8.2 Part One of the Kaleidoscope Question - the Picture
9. Now, to be on anew and basking again in the panaroma of all flores of speech, if a human being duly fatigued by his dayety in the sooty, having plenxty off time on his gouty hands and vacants of space at his sleepish feet and as hapless behind the dreams of accuracy as any camelot prince of dinmurk, were at this auctual futule preteriting unstant, in the states of suspensive exanimation, accorded, throughout the eye of a noodle, with an earsighted view of old hopeinhaven with all the ingredient and egregiunt whights and ways to which in the curse of his persistence the course of his tory will had been having recourses, the reverberration of knotcracking awes, the reconjungation of nodebinding ayes, the redissolusingness of mindmouldered ease and the thereby hang of the Hoel of it [...]. (FW 143.3-15)
The initial half of the kaleidoscope question concerns the picture, and particularly the difficulty associated with viewing it, namely: the attempt which must be made by the reader to step outside time and view all time in the present. The 'human being', as reader of the Wake, 'fatigued by his dayety in the sooty', is both the singularity of the deity, albeit fallen in the soot, and one of the mass of descendant humans who undertake duties in the city. As 'he' is invited to 'byhold at ones what is main and why tis twain' (FW 143.18), namely the existence of an HCE singularity within the multitude. The Wake transcends the tension between the separate concepts of space and time by merging both into a textual simulation of compressed space and time. Space is compressed in the sense that the vast plurality of humanity is comprehended as a single family, and time similarly compressed, as the Wake's family romance represents all families across history. Here the ideal reader is outside time and above space, and is either a dead or deified HCE, for 'having plenxty off time on his gouty hands and vacants of space at his sleepish feet' (FW 143.5-6) he presides over the goats (Shem/time) and sheep (Shaun/space) as though at judgement day. Achieving such a perspective entails 'basking in the panaroma of all flores of speech' (FW 143.3-4), perceiving what is 'main' in the differences generated by both the sexual flowers of the rainbow girls and Shem's textual flowers of speech.
In the Wake's language, time is compressed into less than an instant, an 'unstant'. Roland McHugh similarly notes with respect to the hunting scene in Finnegans Wake that time is at a standstill:
Are you perhaps mistaken in assuming the experience of real time in this 'continuous present tense integument' (FW 186.01). At the beginning of I.2 the king and his retainers meet Earwicker carrying a flowerpot on a pole. Now compare (FW 194.6-10). They 'have not budged a millimetre and all that has been done has yet to be done and done again'.
As an artifact the Wake is frozen in time, and while it mimics the movement of time just as it enacts the sexual act of reproduction in Book III.4, it is dependent like Shem's art upon the sexual reproduction of the biological letter for its future audience. The masculine content of the Wake is held, much like the objects of ALP's sack, blurred within its female textuality, the linguistic container of HCE's family romance, and hence the description of those artifacts in the time scheme of the Wake as 'Blurry works at Hurdlesford' (FW 14.5). While HCE, as Tim or Time,3 is dependent upon space for his transmission through history, his unclear transmission in 'the states of suspensive exanimation' (FW 143.8-9) means that he is defenceless against successive reinterpretations and indeed literary recreation at the hand of Shem. Like Shakespeare's version of Hamlet, and Malory's romance of Arthur, he is 'as hapless behind the dreams of accuracy as any camelot prince of dinmurk' (FW 143.6-7).
Viewed through the eye of a needle, the vision afforded in part one of the kaleidoscope is an archaeological scene of heaven, a pinhole photograph of 'old hopeinhaven'. 'Hopeinhaven' alludes to Wellington's horse Copenhagen, and as horses in Finnegans Wake frequently allude to fallen great males who have an outside chance of return, the view is again of HCE. The picture of HCE is also described elsewhere in terms of a photograph of a horse: 'exhabiting that corricatore of a harss, revealled by Oscur Camerad' (FW 602.22-23) (also see below,*). This particular image of the 'old' heaven of Shaun's religion can be contrasted with a hypothetical 'new' female heaven from which is sourced the literary/sexual letter of the second half of the kaleidoscope question.
2 Roland McHugh, 'Recipis for the Price of a Coffin', in A Conceptual Guide to Finnegans Wake, ed. by Michael H. Begnal & Fritz Senn (University Park: Pennsylvania University Press, 1974), pp. 18-32 (p. 18).
3 Glasheen, Third Census, pp. 284-85.