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Thread: Some words I've been struggling with

  1. #1
    Reprobate RaoulDuke's Avatar
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    May 2010

    Some words I've been struggling with

    There are a few words I still can't fathom despite trawling paper dictionaries, online dictionaries and Gifford's companion book. If anyone could shed light on the following I would be eternally grateful.

    abigail, Chapter 14:

    [I]When he had betaken himself to the women's apartment to assist at the prescribed ceremony of the afterbirth in the presence of the secretary of state for domestic affairs and the members of the privy council, silent in unanimous exhaustion and approbation, the delegates, chafing under the length and solemnity of their vigil and hoping that the joyful occurrence would palliate a licence which the simultaneous absence of abigail and officer rendered the easier, broke out at once into a strife of tongues./I]

    Is the lack of capital letter a typo, or is "abigail" a word in it's own right?

    morbous, Chapter 14:

    Nature, we may rest assured, has her own good and cogent reasons for whatever she does and in all probability such deaths are due to some law of anticipation by which organisms in which morbous germs have taken up their residence (modern science has conclusively shown that only the plasmic substance can be said to be immortal) tend to disappear at an increasingly earlier stage of development, an arrangement, which, though productive of pain to some of our feelings (notably the maternal), is nevertheless, some of us think, in the long run beneficial to the race in general in securing thereby the survival of the fittest.

    ingleside, Chapter 17:
    A sofa upholstered in prune plush had been translocated from opposite the door to the ingleside near the compactly furled Union Jack (an alteration which he had frequently intended to execute): the blue and white checker inlaid majolicatopped table had been placed opposite the door in the place vacated by the prune plush sofa: the walnut sideboard (a projecting angle of which had momentarily arrested his ingress) had been moved from its position beside the door to a more advantageous but more perilous position in front of the door: two chairs had been moved from right and left of the ingleside to the position originally occupied by the blue and white checker inlaid majolicatopped table.

    rutilance, Chapter 17:
    From an open box on the majolicatopped table he extracted a black diminutive cone, one inch in height, placed it on its circular base on a small tin plate, placed his candlestick on the right corner of the mantelpiece, produced from his waistcoat a folded page of prospectus (illustrated) entitled Agendath Netaim, unfolded the same, examined it superficially, rolled it into a thin cylinder, ignited it in the candleflame, applied it when ignited to the apex of the cone till the latter reached the stage of rutilance, placed the cylinder in the basin of the candlestick disposing its unconsumed part in such a manner as to facilitate total combustion.

    ipsorelative and aliorelative, Chapter 17:
    What composite asymmetrical image in the mirror then attracted his attention?

    The image of a solitary (ipsorelative) mutable (aliorelative) man.

    imprevidibility, Chapter 17:
    The imprevidibility of the future: once in the summer of 1898 he (Bloom) had marked a florin (2s.) with three notches on the milled edge and tendered it in payment of an account due to and received by J. and T. Davy, family grocers, 1 Charlemont Mall, Grand Canal, for circulation on the waters of civic finance, for possible, circuitous or direct, return.

    According to this page the word means 'unpredictability, which makes sense given the context, but that Joyce made it up. Can anyone confirm this?

    pelosity, Chapter 17:
    What different problems presented themselves to each concerning the invisible audible collateral organ of the other?

    To Bloom: the problems of irritability, tumescence, rigidity, reactivity, dimension, sanitariness, pelosity.

    I found one online dictionary that claimed this meant 'muddiness', but I don't really understand that within the context of this sentence.

    tingating, Chapter 18:
    ...Mrs Mastiansky told me her husband made her like the dogs do it and stick out her tongue as far as ever she could and he so quiet and mild with his tingating either can you ever be up to men the way it takes them lovely stuff in that blue suit he had on and stylish tie and socks with the skyblue silk things on them hes certainly welloff...
    "How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live."

  2. #2
    Registered User mona amon's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
    Abigail - A maid servant of some sort. I've seen it in Jane Eyre, Chapter 2.

    My non expert interpretation of some of the others -

    Morbous - Disease in latin.


    Rutilance - word used by Joyce to to mean the red-hot glow that the cone attained. Rutilus = reddish in Latin.

    Pelosity - Taking the definition that you found, ie. muddiness, it makes sense if he's talking about the stream of urine.

    Tingating - A word that Molly made up?

    I never took the trouble of looking up the dictionary when reading Ulysses, but this was fun!
    Exit, pursued by a bear.

  3. #3
    Reprobate RaoulDuke's Avatar
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    May 2010
    Well that's cleared quite a few up, thanks for that!

    Turns out the other are actually in the Gifford book, I just just missed them:

    17.1350 (708:1). ipsorelative - A reflexive, self-contained organization of cross-references.
    17.1350 (708:1). aliorelalive - An externally referential organization.

    I'd be interested to hear some more thoughts on the word "tingating", and if it is indeed a Joyce-ism then what he intended it to mean.
    "How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live."

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