publisher colophon

you born ijypt, and you're nothing short of one!

FW 198.01–2

Egypt stretches wide across Joyce's work, from the roots of "gnomon" in ancient Egyptian chronometry1 to the flight of the phoenix, or "bright Bennu bird" (FW 473.17). Joyce's substantial use of Egyptian mythology in Finnegans Wake (particularly his interest in The Book of the Dead) has, over the years, been excavated by many scholars, among them James Atherton, Adaline Glasheen, Mark L. Troy, John Bishop, and Vicki Mahaffey, and I will have only a very little to add to that particular enterprise.2 Instead, I propose to see that interest in a wider historical context, to see how it persists and deepens over the course of Joyce's career. In doing so, I hope to show how Egypt is not only perpetually in Joyce's thinking but is perpetually conflated with other concerns, themes, and ideas. Bloom's summary of "[a]ll that long business about that brought us out of the land of Egypt and into the house of bondage alleluia" (7.208–9) points to the contradictions in Egypt as a place from which one escapes but also to which one may flee, a place of the distant past and yet always present—contradictions that are, for Joyce, compelling attractions.

The fact that Joyce's knowledge of Egypt is entirely based on his reading, and generally proceeds from the Old Testament to later studies of the myths of Osiris, Isis, et al., bids us to remember that when we say that Joyce "writes about" Egypt, in every case we mean that he imagines Egypt; or, if you like, he "remembers" Egypt in a different way than he "remembers" Ireland. As obvious as this is, it is easily forgotten amid the heat of the sometimes manic forging of connections, and so it also serves as a kind of admonition: Joyce insists that his readers, too, are imaginers of [End Page 92] Egypt, and that invocations of the "land of engined Egypsians" (FW 355.23) are invariably grand feats of engineering, no less than the pyramids themselves were.

One reason that Egypt and invention are bound together for Joyce is that Egypt invented writing. Thoth, credited by Plato "with the invention of writing, mathematics and astronomy," was effectively given Greek citizenship.3 In A Portrait, whose sky and sea are crowded with birds, Stephen links "the hawklike man whose name he bore" with "Thoth, god of writers" with his "narrow ibis head" and in so doing links the present with the distant past, one the continuation of the other.

And for ages men had gazed upward as he was gazing at birds in flight. The colonnade above him made him think vaguely of an ancient temple and the ashplant on which he leaned wearily of the curved stick of an augur. A sense of fear of the unknown moved in the heart of his weariness, a fear of symbols and portents, of the hawklike man whose name he bore soaring out of his captivity on osier-woven wings, of Thoth, the god of writers, writing with a reed upon a tablet and bearing on his narrow ibis head the cusped moon.

He smiled as he thought of the god's image for it made him think of a bottle-nosed judge in a wig, putting commas into a document which he held at arm's length, and he knew that he would not have remembered the god's name but that it was like an Irish oath.

(P 5.1803–16)

He comes to Stephen's mind again in Ulysses, struck by the enclosure of the library ("the discreet vaulted cell" [9.345]), yet mindful of the "possibilities of the possible as possible" (9.349–50):

Coffined thoughts around me, in mummycases, embalmed in spice of words. Thoth, god of libraries, a birdgod, moonycrowned. And I heard the voice of that Egyptian highpriest. In painted chambers loaded with tilebooks.

(U 9.352–55)4

The phrase about "the voice of that Egyptian highpriest" comes from John F. Taylor's October 24, 1901 speech, as it is imagined or remembered in "Aeolus," whence my essay takes its title:

Mr chairman, ladies and gentlemen: Great was my admiration in listening to the remarks addressed to the youth of Ireland a moment since by [End Page 93] my learned friend. It seemed to me that I had been transported into a country far away from this country, into an age remote from this age, that I stood in ancient Egypt and that I was listening to the speech of some highpriest of that land addressed to the youthful Moses.

(U 7.828–33)

This invocation of an ancient culture is meant to lend the Irish language revival a similar historical longevity and romantic quality. If that phrase "a country far away from this country" has a kind of Biblical redundancy to it (something on the order of "put off thy shoes from off thy feet" [Exodus 3:5]), it also sounds like an overemphasized effort at differentiation—the nervous customer's stammer in the pharmacy or clinic: "It's for a friend, not me." Of course, it is disingenuous: Taylor's ploy is transparent.

So, too, is Joyce's, according to John Garvin. Garvin contends that Taylor's Egyptian allusion is "intended as an acid aside on evidence given by Professor J. P. Mahaffy in 1900 before a Commission on Intermediate Education in which he said that he had been advised by an expert … that it was 'impossible to find a text in Irish which was not either religious or silly or indecent'"; Joyce shifts the focus, Garvin claims, to "building the whole case for Irish revival on 'the Language of the Outlaw'" (the title of Roger Casement's pamphlet that Joyce may well have used for his reproduction of Taylor).5

This seems to me too simple a reading both of Joyce's politics (in as much as they might be made out here) and all the ironic crosscurrents blowing in this windy scene.6 For one thing, Garvin sees Egypt simply as a backdrop for the Exodus story rather than a story in itself, as Joyce invites us to do when the speech goes on to compare the cultures of Israel and Egypt. For another, there is an ironic incongruity between "the tables of the law" and "the language of the outlaw" in which those laws are written (not least if we consider that we are reading an Irish epic written in English). And there is the fact that McHugh's questionable recollection of the speech coincides with or is perhaps partly triggered by J. J. O'Molloy's asking about theosophy, "that Blavatsky woman" (7.784), and "planes of consciousness" (7.786–87). Here, O'Molloy is, like Haines earlier in the day, and with as little definite success, "tackling" Stephen "on belief" (10.1076–77)—"remarks addressed to the youth of Ireland" indeed. Theosophy's jumble of pseudo-Egyptian ideas adds to the chapter's dubious reports, hearsay, and (literally) getting things backwards. [End Page 94]

And then there is Stephen, through whom this (at best) secondhand (or secondbest) speech is filtered. He is himself "transported"—a loaded word for an Irishman to use, and important in this consideration of bondage and freedom—by the suggestion of Egypt's culture: "a literature, a priesthood, an agelong history and a polity" (7.849–50). From these abstract words, Stephen conjures specific images:


Child, man, effigy.

By the Nilebank the babemaries kneel, cradle of bullrushes: a man supple in combat: stonehorned, stonebearded, heart of stone.

(U 7.851–54)

This progression in miniature—another example of Stephen's mind gradually developing a picture—expands in "Oxen":

The adiaphane in the noon of life is an Egypt's plague which in the nights of prenativity and postmortemity is their most proper ubi and quomodo. And as the ends and ultimates of all things accord in some mean and measure with their inceptions and originals, that same multiplicit concordance which leads forth growth from birth accomplishing by a retrogressive metamorphosis that minishing and ablation towards the final which is agreeable unto nature so is it with our subsolar being. The aged sisters draw us into life: we wail, batten, sport, clip, clasp, sunder, dwindle, die: over us dead they bend. First, saved from waters of old Nile, among bulrushes, a bed of fasciated wattles: at last the cavity of a mountain, an occulted sepulchre amid the conclamation of the hillcat and the ossifrage.

(U 14.385–96)

Joyce's Egypt is a mosaic in all senses of the word. That the birth-death cycle framed as a transition from river to mountain (Moses raised from the water and so long afterward dying in view of Palestine) is the stuff of Finnegans Wake demonstrates not simply an irrepressible theme but how tightly Joyce intertwines the subject of origins with Egypt.

We see (or hear) this in various places: In "Sirens," as Boylan pays for his drink and the lyrics of the song "In the Shade of the Palm" intermingle with the sounds of the cash register and the clock, the phrase "Fair one of Eden" is notably changed to "Fair one of Egypt" (11.383). The song is [End Page 95] about a tryst in the East, and both Boylan and Bloom are excitedly watching the time. Joyce's connection of the garden of Eden with Egypt here resonates with other misheard lyrics in the chapter. Either while or just after Boylan is paying for this drink, Simon Dedalus is "vamping" (11.448) the song "Goodbye, Sweetheart, Goodbye" (another song of longing that looks eastward, to the dawn), and the line "… to Flora's lips did hie" (11.396) is what might be called a bad lip reading for "to floral lips doth hie."7 "Flora" seems to have danced straight out of the hit musical comedy Florodora, in which "In the Shade of the Palm" is sung. Temptation, like everything else, begins in paradise, and the temptations of the Sirens align with the temptations of Cleopatra, another "Queen of the Eastern Sea" like the one in "In the Shade of the Palm," all in the tone of "eau de Nil," the "cool glaucous" (11.661) colour that Miss Douce admires and was, at the beginning of the century, the height of fashion (11.67, 11.465). Bloom's immediate discomfort at the arrival of Boylan, a conquering Caesar come, makes him think, "The seat he sat on: warm" (11.342), a faint echo of Shakespeare: "The barge she sat in, like a burnish'd throne,/Burn'd on the water."8

Bloom's remembrance lay in Egypt, with or without his joy. The Biblical phrase "fleshpots of Egypt" resounds in Ulysses with a mixture of easy comfort, prurience, and shame. Its inevitable association with Plumtree's Potted Meat leads to even more unappetizing flavors in the Wake, such as "flushpots of Euston" (FW 192.29), "freshpots of Eastchept" (FW 347.11–12), and "potted fleshmeats from store dampkookin" (FW 550.14–15). But Joyce's Egypt is, in a sense, always "potted." Not long after the discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb—another sort of carefully preserved meat, to which I will return—a letter in The Daily Mail (December 7, 1922) recalls the author's military experiences in Egypt, when soldiers valued their bully beef but could not easily transport the tins and were under orders not to leave them "lying about in the to-be-deserted camp." The author speculates:

Some thousands of years hence another civilisation will dig up hundreds, perhaps thousands of tins of bully beef in the cool sand, well below the surface, therefore in perfect condition, in old camps all over Egypt. I am wondering what they will think of them. "Treasure" is such a relative term.9

It's possible that Joyce read this letter—at this time he was regularly combing through newspapers, including The Daily Mail—but without [End Page 96] going so far as to claim it any kind of definite textual source, I'd like to remark on how this letter hits exactly upon Joycean concerns: the confused repetition of history, the ordinary transformed into the extraordinary, the art of blending by compression and concentration. By this last process, mud can spontaneously produce a crocodile:

Your serpent of Egypt is bred now of your mud by the operation of your sun: so is your crocodile.10

March 30. This evening Cranly was in the porch of the library, proposing a problem to Dixon and her brother. A mother let her child fall into the Nile. Still harping on the mother. A crocodile seized the child. Mother asked it back. Crocodile said all right if she told him what he was going to do with the child, eat it or not eat it.

This mentality, Lepidus would say, is indeed bred out of your mud by the operation of your sun.

And mine? Is it not too? Then into Nile mud with it!

April 1. Disapprove of this last phrase.

(P 5.2684–92)

That crocodile riddle goes back at least as far as second-century Greece (to Lucian), but it is Joyce who places emphasis on the Nile, on the Egyptian setting.11 For Stephen, as we have seen in his thinking about the river in "Aeolus" quoted previously, the Nile links to a kind of birthing without the mother (Moses set among the bulrushes)—artistic creation.

Egypt is never just Egypt: It is always turning into something else. The conflation of Greeks with Egyptians goes back to antiquity: Some writers "went so far as to claim that Homer was actually an Egyptian. In his Aethiopica from the middle of the third century bc, Heliodorus even credited Homer with being the son of Hermes Trismegistus."12 The conflation of Jews with Egyptians extends from Strabo to Freud, usually with a focus on Moses, whose very name is a puzzle of hybridity. And, perhaps the strangest conflation of all, though Egypt is by extension connected with any oppressive state by any people who may identify themselves, however selectively, with the Jews of the Exodus story, the very same people may, virtually at the same time, identify themselves with Egypt. Just as African Americans sang "let my people go" amid the struggle for civil rights, black nationalism claimed Egypt as its wellspring. Something similar is going on in Joyce's Egypt, though the conflation of Ireland and Egypt is not original to him. [End Page 97]

The British military surveyor and co-founder of the Royal Irish Academy, Charles Vallancey (1721–1812) "made claims for connections between the Irish language and that of the Algonquin Indians, Phoenicians, Persians, Hindustanis and Egyptians" and in arguing that "Irish civilization had its origins in the Middle East" placed "significant emphasis on the Egyptian contribution."13 Most of Vallancey's ideas are terrific balderdash and were recognized as such by 1907, when Joyce said this in a lecture in Trieste:

The language that the comic dramatist Plautus puts in the mouth of his Phoenicians in his comedy Poenula is virtually the same language, according to the critic Vallancey, as that which Irish peasants now speak. The religion and civilization of that ancient people, later known as Druidism, were Egyptian.

(OCPW 110)

It's debatable whether Joyce ever entirely gave up on this idea. We find it persisting in "Ithaca," for example:

In what common study did their mutual reflections merge?

The increasing simplification traceable from the Egyptian epigraphic hieroglyphs to the Greek and Roman alphabets and the anticipation of modern stenography and telegraphic code in the cuneiform inscriptions (Semitic) and the virgular quinquecostate ogham writing (Celtic).

(U 17.769–73)

But the historical validity of an idea never gets in the way of Joyce's use of it. A little harder to swallow in the Trieste lecture is what seems like abject defeatism in its conclusion:

If it were valid to appeal to the past in this fashion, the fellahins of Cairo would have every right in the world proudly to refuse to act as porters for English tourists. Just as ancient Egypt is dead, so is ancient Ireland.

(OCPW 125)

Joyce is sneering at the Irish Literary Revival, of course, but if it seems that he is condemning Egyptians—and by extension, the Irish—to servility, there is perhaps some suggestion within the phrase "in this fashion" that the past, even the ancient and mythic past—"pharaoph times" (FW 129.36) [End Page 98] —might be appealed to in some other way (and the Wake reader lingers on that word "porters").

It is, I think, how this past is transmitted to us, or how we remember or recover it, that fascinates Joyce. The legacy of Egyptian writing as a practice allows us to write about Egypt: All roads may lead to Rome, but all text leads to the Nile, and Joyce studies how the words make that journey. Into the fantasy of "Circe," Joyce inserts the word "basilicogrammate," a royal scribe or literary official:

Lipoti Virag, basilicogrammate, chutes rapidly down through the chimneyflue and struts two steps to the left on gawky pink stilts. He is sausaged into several overcoats and wears a brown macintosh under which he holds a roll of parchment. In his left eye flashes the monocle of Cashel Boyle O'Connor Fitzmaurice Tisdall Farrell. On his head is perched an Egyptian pshent. Two quills project over his ears.


Basilcogrammate is among the various Egypt-related words and phrases that Joyce recorded in his "Circe" notesheets,14 and John Simpson convincingly demonstrates that the term comes from Busch's Guide for travellers in Egypt and adjacent countries subject to the Pasha (translated in 1858 by W. C. Wrankmore).15 Gifford suggests that the "roll of parchment" is an echo of Flaubert, and it might be argued that Joyce's consulting a mid-nineteenth-century travel guide allows him to imagine specifically Flaubert's Egypt.16

Joyce's pilferings from The Book of the Dead—themselves a potted affair because they largely come from a British Museum booklet rather than the Book itself—are found in a 1930 notebook, but well before then, in the earliest days of "Work in Progress," Egypt seized Joyce's attention. These notes from late 1922 and early 192317 come from his attentive reading of various reports of the discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb:

VI.B.10.058     bby runner to Luxor/(mail)

    [from Irish Times, 30 Nov 1922 -7/3; see JJA 45:002 and

FW 030.17]

VI.B.10.061     hypogeum

    [i.e., underground vault; no source]

VI.B.10.104     W [woman] keeps hair

    [from Daily Mail, 16 Jan 1923 -7/3]

VI.B.10.116     cartouche [End Page 99]

    [from Irish Times, 20 Jan 1923 -6/6] embalmed beef

    [from Irish Times, 20 Jan 1923 -6/5] Cairo (Kahirah Mars/ascendant [from Irish Times, 20 Jan 1923 -9/2]

Surely one of the earliest incarnations of Shaun the Post, the "runner to Luxor" brought the news from the Valley of Kings where Howard Carter (1874–1939), English archaeologist had unearthed a tomb of treasures, including "embalmed beef," more potted meat from the past.18 "Tut's curse" caught on when the dig's sponsor, George Herbert, Earl of Carnarvon (1866–1923), died shortly after the discovery.19 Arthur Power records Joyce's pronounced interest in the Tutankhamen find,20 and the Wake repeatedly echoes the fascination, with a characteristic intermingling of fact with myth:

the opering of the month of Nema Knatut (395.23)Look about you, Tutty Comyn!


And let him rest, thou wayfarre, and take no gravespoil from him!Neither mar his mound! The bane of Tut is on it. Ware!


Just how interested Joyce was in modern Egypt, apart from the archaeological news and the discovery of the source of the Nile decades before, is more difficult to determine. Yet it may be even more difficult to imagine that he wasn't struck by this chronology of apparently unrelated events: The same year that saw the publication of Ulysses (February 2) and the formation of the Irish Free State (December 6) also saw the declaration of Egyptian independence (February 28) and the discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb (November 26). Fuad I became king of Egypt in 1922, and he might be winked at—or given what has become of his name, sneezed at—in these passages from Finnegans Wake, where he is among other kings:

—God save you king! Muster of the Hidden Life!

—God serf yous kingly, adipose rex! I had four in the morning and a couple of the lunch and three later on, but your saouls to the dhaoul, do ye. Finnk. Fime. Fudd?

(FW 499.15–18; emphasis added) [End Page 100]

And I never brought my cads in togs blanket! Foueh!

—Angly as arrows, but you have right, my celtslinger! Nils, Mugn and Cannut. Should brothers be for awe then? (emphasis added)

(FW 520.21–23;)

On the whole, we might do well to consider Finnegans Wake as a history of what historian Ronald H. Fritze calls "Egyptomania," the popularization of Egyptology, from Oscar Wilde's sarcophagus and art deco motifs (including the eau de Nil fashion mentioned earlier) to mummy movies. Such a term offers a distinction from the intellectual pretensions and appeasements of power behind the related phenomenon known as Orientalism,21 and allows a recognition of a wider spectrum of interest in and (even more distorted) representations of this re-discovered history. In this regard, the Wake might be read alongside such pop culture artifacts as the 1923 novelty song "Old King Tut"22 or Agatha Christie's detective novel Death on the Nile (1937), the setting of which caught Joyce's eye in 1930:

VI.B.32.154(a)Cataract Hotel/Assuan

This note is not crossed out, the usual indication that material has been absorbed into a subsequent stage of the textual digestion system, but we find this passage in II.3, where a lot of Book of the Dead stuff is to be found:

O nilly, not all, here's the fust cataraction! As if ever she cared an assuan damm about her harpoons sticking all out of him whet between phoenix his calipers and that psourdonome sheath.


Roland McHugh spots the Nile ("O nilly") and the Assuan Dam here, but Joyce, whose painful history of eye troubles included affliction with cataracts, must have delighted in finding a hotel of this name on the Nile.

Further on in the same notebook from which I have quoted previously, we find "ushabti {male puppet/in Egypt tomb}—servant" (VI.B.10.119), material drawn from the January 23, 1923 edition of the Irish Times. Although Joyce did not cross this out, the term would strike him again years later, when he would inscribe in another notebook "Shabti figures" (IV.B.32.169[d]), which was then crossed out as it worked its way into I.i: [End Page 101]

And it isn't our spittle we'll stint you of, is it, druids? Not shabbty little imagettes, pennydirts and dodgemyeyes you buy in the soottee stores. But offerings of the field. Mieliodories, that Doctor Faherty, the madison man, taught to gooden you. Poppypap's a passport out. And honey is the holiest thing ever was, hive, comb and earwax, the food for glory, (mind you keep the pot or your nectar cup may yield too light!) and some goat's milk, sir, like the maid used to bring you. Your fame is spreading like Basilico's ointment since the Fintan Lalors piped you overborder and there's whole households beyond the Bothnians and they calling names after you. The menhere's always talking of you sitting around on the pig's cheeks under the sacred rooftree, over the bowls of memory where every hollow holds a hallow, with a pledge till the drengs, in the Salmon House. And admiring to our supershillelagh where the palmsweat on high is the mark of your manument.


As Atherton observed many years ago in considering this passage, the Shabti images are to act as servants to the buried person, with whom they are entombed, in the afterlife.23 However, Joyce's linguistic transformations suggest that they are "shabby" and diminutive, cheap trinkets that one picks up in dirty shops, in contrast to the magnificent (and manly) monuments and menhirs. The "palmsweat on high" hints at the mass labour behind such erections as the pyramids, muscular slaves rather than teeny servants. The "shabbty little imagettes" are poor but popular substitutes, kitsch miniatures of the grandeur of the elusive real thing—in this reading, Egypt itself. Perhaps John Bishop's suggestion that "the Wake might be read as a book of the dead,"24 or even generally as some sort of cultural product of Egypt, ought to be amended somewhat: always vacillating in its sincerity and authenticity, the Wake might better be read as a secondhand, ersatz, or even bogus book of the dead, a guidebook to a place vibrant in the popular imagination of the years of the book's composition.

When Herodotus wrote that "the manners and customs established by the Egyptians are at least in most respects completely opposite to those of other peoples,"25 he was helping establish a longstanding sense of Egypt not just as alien but as everybody's other. Stephen's thought of Thoth, whose name is "like an Irish oath," in the library follows his point about reconciliation and sundering, and Joyce is compulsively drawn to opposites, so as to introduce them to one another. How we imagine Egypt, "a [End Page 102] country far away from this country," reflects how we understand ourselves. Joyce locates us in both space and time as always "bedoueen the jebel and the jypsian sea" (FW 5.23).

Tim Conley

Tim Conley is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Brock University in Canada. He is the author of Joyce's Mistakes: Problems of Intention, Irony, and Interpretation (University of Toronto Press, 2003) and Useless Joyce: Textual Functions, Cultural Appropriations (University of Toronto Press, 2017). He is the editor of Joyce's Disciples Disciplined: A Reexagmination of the "Exagmination of Work in Progress" (2010), coeditor of the anthology Burning City: Poems of Metropolitan Modernity (2012), coeditor of Doubtful Points: Joyce and Punctuation (2014), and coeditor of a long the Krommerun: Selected Papers from the Utrecht James Joyce Symposium (2016).


1. Michael Groden and Vicki Mahaffey, "Silence and Fractals in 'The Sisters,'" in Collaborative Dubliners: Joyce in Dialogue, ed. Vicki Mahaffey (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2012), 43–44.

2. See James S. Atherton, The Books at the Wake: A Study of Literary Allusions in James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake" (New York: Viking, 1960), 191–200; Adaline Glasheen, A Second Census of "Finnegans Wake": An Index of the Characters and their Roles (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1963); Mark L. Troy, "Mummeries of Resurrection: The Cycle of Osiris in Finnegans Wake" (unpublished dissertation: University of Uppsala, 1976); John Bishop, Joyce's Book of the Dark: "Finnegans Wake" (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1986), 86–125; and Vicki Mahaffey, "'Ricorso': The Flaming Door of IV," in Allmaziful Plurabilities: Polyvocal Explorations of "Finnegans Wake," ed. Kimberly J. Devlin and Christine Smedley (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2015), 290–306.

3. Ronald H. Fritze, Egyptomania: A History of Fascination, Obsession and Fantasy (London: Reaktion Books, 2016), 96.

4. As Richard Bliss has pointed out, Joyce lifted the italicized phrase from Richard Jefferies's The Story of My Heart: My Autobiography (1883), though the "tilebooks" are not Egyptian but Assyrian. See "In painted chambers loaded with tilebooks," James Joyce Quarterly 46, no. 1 (2008): 129–30.

5. John Garvin, James Joyce's Disunited Kingdom and the Irish Dimension (Dublin: Gills and Macmillan, 1976), 67–68. See also, So Onose, "'a great future behind him': John F. Taylor's Speech in 'Aeolus' Revisited," in a long the krommerun: Selected Papers from the Utrecht Joyce Symposium, ed. Onno Kosters, Tim Conley, and Peter de Voogd (Amsterdam: Brill, 2016), 46–62.

6. "Aeolus," in fact, invites us to compare the Homeric winds with those in the story of the Jewish flight from Egypt (see Exodus 10:13 and 10:18).

7. Zack Bowen, Musical Allusions in the Works of James Joyce: Early Poetry Through Ulysses (Albany: SUNY Press, 1974), 165.

8. William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra, in The Norton Shakespeare, second edition, ed. Stephen Greenblatt et al. (New York: Norton, 2008), 2.2.197–98; see Sebastian D. G. Knowles, At Fault: Joyce and the Crisis of the Modern University (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2018), 156.

9. For more on this subject, see John Hartley's Bully Beef and Biscuits: Food in the Great War (Barnsley: Pen and Sword Books, 2015), which includes discussion of Egyptian campaigns.

10. Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra, 2.7.25–26.

11. See Tim Conley, "Did He Bring His Crocodile?" James Joyce Online Notes,

12. Fritze 96.

13. Fritze 277.

14. Phillip F. Herring, ed., Joyce's "Ulysses" Notesheets in the British Museum (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1972), 356.

15. John Simpson, "basilicogrammate: the Egyptian royal secretary," James Joyce Online Notes,

16. Scarlett Baron notes Joyce's use of Salaambô in "Circe" ("Strandentwining Cable": Joyce, Flaubert, and Intertextuality [Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2012], 156–59), but whether he extracted material from Flaubert's Egypt journal is undocumented.

17. Joyce's conflation of the "Gypsies" (Romany people) with Egyptians (which we see in "Proteus": "Shouldering their bags they trudged, the red Egyptians" [U 3.370]) represents a common misunderstanding, but it is of a piece with the Vallancey theories discussed earlier. In the same notebook with Joyce's borrowings from newspaper accounts of the opening of Tutankhamen's tomb is a list of Romany words, taken from an article in The Daily Mail ("Gipsies in Winter," December 28, 1922–6/5):


omumper roadfolk who shelter

    [see JJA 44:105, FW 003.08] hedgecreeper

ogorgios (Gentiles)

    [see JJA 44:105, FW 003.08]

rtan (tent)

    [see JJA 48:031, FW 127.15]

Kosht (wood)

Yog (fire)     (VI.B.10.083)

18. This trope of the mummified corpse as preserved meat appears again in the invocation "O, lord of the barrels, comer forth from Anow (I have not mislaid the key of Efas-Taem)" (FW 311.11–12), which sets The Book of the Dead beside a "meat-safe" (anagram of "Efas-Taem").

19. Those recurring initials—Howard Carter, Egyptologist, and Herbert, Earl of Carnarvon—are tantalizing, but I have no solid textual evidence that Joyce was thinking of these men specifically in shaping his composite hero HCE. Still, it might be argued that "Carter" can be heard in "cartomance" in this Egyptian-infused Wake passage: "House of call is all their evenbreads though its cartomance hallucinate like an erection in the night the mummery of whose deed, a lur of Nur, immerges a mirage in a merror, for it is where by muzzinmessed for one watthour, bilaws below, till time jings pleas" (FW 310.22–26).

20. Arthur Power, Conversations with James Joyce, ed. Clive Hart (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974), 48.

21. Edward W. Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage, 1994).

22. The song, written by Roger Lewis (lyrics) and Lucien Denni (music) relies on the same comic stutter of the king's name that we find in the Wake: Compare "In old King Tut-Tut-Tutankhamen's day/Beneath the tropical skies/King Tut-Tut-Tut was very wise" with "Old grand tuttut toucher up" (FW 242.18). In this connection, it is also worth noting another forgotten and bouncy piece of music, "Cleopatra Finnegan" (1905), an "Afro-Celtic Intermezzo" by Neil Moret.

23. Atherton 194.

24. Bishop 125.

25. Herodotus, The Landmark Herodotus: The Histories, trans. Andrea L. Purvis (New York: Anchor Books, 2009), 133.

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