Saturday, November 27, 2010

What's in a Name?

Well, if it’s Huuklyeand Cinquor’s, just the sight of it should be enough to send most readers into convulsions; those who get over the initial shock of seeing such an odd name are still faced with the daunting task of pronouncing it, not to mention examining its etymological roots. As a matter of fact, ever since Cinquor selected me as a conduit for his apophthegmata, my incoming email box has been inundated by a steady stream of inquiries about his unconventional moniker, so I think it’s high time I did some serious speculating about it.

So where is one to start? For a start, let’s examine the spelling and separate the words into their five respective syllables: Huuk-lye-and Cin-quor. Stress? ( ’- -’- ) To my romantic ear, this meter sounds suspiciously like Byron’s romping anapestics in his poem "The Destruction of Sennacherib" i.e., “The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold, and his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold”, but I could be mistaken. However, if it is anapestic, we must examine the possibility of Huuklyeand being an Assyrian name and Cinquor a Hebrew one, basing our interpretation as such on Byron’s poem, which is a rendering of the famous battle for sovereignty over Jerusalem written from the Hebrew point of view, viz. Huuklyeand (Assyrian) and Cinquor (Hebrew)—an amalgamation symbolizing the assimilative bi-polar properties of the imagination whenever it’s faced with a situation requiring the deployment of imaginal space as defined so eloquently by Joe Hutchison in one of his recent, illuminating posts.

So far so good, but we have to be a bit more cautious when approaching the thorny subject of pronunciation, so let me take a stab. The first syllable is most certainly pronounced as the double “o” in “look” rather than “Huck” as in “Finn” or “Hulk” as in The Green Giant, a claim based on the fact that there was no Huck Finn, Hulk or Green Giant when Byron composed his poem; the second syllable looks like “lye” but on closer investigation, there could be a diphthong lurking in there, making the syllable sound like “lie-in”, “line” or “lined”—your guess is as good as mine (not as in “mien”). “Cinquor” poses no problem and should be pronounced as “sinker” and certainly not “sank-her”, or worse yet, “canker”.

Of course, this blog is always open to other speculations regarding Huuklyeand’s name, as long as they have that inimitable air of gritty conviction we have all come to expect from his apophthegmata.


  1. William feels smug; I feel distressed. I was wrong all along, it seems, since I defaulted not to Byron but to the Poetic Edda, with its glorious names: Helgakvitha Hjorvarthssonar, Harbarthsljoth, Helreith Brynhildar, etc. I spent no less than 40 minutes ransacking the Edda before giving up in despair of finding the connection I was after. Why? Because the satirical vein, so powerfully pulsating in Cinquor's adages, simply does not exist in the Edda. Byron might have raised his leonine head, but the search had left me mentally exhausted, and after a few medicinal tequilas, I succumbed to sleep. It was a strange sleep—the kind that one wakes from knowing one has dreamed and nothing more. There was something, though. When I surfaced (on the floor of a motel in Commerce City—but that's another story), I heard this scrap of Heine's Confessions (Gestaendnisse) fading into the early morning roar of the semis on I-70: "Alas! God's satire weighs heavily on me." I wonder if Huck (I can't help it, I think of him as "Huck") doesn't write out of the same gloomy assessment of his condition.

    In any case, thanks for steering folks to my own strange musings, Vassilis. The great thing about imaginal space is that there is always room for one more....

  2. William and Joe:

    I’m passing along what Cinquor said in reply to your comments and to my blog post:

    Zero, zilch, zippo, gentlemen—all for nothing. You thought you had my number, especially Mr. Hutchison, but in the summing up, naught doesn’t count.

    Just between the three of us, I'd like to add my thanks for your efforts at solving this cypher, Cinquor be damned!

  3. I prefer "All for one and one for all," but understand Cinquor's damned position....


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