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INTERESTING FACTS EPISODE 4: James Joyce, Captain Cook, Lenape Tribe, Lin Zexu and The tale of Genji

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Why did the Irish government decline repatriation of James Joyce’s mortal remains to Ireland? Were they communal? Or were they greedy? 

    James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (2 February 1882 – 13 January 1941) was an Irish novelist, poet, and literary critic. On 11 January 1941, Joyce underwent surgery in Zürich for a perforated duodenal ulcer. He fell into a coma the following day. He awoke at 2 am on 13 January 1941 and asked a nurse to call his wife and son. They were en route when he died 15 minutes later, less than a month before his 59th birthday.

    His body was buried in the Fluntern Cemetery in Zürich. Swiss tenor Max Meili sang “Addio terra, addio cielo” Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo at the burial service. Joyce had been a subject of the United Kingdom all his life yet only the British consul attended the funeral. Although two senior Irish diplomats were in Switzerland at the time, neither attended Joyce’s funeral. When Joseph Walshe, a secretary at the Department of External Affairs in Dublin (capital of Ireland), was informed of Joyce’s death by Frank Cremins, charge d’affaires at Bern (Switzerland), Walshe responded, “Please wire details of Joyce’s death. If possible find out did he die a Catholic? Express sympathy with Mrs Joyce and explain my inability to attend the funeral.” Buried originally in an ordinary grave, Joyce was moved in 1966 to a more prominent “honour grave”, with a seated portrait statue by American artist Milton Hebald nearby. Nora, whom he had married in 1931, survived him by 10 years. She is buried by his side, as is their son Giorgio, who died in 1976.

    After Joyce’s death, the Irish government declined Nora’s request to permit the repatriation of Joyce’s physical remains, despite being persistently lobbied by the American diplomat John J. Slocum. In October 2019, a motion was put to the Dublin City Council to plan and budget for the costs of the exhumations and reburials of Joyce and his family somewhere in Dublin, subject to his family’s wishes. The proposal immediately became controversial, with the Irish Times commenting: ” … it is hard not to suspect that there is a calculating, even mercantile, aspect to contemporary Ireland’s relationship to its great writers, whom we are often more keen to ‘celebrate’, and if possible monetise, than read”.

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CAPTAIN COOK IS ONE OF THE BEST-KNOWN NAMES IN AUSTRALIAN HISTORY. But public feelings about Cook are divided. Cook only spent about 40 days on Australian shores in two brief visits in 1770 and 1773. However, he and his crew carefully examined the coast and waters, collecting detailed information for the British Empire about the economic potential of the land and how future ships could navigate the coast. Cook and his crew were the forerunners of the British colonisation of Australia, and centuries of British influence in the pacific more broadly.

A wealthy Melburnian purchased cook’s cottage for the city in 1934, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the colonisation of Victoria. The cottage is just one of the many hundreds of public monuments commemorating Cook that have been sponsored by governments or citizens of influence. However, members of the public have registered a different perspective on Cook’s legacy by vandalising such moments and using them as a rallying point. This has generated debate over how Cook and his legacy should be dealt with by officialdom and represented to the public.’

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The Lenape also called the Leni LenapeLenni Lenape and Delaware people, are the indigenous people of the Northeastern Woodlands that include the Native American tribes, who live in the United States and Canada. Their historical territory included present-day northeastern Delaware, New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania along the Delaware River watershed, New York City, western Long Island, and the lower Hudson Valley. Today, Lenape people belong to the Delaware Nation and Delaware Tribe of Indians in Oklahoma; the Stockbridge-Munsee Community in Wisconsin; the Munsee-Delaware Nation, Moravian of the Thames First Nation, and Delaware of Six Nations in Ontario.

The Lenape have a matrilineal (tracing of kinship through the female line) clan system but historically they were matrilocal (the societal system in which a married couple resides with or near the wife’s parents).

During the last decades of the 18th century, most Lenapes were removed from their homeland by expanding European colonies. The divisions and troubles of the American Revolutionary War and the United States independence pushed them farther west. In the 1860s, the United States government sent most Lenape remaining in the eastern United States to the Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma and surrounding territory) under the Indian removal policy. In the 21st century, most Lenape now reside in Oklahoma, with some other communities in Wisconsin and Ontario.

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Statue of Lin Zexu: The bronze statue of Confucius has dominated the landscape in Manhattan’s Chinatown since 1984, casting a learned and paternal look towards Mott Street, the World Trade Center and the world beyond. But Confucius has company now. A statue of a Qing Dynasty official from Fujian Province has been placed there now. The new statue is of Lin Zexu, who helped to ignite the Opium War by banning the drug, to the chagrin of British officials. Those who brought the Lin statue to Chatham Square say they did so to deliver a strong anti-drug message.

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The Tale of Genji: Written 1,000 years ago, the Japanese epic The Tale of Genji is often called the world’s first novel. Following the life and romances of Hikaru Genji, it was written by a woman, Murasaki Shikibu. The Tale of Genji. Written by Murasaki Shikibu, a lady-in-waiting in the early eleventh-century imperial court, and often referred to as the world’s first psychological novel, the tale recounts the amorous escapades of the “Shining Prince” Genji and introduces some of the most iconic female characters in the history of Japanese literature.

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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