For "Stuff" Read "Stuff!"


It was my rare good fortune recently to receive a fine copy of
Corrections of Misprints in
As Prepared by the Author after Publication of the First Edition
Published 1945 by
This attractive brochure consists of sixteen pages, averaging about sixty misprints to the page, or roughly 900 misprints in all. Surely the maestro had reason enough to have a bone to pick with or a rod in pickle for his printer. It is dreadful to think that there should be more than one misprint per page in that great work! One must, however, in all fairness, admit that certain of the author’s corrections represent not misprints but carefully thought out revisions. Thus the change on page 176, line 2 from top, “for ‘Holy Baba and the Fourty Thieves’ read ‘Prisson your Pritchards and Play Withers Team,” may hardly be classed as a misprint or blamed on the proofreader. The weight of evidence indicates that Mr. Joyce decided that “Prisson your Pritchards . . .” carried deeper implications than the banal “Holy Baba . . .” — an opinion with which this reviewer, at least, is in complete accord.
Also our author, it may be assumed, changed his mind after publication as to certain nuances in punctuation. He decided to delete the full stops — to borrow a phrase from our British cousins — after Mr. and Mrs, and Dr. But in an even more striking fashion he changed his full stops in hundreds of instances to exclamation points — with, as a result, an almost incredible increase in textual vivacity and tempo. This is not very apparent in the first 190 pages, but on page 197, line 17 from top, we find “for ‘may.’ read ‘may!’” and on page 198, line 8 from top, “for ‘was.’ read ‘was!’”
From then on the author consistently steps up the force and incisiveness of his punctuation. Thus on page 248 we find two changes: line 23 from top, “for ‘thicketloch.’ read ‘thicketloch!’”; and line 32 from top, “for ‘browthered.’ read ‘browthered!’” And on page 251, lines 26/27 from top, “for ‘Smacchiavelluti.’ read ‘Smac-chiavelluti!’” On the same page, line 27 from top, “for ‘it.’ read ‘it!’ ” a change which may have been a concession to Miss Mae West.
I do not wish to labor this point with too many quotations, but I hope I may be pardoned if I cite a few of the more significant changes in this category - changes which it is apparent, even without the context, add new values and profundities to the word or phrase in question.
Thus on page 261, note 2 on left side, “for ‘rubsh.’ read ‘rubsh!’” How definitely stronger is “rubsh!” than the commonplace “rubsh.” Similarly on page 419, line 33 from top, the author substitutes the virile “tosh!” for the insipid “tosh.” And there can be no question of the deep chivalry which altered “girl.” to “girl!” on page 451, line 25 from top, and again on page 620, line 27 from top; or “ lovly.” to “ lovly! ” on page 528, line 4 from top, or “wives.” to “wives!” on page 540, line 36 from top, or “wiggly.” to wiggly!” on page 622, line 32 from top.
On the other hand, Mr. Joyce is not above taking pleasure in tricking his readers. For example, on page 297, line 26 from top, “after ‘hula’ insert comma.” No exclamation point here, mark you - merely the brief pause of a comma, although “ aghom.” is changed to “aghom!”, “bitly.” to bitly!”, “colombinations.”to “colombinations!”, “Ghyllygully.” to “Ghyllygully!”, “promishles.” to “promishles!”, “fing.” to “fing!”, “arrohs.” to “arrohs!”, and “us.” to “us!” Perhaps the most daring of these accents is to be found on page 281, text line 28, where the author changes “And.” to “And!” It was original enough to follow “And” with a full stop, period. But the imaginative brilliance of “And!” — surely the first instance in English of “And” exclamation point! is positively dazzling.
Many other instances could be given, but perhaps those quoted will suffice to show the profound changes of pace and rhythm effected by the author on the text of the First Edition through the medium of exclamation points — a subtle and truly Joycean technique. To students of Finnegans Wake, such minutiae are naturally significant, marking as they do the author’s matured emphasis, but even more important are changes in words, phrases, even sentences, which the author’s later judgment inspired and which are perhaps rather loosely listed here as “misprints.”
Attention has been drawn above to the striking substitution of “ Prisson your Pritchards . . .” for “Holy Baba . . .”; but equally forceful — though in a more limited sense — are the slight changes which Mr. Joyce has made in the interior structure of a single word. Thus, on page 219, line 17 from top, “for ‘certelleneteutosla vzendla tinsoundscript’ read ‘ cellelleneteutoslavzendlat insoundscript.’ ” What definite richness and dignity are to be found in the revised version! No one who has ever thought of “ cellelleneteutosla vzendla tinsoundscript” could revert to “certelleneteutosla vzendla tinsoundscript.”
It is a matter of deep pleasure to this reviewer that in this volume his faith is justified. Many admirers and students of Joyce have confessed that at times in Finnegans Wake they could not help feeling that the master’s sureness had slipped, that his devastating accuracy had in this instance, as it were, been blurred. To all such I have constantly retorted: “You will find that these apparent shortcomings are nothing but misprints. Wait till you see the Second Edition! ” Et voila!
On page 10 of this admirable brochure, we find the following: “Page 285, text, lines 23, 24, 25 should read as follows: ‘wards, one from five, two to fives ones, one from fives two millamills with a mill and a half a mill and twos twos fives fives of bully.’” Now in this instance I am willing to take a chance. My copy of Finnegans Wake is not at hand and I am unable to recall the exact wording of the lines for which these sonorous and powerful phrases are substituted. But I am certain that the revision is stronger, more fruitful, more fruity, in fact, than the original, and I ask any critic, carping on his carp, to compare the two and then decide, in simple honesty, whether or not he shares my opinion. One needs more than intellectual understanding to appreciate Joyce. One needs faith. One needs it badly.
“For ‘rubsh.’ read ‘rubsh!’”