The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #4206   Message #1364624
Posted By: GUEST,
23-Dec-04 - 11:19 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Tim Finnegan's / Finigan's Wake
Subject: RE: Biddy O'Brien and Tim Finnegan?
Dear Finnegan scholars,
Of course Leprechaun is right. Biddy was Tim's lover on the side, and her grief made her more possessive of his memory than was proper in the presence of the legitimate widow.
Even for drunken people, the transition from mourning to fighting which we hear in the usual version of the song is far too abrupt. Even alcoholic violence must have some logic.
There is a verse missing! It would describe how the quarrel developed prior to the fight. I'd wager that we'd find it in John Poole's original manuscript - perhaps a music historian could tell us where that is?
Dan Bryant, who popularized the song, would have been obliged to drop the risky verse at performances, as a concession to the sexual prudery of the 19th century.
James Joyce must have heard an uncut version, for the theme of his book is the recurrent death of the hero who has transgressed conventional sexual morality but has too much life force to stay dead.
Leprechaun, you have not only mapped out a missing link but you have provided a vital clue for James Joyce scholars. You deserve priority for this. I would be honored if you would e-mail me with more of your thoughts on this.
With best regards,
David Playfair.