Saturday, 27 February 2016

Portmanteau (February)

‘The turrises of the sabines are televisible.’ Finnegans Wake is one big travelling bag of portmanteaux. Even common words are reconverted, so inhabitants become ‘the unhappitents of the earth’, living ‘between antediluvious and annodominant’, where earth is ‘solarsystemised, seriolcosmically’. Joyce knew Jung; he joked about ‘the law of the jungerl’: ‘she jist does hopes till byes will be byes.’ Portmanteau’s a compound of French carry plus mantle, which is how words work. Born in a February Week, Joyce was a compounder and citer who thought ‘the world’s a cell for citters to cit in’ and ‘that’s what makes life-work leaving.’

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