I have received the occasional pm over the past 5 or 6 years, remarking on my user name. Several of my friends , when lately looking up my postings on the net, have noted the recent addition of the name Patterjack to articles about dog breeds. NB -- in this situation it has a capital . It has made me the happy subject of some friendly wit, including references to the creature natterjack as well, which is native to Ireland. I hope the following will suffice as an explanation of my choice of the word.
My early university years from 1946, as well as continuing my acquaintance with the classics in both English and Latin, introduced me to a whole new world both in poetry and prose. I was in my opinion very lucky to study in courses that involved both classic prose and poetry, but with the added great advantage of a first meeting with the world of modern authors and poets. The poets influenced my later works much more than did the prose writers, but I gained new insights into the Augustans like Swift from the classical prose studies, and into modern trends with such authors as Woolf, Joyce, and dos Passos. These latter kept me fascinated with the structure of their work in particular.
Classics like the Homeric tales with modern applications in Ulysses , automatically led to my willingness to tackle Finnegans Wake . I chose it as the general subject of my Honours year thesis in 1949 , and within a few pages found myself engaged with the story of Dean Swift and the two women who so much influenced his life , Stella and Vanessa -- or in real life , Hester and Esther . Not only was Swift deeply involved in the Irish question , ( see his Modest Proposal ! ) but he was an early writer in English in Ireland . Joyce on the other hand at that time of my life was the end product of a long line of Irish writers. It was inevitable that, considering them then as Alpha and Omega, I was able to explore the Swift theme throughout the Wake.
Swift and the pair of young women fitted admirably into the story of HCE and the seductive young women who brought about his downfall.
Not only that , but the crossover of the exile theme: Swift exiled to Ireland , Joyce self-exiled from Ireland; their common use of satire; their preoccupation with religion; and a strong scatological bent, made them an ideal choice for me to expound upon.
Very early in the Wake, in the tick of time between Viconian cycles, there are references to twone nathanjoe and vanessy -- and still more Swift references until page 7 where the word patterjackmartins is used . This reference is to Swift's religious satire A Tale of a Tub , in which he compares the three major religions of his time. (There are as well references to other themes in this quote, portmanteau-ed in !)
with her issavan essavans and her patterjackmartins about all them inns and ouses. Tilling a teel of a tum, telling a toll of a teary turrty Taubling
The Wake itself has been described as a kind of Tale of a Tub as well.
The Wake was written from 1917 on the continent during Joyce's self-exile from Ireland. He said , in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man : Ireland is the old sow that eats her own farrow.
FW was published in 1939 (although there had been evaluations of the incomplete material by several authors, in for example Our Exagmination Round His Factification For The Incamination of Work in Progress (as it was then known)
So, in 1949 I began my thesis , ten years after the publication of the Wake. I read and re-read the book many times. Since that time the Joyce Industry has expanded , notably in America, but also ironically in Ireland itself, considering Joyce's self exile thence.
So I had already become fond of the word patterjack for its sound (but the third name made it too long for my use ) and have often used it since .
For my friends , I have researched the dog breed's name and that seems to have come into use only post 1950 , though this is not definite.
However there are no references to be found in the Wake to the Patterjack dog .
I trust that this clarifies matters for those who politely inquired.