La Guerre, Yes Sir!

Jacques Derrida
trans. Geoff Bennington
“Two Words for Joyce”
In Post-Structuralist Joyce: Essays from the French
edited by Derek Attridge and Daniel Ferrer

Derrida comments at length on HE WAR — two words from Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. At one point he notes

One is constrained to say it either in English or else in German, it cannot therefore be received as such by the ear. The homography retains the effect of confusion, it shelters the Babelism which here, then, plays between speech and writing.

Makes us attempt a French version.

Naguère il

In the notes Derrida points to the translation by Philippe Lavergne which was not known to him at the time of his talk. We may have had more on temporality had that been the case. Lavergne renders the words as “Et il en fut ainsi” — much more biblical and context sensitive to the scene…

Mais, moi, je fuis …

I am waving a white flag and retreating from treating the whole of the Wake.

And so for day 2635

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