a human being is never what he is but the self he seeks
First we feel. Then we fall. by
Adaptation of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake
Finnegans Wake imagined technology which did not even exist. It is a novel—if we are to call it such—written for the 21st century, and perhaps the only way it can be adapted in other media is through the internet’s nonlinear, labyrinthine structures; the online project First We Feel Then We Fall does just that, creating a multimedia adaptation of Finnegans Wake that “transfers” the novel ‘to audiovisual language,’ and demonstrates the novel as—in the words of The Guardian’s Billy Mills—’ the book the web was invented for.
My great blue bedroom, the air so quiet, scarce a cloud.
In peace and silence. I could have stayed up there for always only.
It’s something fails us. First we feel. Then we fall. And let her rain
now if she likes. Gently or strongly as she likes. Anyway let her
rain for my time is come. I done me best when I was let. Think-
ing always if I go all goes. A hundred cares, a tithe of troubles and
is there one who understands me? One in a thousand of years of
the nights? All me life I have been lived among them but now
they are becoming lothed to me. And I am lothing their little
warm tricks. And lothing their mean cosy turns. And all the
greedy gushes out through their small souls. And all the lazy
leaks down over their brash bodies. How small it’s all! And me
letting on to meself always. And lilting on all the time. I thought
you were all glittering with the noblest of carriage. You’re only
a bumpkin. I thought you the great in all things, in guilt and in
glory. You’re but a puny. Home! My people were not their sort
out beyond there so far as I can. For all the bold and bad and
bleary they are blamed, the seahags. No! Nor for all our wild
dances in all their wild din. I can seen meself among them, alla-
niuvia pulchrabelled. How she was handsome, the wild Amazia,
when she would seize to my other breast! And what is she weird,
haughty Niluna, that she will snatch from my ownest hair! For
’tis they are the stormies. Ho hang! Hang ho! And the clash of
our cries till we spring to be free. Auravoles, they says, never heed
of your name! But I’m loothing them that’s here and all I lothe.
Loonely in me loneness. For all their faults. I am passing out. O
bitter ending! I’ll slip away before they’re up. They’ll never see.
Nor know. Nor miss me. And it’s old and old it’s sad and old it’s
sad and weary I go back to you, my cold father, my cold mad
father, my cold mad feary father, till the near sight of the mere
size of him, the moyles and moyles of it, moananoaning, makes me
seasilt saltsick and I rush, my only, into your arms. I see them
rising! Save me from those therrble prongs! Two more. Onetwo
moremens more. So. Avelaval. My leaves have drifted from me.
All. But one clings still. I’ll bear it on me. To remind me of. Lff!
So soft this morning, ours. Yes. Carry me along, taddy, like you
done through the toy fair! If I seen him bearing down on me now
under whitespread wings like he’d come from Arkangels, I sink
I’d die down over his feet, humbly dumbly, only to washup. Yes,
tid. There’s where. First. We pass through grass behush the bush
to. Whish! A gull. Gulls. Far calls. Coming, far! End here. Us
then. Finn, again! Take. Bussoftlhee, me memormee! Till thous–
endsthee. Lps. The keys to. Given! A way a lone a last a loved a