Friday, July 18, 2008

lives of nobody's saint

There was a man in the East named Nobody, and that man was like another Job, great among all the people of the East. For he was great in race and lineage, great in power, great in knowledge, great in compassion and mercy, great in manifold perfection, great in honor and reverence, great in daring, great in glory and felicity. All these things are shown in Holy Scripture.

I'm working on final corrections (yikes!) to the manuscript of Saint Nobody. And this morning I've been reading about the medieval and early modern tradition of the Saint Nobody--sometimes called Nemo, Nought, Niemand, etc. Awhile back a reader of this blog told me about Martha Bayless's book Parody in the Middle Ages: The Latin Tradition, which has translations and original Latin texts of some very interesting stuff.

Right now I'm reading "The Combined Nemo"--a wickedly tongue-in-cheek treatise on the holy figure of Nobody that basically compiles a lot of references in the bible to things that "nobody" is, does, or can do. It's very bizarre. (Scroll all the way down this page to see one 16th-century representation of a secular Nobody, who is to blame for all the broken and missing things in a bourgeois household. It's most likely going to be on the cover of my book.)

Another article I read mentions the connection between a Nobody character and the wise fool, such as Shakespeare's Fool in Lear. It occurs to me that this character must also be connected to one of my favorite tarot cards--The Fool, which has the number zero in the major arcana.

I'm not sure how any of this is going to help me finish my book, but it's a lot of fun to mess around with and think about.


sam of the ten thousand things said...

Fascinating post, Amy. Good luck with the corrections to the ms.

MacGregor Rucker said...

funny... Saint Nobody... not altogether unlike what we were discussing yesterday about Popeye, the Patron Saint of Cartoons.

Amy said...

It's all connected...