Annotations for Jerusalem by Alan Moore
Book 3 – Vernall’s Inquest – Round the Bend
- The Viewpoint of this chapter is Lucia Anna Joyce (1907-1982), dancer, artist, and daughter of the famed modernist author James Joyce.
- To the extent that the chapter can be said to take place at a specific time, it is the late 1970s. At this time, Lucia was living at St Andrews Hospital in Northampton (where she was an inmate from 1951 until her death).
- This chapter’s almost-cryptically dense style is inspired by that which James Joyce used in Finnegans Wake. The majority of words have been reshaped to create multiple layers of puns and allusions. This density will require special treatment to annotate.
- Firstly, due to length, this will be broken up into multiple pages (one for each narrative section), then paragraphs, sentences, and, finally, notes on individual words and phrases.
- Each section will be headed by a very brief summary of the action, followed by general notes upon the main characters and themes of that section.
- Each paragraph will be headed by a “translation” of that paragraph into straightforward English (in bold text). This translation should not be considered “definitive”; the very nature of the layered text makes such a thing impossible. At least two other such “translations” have been made prior to ours, and all three are different.
- Speaking of non-definitive-ness, for this chapter’s notes, we are more than ever open to contributions from commenters. In a text this deliberately multi-layered, it is difficult to say that any given interpretation is “not relevant”.
- Also, being immersed in his chapter tends to… alter… one’s perception of language. If you spot a typo, or places where the annotation doesn’t make sense, please don’t hesitate to request a fix.
- These notes include far more information than in any other chapter. Not everyone wants that level of detail. For those of you who are interested in the “high points”, these have been indicated in bold text.
- The chapter title “Round the Bend”, is a common expression meaning “crazy”. The question of the difference between sane and crazy is important throughout Jerusalem, and is central to this chapter.
- Throughout Jerusalem, Moore plays with the concepts of “bends” and “angles”, often in reference to higher-dimensional spaces that “normal” people cannot perceive.
- A “Bend” is usually sharp, in contrast to the curved, circular imagery of “Round”.
- Lucia’s journey in this chapter is a round circle, ending where she began, back in her hospital. In a larger sense, Moore’s Eternalism posits that all our journeys are circular in the same manner, always returning to our beginnings.
- Moore is inconsistent about whether the name of the hospital has an apostrophe or not. When directly translating, we follow his usage. In other notes, our own usage is also inconsistent.
- Boundless thanks are due to the folks at Wiktionary, whose work has been drawn on extensively for these notes. These must also be extended to obiwanspicoli, whose own translation of Round the Bend provided much useful insight, especially regarding matters relating to James Joyce.