John Vernon Lord in The Guardian:
A new illustrated edition of Finnegans Wake, as imagined by artist John Vernon Lord for the Folio Society, matches James Joyce's extravagant word games with elaborately collaged pictures, shedding a brilliant new light on Irish literature's 'book of the dark'. Here, Lord explains the thinking behind the images.
This illustration is mostly based on the Latin episode when Shem mixes ‘ink’ from his own excrement and urine and ‘through the bowels of his misery’ he writes ‘over every square inch of the only foolscap available, his own body’. It appears that whilst Shem prepared the ‘ink’ he chanted ‘fermented words’, possibly 'Lingua mea calamus scribae velociter scribentis', which is from Psalm 45:1, ‘My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.’ This is represented in my version of a twelfth-century psalter illumination from St Albans. The expression ‘fermented words’ could of course be alluding to the text of Finnegans Wake itself, having the same initials as well as being something of a description of its text.