A Lexicon of Romanian in Finnegans Wake (online publication)

Contemporary Literature Press,
under The University of Bucharest, in permanent conjunction withThe British Council, and The Romanian Cultural Institute,

Announces the publication of 

A Lexicon of Romanian in Finnegans Wake 

by C. George Sandulescu

(ISBN 978-606-8366-04-3)

11. 11. 2011
+ the Eleventh Minute of the Eleventh Hour!


Two pairs of words explain the need for this Rumanian Lexicon ofFinnegans WakeIrish Ruman and Limba romena. Both come from an enigmatic book which is not yet a novel. Finnegans Wake is, however, the most fascinating story about forty languages of the earth coming from one and the same root. It is a challenge to think both back and ahead. When Joyce states that history is a nightmare from which he is trying to awake, he is very far from complaining: actually, he challenges all his readers to follow the researcher’s calling. ReadingFinnegans Wake turns fast into solid linguistic research. As nobody has really „cracked” all the enigmas in this text, the way is still open, and invites curiosity and thought… 

As for Romanian and Joyce, as to why and how Romanian is undeniably there in Joyce’s text, C. George Sandulescu’s three introductions to his Lexicon of Rumanian in Finnegans Wake explain the following: that Romanian is a very important Romance language; that Languages were central to all Joyce’s writings; and that his friendship with Constantin Brancusi in Paris is certainly the key to a direction in Joyce studies that, strange enough, has never been pursued so far. 

This Lexicon is more than just linguistic research, though. At long last, it becomes a breath-taking detective progress: „Why was Joyce’s neat List of Forty Languages, written in his own hand, precisely on the very last page of the Manuscript of Finnegans Wake, the one with the date and place of writing? Why is it such a fair copy, so easily intelligible and elegantly written? Then, why forty languages exactly? Why is this List so fairly strictly internally structured?” 

The author himself is a traveller of languages. He is familiar with Romanian, Swedish, French, Italian, English, German, Danish, Norwegian, Corsican, Arabic, Japanese, Irish, Monegasque, and Maltese. The main statement made by his Lexicon is that „Rumanian tends to be, with Joyce, almost as important as Irish” for „obscure, and cryptic, reasons” which it is „the honest and sincere researcher’s job to find out”. The mention of Plevna in Ulysses seems an adequate prelude. The author explains that it meant „the definitive failure of any Turkish advance into central Europe, and, as such, in a most sophisticated way, it preserved intact the integrity of most of the forty European languages.” Remember that the armies at Plevna protecting the West had been led by the Romanian King himself! 

Last but not least, this book is published online on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the eleventh year of the third millennium. Which can be a homage paid to Joycean coincidences, on condition that the book falls into the right hands. 

The volume A Lexicon of Romanian in Finnegans Wake, by C. George Sandulescu is available for consultation and downloading as from 11. 11. 2011 at the following internet address:


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