Author(s): George Cinclair Gibson
Date: Format: PDF Language: English ISBN/ASIN: 0813028701
Pages: OCR: Quality: ISBN13:
Uploader: Upload Date: 8/21/2020 10:37:56 PM
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.