In the start of Finnegans Wake, The places he mentions is a description of the coastline of Dublin, running from wicklow (Adam and Eves) Bray Head (Swerve of Shore),
Dunleary (bend of bay), and so on… so maybe he wasnt trying to make a joke… just using very descriptive language…

The Mailbag item being commented on can be found via this link:

I guess I’m a little confused, John, did you read the Mailbag Answer? SDStaff Eutychus says pretty much the same thing you did, although he didn’t analyze the opening line.

I did read the answer, and, please forgive me if I sound patronizing, but a knowlege of
Irish language and Dublin customs + habits+ attitudes are great tools in understanding
most of this book. Admittedly, Joyce did leave me a little in the dark regarding the plot of the story Little being an Understatment but I feel that if you get the Gist of this story, as Euchtus did, then you have half the battle won.

thanks for your reply,


That was one of the points I was trying to make in my answer. Joyce was one of the most highly literate writers of his generations. IIRC, he was fluent in both English, Gaelic, Greek and Latin and was very well read in myhtologies of many different cultures. The fact that we can pick out so many different references to just as many different literatures indicates that Joyce had much more in mind than just a joke. On wonders if we really will ever know all of what Joyce had in mind when he wrote it.

Saint Eutychus