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Wake Rites: The Ancient Irish Rituals of Finnegan's Wake

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Many scholars of Finnegans Wake have long suspected that a key to the Wake lay deep within the core of Irish myth. George Gibson proposes a new interpretation of the novel, based upon a previously unrecognized paradigm from Irish mythology underlying the entirety of the work. This mythic structure derives from the ancient rituals and events collectively known as the Teamhur Feis (the Rites of Tara), the most important religious festival conducted in pre-Christian Ireland.Gibson demonstrates that sources known and...
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Overview

Many scholars of Finnegans Wake have long suspected that a key to the Wake lay deep within the core of Irish myth. George Gibson proposes a new interpretation of the novel, based upon a previously unrecognized paradigm from Irish mythology underlying the entirety of the work. This mythic structure derives from the ancient rituals and events collectively known as the Teamhur Feis (the Rites of Tara), the most important religious festival conducted in pre-Christian Ireland.Gibson demonstrates that sources known and used by Joyce describe the Rites as a historical event with nationwide attendance, an extraordinary and complex array of Druidic ritual, mystical rites, historical reenactments, sacred drama, conclaves, assemblies, and ceremonies performed by a bizarre cast of characters ranging from representatives of Irish deities and personifications of abstract principles to Druids, magistrates, ritual functionaries, and reenactors of the mythic dead. In Irish tradition, the most significant performance of this pagan spectacle occurred in 433 A.D., when Saint Patrick arrived at Tara just as the Rites were reaching their climax. Gibson argues that this pivotal event is also the climax of Finnegans Wake.Demonstrating remarkable parallels between specific events and performers of the Rites and the episodes and characters comprising Finnegans Wake, Gibson shows that every event and performer at the Rites has a correlate in the novel, and all Wakean episodes and performers have their parallels in the Rites of Tara. Ultimately, he argues, Joyce structured his novel according to the Teamhur Feis, and Finnegans Wake is a calculated reenactment of the most important event in Irish paganism.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813028705
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida
  • Publication date: 1/28/2006
  • Series: Florida James Joyce Series
  • Edition description: First
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


George Cinclair Gibson has taught in the Department of English at Louisiana State University.
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Table of Contents

Foreword
1 Introduction 1
2 The day of the wake 25
3 The Sigla Group at the Teamhur Feis 35
4 The fall of the all-father 91
5 The funeral games at valleytemple 134
6 The return of solsking the first 179
7 The etiological myths 209
8 The recovery of the dark tongue 219
Coda : the meta-celtic canon 237
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  • Posted May 26, 2009

    The Book on Finnegans Wake

    Finnegans Wake is not just another book, and Wake Rites is not just another book on Finnegans Wake; it is The Book. The Wake is a cultural performance of the shift of Western Civilization from the linear and causally reductionist mentality of Galilean Dynamics to Complex Dynamical Systems. Written in Paris where science and art in parallel processing brought forth the emergence of the world first noetic polity, and where Poincare almost single handedly created the new science of complexity, Finnegans Wake is at once the cultural retrieval of a Celtic Hyperborean prehistory, the consummation of Western Civilization, and the prophetic annunciation of a new planetary culture. To achieve this project of cultural transformation, James Joyce took on Roman Catholicism and replaced religion with prophetic art. When we come out of our current dark era of religious fundamentalism and violence, we will understand that Joyce, the wounded healer, shamanically rescued the wounded and saved the day for the declining West. Thanks to George Cinclair Gibson's brilliant work of scholarship and spiritual intuition on the festival of Tara--the Teamhur Feis--and its central relationship to the architecture of Finnegans Wake, we can see how James Joyce worked to undo the damage done by St. Patrick and gave us a spirituality in which a more open and cosmic life is affirmed. If you have only time for one book on Finnegans Wake, read this one, for it shows that Joyce's ultimate work is not a roman a clef for academics, but a poem on Ireland written in the run-on, riverrun lines of a comic epic. As a filidh, Joyce became the bard who prophesied our new Gaian--which is merely the Greek for Ana--planetary consciousness.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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