Annotations for Jerusalem by Alan Moore
Book 3 – Vernall’s Inquest – Round the Bend
- This chapter’s almost-cryptically dense style is inspired by that which James Joyce used in Finnegans Wake. Practically every word has been reshaped to create 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. 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.
- This chapter’s viewpoint character is Lucia Anna Joyce (1907-1982).
- To the extent that the chapter can be said to take place at a specific time, it is xxx. At this time, Lucia was an inmate at St Andrews Hospital in Northampton (where she was incarcerated from 1951 until her death).
- 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.
- Boundless thanks are due to the folks at Wiktionary, whose work has been drawn on extensively for these notes.
Section 5 – J K Stephen
Section 6 – Ogden Whitney
Section 7 -Matthew Arnold
Section 8 –
Section 9 – The Nene Hag
Section 10 –
Section 11 – Audrey Vernall
Section 12 – Dusty Springfield
Section 13 – Asylum Songs
- The song is “You Are My Asylum” – by Alan Moore, Downtown Joe Brown and the Retro Spankees.