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Showing posts from June 14, 2020


This year’s online Bloomsday seminar via Facebook was a global conversation in the privacy of our own screens. Each of the eighteen short films, released online by Bloomsday in Melbourne at the hour set for each episode, were treated as the ‘papers’ to prompt online discussion. Episode 2 included contributions by Gloria Bella, Steve Carey, Sian Cartwright, Frances Devlin Glass, Tony Guyot, Gay Lynch, Sabia Mac Aodha, Janet Strachan, and Maireid Sullivan, whose initials appear where their thoughts are represented in these analecta. The much-quoted line: “History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.” Even here, can we be sure Dedalus is talking for himself or about his sleepy students, having to listen to such stuff? Is he perhaps empathising with his drowsy charges? The historian lives inside the poet, inevitably once language is at stake. The poet lives inside the historian? Frequently we live to find out that this is wishful thinking. The relationship of tea

Rudy's Song and a Duet: Performing Joyce

‘Performing Joyce’ was the name of the 2005 Bloomsday in Melbourne seminar. Jim Howard and Di Silber talked about the role of costume in creating Bloom, Lewis Fiander discussed adaptation and performance in his celebrated one-man show A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Professor Dick Corballis of Massey University in New Zealand spoke about the evolution of the haka page in the Wake. Rod Baker, Trish Shaw and I talked about the evolution of texts for their musical settings of two songs. This is my paper given, with Rod and Trish doing the singing, during the seminar in the State Library of Victoria, June 16 th 2005. The great Italian opera composer Giacomo Puccini claimed that the words to songs were immaterial and skited that he could set anything to music, even a laundry list. The great Russian composers Igor Stravinsky and Dmitri Shostakovich only ever met once. Their entire conversation at an official Moscow function in 1962 went thus: Shostakovich pluck

Dubble In It -- An Oratorio to the Progenitors of the Human Genome --Lifted and Lofted, Lafted and Lefted by Philip Harvey from lines in Finnegans Wake

‘Dubble In It’ was a Roaratorio  based on words taken from all over  Finnegans Wake . Roaratorio is a word borrowed from the Wake by John Cage as the title of his own radio sound art piece, based on the book. Composer Rod Baker and I looked at the theme of the 2008 Bloomsday (‘Joyce and Modernity’) and chose to celebrate the Human Genome and its Progenitors, as we called them. This was the second such oratorio written collaboratively by Baker and me, to be staged by Bloomsday in Melbourne. Some patrons with long memories will be taken back (or even taken aback) to the church in North Melbourne and to Ches Baragwaneth playing the Auditor-General, i.e. Here Comes Everybody Childers. An excellent review of this Oratorio was written by Roz Hames here:  Roz’s review helps give the gist of what’s happening and what happened. This weekend I came across the original script of t

Authors & Editors & Grandsons & Houyhnhnms

Finnegans Wake by James Joyce, edited by Danis Rose and John O’Hanlon   Houyhnhnm, 493 pp, £250.00, March 2010, ISBN 978 0 9547710 1 0 Reviewed from afar by Philip Harvey in 2010 and never sent for publication. I subsequently bought the Penguin Books hardback of this version when it came out in 2012, but continue to use my 1992 Penguin Books. This review is rescued from oblivion in 2020. “The most iconic and original text in English literature has found its final expression and embodiment in this beautiful Houyhnhnm Press edition,” it states boldly on the Houyhnhnm website, leaving one to wonder whatever happened to Shakespeare’s First Folio. Four hundred dollars is too much for this reviewer to spend on the new edition (or is that ‘version’?) of Finnegans Wake, so I will write a review based on available information on the Internet. Such is life during the Great Economic Downturn. I could even point out that this is the cheap edition. Houyhnhnm is binding two hundred of