Novalis’ Monolog on language, the remarkable
text that Heidegger cites at the beginning and the end of “The Way
to Language”: “Speaking and writing are truly altogether foolish affairs;
genuine conversation is a mere play of words. We should simply be
astonished at the ridiculous error people make—they think that they
are speaking for the sake of the things. Precisely what is peculiar about
language—namely, the fact that it troubles itself about itself alone—
this no one knows” .
Quoiquoiquoiquoiquoiquoiqquoik!’’ (FW 195.5–6). Self-parodying the
nonsense of Finnegans Wake, Joyce turns the tongue associated with the
mother (here the mother as the possessor of the letter) into the meaningless
quacking of ducks, or a croaking and stammering French question
delivered as exclamation. Does Joyce imply that the ‘‘original’’ language
cannot be recovered? Is he alerting us to his strategy of encrypting the nullity
of the void into writing?