Thursday, August 12, 2010

Elsekiss thou may mean Kerry piggy?

Many years ago Professor Bjørn Tysdahl wrote an interesting article about James Joyce's use of Norwegian in Finnegans Wake. Joyce had several Norwegian teachers when he lived in Paris during the 20s, and one of them was the great Norwegian poet Olaf Bull.  The mellifluous question (Finnegans Wake is uncommonly mellifluous, if not intelligible, as I've noted here and there) "Elsekiss thou may mean Kerry piggy?" is surely a Joycean rendition of "Elsker du mig, min kære pige" (Do you love me, my dear girl?) - and perhaps an echo of Bull's poem "Smerte" (Pain), which concludes  "Min elskede - elsker du mig? (My love, do you love me?)

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