Vol. 8 No. 2 1941 - page 93

reveal it, and we kept it a secret until he made the official announce–
ment at his birthday dinner on the following February 2nd.
The reception given this labour of seventeen years was to be a
disappointing one. Among the few whose analysis struck him as
being comprehensive and conscientious were, in rough order of his
appreciation, William Troy's essay in
Partisan Review,
Levin's article in
New Directions,
Edmund Wilson's essays in the
New Republic,
Alfred Kazin's review in the
New York Herald–
and Padraic Colum's piece in the
New York Times,
well as one or two from England and Scotland. From Ireland there
was little reaction, and the reception in France, on which he had
counted so much, was lamentable. This state of affairs was a source
of deep depression during the last year of his life, and was respon–
sible, more than anything else, for the fact that he was completely
indifferent to any suggestion for a future work.
For Joyce himself,
Finnegans Wake
had prophetic signifi–
cance. Finn McCool, the Finnish-Norwegian-Irish hero of the tale,
seemed to him to be coming alive again after the publication of
the hook, and in a letter from France I received from him last
spring, he said: " ... It is strange, however, that after publication
of my book, Finland came·into the foreground suddenly. First by
the awarding of the Nobel Prize to a Finnish writer, and then by
the political door. The most curious comment I have received on
the book is a symbolical one from Helsinki, where, as foretold by
the prophet, the Finn again wakes, and volunteer Buckleys are
hurrying from all sides to shoot that Russian general. ..."
"Prophetic too were the last pages of my book ..." he added in
this same letter. The last pages, that had cost him such profound
anguish at the time of their writing. "I felt so completely ex–
hausted," he told me when it was done, "as if all the blood had run
out of my brain. I sat for a long while on a street bench, unable
to move ..."
"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...."
There was no turning back after these lines, my friend. You
knew it well. Adew!
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