James Joyce was time-obsessed. He approached his birthdays as though they were holy shrines. He placed the fifteen stories forming Dubliners in an ordination which mimics the grand stages of an individual's passage through time, through childhood, that is, and on through adolescence, maturity, and public life until, in the last story, we pass through a doorway into the land of the dancing dead. It is the same doorway a young boy stares at in fear on the first pages of the first story. Throughout Dubliners, even though the names and faces change in each tale, we have a clear sense that a meter is running in the background.
Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man begins "Once upon a time and a very good time it was . . ." A story begins with the telling of another story, and it gives you the sense of some time kicking into being. By the final leaf of Portrait, the reality of experience is on its way for the "millionth time," and the boy is grown.
Ulysses is about a specific day which, like all days, must for the duration of its brief candle carry whatever residue of the past will exist as the future. By the end of the first paragraph of Ulysses, we know what time of that day it is. It is a few hours after daybreak, signaled by the mild morning air.
Finnegans Wake on page three brings us back around to when some things that happened a long time ago have not happened again . . . yet. Is there any real time at all in the Wake? Maybe.
Time in the modern world has devolved into measurement, to accounts of pure quanta. Such time is easily recorded in ways which preclude any possibility of one time's being mistaken for another. If such standard time appears in the Wake, then a given time could be a Friday or a Sunday, for example, but never both. This does not sound like something we are likely to find in Finnegans Wake, and generally we don't, neither by implication, nor by the author's stating the time in any form of chronological notation. Actual instances of recordable time are almost non-existent in the Wake, and there is only one true date of record in the entire book: "31 Jan. 1132 A.D." on page 420 line 20.
Other years, days, times of day, aeons, yugas, and bank holidays may be sensed through a grey mist in the Wake. They will range from obvious intentions of the author to hallucinatory eisegetics of the fifth kind, which are probably also the author's intent, but only once do we really know exactly where we are on the timeline of history. The last day of the first month of 1132.
Joycean studies have failed to come up with even a clue as to why this date is in the Wake. You will have no trouble at all understanding or believing the significance of my thesis, but generally perceptive English teachers have contributed so much of great value to Joycean studies that it is often difficult for them to accept having missed something so essential.
To discover what Joyce had in mind with 1132, one must scramble up the slippery slopes of calendrics, wrestle with the smooth and smoky convolutions of Ecclesiastical Computation, and take the requisite 20+ years to internally incorporate the philosophical axioms of Sephardic Qabalism in order to make sure they don't apply. You must embrace hagiography with the open-hearted spirit of a novitiate, yet listen to fairy tales with the seriousness of a saint. After all this comes Irish history, which is where the dragon's casque really lies.
All the times a reasonable person spends gathering degrees, playing at sports, constructing a career, enjoying the company of others . . . I wasted all those opportunities trying to discover what 31 Jan. 1132 A.D. means. You, on the other hand, need only be someone whose intelligence is ready to play.
1132 A.D. first appears in the Wake at 013.33. The Sepher Yetzirah identifies 32 as the number of strands from which all the universe is woven. 32 and 11 are prominent in Ulysses. One should not, however, overly confuse the many identities of 11 and 32 with the year named 1132. The author emphasizes this in attaching A.D. to the 1132's on pages 013 and 014. Anno Domini technically identifies a date as liturgical time. In Ireland in 1132, all time was liturgical time. Monks were the recorders.
1132 is repeated later in the passage. Another date seems also to be given twice, 566 A.D. It is seemingly a date, but in truth, 566 is only an arithmetical function of 1132, of which it is the half. 566 A.D. allows us to perceive, within the passage under discussion, a time which has a central point at which the referents change in such a manner as to appear to cause time to reverse its flow.
A good deal of the passage on 013-014 is powered by an implied wordplay on the name of Dublin's fair city, and "doubling," the act of multiplying something by two. Each of the four standard-format paragraphs ends with some form of the name of Dublin from the city's past. Thus Dublin itself is shown doubling its names, and doubling the doubling. 11 itself doubles the digits called "one," one one doubling to two ones, and 32 is two times two times two times two times two, or more properly, 2 to the power of five. 32 is the product of four doublings. Two, the duple number, duplicates itself as 4, 8, 16 . . . the 4th doubling yields 32. That is fortuitous, and the author plays upon it by thus ending each of the four standard paragraphs in 013.33 through 014.15 with a duplicate name for that town from which he'd fled with such fond regrets. These are rich areas of the Wake's wake to sift, but in a tome so short on times noted within the standard continuum, that continuum which places a day within the history of, say, the last 4.5 to 5 millennia or so -- in a tome in fact which seems only to have one single day of true record . . . certainly we can ill afford not to assume that that date of record is what it appears to be on its face beyond all else: the day in history called 1132 January the 31st.
1132 can be viewed as the year 1132 and be quite harmonic with the doubling themata. 1132 doubles 566. If these numbers were musical frequencies per second, then 1132 would be the musical octave of 566, just as a vocalist's high C results when the vocal chords vibrate twice as rapidly as they must vibrate to produce a middle C. This doubling terminology occurs in liturgical time, which refers to New Year's Day as the Octave of Christmas. More importantly, 566 A.D. furnishes two essential signposts by doubling itself in double ways. By doubling numerically, 566 becomes its octave, 1132. By doubling itself clone-wise, the 566 A.D. of page 013 line 36 reappears at page 014 line 07 as another 566 A.D. in a mirror of time on the far side of
(014.06), ten lines from the first and last -- the passage's equipoise.
By appearing a second time before and on the way, as it were, to 1132 A.D. (014.11), the second 566 A.D. informs us of something we could not have known from two, or any number of paragraphs, labeled only 1132 A.D. What we would not have realized without the second and third paragraphs' being introduced by the 566 A.D.'s is that the several appearances of 1132 A.D. are interrupted by intervals during which time reverses itself.
As it is, the way in which 1132 A.D. halves itself by flowing back to 566 A.D., then reaches through the non-standard indentation area of the
to duplicate itself in a reverse order, enhances the concrete nature of the text in this passage, giving it a visual shape.
To iterate . . . .
Four standard paragraphs. Each is introduced by a quasi date. The first and last dates are 1132 A.D. Within the framework of the 1132's are two 566's. At the center of the passage's 19 lines is a single word which is center-justified. Centrality is further highlighted by parentheses. The word is
We have a
center, but we can see it.
This balanced center -- which is
-- seems to reverse the flow of time. Is that possible?
Time generally is measured in terms of some fixed point in the past. We usually don't call February "one until next March." But sometimes we do. And to the extent that time is simply a measurement, we can reverse it. This occurs in liturgical time, which measures its time FROM Christmas but TOWARD Easter.
Now Christmas is a fixed holy day, being for some centuries the 25th day of December. Easter is a moveable celebration, being dependent on the phases of the visible lunar month, a 29.5 day period which does not resolve easily, if at all, into the standard solar years of 365 and 366 days. Liturgical time is measured from Christmas for forty days, at which time the ancient Marian feast of Candlemas arrives on February the 2nd (French: la Chandeleur). Since leap day does not occur that early in the year, Candlemas is also fixed -- that is, always on February 02. The Church encourages the actual celebration to be on the closest Sunday, so Candlemas and Candlemas Sunday can be one or more days apart.
The countdown to Easter goes on for 63 days, encompassing the 23 days leading from Septuagesima Sunday toward Ash Wednesday, and the forty Lenten days culminating in Easter Sunday. Since Easter does not have a fixed date, Septuagesima Sunday can occur over a range of several weeks from late January through mid-February. This necessitated picking a fixed date for the reversal of time. Due to the wandering dates of the Septuagesima, the honour fell to Candlemas, and Candlemas is called the liturgical New Year's Day. When things go just right, as they do from time to time, then Septuagesima Sunday and Candlemas Sunday will fall on the same day, as was the case at the birth of James Joyce, who was born in 1882 on the Thursday preceding Candlemas Sunday.
Since his day of nativity was February the second, Mr Joyce was in fact born on Candlemas day itself, as well as having the good fortune of his first Sunday's being both Candlemas Sunday and Septuagesima Sunday as well.
James Joyce was born at the liturgical point where time comes into perfect balance, and then reverses its flow, and he was born into a year in which that point of balance was at it most balanced point. Mr Joyce was not the sort of man who takes no note of such things.
center of the passage of time on pages 013.33-014.15 is then Candlemas, Mr Joyce's treasured day of birth, to the extent that we are reading on the allegorical plane. It is a liturgical time, and the old liturgical calendar's day for celebrating the point at which time comes into balance through a reversal. Thus neither the evolutionary theories of our age, nor devolutionary ones of the ancients and Vico are favoured. You can more or less see the thing just by looking at it.
Does this move us at all toward any understanding of the dynamics of 1132 January the 31st? Yes, a little. In 1132, Candlemas Sunday fell on January the 31st. Septuagesima Sunday fell a week later, on February the 7th, becoming in a sense the octave of Candlemas Sunday.
Candlemas itself, the second of February, came between, in a nice little central pocket just like we see on page 014 around the word silent. In terms of Ecclesiastical Computation, 1132 was a good year.
As for now, we are somewhere downriver from the Garden. We still are coming around the bend. But does anybody in Finnegans Wake have the time?
Yes, it is first presaged by giving its year several times on pages 013 and 014, and eventually, after many adventures, some still to come, the date of record is given with simple and, for the Wake, a rather uncharacteristic clarity, on page 420 line 20. If you absolutely must know, the time in Finnegans Wake is 31 Jan. 1132 A.D. It is the holy eve of Candlemas Sunday, which in 1132 could still be held as a nocturnal vigil past midnight, leading to dancing and singing in the streets until dawn in a place such as Ireland. It's not the same anymore . . . well, not the same except of course in certain ways.
As to why 1132 A.D. rather than other years . . . that is yet to be truly answered. It is the subject of a second part to this, the first, in which I read an entry in one of the chronicles of Ireland from the 12th century, and via Giraldus Cambrensis' description written several decades later of Saint Brighid of Kildare's miraculous edition of Jerome's evangelical concordance, cite various seeming harmonies in Finnegans Wake.
Foriver For Allof -- the Ravisht Timing A'Bride
by the Riverend Clarence R Sterling -- © 2001
Part the Second
". . . one of the major difficulties in dealing with Finnegans Wake is that it is impossible to keep strictly to any particular theme as all the themes are so carefully interwoven." James Atherton. Books at the Wake. (ii)
" . . . certain numbers -- of which 1132 is the most prominent -- have a mystical value which has still not been satisfactorily explained." Ibidem.
The first narrative draft for Finnegans Wake, the Roderick O'Conor vignette (ascribed to 1923 March 10), is set in the Irish 12th century. Joyce seemed attracted from the start to the 1100's in terms of his work in progress.
But let's face it.
31 Jan. 1132 A.D. is not really the date of record for Finnegans Wake. What would that even mean . . . the date of the night during which the dreamer dreaming the text sleeps? The date the dreamer dreams it is but isn't? It is simply the only date of record found within the meandering text.
Reading anywhere in the Wake quickly establishes that both time and location in the Wake are basically mythopoetic. As we turn the first leaf, all we know is that it is about half past Adam and Eve.
Yet we find diverse particles of this date given on page 420 throughout the book, often as elements of other motives, so we have the right to ask, "Why 1132?"
The cortex of all the cognitive clusters within which we see 1132 hithering and thithering is in fact a date intimately connected with the 31st of January in 1132, but thirty days earlier. Be faithful, and we will sift it.
The radix from which all time in Finnegans Wake radiates is 1132 January the 1st, as drawn from an entry in the ancient Irish Annals of Loch Cé:
"The kalends of January on the 6th feria, the 10th of the moon; the age of the Lord thirty-two years, and a hundred and a thousand. The abbot's house of Cill-Dara was captured by the Ui-Ceinnselaigh against the comarb of Bríghid, and burned, and a large part of the church, and a great many were slain there; and the nun herself was carried off a prisoner, and put into a man's bed." (iii)The entry describes a specific and awful event at a specific time and place -- an evil deed intended to desanctify an ancient Celtic college and its Abbess(iv).
Thus the first night of 1132 initiated the end of an ecclesiastical era during which the Celtic camp dominated the church in Ireland, a 700 year period harking back to St Patrick's second Irish arrival in 432, and encompassing the Synod of Whitby and the times of the early saints and wandering monks, up to the establishment of the schoolmen and the reforms associated with Malachy, Anselm, and Bernard.
The Rape of the Abbess of Kildare at the orders of Diarmaid Mac Murchadha, the Uí Cinnsealach, initiated that warlord's long bid for the control of Leinster. On January the 1st of 1132, a crazy-quilt period of political brutality and ceremonies of the horseman opened, bringing some four decades forming a Viconian ricorso, the wild period of animalistic behaviour preceding a new cycle of time. After the ricorso came 600 years, a hexa-centennial period beginning with the invasion of Wexford in 1169 by Strongbow's minions, during which the Roman Church took and retained the reins of the Irish Church. In 1768, the Irish Catholic Church incorporated a prayer for the well-being of the English Monarchy into its service, the Protestant camp becomes a hotbed for radical Irish Nationalists, and a new ricorso of agrarian outrages was unleashed, leading first to Union and later to liberation.
1132, as a hinge in time between the Irish and Roman periods of ecclesiastical rule in Ireland, is a numeric resonance of page 014's
1132 looks backward through the centuries of the Celtic Church, and forward through the Roman Irish Church to the arrival of the Protestant Irish nationalist heroes. The nominal date of record for a given year is the first of January. Something dramatically horrible which changed the course of Irish history did happen that day, 1132 January 1st.
Can the date be inferred from any data in Finnegans Wake which refers to the rape of the Abbess of Kildare?
Yes. A particular thread of data will never exist as a steady feed in Finnegans Wake of course. It will be interwoven with other threads.
Ulysses forsaw this warp-and-woof narrative technique by ending with its Penelopean chapter, a raveling rhapsodic streaming of semi-consciousness. In the Wake, that stream is become a waterfall plashing into a dark pool.
Unlike mapped rivers, the Wake's mainstream is a preternatural lady whose well-worn bed describes a circular course. Her father is the sea, and her daughter is the rain and its clouds. Her every drop pulls two others along.
Viewed through cobwebs or too quickly, the text of the Wake is idiosyncratic syntax, tantamount to the clever word salads muttered by those frenetic sidewalk talkers who pass us with flapping hands that gesture to unseen listeners. Yet no life is long enough, it would seem, to find all the multifaceted allusions which flow by metaphoric extension through the Wake's alluvial substrate.
Only one model for this otherwise completely unique book exists – The Book of Saint Brighid's Abbey at Kildare, a one-of-a-kind illuminated edition of Jerome's harmony of the Gospels. Its awe-inspired description is recorded in Topographia Hiberniae, by Giraldus de Barri Cambrensis, written ca 1185:
"[Entry No.] 71. A Book Miraculously Written.
"Among all the miracles of Kildare, nothing seems to me more miraculous than that wonderful book they say was written during the dictation of an angel during the lifetime of the virgin.
"The book contains . . . almost as many drawings as pages. If you look at them carelessly and casually and not too closely, you may judge them to be mere daubs rather than careful compositions. You will see nothing subtle where everything is subtle. But if you take the trouble to look very closely, and penetrate with your eyes to the secrets of the artistry, you will notice such intricacies, so delicate and subtle, so close together and well-knitted, so involved and bound together, and so fresh still in their colourings that you will not hesitate to declare that all these things must have been the result of the work, not of men, but of angels." (v)
Is the Wake then a book of illuminations, a vast tapestry-like painting, a tessellation whose tile fragments are each made of smaller fragments? Do the words "Portrait of the Artist . . ." mean anything to you?
Here are the tiles as given in the "1132 January the 1st" entry of the Annals of Loch Cé:
I. the body of the entry -- on the first day [kalends] of January on Friday [the sixth feria /feast], when the moon was waxing and gibbous [10 days past the day which began on the evening of the first sighting of the most recent increscent moon]; in 1132 A.D. [by the Annis Dominae of Ecclesiastical Computation, 32 years, plus an hundred and a thousand more]. The Abbey of Kildare [ie Cill-Dara, meaning Church-Oak] was [invaded by surprise and] captured by Dermot MacMurrough, the warlord from Hy Kinsella [Diarmaid Mac Murchadha from Uí Cinnsealach, southwest of Dublin], [in an act of aggression against] the Abbott of [Saint] Brighid [of Kildare] [ie against the Abbott who lent his authority as a comharba [copartner] to a holy Brideóg, the Abbess of Kildare, who served in a continuous line of Abbesses initiated by Saint Brighid herself in the fifth century, and who served as that good lady's image in any given present], and the abbey [of Kildare] was burned down, as was also a large part of the Church [of the Oak] itself, and many [residents of the religious college of Saint Brighid and parishioners of Cill-Dara] were killed on the spot [by soldiers of Dermot MacMurrough]; and the nun [the Holy Abbess herself, a maiden, who directed a fixed coterie of other veiled maids in the service of the constant maintenance of Brighid's sacred fire] was bound and abducted, and she was raped."
II. elements of the body in the Wake --
A. There is an annals-like entry reporting a rape in the wakean passage under discussion -- afterWe must, however, end this paper now. We'll meet again, and alas, we'll part once more. For now, let us view two more data relating to time, and Mr Joyce. The first item is not likely to have had a direct influence on the Joycean oeuvre; -- and the latter one could not possibly have been known in time. Still . . . .
in the third entry of the passage, and the second for <566 A.D.>, lines 07-10. The narrative, in the same taut flat concision as the Annals of Loch Cé, reports that a golden-haired and securely sequestered lady (<brazenlockt damsel>) grieved because her mignonne, her bambolina (one <Puppette>), had been taken away from her and raped (<ravisht>) by the force (per ops) of military forces (per opes) to satisfy the need (peropus) of an over-hasty (praeproperus) bloody-purple (purpureus) unmitigated and sacrimonious (pius) prick and barbarian male whore (praeputo), an ogre named <Puropeus Pious>.
Each of the four chronological entries in the passage from 013.33-014.15 ends with a summation for its paragraph using a four word formula which goes "B--- w--- [preposition] [and one of four names for Dublin, each being different].
For entry three, the formulaic close refers to bloody wars in Dublin, using a Wakean orthography for Baile Átha Clíath Baile.
1. While the paragraph neither mimics nor encodes nor replicates the entry by the Loch Cé annalist on the rape of the Abbess of Kildare, a number of tessellae are patent.B. Resonations of the rape motives established in 014.07-10 are found "well-knitted . . . bound and linked together" with other themata in numerous other passages of Finnegans Wake, à la Brighid's "wonderful book."
a. The focus of either entry is the terse account of a rape;2. Several of the little colored cubes set into the Wakean paragraph are elements which occur as motives in the larger mosaic of the book.
b. The person raped is a beloved figure;
c. The rape is associated with military conflict in Leinster.
a. The presence of Issy, the maid of the mists, is evoked in allusion to brassy locks, for Issy's hair is of a shiny yellow colour, primrose and corngold (as opposed to the auburn tresses of her mother, Anna Livia, the All Alluvial), and Issy is throughout the Wake associated, like Brighid, with a place of fire, or a fireplace;
b. The solmization motif, featuring so and la, the fifth and sixth tones of the generic diatonic scale, appears in the parenthetical <(sobralasolas!)>, right between <grieved> and <because>, and colliderscopic forms of "sola" also bob around Issy in other areas of the Wake, for she is Isolabella, aka Isolamisola, one of the Solasistras.
Sola in Latin indicates a woman alone. Sola is used only a handful of times in the Latin Vulgate, and its earliest appearance is <sola erat in agro clamavit et nullus adfuit qui liberaret eam> ("She was alone in the field: she cried, and there was no man to help her." Douay-Rheims Bible [Deuteronomy 22:27]). The Biblical passage is describing the legal situation of a capital offense rape. The perpetrator will be executed, since the victim called for help, but was effectively silenced by virtue of being in a remote place.
Sola is present in the early introduction of the rape motif on the Wake's first page of text, at line 06 of page 003, in the word <penisolate>, which describes precisely the sort of vicious war which is pressed by cowardly rapists who use sexual assault as a tactic in which penile penetration is used to isolate women from a community being attacked.
Mr Joyce recapitulates several such elements in 500.17-501.06.
1. The gross command <Rape the daughter!> is shouted at 500.17, followed by a number of references to Brinabride, verbally splicing brine, a saline solution similar to tears, with the Brigidine nickname Bride; and to Issy (as <Isolde> and <Iss>), and to Pipette, a slightly changed spelling of Puppette, the ravished minion of page 014. The betrayal of Brighid is compared to that of Parnell, whose bitter jab at his villainous colleagues is cited, "<When you sell get my price!>."
All this leads to the rearrival, at 501.06, of the centrally indented quietude of page 014, when a buzzing blitzkrieg of cries, drums, guns, and howls is cut off by a
which reminds us for a moment that even Titus Andronicus has intermissions. The curtain rerises to an evocation of Lughnasa, as <lukesummer night>, the <fair day> opposite Candlemas in the Celtic calendar. The Baalfires of page 013.36, now bonfires, are recalled, spreading <on every bald hill in holy Ireland>, with <their blue beards streaming to the heavens>. Thus on pages 500 and 501, both the 566 A.D. entries reappear as backdrops; again they frame an erumpent quietness which splits in twain what otherwise would be just one more 1132.
2. We may have seemed to have lost Dermot MacMurrough, the Hy Kinsella who engineered the rape of the Abbess of Kildare, but his loathsome presence is clear in other related areas of the Wake.
At the top of page 133, for example, he is cited, <silent as the bee in honey> . . . the <Kinsella> -- and <though you rope Amrique>, recalls Sir Tristram of page 003, the violator of love and penile warrior from <North Armorica>.
Many more such allusions can be found in Finnegans Wake, until it becomes clear that rape is a megamotif of the book, one which draws upon the rape of the Abbess of Kildare on the first evening of 1132 as its epitome, a horror on horror's head as it were.
3. The dear little red hen, that <gnarlybird> we love from her <runalittle, doalittle> entrance on page 010, is in the thick of it. To open, it is the gnarlybird who introduces the motif of Candlemas (<It's a candlelittle houthse of a month> [010.27]). The author can't help reminding us it's his birthday (<And nummered quaintlymine> [010.28-29]), as though we'd forget!
a. When the <lookmelittle likemelong hen> comes into her literary own on page 111 and 112, she is working a heaped mound of litter. Some of the litter (from the Latin words for alphabetic letter [littera] and for writing [litterae]) has associations with rape, Saint Brighid, and her abbey in Kildare.
Some <pious clamour> [110.36] and <the patchpurple of the massacre> [111.02] set it up by reminding us of Puropeous Pious, the Hy Kinsella's apparition on page 014.
At 111.05, we learn the little hen's name. <The bird in the case was Belinda of the Dorans>. Belinda is, of course, the heroine of Pope's mock-epic, The Rape of the Lock, reminding us of page 014's brazenlockt damsel who grieved over a ravisht friend.
111.10 implies that the date of the hen's letter from Boston is <of the last of the first>, interpreted as the 31st of January, the last day of the first month. This, as we well know, is the day of 1132 given on 420.20 -- the day whose evening begins in every year the period of time encompassing the several days on which Saint Brighid's "Day" is celebrated (vi) (ending at the sunset of Candlemas on February the 2nd).
While Belinda's litter-letter was shipped on the 31st of January, the little hen seems to be moving backward in time, through the Epiphanytide, because according to 112.24-27, <letters have never been quite their old selves again since that weird weekday in bleak Janiveer> when <Biddy Doran looked at literature>. But 1132 January 31 was Candlemas Sunday, not a weekday, and since no more days of January follow the 31st, any given weekday in January 1132, weird and bleak or not, will have to be earlier than January 31. The first day of January in that year, the occurrence of the rape of the Abbess of Kildare, certainly qualifies, for it was a Friday, and very weird and bleak. (Incidentally, the preceding lines 20-23 of page 112 make a number of fastfire references to terribly salacious and breathless tales about women and animals from Topographia Hiberniae (v), by Giraldus Cambrensis, which you may trace on your own time, and at your own risk).
b. <None of you, cock icy! You keep that henayearn and her fortycantle glim> [379.22-23] seems to issue from this same vein, with the icy cock being an apt play upon a penisolater threatening a hen, and by now we all see the reference to the forty day period measured back from Candlemas to Christmas.
c. In many places the identification of the little gnarlybird with Brighid is reinforced. Her name, along with Belinda, is also given as Biddy, a familiar Irish nickname for women named Brighid or Brigid or Briget, etc. On page 519 there is allusion to <your cock and a biddy story> again, and on page 526 <bridelittle> gives Brighid's name in actual "gnarlybird-ese."
d. On page 078, the chickenesque name <Breedabrooda> manages to combine the Irish pronunciation of Bride as breeda (Anglicized to Bridey) with brooda, a pronunciation recorded in the Hebrides (one of many places where Saint Brighid's day is observed on February the second, instead of the more common date of February 1). Breedabrooda is found between references to a Biddy-World [<biddenland> 078.13] and <Bellona's Black Bottom>, the latter making a barefaced allusion to the goddess of war's dark and putrid underside -- and note <(Hal Kilbride v Una Bellina)> [576.06].
e. On page 053, Mr Joyce kindly provides a serviceable pronunciation for Brighid as <Bri Head> following the all too apt <Cock Hostel>, a penisolated cameo of the hen's nemesis, (ie the hostile cock; eg the <auntybride>, or Anti-Brighid of page 561). And it goes on, and on it goes. At 333.28-30, <the twylyd or the mounth of the yare> (the twilight heralding the new year's mouth, ie the evening of January the 1st, since in 1132 the custom was to date a day from the beginning of what we now consider its previous sunset]) is mentioned in conjunction with a rape described as aggression by semen, <the seomen assalt of her>. There is no end to it, since the book is cyclic.
-- Modern time has a date of record, for it began when Christiaan Huygens made his first public demonstration of a clock featuring that little bloodsucking tick, that increment of a minute, the second, which has since become our chronological heartbeat. Huygens presented the unveiling of his pendulum-driven clock to the States General of Holland on Bloomsday, the 16th of June, in 1657 (apparently).
-- James Joyce, who somehow managed to be born in 1882 on February the 2nd, which is both Candlemas and one of Saint Brighid's days, died on January the 13th of 1941 at a Red Cross hospital in Zurich. The Gregorian-Julian intercalary epact for 1941 is 13 days, so in order to describe January the 13th in Julian time, the time used exclusively in 1132, rather than in the modern Gregorian time, one must say that Mr Joyce died on January the 1st, New Years Day.
James Joyce died, therefore, on the precise anniversary of the rape of the Abbess of Kildare, the woman entrusted with preserving the heritage of Mr Joyce's patrona (and ancient Ireland's bona dea), Saint Brighid. January 1, 1132 began the infamous rise to power of the Hy Kinsella, Dermot MacMurrough, a villain who four decades later would become the one first to betray Ireland into the hands of the English. Irish sovereignty and Finnegan began again in 1922.
But Mr Joyce was born on Candlemas (or the Purification), February the 2nd, the ultimate day of the Brighidine festival which begins on January the 31st, Saint Brighid's Eve. February 1st, Candlemas Eve, is also "January the 32nd," if you will -- and Candlemas's vigil. February the 1st and February the 2nd are both Saint Brighid's days, but since February the 2nd is also Candlemas, February the 1st is more associated with Brighid. Naturally, all manner of local variations may apply.
The Brighidine festival days of fire and light, pastorally the commencement of the new year (vi), create a great big chronological <Yes!> celebrating the eternal rebirth of spring within each winter's womb of frozen rocks and soil. Candlemas bids liturgical tribute anew each year to Anna, the temple prophetess (vii) in Luke. Candlemas also is the oldest Marian festival. All this upon Mr Joyce's birthday!
<Why? One's apurr apuss a story about brid> [597.16].
Why? One's purpose (a cat's a'purring) -- a story about Brighid!
<Soe? La!> [597.01].
2001 jan 13 [gregorian time]
-- 2001 jan 01 [julian time]
(i) Bergson, Henri. Time and Free Will. Trans by F. L. Pogson. George Allen: London, 1910/12 [French original 1889]. Page 099.
(ii) Atherton, James S. The Books at the Wake. Southern Illinois University Press: Carbondale, 1959, '74.
(iii) The Annals of Loch Cé: A Chronicle of Irish Affairs, 1014-1590. ed. W. M. Hennessy, 2 vols. (London, 1871; reflex. facs., Dublin: Irish Manuscripts Commission, 1939). 1132.
(iv) Condren, Mary. The Serpent and the Goddess: Women, Religion, and Power in Celtic Ireland. Harper & Row: San Francisco, 1989. pp. 107; 112-13.
(v) Gerald of Wales. The History and Topography of Ireland. Transl. John J. O'Meara. Latin original, Topographia Hiberniae, by Giraldus de Barri Cambrensis, written ca 1185. Text: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 1949. Penguin Books: London,  rev. 1982.
(vi) Pennick, N. The Celtic Cross. Blandford: London, 1997. Pp. 092-093 will corroborate the identity in folkloric Ireland of the 31st of January with Saint Brighid -- and that 31 January was New Year's Eve in the religious life of the people. January 31 is the date of the letter <of the last of the first to Dear> [111.05-24].
(vii) (The Presentation of Jesus [Greek: hupapante "the meeting"] is commonly called Candlemas, because mass is preceded by a solemn blessing of tapers which evokes the journey of Mary of Nazareth as she carried Jesus to the temple, where the infant was recognized by the elders Simeon and Anna. Some think the procession also may recall even older ceremonies reenacting the sorrowful search by Ceres, a harvest goddess, for her daughter Proserpine , a regenerative goddess of the spring. Brighid also is a dea verna -- in her "persona extra ecclesiam" --- the Riverend Sterling). Douay-Rheims Bible: Luke 02:36 "And there was one Anna, a prophetess . . . she was far advanced in years. "
Curtayne, Alice. Saint Brigid of Ireland. Dublin: Browne & Nolan, 1933.
Gordon, John. Finnegans Wake, a plot summary. Syracuse University Press: New York, 1986. Especially on FW 012.18-013.05: " ‘So this is Dyoublong?' -- because he has arrived at the front door and is about to seek admittance. (Did he lock himself out? Bloom did.) The re-arriving invader of the first page has now got as far as the door of his old home [p 115]."
Hehir, Brendan O. A Gaelic Lexicon for Finnegans Wake. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967.
Morse, J. Mitchell. The Sympathetic Alien: James Joyce and Catholicism. New York University: Washington Square, 1959. Nota p 077: "In Saint Anselm's Cur Deus Homo, God is an irascible Norman baron and the human race a pack of filthy insubordinate Saxon churls."
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copyright reserved by the author, Clarence R Sterling
2001 january 13
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