James Gifford odos.fanourios at gmail.com
Tue Aug 5 11:39:18 PDT 2008

Hi Phillip,

It's the OOMAHARUMOOMA passage, which is a paragraph from Joyce’s 
/Finnegans Wake/ (Miller, /Tropic/ 97; Joyce, /Finnegans/ 180).  Miller 
repeats the OOMAHARUMOOM later in the novel immediately followed by the 
dictum “Everything has to have a name” (259).  I think it's pretty 
clearly a gesture to Joyce, but I must admit I've not riddled out how it 
works or might work...  I'd say he'd ridiculing /Finnegans Wake/ since 
it's Nanatee trying to get Miller to say nonsense words, but I don't 
think it's entirely that simple either.  Partly, I'd read it as also 
showing how Miller through Joyce could be worked into a different 
aesthetic direction while retaining his verbal ingenuity.

Here are the volumes I used -- oh, and this isn't just my observation 
either.  It crops up in the criticism, but no one has ever really said 
much about it.

Joyce, James. /Finnegans Wake/. New York: Penguin, 1999.

Miller, Henry. /Tropic Of Cancer/. Toronto: Signet Classic-Penguin Books 
Canada, 1995.


Philip Walsh wrote:
> James wrote:
>>> ...Miller was very nasty about Joyce in his book on Lawrence
>>> (published in 1980, I believe, but written during his years in Paris),
>>> yet there's an entire paragraph of /Finnegans Wake/ in Miller's /Tropic
>>> of Cancer/, lifted verbatim. It's a particularly odd passage, so it's
>>> impossible Miller did it accidentally, nor does it come across as a
>>> 'good' moment so it seems unlikely to have been taken because Miller
>>> thought it a very fine passage -- it looks much more like a veiled
>>> allusion, but I must admit I don't know how it functions.
> I'm curious:  where in Tropic of Cancer is this passage?
> Thanks.
> Philip Walsh
> Ottawa, Canada
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