J3.03 Round the Bend

Annotations for Jerusalem by Alan Moore
Book 3 – Vernall’s Inquest – Round the Bend

Lucia Joyce in her mermaid costume.
Lucia Joyce in her mermaid costume.
  • 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.

Page 884

Section 1 – Breakfast

Page 889

Section 2 – Illusionary Giorgio Joyce

Page 892

Section 3 – John Clare

Page 899

Section 4 – Chaplin films and dark days

Page 903

Section 5 – J. K. Stephen

Page 906

Section 6 – Ogden Whitney

Page 908

Section 7 – Malcolm Arnold

Page 911

Section 8 – Institutionalized

Page 913

Section 9 – The Nene Hag

Page 917

Section 10 -Cemetery

Page 919

Section 11 – Audrey Vernall

Page 924

Section 12 – Dusty Springfield

Page 929

Section 13 – Asylum Song


30 thoughts on “J3.03 Round the Bend”

  1. »Au goat! Know elmparking redding ›Round the Bend‹-cheap tear, wittitt’s Shame Choice inspirited Lewzzi Libb lounge age. Eye hopp my saintancy fill nut soff er tomb autsch.« — That I wrote on ›Goodreads‹ when I started this chapter.
    With phonetics molded along a heavy Irish brogue and spiced with »Finnegans Wake«-like free floating sound associations this chapter poses a dramatic difficulty spike. Until now I was reading »Jerusalem« out loud, at home, at work, on the go. But with this chapter I can’t do it. I crawl along the sentences like someone who just began learning to read.
    So for this chapter I resorted to the audiobook version performed by Simon Vance (who is doing a very fine job). This way, its much easier to follow the narration. I hope this will carry me through.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Notes on the 1st paragraph.

      I’ve not read any Joyce so I have no doubt there’s lots I’m missing. But in the second sentence we see the fun Moore is having here with mentions of puzzles and crosswords. Plenty of nods to Bunyan’s Pilgrims Progress (grimpill’s progress, bunyan/bunion, settee of destraction.

      “to mate the mournin’ son” seems to be both “meet the morning sun” and an allusion to an incestuous relationship with Giorgio. I believe neither he no Nora ever visited Lucia.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I also had difficulty with this chapter and had to resort to translating it into English, word by word, in order to read it at all. I’m sure I missed some nuances and proper names but its now a lot more intelligible. Translation available on request. If anyone else has an alternative translation I’d love to read it.


      1. No problems. I get the impression that Moore is playing a game here, creating a chapter that is so interleaved with meanings that annotations actually make things slightly less clear. If fully annotated this chapter would make a book in itself. My interpretation was simply an attempt to make a coherent narrative of the text, rather than fully explore it.


  3. @Rorshack: Chapeau for your efforts! I would like to read your encryption, too. I am optimistic, that I have a pretty good grasp of this chapter (understood maybe 60-75 % of it) after the using method described above (reading it while listening to the audio book).

    Today I bought the hardcover edition of »Jerusalem« and will enter the labyrinth a 2nd time at the end of march when I have a holiday. Then I will read and listen simultaniously through the whole yarn (60+ hours) in a couple of days.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Many thanks for sending your translation Roarshack. Looked pretty good to me and meant I could get out of the feelng of being stuck in mud and get on with the book! I’ll go back and read the chapter properly when I get around to it. I enjoyed the challenge to start wih but it was too long for me to keep it up 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. FYI, as soon as I finish my first pass on VotF (currently ~2/3 done), my plan is to dive into this chapter, as it’s clearly the one most in need of annotation.


    1. I’m not sure annotations will work on Round the Bend, given the multi-layered nature of the text. Too easy to lose sight of the story. My completed translation should be posted on the site soon. There is bound to be lots which needs further attention.





      1. Well, to a significant extent, annotations are about the trees more than about the forest. If you want the big picture, you probably don’t go first to annotations… but in a lot of cases, the details add up to give some insights on the overall picture.


  6. Thanks for the annotations, which help, though some of them seem to be amusingly off course! For example, p.11 of the first document has ‘from her areola to her arsehole’, whilst the 2nd document has ‘areola to areola’. I’m 99% sure it’s actually ‘from her areola to her hairy hole’, which makes a bit more sense. There’s quite a few of these, though I’m not sure of the best way of correcting them?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry it took so long to notice your comment was awaiting moderation. Commemts are the best way to tell US about errors, though we can’t control other people’s. I’ll be starting my own epic pass on this chapter within the next few days, though!


      1. I think this just demonstrates the nature of the chapter, where there is no one definitive correct translation. Multiple meanings, although not all equally valid or relevant.


  7. Paragraph 110
    ” I am Lucyhere Jusst” I thought that this is Lucia saying that she is Lucy from the Beatles’ song. She is surrounded by a wondrous world of ‘tangerine trees and marmalade skies’, but it is just here where she is Lucy. Just here might be just in the asylum grounds. It might be just in that particular part of the grounds or it might be just in that particular point in time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Entirely plausible. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds would be from the right time period and setting to have flitted through Moore’s mind at some point while writing this. But the fact that you can’t tell for sure is a tribute to the multi-multi-multi-layered style. It demonstrates once again that there is not, and cannot be, one definitive translation of this chapter. Only competing interpretations.


  8. This is indepensible in reading the Round the Bend chapter. Working with your notes is much like the way I finally made it through Joyce’s Ulysses at this time last year.

    Just one note:
    In the cemetary section at paragraph 153 you’re missing some text in the ‘translation’; it should read
    “With great relief, Lucia sees it is [somebody she recognises from the hospital and better yet it is] someone from her own period of time, which is to say, our past.”


      1. p164 being separated from p165, ‘2D’ could do with a forward reference to ‘deapthless vigure’, and the note about ‘strained’ could bring this together to clarify that, presumably, by losing a third physical dimension Lucia is able to travel through the fourth.


      2. On “the final white parade”, line 8 of p232, didn’t the earlier text refer to the gravestones all being white?

        I took that to mean that she couldn’t resist joining the dead (though, as your picture shows, in the end her own gravestone was not white)

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for all your notes! Sorry it took so long to get to them. The “final white parade” is an especially good catch! I’ve added most of them, with explicit credit on the more substantive ones. I did have a few disagreements.

      I don’t really see how “strained” fits with the changing dimensionality. Could you explain what you meant there?

      I’m pretty sure “access” is correct (though the usage is somewhat uncommon, and thus mentioned in the detailed notes).


  9. On p134, I’m bemused by the comment “Milly (possibly the name Lucia would have given a daughter?)”

    Where does that come from? Earlier Milly was Millybloom, I think – i.e. Molly (and Bloom is just a line or two down).

    Liked by 1 person

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