Pg. 343 of David Markson’s copy of Forces in Modern British Literature: 1885-1946 by William York Tindall:
On which Markson underlined parts of the following sentence about Joyce’s Finnagans Wake:
“Its subject is what is most important: man, woman, love, and children, death and resurrection, sin and repentance, sleeping and waking, and the preoccupations of modern man, time, space, relativity, flux, and the unconscious.”
“A hundred cares, a tithe of troubles, and is there one who understands me?”
A quote from Finnegans Wake.
That appears in Markson’s The Last Novel on pg. 187.
As Markson (on pg. 13 of his The Last Novel) describes Beckett describing Finnegans Wake:
“He is not writing about something; he is writing something.
Said Samuel Beckett re Joyce.”
Markson on Finnegans Wake in his study of Lowry (Malcolm Lowry’s Volcano: Myth Symbol Meaning, pgs. 3-4):
“Joyce more than one remarked, for example, that his identification with of Leopold Bloom with Odysseus occurred because the latter is literature’s ‘complete man.’ Yet Bloom is not Odysseus solely; almost as if in afterthought he is equated with the ghost of Hamlet’s father, or again with Christ. And it was through these ‘incidental’ parallels that Joyce took a clue from himself, as it were, in establishing the far more inclusive mythic scheme of Finnegans Wake. There we have no single predominating mythic analogy. The dreaming H. C. Earwicker is the legendary Irish figure Finn MacCool to be sure, but by deliberate extension he is an incalculable number of others from Moses to Dean Swift—‘Here Comes Everybody,’ as his initials proclaim. The concept remains immensely provocative: Any man’s myth increases me, for I am ‘Mankinde.’
But was Earwicker’s improbable dream necessary? Foregoing traditional chronology, much of contemporary writing demands to be read as we look at a mural: where individual stanzas or even lines may bear no immediate relationship to those nearest them, they hold their decisive, reflexive place in the whole when viewed spatially. Yet with a volume the length of Finnegans Wake, such perception requires a kind of intellectual peripheral vision. A perspective can certainly be achieved, nor does it cost that lifetime of dedication Joyce half-seriously asked of the ideal reader. Nonetheless Joyce’s own shifting focus begs the question: if the ‘multimythic’ richness of Finnegans Wake is what the novelist is after, must he cease to be novelist? Can this wealth of prototypal allusion, which after all evokes nothing if not the essence of man’s creative tradition—which is man—be integrated into a fictional form that is itself traditional?
After Joyce, it can.”
Markson, on pg. 140 of his novel Reader’s Block, mentions Finnegans Wake in a reference to an explanation as to what the book (Reader’s Block) might be:
“Also in part a distant cousin innumerable times removed of A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake?
Obstinately cross-referential and of cryptic interconnective syntax in any case.”
Markson later says of This Is Not A Novel, on pg. 185 of This Is Not A Novel, when listening things that book might possibly be:
“Or even his synthetic personal Finnegans Wake, if Writer so decides.”
“It cannot be disguised from the reader that, however light and gay, this book is difficult.”
The above scan says before the part Markson underlined.
A hundred cares, a tithe of troubles, and is there one who understands me?