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Subject: names


Author:
NG
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Date Posted: Sun, Aug 14 2005, 9:51:36 GMT

I've done a second reading of all but the last 100 pages or so so far, just so things are fresh in my memory when I pick up a history of the Rising. I've noted some of the names which aren't familiar, like Shan Van Vocht. This is what they had at Bartleby.com, after a poem of that name:

"The title is literally “The Poor Old Woman.” This was a “secret” name for Ireland, like “Roisin Dubh” (the little Dark Rose) and Kathleen ni Houlahan (Kathleen the daughter of Houlahan). These “secret” names were given partly to hide what might be thought a seditious element in the utterance, and partly because of the Gaelic liking for what is esoteric and symbolic. The Shan Van Vocht is a peasant song made at the time when the Irish were expecting help from revolutionary France, in 1798."

In that same paragraph (p. 544 in my copy), Eva thinks of a Kathleen and Rosaleen. I'm guessing, in light of the above, that those were both traditional poetic names for Ireland.

Just one question, about which there's very little in the text: who is Newman? I did a Google search, and came up with a John Henry Newman, who was made cardinal of Dublin in 1879. I can't find the exact page now, but I believe it was mentioned in one of Eva and MacMurrough's drives around Dublin. Any hints as to what the reference is? Thanks!

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[> Subject: Re: names


Author:
Jamie O'Neill
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Date Posted: Fri, Aug 19 2005, 3:17:56 GMT

Dear NG, well done on the research! About Newman -- he was an Englih Protestant cleric (an Anglo-Catholic, as the term then was: they leaned towards the candles and Latin of the RCs)-- highly influential -- who converted finally to Catholicism. Very famous in the 19th Century. Was indeed made a Cardinal (but not of Dublin); he did come to Dublin to try set up a Catholic university (about which there were many problems at the time: not chiefly the old Protestant monopolism but the new rising secularism in the UK -- they didn't see why there should be a solely Catholic university). Thus, in Dublin, on St Stephen's Green, you have Newman's Church, rather a decent edifice as these things go, the chapel of the university he set up. The university didn't quite work out as Newman had intended. He was far too liberal of conscience for the usual Irish clergy of the time, and he returned to England with something of a flea in his ear. He did indeed ask to be buried beside his lifelong companion, whose name I, like MacM, cannot recall. Lytton Strachey has written wonderfully about him (I think). Jamie.

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[> Subject: Re: names


Author:
galleena
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Date Posted: Thu, Mar 16 2006, 18:11:01 GMT

I think it's actually Sean Bean Bocht... sean = old, bean=woman bocht=poor

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[> [> Subject: Re: names


Author:
Jamie O'Neill
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Date Posted: Thu, Mar 16 2006, 20:45:06 GMT

>I think it's actually Sean Bean Bocht... sean = old,
>bean=woman bocht=poor

That's true of them as separate words, but sean (pronounced shan) moderates the first letters of the words it qualifies: it adds a h. So, spelt out properly, it's sean bhean bhocht, which is pronounced shan van vokt. End of Irish lesson! (And is it any wonder nobody really wants to learn it here?)

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[> [> [> Subject: Re: names


Author:
karen caoilfhionn
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Date Posted: Sun, Apr 30 2006, 10:12:26 GMT

mr. o'neill,

i wondered if you gave doyler a first name so close to his last name for a specific reason. the only thing i could come up with is that his alcoholic father was too lazy too name him, too busy drinking, but his mother seemed to love him very much, and i thought if laziness were the issue that she would choose a name. it seems silly as i write it, but i wondered about his name for the whole story.

also, i loved jim's last name, he the son of the man who (i don't remember the exact quote) was too lazy to have remembered "the rest of his name."

thank you so much for writing at swim, two boys. i wish i had read a book like that when i was jim and doyler's age. it would have covered coming out and finding my irish heritage at the same time! it really is a wonderful, powerful book, and i must apologize for alternately praising and cursing you through the first half (i love to read, but my goodness those old words gave my brain some exercise!) strangely, as the book went on and i got to know the characters i could guess the meaning depending on the character that these (to me) unfamiliar words went with. i read the last 20 pages at least a dozen times. the part where jim stops seeing/looking for doyler just kills me every time, it is so beautiful and so full of love and grief.

i've never been but a few miles out of the state of california (in the u.s.), where i live, but two years ago my daughter and i went to ireland. we stayed in dun laoghaire and went to the area around st. stephen's green and kilmainhaim gaol several times. my grandmother had told me stories about growing up near grafton street, and when the black and tans came shooting they would put mattresses and blankets up against the windows of their flat. i'm grateful that i went because when i found your book last month i could see all the places in story in my mind.

i should probably also thank you because at swim helped to ease my "brokeback mountain" obsession. of course, now i see doyler and jim everywhere i go, and wonder how nancy's baby is growing...

karen caoilfhionn





>>I think it's actually Sean Bean Bocht... sean = old,
>>bean=woman bocht=poor
>
>That's true of them as separate words, but sean
>(pronounced shan) moderates the first letters of the
>words it qualifies: it adds a h. So, spelt out
>properly, it's sean bhean bhocht, which is pronounced
>shan van vokt. End of Irish lesson! (And is it any
>wonder nobody really wants to learn it here?)

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[> [> Subject: Re: names


Author:
jhl.il//////////
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Date Posted: Fri, Apr 29 2011, 14:17:16 GMT

>I think it's actually Sean Bean Bocht... sean = old,
>bean=woman bocht=poor

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