Monday, June 25, 2012

the answer to the game

I did a post on the word heliotrope on my other blog. It was really because of the Wake group that I did it, but I wrote it up for a more general crowd. You can find it HERE .It's interesting to me, because the text we are currently reading about the children's game is supposed to be littered with clues to the correct answer. I suppose I'd better go back and see if I can find some...

The Puns and Detritus in James Joyce’s “Ulysses” : The New Yorker

The Puns and Detritus in James Joyce’s “Ulysses” : The New Yorker:

Silence, Exile, Punning.....

'via Blog this'

Veiling the Image: Wake and Visual Art

Doug Argue is one of a number of artists who found inspiration in Finnegans Wake, carrying over some of the themes into other media.  (Of course Wake emulates music, theater, motion pictures, photography, telegraphy, radio, and television, just to name a few off the top.)  So why not a painting that is inspired by it?

Here's a press release from his current show:
Minnesota-born artist Doug Argue will present four monumental conceptual paintings in the main gallery. Argue is best known for his large-scale abstract paintings that explore infinite space with a scientific and mathematical foundation. Argue often incorporates text—as he equates letters to atoms—and rearranges them, constructing new meanings to found writing. More...
Here's his 9 1/2' X13 1/2' Hither and Thithering Waters of Night.   (I trust the title will sound familiar!)

Here's a page from his website where you can see a details blown up.

I borrowed the term, "veiling the image" from Jackson Pollock, who used it to describe his work. He had a process that often started out with archetypical images and figures as a starting point and went through an accumulative process of obscuration.  (An idea that sounds all too familiar.)

Pollock tended to improvise and therefore his art has more of the jazz musician or beat writer, but he was definitely aware of Joyce's way of layering and interlacing and was influenced by it.

The result was an effect that was highly interlaced, with no beginning and not end.  Much like the Book of Kells which
Joyce considered the closest visual analog to his work.

I just found out today that the Catholic church uses the term for placing veils over the sacred images during Lent.  (Thanks Google.)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The errors of genius

I'm still absorbed in the Declan Kiberd book Ulysses and Us, but I wanted to mention something he wrote that clarified something we'd all been talking about at one point. The way I remember our discussion (as opposed to what was actually said), we all were rather fascinated by a claim Joyce made that genius made no errors, because if a genius made an error, it was used in a way that was no longer an error. I'm pretty sure Joyce was a genius, but I got stuck on this idea, baffled by what it meant.

Kiberd talks about exactly this point. He says that in June 1904, Joyce had an encounter with a man like Bloom, the details of which are largely unrecorded."It is as if Joyce were seeking to recapture that passing moment and asking how it might have developed, before that other major event of June 1904 took over his life."

He goes on to say that Ulysses is a book obsessed with missed or insufficiently developed encounters. He says that it is "trying to restore to lost moments of history a sense of the multiple possibilities that might have flowed from them, before a single subsequent event took on the look of inevitability."

I think it's in this context of multiplicity that it's helpful to to notice Stephen Dedalus's observation that, as Kiberd paraphrases it, "a man of genius sees every error as a portal of a new discovery, an aid to the understanding of the world. We go wrong, but only in order to go right."

A wise maxim, I think for anyone involved in reading Finnegans Wake.  

Thursday, June 21, 2012

BBC podcasts

I'll get back to the Wake shortly, but my head seems to still be in Bloomsday. I've been reading Declan Kiberd's very interesting Ulysses and Us in my spare moments, and recommend taking a look at it.

I also just remembered that John had downloaded the BBC's dramatic renditions of Ulysses, and we listened to the one that centered around Barney Kiernan's pub. Excellent adaptation--the text is cut to fit, but it's all Joyce. Anyway, you have about a week or so to download it for free HERE .

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Garden Path Sentences

I was trying to think of examples of this for the group the other evening, and even though I had just written about them on another blog under parse, I failed.

A garden path sentence leads the reader to think he or she is reading one kind of meaning, but ends up reading another.

Some examples:

The man whistling tunes pianos.

The old dog the footsteps of the young.

The man who hunts ducks out on the weekend.

Got it?

I'm not sure if Joyce ever used these, but I'm fairly sure he would have enjoyed them.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Stanny--more reflections on Bloomsday

We had a great evening last night, sitting in John's beautiful home in the mountains and going through many forms of appreciating Bloomsday. I realized that it's time to read Ulysses again. It is going to seem a whole lot easier.

But watching the video at the end of the evening, I was struck again by the way that other people had to suffer for his art. I had always known that his brother Stanislaus was a bit harried by having to help his brother out. But it sounds a bit worse than that.

I always feel a bit uneasy about the fates that befall the families of famous artists. Nabokov: famous. His brother died in a concentration camp. Nabokov didn't do a particularly good job of acknowledging that. So Stanislaus didn't have it quite so bad, but I wouldn't say he had it easy either.

I think what bothered me about the video was that people describing the relationship on the video, and all the relationships that succored Joyce, really, had a bit of a chuckle about what a mess he made of their lives. I know artists' lives tend to be untidy and it's not always easy on those around them. But sometimes I think the knowing, rueful laugh by their devotees about the 'less important lives' of those who lived with them and made their success possible is a bit wrongheaded. Maybe just a moment of silent thanks to them would be more appropriate.

I just learned today that Stanislaus, who did indeed love and support his brother, even if they fought sometimes, died on June 16th, 1955.

In other words, on Bloomsday.  

Post Bloomsday Thoughts, Bloom and the Dublin Jewish Community

I had a great time, and hopefully everyone (like Moses) met with success in coming down from the mountain.
Grave of an unknown Jew in Castletroy, Limerick
Speaking of Moses--

 “Mendelssohn was a jew and Karl Marx was a jew and Mercadante and Spinoza. And the Saviour was a jew and his father was a jew....”

Seana raised an interesting question last night as to just how many Jews there were in Dublin in 1904.  

So I turned to my good friend Wikipedia. (No, it turns out, Bloom would not have been the only Jewish man in Dublin--although the Jewish population was small. )

It appears that there has been a small Jewish community in Ireland since about the thirteenth century:

By 1232, there was probably a Jewish community in Ireland, as a grant of 28 July 1232 by King Henry III to Peter de Rivel gives him the office of Treasurer and Chancellor of the Irish Exchequer, the king's ports and coast, and also "the custody of the King's Judaism in Ireland".[3] This grant contains the additional instruction that "all Jews in Ireland shall be intentive and respondent to Peter as their keeper in all things touching the king".[4] The Jews of this period probably resided in or near Dublin.

As to the Jewish population of Dublin at the time of Ulysses, it was about 2200. In the first decade of the twentieth century, there was a significant growth in the Jewish population in Ireland, increasing from 3,771 to about 4,800 from 1901 to June 16, 1904:
There was an increase in Jewish immigration to Ireland during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In 1871, the Jewish population of Ireland was 258; by 1881, it had risen to 453. Most of the immigration up to this time had come from England or Germany. In the wake of the Russian pogroms there was increased immigration, mostly from Eastern Europe (in particular Lithuania). By 1901, there were an estimated 3,771 Jews in Ireland, over half of them (2,200) residing in Dublin; and by 1904, the total Jewish population had reached an estimated 4,800. New synagogues and schools were established to cater for the immigrants, many of whom established shops and other businesses. Many of the following generation became prominent in business, academic, political and sporting circles.

The former Jewish school in Bloomfield Avenue, Portobello, Dublin.

Daniel O'Connell is best known for the campaign for Catholic Emancipation; but he also supported similar efforts for Jews. In 1846, at his insistence, the British law "De Judaismo", which prescribed a special dress for Jews, was repealed. O’Connell said: "Ireland has claims on your ancient race, it is the only country that I know of unsullied by any one act of persecution of the Jews".

During the Great Famine (1845–1852), in which approximately 1 million Irish people died, many Jews helped to organize and gave generously towards Famine relief. A Dublin newspaper, commenting in 1850, pointed out that Baron Lionel de Rothschild and his family had,
“ ...contributed during the Irish famine of 1847 ... a sum far beyond the joint contributions of the Devonshires, and Herefords, Lansdownes, Fitzwilliams and Herberts, who annually drew so many times that amount from their Irish estates.[9]
Since Ireland's Jews were city folk, businessmen, professionals and merchants, they bought their food instead of growing it and were thus not badly affected by the famine themselves.

Generally Ireland treated its Jewish population better than many other European countires. Sadly, Daniel O'Connel's assertion of Irish tolerance was not fully justified. The year 1904 saw the Limerick pogram, which caused Jews to leave Limerick for other cities. This was probably never far from on Joyce's mind when writing the Cyclops episode:

The boycott in Limerick in the first decade of the twentieth century is known as the Limerick Pogrom, and caused many Jews to leave the city. It was instigated by an influential intolerant Catholic priest, Fr. John Creagh of the Redemptorist Order. 

In 1904 a young Catholic priest, Father John Creagh, of the Redemptorist order, delivered a fiery sermon castigating Jews for their rejection of Christ, being usurers[27] and allies of the Freemasons then persecuting the Church in France, taking over the local economy, selling shoddy goods at inflated prices, to be paid for in installments. He urged Catholics "not to deal with the Jews."[27]Later, after eighty Jews had been driven from their homes, Creagh was disowned by his superiors saying that: religious persecution had no place in Ireland.[28] The Limerick Pogrom was the economic boycott waged against the small Jewish community for over two years. Keogh suggests the name derives from their previous Lithuanian experience even though no one was killed or seriously injured.[27] Limerick's Protestant community, many of whom were also traders, supported the Jews throughout the pogrom, but ultimately Limerick's Jews fled the city.[29]

A teenager, John Raleigh, was arrested by the British and briefly imprisoned for attacking the Jews' rebbe, but returned home to a welcoming throng. Limerick's Jews fled. Many went to Cork, where trans-Atlantic passenger ships docked at Cobh. They intended to travel to America. The people of Cork welcomed them into their homes. Church halls were opened to feed and house the refugees. As a result many remained. Gerald Goldberg, a son of this migration, became Lord Mayor of Cork.

The boycott was condemned by many in Ireland, among them the influential Standish O'Grady in his paper All Ireland Review, depicting Jews and Irish as "brothers in a common struggle"...
Joe Briscoe, son of Robert Briscoe, the Dublin Jewish politician, describes the Limerick episode as “an aberration in an otherwise almost perfect history of Ireland and its treatment of the Jews”.[13]

Famous Irish Jews
Chaim Herzog.png Mario Rosenstock crop.jpg
Gustav Wilhelm Wolff.jpg David Rosen.jpg
LouisBookman.png Daniel Day-Lewis 2007.jpg Geraldygoldberg2.jpg
Wolfgang Heidenfeld 1960 Hessen ArM.jpg Ronit.jpg Alan Shatter.jpg Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog 1945 portrait.jpg
Chaim Herzog • Mario Rosenstock • Gustav Wilhelm Wolff • David Rosen • Louis Bookman • Daniel Day-Lewis • Gerald Goldberg • Wolfgang Heidenfeld • Ronit Lentin • Alan Shatter • Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog

It turns out that the sixth President of Israel, Chaim Herzog was Irish...

All quotations, above are from the Wikipedia History of the Jews in Ireland and other Wikipedia links off the main article. 

I also found that the Irish Jewish community has a website:

Friday, June 15, 2012

Joyce Papers: National Library of Ireland

The Irish National Library in Dublin has recently released lots of digital copies of drafts of various Joycean works to celebrate Bloomsday 2012.  Shout out to Phillip in the James Joyce Reading Group on Goodreads for this tip.

The Joyce Papers 2002, c.1903-1928.

Early material; drafts etc. of Ulysses; proofs etc. for Finnegans Wake; the Joyce 2002 Papers fall into three broad categories: early material; notes and drafts for Ulysses; and proofs and additions to proofs for Finnegans Wake. In all there are over 500 manuscript pages and some 200 pages of proofs, together with some typescripts....

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

St. Brides

I just saw a post of a rather extraordinary image of the Irish saint St. Bride and I thought I'd share it with you and there is much Wakean about it.  I had no intention of talking about St Brides, until this moment, but she does show up all over the Wake, and this image got me going.

The leap year girls of St Brides are associated with the rainbow girls and Iseult/Issy/Isobel.

Her magic transportation partakes of the spirit of the dreamer.

The gulls below take on many appearances in Finnegans Wake, it being a coastal book, most famously crying out their three quarks for the cockolded King Mark aka dreg drugged HCE, and lending a name to one of the most famous families of subatomic particles.

The stories of Viconian ideal history are written onto the body and its perceptions, (remember Shem writing on himself) and there seems to be a bit of that here in this image.  The robes of the angels do double duty, and portray the Life of Christ.

Here's the information I found about this picture.  It was a Facebook post, so I don't know what the original source material is.

John Duncan (Scottish painter) 1866 - 1945
St. Bride, 1913
tempera on canvas 
119.38 x 142.24 cm. (47 x 56 in.)
National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh

According to the legend of the Irish Saint Bride she was transported miraculously to Bethlehem to attend the nativity of Christ. Here two angels carry the white robed saint across the sea. The seascape reflects Duncan's fascination with the Outer Hebrides and the Isle of Iona. The birds and seal provide an effective naturalistic foil for the supernatural angels overlapping the patterned border. Scenes from the life of Christ decorate the angel's robes, and may include the artist's self-portrait as the tiny clown (a holy fool) accompanying the procession of the magi on the leading angel's gown.

Wikipedia tells us "Saint Brigid of Kildare, or Brigit of Ireland (variants include Brigid, Bridget, Bridgit, Bríd and Bride), nicknamed Mary of the Gael(Irish: Naomh Bríd) (c. 451–525) is one of Ireland's patron saints along with Saints Patrick and Columba."

Alarmingly, her birthday is February 1.  That pairs her directly with Joyce himself, who was born on February 2. "Brigit's skull has been preserved in Igreja São João Baptista Lumiar (38°46′29″N 9°09′55″E.[2]), the church of St Joao Baptista at Lumiar near Lisbon airport in Portugal since 1587 and is venerated on 2nd February (not 1st February, as in Ireland).[28] "  There's even a connection with Joyce's eye problems (28 operations, I seem to recall), which did not prevent him from pursuing his artistic revelation; "in the first and second troparia of the fourth ode of the canon of the saint from the Orthodox Matins service:
Considering the beauty of the body as of no account, when one of thine eyes was destroyed thou didst rejoice, O venerable one, for thou didst desire to behold the splendour of heaven and to glorify God with the choirs of the righteous."
"Brigit may have been born in Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland. Because of the legendary quality of the earliest accounts of her life, there is much debate among many secular scholars and even faithful Christians as to the authenticity of her biographies. According to her biographers her parents were Dubhthach, a Pagan chieftain of Leinster, and Brocca, a Christian Pict and slave who had been baptised by Saint Patrick. Some accounts of her life suggest that Brigit's father was in fact from Lusitania, kidnapped by Irish pirates and brought to Ireland to work as a slave, in much the same way as Saint Patrick. Many stories also detail Brigit's and her mother's statuses as pieces of property belonging to Dubhthach, and the resulting impact on important parts of Brigit's life story."

"Brigit was adopted as an icon by 20th century feminists who admire her achievement in a patriarchal society. Her political proponents included Maud Gonne and Inghinidhe na hÉireann who promoted her as a model for women." This is fascinating given the current controversy between the women of religious orders and the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy.

This article is fascinating and I could only go into a few tidbits here.  I am sure of tons of this appear in the Wake.  Somewhere.  Or other. For future reference, it's: