Oscar Fingal O'Flaherty Wills Wilde. These were the high-sounding titles that with youthful haughtiness he printed on the title-page of his first collection of poems, and in this proud gesture, by which he tried to achieve nobility, are the signs of his vain pretenses and the fate which already awaited him. His name symbolizes him: Oscar, nephew of King Fingal and the only son of Ossian in the amorphous Celtic Odyssey, who was treacherously killed by the hand of his host as he sat at table. O'Flahertie, a savage Irish tribe whose destiny it was to assail the gates of medieval cities.... Like that other Oscar, he was to meet his public death in the flower of his years as he sat at table, crowned with false vine leaves and discussing Plato. Like that savage tribe, he was to break the lance of his fluent paradoxes against the body of practical conventions, and to hear, as a dishonoured exile, the choir of the just recite his name together with that of the unclean (CW 201).The outline Joyce gave of Oscar Wilde's life and career in the 1909 lecture "Oscar Wilde, il poeta di Salomé" anticipates the complexity of Wilde's appearances in Finnegans Wake. As a scapegoat for the British judicial system and as a dandy, Oscar Wilde would seem to provide an exemplary model for HCE. Indeed the enigmatic Earwicker is frequently conflated with Wilde as a decadent suffering cruel accusations from the self-righteous. Wilde's very name acts as a rebus of Irish treachery; the index of his individuality incriminates him into a history of lust, betrayal and adjudication. Indeed, the name of Wilde's judge-Justice Wills-is embedded within his own name. These convoluted onomastics, hinted at in the Trieste lecture, pre-figure Wilde's polymorphous appearances in the Wake: allusions to Wilde are almost always densely imbricated with other referential constellations. Wilde-as the accursed and accused individual-marks a divagation from individuality.
Franklin Walton in an article entitled "Wilde at the Wake," provides numerous examples of Wilde serving as "a paradigm of the fallen father" (Walton, 312). Walton's article is valuable for drawing attention to a prevalent yet overlooked source, however he is perhaps a little uncritical in ascribing the role of archetype to Wilde. By conflating Wilde with HCE, Walton's reading is in essence a mere expansion of Atherton's treatment of Wilde in the Wake (Atherton, 95-7). The problem with Wilde as an archetype is that he seems too appropriate. In the Wake, the errant Wilde resists a singular determinability, as he all too often bleeds into other Wakean characters and "archetypes." To dwell on the appropriateness of Wilde's career and writings as a model for HCE is to also miss the necessarily incomplete and discontinuous nature of Joyce's appropriative writing. Bernard Benstock briefly noted this problem of determining a singular identification of Wakean characters since Wildean tendencies can be attributed to HCE (as a "fallen hero"), Shem (as a fugitive author) and Shaun (as a braggart) (Benstock, 21-2).
In this essay we will be exploring certain facets of Wilde's incorporation into Joyce's text: an incorporation which dismisses Wilde-as-figure even as it appropriates him. Wilde is lost in the act of an accusation of identity. The putative presence of Wilde in the Wake registers the difficulty of enunciating a clear and determinate identity through a palimpsest of excessive accusation. In effect, our argument will run contrary to the genre of this type of essay: put facetiously we will be arguing how Wilde is not the lynch-pin to Finnegans Wake. We will attempt to demonstrate that the figure of Wilde serves as a dissolution of the possibility of an archetype; this argument will proceed on not just a thematic level, but also along a genetic axis. Examination of the notebooks and drafts nuances the travails of figuration involved around Wilde and his environs.
The earliest appearances of Oscar Wilde in the notebooks not surprisingly suggest the development of a figure of vain sexual perversion. The first appearance is in the Scribbledehobble notebook under the notes for "AN ENCOUNTER":
Barber's story (1001 N.) self & onanism: own booby trap: Gigantic: great white caterpillar: dear Pater: Pater kissed OW's hand: Vyvyan: rented (ricatto) Oscar = bugger: scarlet thing of Dvojark (VI.A: 31; crossed-out matter is indicated by underlining; transcription by David Hayman).These notes continue the Arabian Nights motif that had been developed under the previous entry, "THE SISTERS," with an emphasis on narration and interlaced story-telling. In the Arabian Nights, the barber is punished for excessive garrulousness-an odd punishment for a character in a text comprising many interlaced stories. Joyce has refocused the theme of self-aggrandizement to include onanism thereby suggesting an admixture of perversion and narcissism preparatory to the citation of Wilde. This theme is apparent in the reference to Pater's kissing Wilde's hand. In the Harris biography of Wilde-which Joyce owned-Harris recounts Wilde's telling him of Pater's influence on him as an undergraduate at Oxford. Wilde told Harris that on one occasion Pater kissed his hand after Wilde had made some precocious and vaguely anti-Semitic remark concerning the aesthetic beauty of Christian imagery. "I really talked as if inspired, and when I paused, Pater-the stiff, quiet, silent Pater-suddenly slipped from his seat and knelt down by me and kissed my hand" (Harris, 49). In this story, Wilde's self-infatuation manages to intimidate and impress the elder generation into a submissive posture. Furthermore the suggestiveness of Pater's name as a figure of a patriarch might have appealed to Joyce. This entry thus seems oriented towards a contemplation of generational struggle. Indeed, another generation is presented here along with Wilde and Pater: Vyvyan, Wilde's youngest son (the name is itself preciously spelled and asexual). However Wilde's role is not that of a "father-killer" (or Pater-seducer).
This Scribbledehobble sequence includes some material which does appear in the Wake. Wilde had been called a "great white caterpillar" by Lady Colin Campbell (Harris, 17). A caterpillar is also a soldier, according to Francis Grose's Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (Joyce owned a copy of this volume). This suggests an early conceptual link between Wilde and Wellington; after all, both had been Anglicized Irishmen of fame and notoriety and both were involved with France and the French during their respective careers. "Great White Caterpillar" is deployed frequently in the Wake as a reference to both Wilde and Wellington. The link between Wellington and Wilde will be treated in more detail later.
The Scribbledehobble entries "white caterpillar" and "own booby trap" find their way into the first account of HCE's crime in the park in the sketch "Here Comes Everybody" from I.2. These entries were not used in the first draft of this chapter (August-September 1923; FDV 63); but were instead added to the first fair copy (same time-period). The initial formulation of this version of the crime proceeded without Wilde. However there is another Wildean reference-of a sort-which provides the earliest conceptual portion of this passage.
The seeds for "Here Comes Everybody" can be found in the VI.B.3 notebook (March-Fall 1923). In The "Wake" in Transit, David Hayman has demonstrated that the conceptualization of HCE's crime in this notebook emerged from a working through of the Tristan and Isolde themes, particularly through an exploration of an incestuous and homoerotic relation between Tristan and Mark (or Pop) (Hayman, 130-1). Throughout this notebook Tristan's discourse comes to be colored by a Wildean fin-de-siècle mode. It might then be expected that a Wildean reference would emerge concerning the dandified Tristan. However the earliest draft of the encounter in the park suggests otherwise: "It is not true that/ Pop Was homosexual/ he had been arrested/ at the request of some/ nursemaids to whom/ he had temporarily/ exposed himself/ in the Temple gardens" (VI.B.3: 153). This is a very direct reference to Wilde's father-in-law, Horatio Lloyd. In the 1916 edition of Harris's biography, Harris mentions in an appendix entry concerning Constance Wilde's epitaph that her father had been suspected of, but never formally charged with, a homosexual offense. In a suite of criticisms and corrections to Harris's work Robert Ross-Wilde's literary executor-claimed that Harris was in error: "The charge against Horatio Lloyd was of a normal kind. It was for exposing himself to nursemaids in the gardens of the Temple." These corrections appear in an appendix to the 1918 edition of Harris's biography (Harris, 608). Joyce's initial draft of HCE's crime in the park is almost identical to Ross's emendation. Indeed the pattern of the account of HCE's crime is analogous to Harris's account of Lloyd's crime: the accusation of homosexuality is supplemented by the charge of the more "normal" crime of exhibitionism. He is defended from one crime by being accused of another, the accusation now taking the form of a revision of an earlier accusation.
When Joyce came to write the first-draft of the "Here Comes Everybody" sketch, the specificity of this passage is altered thereby eliding the Lloyd reference. The word "maidservants" is crossed-out and replaced by the word "nursemaids"; and the Temple Gardens have been completely excised, substituted for first by "park" and then by "rushes." This leaves the first-draft unencumbered by any direct reference to either Wilde or his familial orbit. The accusation has yet again been revised, and in the process the source has been eclipsed.
Nor have his detractors who an imperfectly warmblooded race apparently think him capable of any and every enormity recorded to the discredit of the Juke & Kellikek families mended their case by insinuating that he was at one time under the ludicrous imputation of annoying soldiers in the park rushes. To anyone who knew and loved H-C-E- this suggestion is preposterous. Slander, let it do its worst, has never been able to convict that good and great man of any worse impropriety than that of one incautious exposure and partial at that having behaved in an ungentlemanly manner in the presence of a pair of nursemaids maidservants in their rushy hollow wither nature as they alleged had spontaneously & at the same time sent them both but each of whose testimonies are, if not dubious, at any rate slightly divergent... (FDV 63, simplified; deletions are underlined and substitutions are in bold-face; FW 033.21-034.29).A direct reference to Wilde--a Scribbledehobble entry--was added in the subsequent draft: "his detractors... apparently conceived him a great white caterpillar" (JJA 45: 6; FW 033.21-23). Thus the allusion to Wilde was inserted into a passage which had depended upon a different Wildean reference for its initial formulation. The significance of Lloyd in the final passage lies in its elision: in place of Lloyd there only remains the trace of his misdeed which now incriminates a host of eligible culprits.
The presence of the newly-installed Wilde in this passage remains porous through its concatenation of Wellington with the "caterpillar" agnomen. In the final passage homosexuality is suggested when the great white caterpillar annoys some soldiers. This accusation is described as being ludicrous since HCE was Christlike (FW 033.29). In De Profundis, Wilde had invoked Christlikeness as an affirmation of his aestheticism and, by extension, his homosexuality. For Wilde Christ was not just a poet, he was "the leader of all the lovers" (Wilde, 447). Thus the comparison with Christ proffered in defense buttresses the imputation of homosexuality.
This account of HCE's deeds is finally characterized as being "at its wildest, a partial exposure" (FW 034.26). In this passage the figure of Wilde is only partially exposed as it is obscured and clouded by dissembling and divergent accountings. But it is this tendency towards partial and disjunctive manifestation which occasions the incriminations of HCE. It seems fitting, therefore, that any exposure of HCE through an investigation of his Wildean attributes, can only be partial: biased and incomplete. Slander disturbs the homogeneity of HCE. "Slander, let it lie its flattest, has never been able to convict our good and great and no ordinary Southron Earwicker, that homogenius man, as a pious author called him" (FW 034.12-14).
HCE's identity is--in a partial sense--wildly overdetermined. Virtually anybody and any crime can be suggested under the figuration of his name "here comes everybody." Like Oscar Fingal O'Flaherty Wills Wilde-and "Fingal Mac Oscar Onesine Bargearse Boniface" (FW 046.20)-his individuality is expropriated by his nomenclature. HCE has neither one sign nor one sin (and it is worth recalling that in Old English onsene means appearance; HCE has no one visage). HCE marks the agnomen of an excess of identification. This excess of identification, which erodes the certainty of an individual, had already begun to appear in the early notebook elaboration of Pop. The use of Wilde seems to be one such attempt at puffery: polyvalent or polytropic textual dissemination in place of a determinable identification. To recognize Wilde in the Wake is always to recognize and implicate other manifestations, other guilty parties. Wilde is not incarnated as a single figure, he remains too polymorphous. Correspondingly, HCE is not so much the mimetic figure of an individual or individuals as a disjunction of tropic associations, a wild word thing. The genetic axis of reading provides a partial scheme for the accretion of these polytropics.
To recognize sin is to be sinful; such was Oscar Wilde's 1890 defense of The Picture of Dorian Gray. Joyce on Wilde: "Whether he was innocent or guilty of the charges brought against him, he undoubtedly was a scapegoat. His greater crime was that he had caused a scandal in England" (CW 203-204). Wilde's crime was being a scapegoat. His identity as victim and as a criminal are isomorphic. In other words his crime was to have been the occasion for an exhibition of the public's own morbidity. Joyce's Wilde is a cipher for the sins of others: he registers an isomorphism of sin and sign. It is perhaps in this manner that Wilde could be thought to be a model or "archetype" for HCE. HCE-through Wilde and many, many others-remains a magnet for an excess of accusatory identification. Because the Wake remains an eminently polymorphous text, any Wildean archetypalness necessarily remains metonymic ("onesine") rather than metaphoric (or paradigmatic).
Such confusion is manifest in the dissemination of rumor. One of the carriers of the word against HCE, Treacle Tom, is characterized in a manner which suggests a note of complicity: "This Treacle Tom to whom reference has been made had been absent from his wild and wooly haunts... where he slept in a nude state... in strange men's cots" (FW 039.28-33). Treacle Tom here evidences a Wildean trait or two. HCE persists in the persistence and continuation of one of his "crimes," the incrimination of homosexuality. Indeed in the first paragraph of I.3 six of HCE's accusers-the "persins sin this Eyrawyggla saga" (FW 048.16-17)-meet with unfortunate fates, all not unlike HCE. Their fates even are qualified by sexual ambivalence: one player is called "His husband" (FW 048.02) and another "her wife" (FW 050.06).
At the opening of I.3, after HCE becomes lost in a cloud of allegation, like Wilde, HCE's accusers are themselves lost "in a freakfog, of mixed sex cases among goats" (FW 048.02). Those who have clouded HCE and made him a scapegoat are themselves humiliatingly enclouded. The accusers are identified with the accused through the very medium of their dissemblings. The morbidity of Wilde/HCE and the morbidity of his perjurers are, at the very least, interchangeable.
The elaboration of the dissemblers in I.3, imbricated as it is with "extellings" of HCE, is remarked in a few instances through Wilde. One such passage in I.3 tells the story of the destruction of an archetypal or mythical figure. This thread is clearer in the first-draft of this passage (November 1923):
It was the Lord's day and the request was put to the party (a native of Ireland, by his brogue (said to have been average Dublin), who had made the South coast of the sister isle his headquarters) as he paused for ten or 15 minuts [sic] for a fragrant calbash during his weekend pastime of executing empty bottles which had not very long before contained Reid's family stout, by cockshot with deadly accuracy. One sad circumstance the narrator mentioned goes at once to the heart of things. He rose to his feet to tell this group of precocious caremakers in the simplest intensive language of the now mythical figure in the widewinged hat, the four-in-hand cravat and the gauntlet upon the hand which for ever had struck down Destrelle (FDV 70, simplified; FW 051.21-052.17).Certain traits of this paragraph get amplified or obscured during the draft history. In a late alteration to this passage-the third set of revisions to the transition 3 pages (1936)-the shooter (or executor) is parenthetically implicated with a pair of girls: "executing with Annie Oakley deadliness (the consummatory pairs of provocatives of which remained provokingly but two, the ones he fell for, Lili and Tutu, cork em!) empties which had not very long before contained Reid's family... stout" (JJA 45: 304-305; FW 052.01-06). In the draft elaboration of this passage ambivalent sexual tension subtends the obliteration of the fragile records of HCE's presence. This display before a pair of girls is itself a repetition of one of HCE's crimes: exposure to maidservants. An ambivalence concerning his gender is suggested in the expression of his efficiency at gun-play through the comparison with Annie Oakley.
The figure that gets obliterated through the shooting of the bottles is "since known as Whiddington Wild" (FW 052.10). (This name was also added in the third revisions to the transition pages.) Wilde is again named through the implication of the deeds and misdeeds of others. In an incarnation that includes both Wellington and Dick Whittington, the pantomime "thrice lord mayor" of London who overcame a moment of hesitation. Here HCE is both a soldier and a dandy, and his memory has been shot and executed in an effeminate manner. The bartender may be shooting the bottles which recall HCE/Roderick O'Conor but the action of shooting recalls Wellington (the soldier); the effeminate style of shooting recalls Wilde (the dandy); and the fact that the shooting is an exhibition to impress some young ladies recalls Lloyd (the exhibitionist). HCE's figure is obliterated in an act that is characteristic of his various incarnations. The manner in which he is manifest destroys him, but in such a way that his characteristics (soldiery from Wellington, effeminacy from Wilde and exhibitionism from Lloyd) are displaced and repeated. "It scenes like a landescape from Wildu Picturescu" (FW 053.01-02).
The persistence of accusation in general-and of accusations appurtenant to Wilde in specific-insure HCE's endurance. As Sylvia Silence, the girl detective, claims elsewhere in I.3: "Have you evew thought, wepowtew, that sheew gweatness was his twadgedy? Nevewtheless... he should pay the full penalty... as pew Subsec. 32, section 11, of the C.L.A. act 1885" (FW 061.06-09). Wilde had been charged under section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885. In Sylvia's accusation there is only a hint at a crime, but there is also a strong promise of a legislation to meet out punishment. The repetition of HCE's crime is not unlike Wilde's defense of The Picture of Dorian Gray: to recognize sin is already to be sinful, and thus to have repeated sin. In this repetition something else gets incarnated as the scapegoat. The sin is constituted by the repetition and multiplication of sins.
The Wildean contamination of his observers and perjurers persists elsewhere. For example, there are a number of Wildean references scattered throughout the trial of HCE in II.3 (which, with the notable exception of the Roderick O'Connor sketch, was composed quite late). The majority of these concern HCE's ineffectual self-defense, which culminates with the unfortunate statement "Guilty but fellows culpows!" (FW 363.20). HCE, "The Wildemanns" (FW 358.23), is on trial for a salaciousness refracted through references to Wilde's perceived morbidity. Immediately preceding HCE's trial scene is the Butt and Taff dialogue in which the music hall couple reenact the deeds and misdeeds of the beleaguered paterfamilias. Fittingly Butt displays a gesture worthy of Wilde in the docks of the Old Bailey:
BUTT (with a gisture expansive of Mr Lhugewhite Cadderpollard with sunflowered beautonhole pulled up point blanck by mailbag mundaynism at Oldballey Court through the hissindensity buck far of his malevelance tells how when he was fast marking his first lord for cremation the whyfe of his bothem was the very lad's thing to elter his mehind) (FW 350.11-16).Butt is assuming traits for which HCE shall soon be pilloried, showing how the "sin" endures as a kind of contagion.
There is an important instance in I.3 of the figuration of Oscar Wilde through another wild man-his father. Sir William Wilde, Dublin's most renowned otologist, was involved in a sex scandal of his own--which is detailed in Harris's biography. One of his patients, Mary Josephine Travers wrote letters to various newspapers implying that she had been chloroformed and raped by the doctor and accused him of being a poisoner. Travers published a scandalous pamphlet under the name "Speranza," Lady Wilde's pen-name. When Lady Wilde took action and wrote a letter to Travers's father in defense of her husband, Travers then sued the Wildes for libel and was awarded a farthing in damages; the jury "rated Miss Travers' virtue at the very lowest coin in the realm" (Harris, 12). At the trial, Sir William did not take the stand, an action for which he was criticized. References to this case are made in I.3 (FW 068.36-069.04), II.1 (FW 232.02-11) and III.3. Only the last will be treated in this essay: it merits attention because it involves another facet of Wilde's figuration available in the notebooks.
In VI.B.2 (July-October 1923) we find the following entry: "HCE names/ - chloroformed/ incest" (VI.B.2: 13). In VI.B.14 (August 1924-January 1925) there is an entry equating Sir William Wilde with HCE along with additional Wildean complexities from beyond the grave:
That he lives not is/ my griefThe ouija-board entry refers to Hester Travers Smith's book Psychic Messages from Oscar Wilde, which Joyce mentioned in a letter to Harriet Shaw Weaver dated January 27, 1925 (Selected Letters 305; see the following for brief mention of Travers Smith's book: Atherton, 48; Glasheen, 288; Walton, 301 and McHugh, 18-9). References to this book are worked into III.1 and the "Haveth Childers Everywhere" episode of III.3. This sequence of notes draws heavily on Travers Smith's text. Besides using automatic writing, she relied upon a ouija board. She writes that the traveler which flies over the glass selecting letters is "very much the same as a planchette" (Travers, 87). Mr. V was the name given to the automatic writer (Travers, 13). In the first manifestation of Wilde's spirit "his [Mr. V's] pencil tapped repeatedly on the paper, then it began to move rapidly" (Travers, 80). Impersonation is an issue for Travers Smith, who admits that the spirit with whom she is in contact might be a fraud: "I am ready to admit that in the early stages of the development of mediumship, impersonations are common" (Travers, 131). Sir William and Isola Wilde are mentioned by Travers Smith.
ouidja board / planchette-
Mr V- / taps as writes
Oscar's sister Isola
Sir Wm Wilde [HCE siglum]
[Shaun siglum] impersonating/ medium/ third party (cross-outs are underlined; VI.B.14: 186).
Understating the venom it reserves for his work in his letter to Weaver, Joyce mentioned that Wilde's spirit "does not like Ulysses." He added that Travers Smith's book would explain one page of the first typescript (late 1924) of III.1 (Selected Letters 305). Presumably the passage to which he referred is the following paragraph, Shaun's defense of his fable of the Ondt and the Gracehoper (this typescript does not include the separately drafted fable):
--Read! Shaun replied, I am more potent to play the same backwards like anything with my eyes shut and all. But it is meful bod on the hands. As far as that goest I associate myself with your remarks just now and agree in your descriptions for indeed it is not a nice production. It is a pinch of scribble. Nothing beyond clerier horror et omnia to be entered as secondclass matter. Flummery is what I would call it if you were to ask me what pronounced opinion I might have about them bagses of trash which the mother and Mr Shem has reduced to writing. An infant sailing eggshells on the floor of a wet day would have more sabby (JJA 57: 172; FW 419.21-420.16).On 11:45 p.m. on July 6, 1923 Travers Smith asked Wilde "'What is your opinion of Ulysses by James Joyce?'" The response was "'Yes, I have smeared my fingers with that vast work. ... It is a singular matter that a countryman of mine should have produced this great bulk of filth. ... It gives me the impression of having been written in a severe fit of nausea'" (Travers, 38-39). The first portion of Shaun's defense expands upon Wilde's offense. The concluding line suggests that Joyce/Shem is an infant "sailing eggshells"-capitalizing upon the Humpty Dumpty aspect of Wilde's fall. (Constance Wilde had remarked that her husband fell like Humpty Dumpty [Glasheen, 306-7].) In a subsequent draft the reference to Wilde was strengthened when Shaun attempts to improve upon his epistolary apologia by stating that "I am, thing Sing Larynx, letter potent to play the sem backwards like Oscan Wilde" (FW 419.24-25). Shaun is claiming that his mediation, if not authentic, is at least possible. The reference to Ulysses is also buttressed by the insertion of "As far as that goes I associate myself with your remark just now from theodicy re' furloined notepaper" (FW 419.29-30). This comment suggests that the incarnated Wilde is just a mouthpiece for the opinions of the medium: the medium being the communicated message. For the mediated Wilde, Ulysses is the purloined letter: an evident obscenity.
The VI.B.14 reference to Wilde's sister Isola-who died as a child-contributed to II.4, the Tristan and Isolde episode as "an oscar sister" (FW 384.22). The entry from VI.B.2 implies that HCE's incestuous affair with Issy involves chloroform. In VI.B.14, HCE is linked to William Wilde, an accused chloroformer who had a daughter Isola. These notes combine to imply a conceptual imbrication of the William Wilde/Travers affair into the HCE/Issy or Mark/Isolde relationship with Oscar being the odd man out. Just as in VI.B.3, Horatio Lloyd is recalled through an elaboration of Pop's role, here another of Wilde's relatives is brought into a notebook elaboration of Tristan and Isolde.
References to Travers Smith's curious psychic communication with Oscar Wilde find their way also into the "Haveth Childers Everywhere" episode in III.3. This is a not inappropriate location since Mamalujo is attempting to summon the testimony of HCE's spirit from the host of Yawn's supine body. As with II.3, the references to Wilde are made in conjunction with an attempt at self-exoneration. However Mamalujo's efforts to raise the spirit of HCE can only proceed through mediation. One might perhaps read the VI.B.14 entry concerning Yawn's impersonation of a medium, in conjunction with citations from Travers Smith, as a possible antecedent to this episode. While Yawn's character, as such, disappears behind his mediation of HCE, the proffered testimony-as well as the abundant references to Wilde here-remains encumbered by a kind of interference of presentation. The testimony is a ventriloquy without a ventriloquist.
Like the Wildean references discussed above, the III.3 allusions were not present in the initial drafting. They make their first appearance in the first fair copy (December 1924-January 1925), a draft level that dates from almost exactly the same time period as the "ouidja board" reference to Travers Smith's book in VI.B.14. HCE uses an ineffectual defense, claiming to be "cleanliving" because "I perpetually kept my cricket up ouija ouija wicket up!" (JJA 58: 127; FW 532.17-18). This defense is not simply cricket. His claim to be upright has a different implication: the ouija board-the means of communicating with the astral plane-is conflated with an erection. The name of his incarnating medium (his "ouija ouija wicket") incriminates him. The Braintrusters, in their attempt to conjure HCE's spirit, have been parties to his arousal: "Arise, sir ghostus!" (FW 532.04).
HCE attempts to somehow extricate himself from his incrimination, transferring blame to the cad: "So to speak of beauty scouts in elegant pursuit of flowers, searchers for tabernacles and the celluloid art!... The caca cad! He walked by North Strand with his Thom's towel in hand.... I protest that he is, by my wipehalf" (FW 534.24-29). HCE had been enjoying a pleasantly aesthetic and typically Wildean moment, a subtle vision of flowers. This floral reverie is interrupted by the appearance of the depraved cad. The cad is associated with Joyce through Thom's Dublin Directory, recalling Wilde's ghost's tirades against Ulysses, which he likened to excrement. (See also Ezra Pound's criticisms of the Work in Progress.) Wilde felt that Joyce would be all too able to excrete more hideous texts; Joyce's faeces are a work in progress: "In fact he has not vomited the whole, even in this vast and monumental volume-more will come from Joyce. For he has eaten rapidly; and the undigested food must come away" (Travers, 40). Thus, the aesthete HCE claims to be horribly distracted and persecuted by the caca cad.
HCE continues to heap invectives upon the cad: "Shame upon Private M! Shames upon his fulsomenes! Shamus upon his atkinscum's lulul lying suulen for an outcast mastiff littered in blood currish!" (FW 534.32-35). This comes from another of Wilde's spiritual tirades against Joyce: "Shame upon Joyce, shame on his work, shame on his lying soul!" (Travers, 40). HCE is accusing the cad in an idiom borrowed from Wilde's condemnation, but it is odd that Wilde would chastise Joyce for dishonesty, a trait Wilde had sharpened to a fine and witty edge. The stuttered "lulul lies" concern the matter of HCE's uprising; McHugh notes that lul is Dutch slang for penis. HCE's figurative erection comes into presence, has been aroused, in a text written by the cad-a condemned author. When the charged HCE is trying to make the cad into the scapegoat-trying to accuse the accuser-he provides an echo of Oscar Wilde's first trial when he had somewhat ill-advisedly accused Queensbury of slander and brought about his own prosecution and conviction. The aesthete and flower-worshipper HCE is accusing the cad of being effete: "Jiggety jig my jackadandyline! [dandelion; dandy; Jack a dandy = Slang insignificant little fellow]" (FW 534.36-535.01).
HCE had accused the cad of being: "I protest that he is." Thus the cad acquires a firm identity that is denied to the preterite HCE. However HCE accuses the cad of imitating him, of following his gestures: "hourspringlike his joussture [gesture; Jousse; Joyce], immitiate my chry! as urs now, so yours then!" (FW 535.02-04). It also appears that HCE is accusing the cad of imitating his cry, of continuing his imitation of Christ (and also his erection). The cad's wickedness is but a copy of HCE's, which is itself a copy. Wilde, as an imitator of Christ in "De Profundis," is also implicated here. The repetition of a displacement and dissimulation of identity continues: the cad copies HCE who is a figure of Wilde who had been an imitator of Christ. By accusing the cad, HCE has made him into an HCE figure, and this process of accusation hinges on imitations of the imitative Wilde.
After an increase of interference Mamalujo tries to reclaim the voice of HCE. "Some one we was with us all fours. Adversarian! The spiking Duyvil! First liar in Londonsend!" (FW 535.14-15). They want to pare away the preterite dissimulation and return to the first liar, the original incarnation. One of the voices (perhaps HCE's) confuses Wilde with MacCool (White Hat) and apparently Alfred North Whitehead.
-- Is that yu, Whitehed?This passage contains a very strong reference to Travers Smith's text. The first communication from Wilde-dated June 8, 1923-was frequently punctuated by the exclamation "Pity Oscar Wilde" (Travers, 5-8). In many of the other messages he refers to Travers Smith as "dear lady." Earlier, HCE claimed that "there is lutterlly not one teaspoonspill of evidence at bottomlie to my bababd" (FW 534.09-10), but now Mamalujo is after his "mespilt reception," which would also be the semen he has engendered. It seems that HCE can only be incarnated in teaspoonfulls of evidence, spoonfulls that have already been spilt. When he finally speaks he asks for pity because of "profundust snobbing." This use of Wilde's "De Profundis" is odd: an attempt at self-revelation in the form of a bitter love letter to Douglas is figured here as the character of his humiliation. In other words, he has been made into a scapegoat for his "profundust snobbing." HCE also alludes to Wilde's putative age at the time of his sentencing in 1895: "Nine dirty years mine age," or thirty-nine years old.
-- Have you headnoise now?
-- Give us your mespilt reception, will yous?
-- Pass the fish for Christ's sake!
-- Old Whitehowth he is speaking again. Ope Eustace tube! Pity poor whiteoath! Dear gone mummeries, goby! Tell the woyld I have lived true thousand hells. Pity, please lady, for poor O.W. in this profundust snobbing I have caught. Nine dirty years mine age, hairs hoar, mummery failend, snowdrift to my ellpow, deff as Adder. I askt you, dear lady, to judge on my tree by our fruits. I gave you of the tree. I gave two smells, three eats. My freeandies, my celeberrimates: my happy bossoms, my allfalling fruits of my boom. Pity poor Haveth Childers Everywhere with Mudder! (FW 535.22-35).
The "truth" herewith revealed includes a disingenuous plea for mercy proffered by the first liar, asking to be judged by fruits that are not entirely his own: "to judge on my tree by our fruits." He is asking to be judged and pitied for the generational contamination he has engendered: "Pity poor Haveth Childers Everywhere with Mudder! [motherhood]" In a sense, this one instance of HCE claims an ontogenetic responsibility for the exfoliated incriminations that permeate throughout this passage-and indeed the entire text. Indeed the interrogators are not innocent of these incriminations ("our fruits"). However subsequent incarnations destabilize the possibility of such a unitary responsibility.
After this voice fades out another comes in who calls this communicator "A disincarnated spirit, called Sebastion... (he is not all hear)" (FW 535.36-536.02). After his incarceration Wilde had assumed the alias Sebastian Melmoth. A trace of the previous spirit-the ontogenetic HCE/Wilde-reappears in the guise of a proxy name, an expropriated dissimulation "confused by his tonguer of baubble. A way with him! Poor Felix Culapert!" (FW 536.08-09). Cula aperto is Italian for open ass, and one need not emphasize the role of the tongue in oral sex. This reference to "Felix Culapert" also recalls HCE's lengthy confession in II.3: "Guilty but fellows culpows!" (FW 363.20).
The diatribe in III.3 against the communicator is also delivered by another partial figuration of HCE. "I deplore over him ruely. Mongrieff!" (FW 536.11-12). The reference is of course to Algernon "Archie" Moncrieff, a Wildean persona in The Importance of Being Earnest. Grief is expressed through that name-stolen from Wilde-in a voice which condemns HCE/Wilde. Wildean references proceed therefore through a fictive displacement: a pattern of allusiveness that moves away from the historical Wilde to two fictive supplements, Sebastian Melmoth (an alias) and Archie Moncrieff (a fictitious creation).
"It is bycause of what he was ascend into his prisonce on account off. I whit it wel. Hence his deepraised words. Someday I may tell of his second storey. Mood! Mood! It looks like someone other bearing my burdens. I cannot let it. Kanes nought" (FW 536.24-27). Since his prison is his presence-a sincarceration-HCE can only be presented in "deepraised words," and such presentation entails supplementarity: other stories to be told. Each figural manifestation or onesine of HCE is incompletely incarcerated into textual "prisonce," not once but over and over again. The authentic story is always deferred, always forthcoming and can only be promised by another version of the scapegoat figure, another partial manifestation of polymorphous excess. Although this section of III.3 is redolent of Wilde, it is quite impossible even here to ascribe a primacy to any Wildean archetypalness. Because he is in "prisonce," the only possible account is partial and epistolary-such as the "deepraised words" of De Profundis. Any manifestation is mediated by the textual and thus subject to misdelivery and misappropriation.
Wilde remains as a figure for a contagion of displacement: "With us his nephos and his neberls, mest incensed and befogged by him and his smoke thereof. But he shall have his gladstein of our zober beerbest in Oscarhall's winetavern" (FW 536.19-21). The "freakfog" of I.3 reappears (nephos = Greek cloud; nebel = German mist; incensed; befogged; smoke) and leaves HCE's familial orbit (nepos = Latin grandson; nephos = nephews) implicated and clouded in its wake.
Indeed the problems of HCE's manifestation via incrimination and incarnation are hinted at in yet another reference to Wilde, which also suggests the Travers/William Wilde case, as HCE tries yet again to defend himself:
Such wear a frillick for my comic strip, Mons Meg's Monthly, comes out aich Fanagan's Weck, to bray at by clownsillies in Donkeybrook Fair. ... Inprobable! I do not credit one word of it from such and suchess mistraversers.... Or to have ochtroyed to resolde... (FW 537.33-538.08).In her letter to Dr. Travers, Lady Wilde complained of Mary Travers's "disreputable conduct" at Bray where the Wildes had a house (Harris, 3). Furthermore, Lady Wilde had been staying at Bray when the alleged misconduct occurred. Her stern characterization of that vacation during her defense of her husband at the trial convinced the jurors that he had been guilty of misconduct, even though they presumed that Travers had consented to the seduction (Harris, 20-21). Her defense implied a certain amount of guilt on his part. The appearance of Isolde in this passage strengthens the earlier notebook conceptualization of HCE's chloroformed incest with Issy. This passage could also be read as a debunking of Mrs. Travers Smith's spiritual mediation of Wilde. The name "mistraversers" highlights the onomastic contiguity of two different dissembling mediums in the history of the house of Wilde. It is as if Wilde/HCE is denying the medium of his presentation. He is booked as a liar by a liar: Wilde, the eminent and suffering dissimulator has been dissimulated by mediation and presentation. Significantly "mistraversers" appears surprisingly late in the drafting process, as an addition to the first set of galleys for book III (dated by the printer 22 April and 31 May 1937; JJA 48: 179). By recognizing a sin-even if this is a faulty recognition of polymorphous puffery-the public has retained sin. Becoming sinners themselves, they ensure the perdurance of HCE and his "onesine" through ironic displacement and repetition. Wilde and HCE endure in that they are perpetually and morbidly mis-recognized as sincarnations.
The addition of Wildean overtones-rarely present in a substantial fashion in the initial draftings of the passages which he came to grace with his presence-are not merely referential ornaments grafted onto the translinguistic punning of Finnegans Wake. Instead they work with a figural constellation that disturbs the surface of textual referencing. These figures serve to destabilize identifications by imposing referential divagations away from statements of individuality through an excessive puffery of sincrimination and sindividualization. But as Wilde himself once said "Nothing succeeds like excess."
James S. Atherton, The Books at the 'Wake,' Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1959.
Bernard Benstock, Joyce-Again's Wake, Seattle: U of Washington P, 1965.
Adaline Glasheen, A Third Census of "Finnegans Wake," Berkeley: University of California P, 1977.
Frank Harris, Oscar Wilde: His Life and Confessions, New York: Horizon Press, 1974.
David Hayman, A First-Draft Version of "Finnegans Wake,"
U of Texas P, 1963. Abbreviated as FDV.
--. The 'Wake' in Transit, Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1990.
Roland McHugh, The Sigla of "Finnegans Wake," London: Edward Arnold, 1976.
Hester Travers Smith, Psychic Messages from Oscar Wilde, London: T. Werner Laurie, 1924.
Franklin Walton, "Wilde at the Wake," JJQ 14.3 (1977): 300-312.
Oscar Wilde, The Annotated Oscar Wilde, ed. H. Montgomery Hyde, New York: Clarkson Potter, 1982.