Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Reading Michael Moriarty - A Primer for James Joyce

riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend 1
of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to 2
Howth Castle and Environs. . . . Coming, far! End here. Us 13
then. Finn, again! Take. Bussoftlhee, mememormee! Till thous- 14
endsthee. Lps. The keys to. Given! A way a lone a last a loved a 15
long the

Finnegan's Wake - James Joyce PARIS, 17. 1922-1939

None of them (George Soros, Vlad Putin and President Obama) reached their present standings by dint of a warm heart. Michael Moriarty - Canada 2012.

I had a a very good student at La Lumiere (1988-92) who wanted to read Finnegan's Wake by James Joyce. I asked the young woman* if she had read Dubliners and she replied "No."

Had she read, Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man? Again, "No."

Ulysses? " No,"

How about Chamber Music, Pomes Penny each? " No, but heard that if you read James Joyce, you'll have an easier time with college admissions and it helps in the interviews.

It do. Joyce is tough. Have you read Milton? " No."

Dante? " No."

Have ever listened to the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem? " No."

Ever heard of Oliver St. John Gogarty**?

" No."

Okay. Let's start there with the song " Finnegan's Wake."

" No thanks. I have to meet my counsellor. Bye."

Oliver St.John Gogarty was a pal of young James Joyce and became a prominent Dublin surgeon and man of letters. Interesting name -Oliver = both St. Oliver Plunkett Martyr, but, also Oliver Cromwell whose Death Panels made Martyrs. St. John the Gospel writer and also a great Norman family name that is pronounced Sin Jin across the pond and Gogarty at the caboose. A typical Paddy name related to Fogarty - meaning the banished, or exiled. (O'hOgartaigh)

Gogarty was the Alpha Male and James Joyce the wingman. Gogarty was a superb athlete, gregarious, handsome, confident,physically courageous, and social. Jimmy Joyce, was bookish, sickly, quietly witty, brooding, shy, and angry.

Gogarty was at home in Anglo-Irish Protestant circles and could work a pint glass in a dirty Dublin Moore Street shebeen with honest Tadgh and Paddy. Young James Joyce affected the air of a Pre-Raphaelite genius and often had the living shite beat out of him, unless Gogarty were near-by. Later in Paris, Old Jim Joyce picked fights after getting a snoot-full of absinthe and then declaring " Deal with them, Hemingway!" - which the Oak Park bully did and glad to do so.

Gogarty authored As I went Down Sackville Street, a witty and amusing memoir of pre-WWI and Civil War Dublin ( 1910-1922) and scores of articles, poems, plays and sketches. He was a hero of the IRA during the Black and Tans War and later was elected to the Irish Senate.

James Joyce had a falling out with the Alpha Male in 1904 and imposed exile on himself from dear old dirty Dublin, Ireland and going to regular Mass on Sundays.

My student never asked me about Oliver St. John Gogarty.

James Joyce is on literary Olympus with Milton, Chaucer and Shakespeare. Gogarty is a fine bit of hill.

Joyce, like Milton read and absorbed words, sounds, rythms and rhymes in order to slowly develop works of genius. He did not begin with Finnegan's Wake. Nor should a sixteen year old girl. Nor should anyone. One must immerse oneself in the shallow waters before cliff diving in Mexico.

One of the best cliff-divers wielding a pen and keyboard is renowned actor Michael Moriarty. He passed another birthday on Friday April 5th. Mr. Moriarty lives in self-imposed political exile in Canada and could not be a happier man. He was angered by Bill Clinton, America's Alcibiades, and is appalled by the present occupant of the White House. I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Moriarty. He like Gogarty and Joyce welded to Vaughan Williams - an accomplished actor, musician, historian, journalist and fierce defender of the unborn.

I recommend reading Michael Moriarty, knowing that his prose is a plunge into the deep end of the pool. He is no silly bonhomie like Christopher Buckley, much less a timid titmouse like David Brooks; rather, he is liberal with literary and cultural allusions, lost on to many first time readers. His context is vast.

Click my post title for # 44 in his Michael Moriarty's Haunted Heaven.

* Last I heard this young woman held a Master of Arts and was near completion of her Ph.D. in English Literature.

** "He had a defect that prevented him being a companionable man: he had no reserve in speaking about people, even those he had cause to admire, even those who were close to him. If they had some pitiful disability or shortcoming, he brought it right out. It was an incontinence of speech... The result was that people gave him license and kept a distance from him." --Padraic Colum (emphasis my own)

O.St.J.Gogarty's "The Song of the Cheerful (but slightly sarcastic) Jesus" [e206]

I'm the queerest young fellow that ever was heard.
My mother's a Jew; my father's a Bird
With Joseph the Joiner I cannot agree
So 'Here's to Disciples and Calvary.'
If anyone thinks that I amn't divine,
He gets no free drinks when I'm making the wine
But have to drink water and wish it were plain
That I make when the wine becomes water again.

My methods are new and are causing surprise:
To make the blind see I throw dust in their eyes
To signify merely there must be a cod
If the Commons will enter the Kingdom of Good

Now you know I don't swim and you know I don't skate
I came down to the ferry one day and was late.
So I walked on the water and all cried, in faith!
For a Jewman it's better than having to bathe.

Whenever I enter in triumph and pass
You will find that my triumph is due to an ass
(And public support is a grand sinecure
When you once get the public to pity the poor.)

Then give up your cabin and ask them for bread
And they'll give you a stone habitation instead
With fine grounds to walk in and raincoat to wear
And the Sheep will be naked before you'll go bare.

The more men are wretched the more you will rule
But thunder out 'Sinner' to each bloody fool;
For the Kingdom of God (that's within you) begins
When you once make a fellow acknowledge he sins.

Rebellion anticipates timely by 'Hope,'
And stories of Judas and Peter the Pope
And you'll find that you'll never be left in the lurch
By children of Sorrows and Mother the Church

Goodbye, now, goodbye, you are sure to be fed
You will come on My Grave when I rise from the Dead
What's bred in the bone cannot fail me to fly
And Olivet's breezy-- Goodbye now Goodbye

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