Friday, May 4, 2012

The Occasional Series of Ideas for Papers on John Kennedy Toole, Part 12

Minor Saturnine Characters

Now that my paper on Toole, Ficino, and Kristeller has been published, I am more free to discuss topics that brush up against its thesis. As I have argued in Evidence of Influences version 2.0, 30n16, one can study Confederacy's use of Carnival using the framework of Saturnalia from Frazer's Golden Bough. Ignatius displays Saturnine qualities, both in his role as an agent of disorder and in his role as a Saturnalian Lord or Misrule. But other, minor characters also display Saturnine qualities. To research this topic, you might want to consult a book by Walter C. Curry called Chaucer and the Mediaeval Sciences. This book was very familiar to Lumiansky, who was Toole's Chaucer professor. This book discusses the qualities of the planetary god Saturn. Hints: the popular book by di Palma on Carnival points out that Saturn reputedly reigned over a Golden Age. Curry: Saturn is associated with coldness. Frazer: Saturnalia was also a feast of the dead.

Thesis: Discuss the positive Saturnine qualities of Claude and Clyde. Ignatius and Trixie are linked by green head gear. Discuss that connection and Trixie's Saturnine qualities, especially her symbolic connection to death.

Note: I call this 12, because the suggestions on this blog were not numbered the same as the numbering on my fixed webpage version of this series of ideas.