The Unapologetic Mathematician

Mathematics for the interested outsider

Joyce on Geometry

Beannachtai na Feile Padraig.

In honor of the day, I’d like to post a passage of Finnegans Wake. There’s a beautiful section from pages 293 to 299 “explaining” Euclid I.1. It’s as good a place as any to start in on “the book of Doublends Jined”, so if this sort of thing intrigues you I hope you’ll get a copy and go from here. If nothing else I hope that my own exegeses are somewhat easier to follow.

This area of the text is particularly… texty. I’ll do my best to match the original as exactly as possible. Individual pages will be separated by hard rules. The passage itself follows the jump.


                          Coss? Cossist? Your parn! You, you make WHY MY AS
what name? (and in truth, as a poor soul is LIKEWISE
between shift and shift ere the teath he has WHIS HIS.
lived through becomes the life he is to die
into, he or he had albut — he was rickets as to
reasons but the balance of his minds was
stables — lost himself or himself some som-
nione sciupiones, soswhitchoverswetch had
he or he gazet, murphy come, murphy go,
murphy plant, murphy grow, a maryamyria-
meliamurphies, in the lazily eye of his lapis,
Euclid I.1 Illustration
Uteralterance or Vieus Von DVbLIn, ’twas one of dozedeams
the Interplay of a darkies ding in dewood) the Turnpike under
Bones in the the Great Ulm (with Mearingstone in Fore
Womb. ground).1 Given now ann linch you take enn
all. Allow me! And, heaving alljawbreakical
expressions out of old Sare Isaac’s2 universal
The Vortex. of specious aristmystic unsaid, A is for Anna
Spring of Sprung like L is for liv. Aha hahah, Ante Ann you’re
Verse. The Ver- apt to ape aunty annalive! Dawn gives rise.
tex. Lo, lo, lives love! Eve takes fall. La, la, laugh
leaves alass! Aiaiaiai, Antiann, we’re last to
the lost, Loulou! Tis perfect. Now (lens

1 Draumcondra’s Dream country where the betterlies blow.
2 O, Laughing Sally, are we going to be toadhauntered by that old Pantifox
Sir Somebody Something, Burtt, for the rest of our secret stripture?


                          your dappled yeye here, mine’s presbyoperian,
shill and wall) we see the copyngink strayed-
line AL (in Fig., the forest) from being con-
tinued, stops ait Lambday1: Modder ilond
there too. Allow me anchore! I bring down
noth and carry awe. Now, then, take this in!
One of the most murmurable loose carollaries
Sarga, or the ever Ellis threw his cookingclass. With Olaf
path of outgoing. as centrum and Olaf’s lambtail for his spokes-
man circumscript a cyclone. Allow ter! Hoop !
As round as the calf of an egg! O, dear
me! O, dear me now! Another grand dis-
cobely! After Makefearsome’s Ocean. You’ve
actuary entducked one! Quok! Why, you
haven’t a passer! Fantastic! Early clever,
surely doomed, to Swift’s, alas, the galehus!
Docetism and Match of a matchness, like your Bigdud dadder
Didicism, Maya- in the boudeville song, Gorotsky Gollovar’s
Thaya. Tamas- Troubles, raucking his flavourite turvku in
Rajas-Sattvas. the smukking precincts of lydias,2 with Mary
Owens and Dolly Monks seesidling to edge
his cropulence and Blake-Roche, Kingston
and Dockrell auriscenting him from afurz, our
papacocopotl,3 Abraham Bradley King? (ting
ting! ting ting!) By his magmasine fall. Lumps,
lavas and all.4 Bene! But, thunder and turf, it’s
not alover yet! One recalls Byzantium. The
mystery repeats itself todate as our callback
mother Gaudyanna, that was daughter to a
tanner,5 used to sing, as I think, now and then
consinuously over her possetpot in her quer

1 Ex jup pep off Carpenger Strate. The kids’ and dolls’ home. Makeacake-
ache.
2 A vagrant need is a flagrant weed.
3 Grand for blowing off steam when you walk up in the morning.
4 At the foot of Bagnabun Banbasday was lost on one.
5 We’re all found of our anmal matter.


                          homolocous humminbass hesterdie and ist-
herdie forivor.1 Vanissas Vanistatums! And
The Vegetable for a night of thoughtsendyures and a day. As
Cell and its Pri- Great Shapesphere puns it. In effect, I re-
vate Properties. mumble, from the yules gone by, purr lil mur-
rerof myhind, so she used indeed. When she
give me the Sundaclouths she hung up for
Tate and Comyng and snuffed out the ghost
in the candle at his old game of haunt the
sleepper. Faithful departed. When I’m dream-
ing back like that I begins to see we’re only
all telescopes. Or the comeallyoum saunds.
Like when I dromed I was in Dairy and was
wuckened up with thump in thudderdown.
Rest in peace ! But to return.2 What a wonder-
ful memory you have too ! Twonderful
morrowy! Straorbinaire! Bene! I bring town
eau and curry nothung up my sleeve. Now,
springing quickenly from the mudland Loosh
from Luccan with Allhim as her Elder tetra-
turn a somersault. All’s fair on all fours, as
my instructor unstrict me. Watch ! And you’ll
have the whole inkle. Allow, allow! Gyre O,
gyre O, gyrotundo ! Hop lala ! As umpty
herum as you seat! O, dear me, that was very
nesse! Very nace indeed! And makes us a
The haves and daintical pair of accomplasses! You, allus for
the havenots: a the kunst and me for omething with a handel
distinction. to it. Beve! Now, as will pressantly be felt,
there’s tew tricklesome poinds where our
twain of doubling bicirculars, mating approxe-
metely in their suite poi and poi, dunloop
into eath the ocher. Lucihere ! I fee where you

1 Sewing up the beillybursts in their buckskin shiorts for big Kapitayn
Killykook and the Jukes of Kelleiney.
2 Say where! A timbrelfill of twinkletinkle.


                          mea. The doubleviewed seeds. Nun, lemmas
quatsch, vide pervoys akstiom, and I think as
I’m suqeez in the limon, stickme punctum, but
for semenal rations I’d likelong, by Araxes,
to mack a capital Pee for Pride down there
on the batom1 where Hoddum and Heave, our
monsterbilker, balked his bawd of parodies.
Zweispaltung as And let you go, Airmienious, and mick your
Fundemaintalish modest mock Pie out of Humbles up your
of Wiederher- end. Where your apexojesus will be a point
stellung. of order. With a geing groan grunt and a
croak click cluck.2 And my faceage kink and
kurkle trying to make keek peep.3 Are you
right there, Michael, are you right? Do you
think you can hold on by sitting tight? Well,
of course, it’s awful angelous. Still I don’t feel
it’s so dangelous. Ay, I’m right here, Nickel,
and I’ll write. Singing the top line why it
suits me mikey fine. But, yaghags hogwarts
and arrahquinonthiance, it’s the muddest thick
that was ever heard dump since Eggsmather
got smothered in the plap of the pfan. Now,
to compleat anglers, beloved bironthiarn and
hushtokan hishtakatsch, join alfa pea and
pull loose by dotties and, to be more
sparematically logoical, eelpie and paleale by
trunkles. Alow me align while I encloud
especious ! The Nike done it. Like pah,4 I peh.
Innate little bondery. And as plane as a poke
stiff.5 Now, aqua in buccat. I’ll make you to
see figuratleavely the whome of your eternal

1 Parsee ffrench for the upholdsterer would be delightered.
2 I’ll pass out if the screw spliss his strut.
3 Thargam then goeligum? If you sink I can, swimford. Suksumkale!
4 Hasitatense?
5 The impudence of that in girl’s things!


                          geomater. And if you flung her headdress on
her from under her highlows you’d wheeze
whyse Salmonson set his seel on a hexen-
Destiny, In- gown.1 Hissss!, Arrah, go on! Fin for fun!
flunce of Design You’ve spat your shower like a son of Sibernia
upon. but let’s have at it! Subtend to me now! Pisk!
Outer serpumstances beiug ekewilled, we care-
fully, if she pleats, lift by her seam hem and
jabote at the spidsiest of her trickkikant (like
thousands done before since fillies calpered.
Ocone ! Ocone !) the maidsapron of our A.L.P.,
fearfully! till its nether nadir is vortically where
(allow me aright to two cute winkles) its naval’s
Prometheus or napex will have to beandbe. You must proach
the Promise of near mear for at is dark. Lob. And light
Provision. your mech. Jeldy! And this is what you’ll say.2
Waaaaaa. Tch! Sluice! Pla! And their, redneck,
(for addn’t we to gayatsee with Puhl the Pun-
kah’s bell?)mygh and thy, the living spit of
dead waters,3 fastness firm of Hurdlebury Fenn,
discinct and isoplural in its (your sow to
the duble) sixuous parts, flument, fluvey and
fluteous, midden wedge of the stream’s your
muddy old triagonal delta, fiho miho, plain
for you now, appia lippia pluvaville, (hop the
hula, girls!) the no niggard spot of her safety
vulve, first of all usquiluteral threeingles, (and
why wouldn’t she sit cressloggedlike the lass
that lured a tailor?) the constant of fluxion,
Mahamewetma, pride of the province4 and
when that tidled boare rutches up from the
Afrantic, allaph quaran’s his bett und bier!5

1 The chape of Doña Speranza of the Nacion.
2 Ugol egal ogle. Mi vidim Mi.
3 It is, it is Sangannon’s dream.
4 And all meinkind.
5 Whangpoos the paddle and whiss whee whoo.


Ambages and Paa lickam laa lickam, apl lpa ! This it is an her.
Their Rôle. You see her it. Which it whom you see it is
                          her. And if you could goaneggbetter we’d soon
see some raffant scrumala riffa. Quicks herit
fossyending. Quef! So post that to your pape
and smarket ! And you can haul up that languil
pennant, mate. I’ve read your tunc’s dimissage.
For, let it be taken that her littlenist is of no
magnetude or again let it be granted that Doll
the laziest can be dissimulant with all respects
from Doll the fiercst, thence must any what-
youlike in the power of empthood be either
Ecclasiastical greater THaN or less THaN the unitate we
and Celestial have in one or hence shall the vectorious ready-
Hierarchies. The eyes of evertwo circumflicksrent searclhers
Ascending. The never film in the elipsities of their gyribouts
Descending. those fickers which are returnally reprodictive
of themselves.1 Which is unpassible. Quarrel-
lary. The logos of somewome to that base any-
thing, when most characteristically mantissa
minus, comes to nullum in the endth:2 orso,
here is nowet badder than the sin of Aha with
his cosin Lil, verswaysed on coverswised, and
all that’s consecants and cotangincies till Per-
perp stops repippinghim since her redtangles
are all abscissan for limitsing this tendency of
our Frivulteeny Sexuagesima3 to expense her-
The peripatetic selfs as sphere as possible, paradismic peri-
periphery. It’s mutter, in all directions on the bend of the
Allothesis. unbridalled, the infinisissimalls of her facets
becoming manier and manier as the calicolum
of her umdescribables (one has thoughts of
that eternal Rome) shrinks from schurtiness

1 I enjoy as good as anyone.
2 Neither a soul to be saved nor a body to be kicked.
3 The boast of the town.


                          to scherts.1 Scholium, there are trist sigheds to
everysing but ichs on the freed brings euchs to
the feared. Qued?

1 Hen’s bens, are we soddy we missiled her?

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March 17, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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