Intervention – ‘Here Comes Everybody: Joyce’s Urban Chaosmos’ by Andy Merrifield

“He lifts the lifewand and the dumb speak” – James Joyce

Here Comes Everybody: Joyce’s Urban Chaosmos

Andy Merrifield, Fellow, Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge

One of the great humanist visions of James Joyce’s masterwork, Finnegans Wake [1939], is the sigla HCE, named after the book’s fifty-something anti-hero, Dublin innkeeper Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker. Joyce homes in on one Saturday night, a single evening’s sleep after a whole day’s drinking, amid a thunderstorm, when Earwicker’s disturbed mind tosses over, with bad conscience, the previous day’s events and the whole of his life hitherto. Earwicker’s is the “patternmind”, Joyce says (1966: 70), of a complex dream language, a dream of a man dreaming a dream of the world. HCE are the “normative letters” of a constituency Joyce calls “Here Comes Everybody” (1992: 32), a “manyfeast munificent” (1966: 261), an archetypal image of our collective, desiring unconscious. But this…

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