tons and tons of notes on all of Joyce's work, most notably lots of material on the early drafts of Finnegans Wake. While the Robot Wisdom website went down a while back, I've noticed a few new Wake blogs have popped up with extremely thoroughgoing genetic analysis of the text and I strongly suspect that these blogs could be the work of Mr. Barger.

See for yourself:
Finnegans Wake Origins
Finnegans Wake Annotated
Etcetera Etcetera

This Tumblr page has quickly become one of my favorite things about the internet. FINNEGANS AWAKE is absolutely filled with Joyce-related material with an emphasis on FW. It is an overflowing wealth of photos and quotes and artwork that one can easily get lost in. Really, go there now and scroll through the archive for a few minutes and see if you don't get completely absorbed into it. There is soooooo much great material there. THANK YOU to whoever created this thing and please keep up the great work.

Work in Progress manuscript page seen at FINNEGANS AWAKE.

Alternate cover for the latest edition of FW by Eoin Ryan,

Vagabond Bohemia
On a similar note, while not strictly focused on Joyce, this Tumblr page is also a new favorite of mine. Plenty of Joyce material as well as a whole universe of artwork, plus Thomas Pynchon, Marshall McLuhan, Salvador Dali, Robert Anton Wilson, and other great explorers of the frontiers of the mind.

Cryptic Tricksters by Circumambient Peripherization [McLuhan & Joyce]
spotted at Vagabond Bohemia

Wake in Progress
This is not new of course, I've posted about Stephen Crowe's wonderful illustrations of the Wake before, but I just want to call attention to it once more because Stephen continues to update his page regularly and even has some good short essays to read. Check out his recent thoughts on reading the Wake.

The Grammar of Matter
Stumbled upon this extraordinary and quirky blog recently, it contains writings on a number of topics but mostly (as far as I can tell) revolves around archaeology and Finnegans Wake. This all springs from a thesis the author wrote about prehistoric rock art and the Wake. Following that thesis, the author examines archeology and mythology through the Wake as a lens. Robert Anton Wilson called Joyce "the greatest anthropologist who ever lived." This author seems to explore this possibility. It's exactly these kinds of eclectic and fascinating webpages that make the internet so damn special to me. Use this link to see all the Wake-related posts.

The Joyce Project
Lastly, it isn't specifically related to Finnegans Wake, but there is a new project devoted to creating a hypertext version of Ulysses with annotations and links embedded into the text. Worth a look.


  1. Wow. Vagabond Bohemia is one I could get lost in for days! Finnegan Awake as well! Thanks for the links.

  2. My pleasure! Those 2 places are treasure troves.

  3. Fantastic job of agglomerating, PQ. Thanks for keeping up; you make our jobs easier. And I HOPE that's Jorn Barger. He was one of the brightest of lights for me when I first got on the Net. I remember IQ Infinity. I remember reading long articulate, fascinating posts in Usenet groups by him, about AI and scripts and machine languages, all over my head but trippy-smart. He also posted at a couple of times.

    Have you ever tried to memorize a page of FW? I did for a few days (not the first page; we all sort of "know" that one) and all it did was make me feel sort of out-of-body stoned-ish. (Which is fine; but getting there was difficult. I need perhaps to implement a memory palace system-dealio.) I will also need to consult Adam Harvey on how to pronounce aloud the Wakelang.

    RAWK ON!

  4. Thanks for commenting, Michael!

    I love the idea of a FW memory palace system. A perfect homage to one of the Wake's patron saints and memory palace extraordinaire Bruno. I have not yet tried to memorize a Wake page, it's funny you say that because a member of our Austin reading group suggested the same to me.

    But I have been doing a recording of the Yawn chapter (for the Waywords and Meansigns recording project) and the experience of reciting the Wake for pages at a time has been equally challenging and exhilarating. I can definitely see what you mean about the out-of-body stoned-ish feeling. It really cracks your rational shell.

    And I've got a strong suspicion that's Jorn doing those blogs. Matches his style of bare bones formatting and extremely thorough, detailed info. Jorn is definitely an extremely fascinating guy. I wrote a couple little pieces about him at my other blog a while back:

  5. Great post PQ. I'd never heard of Patrick Horgan's reading, and it's beautiful. I love his old school delivery.

    I was also wondering about Jorn Barger and Tim Finnegan - they're definitely connected, but I suspect they're different people from the comments he posts on my blog. See his comments here where he talks about Jorn Barger

    Robot Wisdom was the best Wake site

    It's a mystery!

  6. from JoyceGeek
    So Horgan's on the web after all - fantastic. Thanks for the link, PQ. I have to say those New Yorkers didn't make it easy - I still haven't found the link on their website. One thing: the static shouldn't be there - the original recording was very clean. Still, to have it at all is wonderful.

    Good news on the lost websites front, btw. The Brazen Head - along with all of its sister sites - is back up and running:

  7. @Peter Chrisp:
    The Barger/Finnegan mystery deepens...

    I've been listening to Horgan's reading a lot the last week or so. Such a pro, this guy. I've been impressed at the way he maneuvers the text's peculiarities, pausing to say "[Narrator's note: F upside down and backwards]" on page 121 for instance. I'm curious to hear how he handles the Nightlessons chapter.

    Also, super glad to see Brazen Head is back up. That place is terrific.