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"The True History of St. Fidgeta, Virgin and Martyr" is the first chapter of Saint Fidgeta and Other Parodies.

Synopsis

Fidgeta

Saint Fidgeta

The chapter is farcical hagiography, or biography of a saint, that tells of Fidgeta's brief life in Gaul.  Bellairs mimics the style of authoritative texts, complete with marginalia, in documenting how the worship of the saint has propagated since her death: her apparitions, her interpretation in art, stories of those from the cult of Fidgeta, as well as other miscellany.

Inspiration

In the early 1960s John Bellairs regaled many a friend with stories of Saint Fidgeta during parties and other social get-togethers while a post-graduate student at the University of Chicago[1]. It is assumed that the "true history" published is the definitive work of the author on the subject and culminated from the best bits of his Chicago-era stories.

Differences in media

The True History of St. Fidgeta, Virgin and Martyr (2016 emblem)

Icon celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the first chapter of Saint Fidgeta and Other Parodies (2016, Bellairsia).

The content that makes up the chapter has been printed four separate times:

Saint Fidgeta: Her Life and Amazing Times (1965)

  • "Saint Fidgeta: Her Life and Amazing Times."  The Critic June-July, 1965: 46-51.
    • Subtitled "affectionately dedicated to all creative hagiographers."
    • Contains the altered image of Saint Fidgeta on a swing (the fragment of Fragonard).
    • The title of the painting Saint Fidgeta in Ecstasy is given in French (as Sainte Fidgeta dans l'extase).
    • The "Miracles of St. Fidgeta" section comes before the "St. Fidgeta in Art" section.
    • Identifies the medieval convent near Retching-under-Tweed as Saxifragian.
    • Regarding the Litany of Saint Fidgeta:
      • The stanzas read correctly.
      • The fourth line ends "...and our toes will drop off..."
      • The congregation's line is "Sweet Fidgeta, steer us clear!"
      • It is printed third of the three prayers in "The Saint Fidgeta Devotional" section.
    • Contains no marginalia.

Saint Fidgeta and Other Parodies (1966)

  • Saint Fidgeta and Other Parodies (1966).
    • Contains the unaltered image of Saint Fidgeta on a swing (page 21).
    • Identifies the medieval convent near Retching-under-Tweed as Ursuline.
    • Regarding the Litany of Saint Fidgeta:
      • The first printing of the book contain an error in stanzas two and five that is corrected for later printings.
      • The fourth line ends "...and our toes will drop off and what will we do then..."
      • The congregation's line is "Sweet Fidgeta, deliver us!"
      • It is printed second of the three prayers in "The Saint Fidgeta Devotional" section.
    • Contains marginalia.

A Funny Thing Happened To The Church (1969)

  • A Funny Thing Happened To The Church (1969); edited by Joel Wells, containing humor, cartoons, satire, and fiction from the pages of The Critic.
    • Appears as chapter 16 ("The Life and Times of St. Fidgeta") (pages 126-32).
    • Contains none of Marilyn Fitschen's artwork.
    • The title of the painting Saint Fidgeta in Ecstasy is given in French (as Sainte Fidgeta dans l'extase).
    • Identifies the medieval convent near Retching-under-Tweed as Saxifragian.
    • Regarding the Litany of Saint Fidgeta:
      • The stanzas read correctly.
      • The fourth line ends "...and our toes will drop off..."
      • The congregation's line is "Sweet Fidgeta, steer us clear!"
      • It is printed third of the three prayers in "The Saint Fidgeta Devotional" section.
    • Contains no marginalia.

Magic Mirrors (2009)

  • Magic Mirrors (2009)
    • Appears on pages 235-46.
    • Contains the unaltered image of Saint Fidgeta on a swing (page 241).
    • Identifies the medieval convent near Retching-under-Tweed as Ursuline.
    • Regarding the Litany of Saint Fidgeta:
      • The stanzas read correctly.
      • The fourth line ends "...and our toes will drop off and what will we do then..."
      • The congregation's line is "Sweet Fidgeta, deliver us!"
      • It is printed second of the three prayers in "The Saint Fidgeta Devotional" section.
    • Contains marginalia.

Reference

  1. Correspondence with Marilyn Fitschen.
Saint Fidgeta and Other Parodies

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1. The True History of St. Fidgeta, Virgin and Martyr

Fidgeta
Santa FidgetaLitany of Saint FidgetaApotheosis of Saint Fidgeta

Order of Faithful Fidgettines
AdiposaAnfractuaDragomiraLatifundiaRegina Coeli LaetarePudibunda