From the Gazebo to the Outhouse

Donald F. Theall “Transformations of the Book in Joyce’s Dream Vision of Digiculture”
HJS Vol. 4 Issue 2 (2003-04)

Simultaneously Joyce associates the very nature of the manuscript and book with a fluidity. At various moments in the Wake he affiliates it: with illustration and ornamentation (e.g., the Book of Kells); with electrification and codification (“morse-erse wordybook”); with popular visual and auditory presentation (“comicsongbook”); and finally as a “gazebocroticon.” His fascination with the mechanics of the book is complemented by his awareness of its potentiality for metamorphoses. The ultimate comedy of such metamorphoses is Belinda the Hen, pecking up the letter (i.e., manuscript) from a dung heap (111.5ff), which is later simultaneously transformed into a multiplicity of media–newsreels, nursery rhymes, dreams, a diary, a wireless transmission of music (“bostoons”):

__ This nonday diary, this allnights newseryreel.
__ My dear sir! In this wireless age any owl rooster can peck up bostoons. (489.35-490.1)

Elsewhere in The Medium is the Rear View Mirror: Understanding McLuhan, Theall parses the portmanteau word thus

… a tetradomational gazebocroticon,” emphasizing its four part structure borrowed … forth as a “gazebocroticon” (gaze / book / rote (memorization) / wrote / icon)

But what if we split it into gazebo-croticon

A multilingual gloss…

Crotte (Larouse Dictionnaire Français-Anglais)
Crotte f. Dung, dropping (excrément). || Mud, dirt (boue). || CULIN. Chocolate. || AVIAT., POP. Bomb.

I can’t help be hearing in Joyce’s gazebocroticon an echo of Basilikon Doron.

A true “royal gift”. All “boc rot” — book rot — crotte indeed. The Joyce I read is highly scatalogical. There is no missing the whiff.

And so for day 2719

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