Colm Tóibín’s review (LRB, Sept. 7; archived) of Annotations to James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ by Sam Slote, Marc A. Mamigonian, and John Turner is chock-full of good things and is of course catnip to any lover of Joyce. This is the most obviously Hattic passage:

Although this invaluable book is designed to be consulted rather than enjoyed, there are many useful ways in which the annotations can be read page by page. For anyone interested in the way Joyce’s Italian infused Ulysses, for example, we note the word ‘intestated’ as he uses it – from the Italian intestare, meaning to declare someone a beneficiary – does not have the same meaning as the English word ‘intestate’. ‘Incuneated’, from the Italian incuneare, ‘to wedge in’, has no entry in the OED. ‘Arruginated’, meaning ‘rusty’, from the Italian arrugginire, is also a Joycean neologism.

The immediately following paragraph is hilarious:

For students of tone, it’s interesting to see how long the editors can keep a straight face as, soberly and diligently, they write entry after entry, using a printed source for each and acknowledging the help of many named Joyceans. At times, you can almost hear a sigh or muffled laughter. In the Cyclops episode, there is a long, long list of saints, the majority only too real, that includes ‘S. Anonymous and S. Eponymous and S. Pseudonymous and S. Homonymous and S. Paronymous and S. Synonymous’. The annotation tells us: ‘Not actually saints.’ An annotation for ‘Doctor O’Gargle’ in the Oxen of the Sun episode reads: ‘Not a real doctor.’ The one for Father Cantekissem is: ‘Not a real priest.’

An explication of one of what are doubtless countless bits of trivia discussed in the massive (1424 pp.) book:

In the Circe episode, Stephen does some kind of damage in the brothel with his ashplant. Gifford’s annotation on the word that Stephen shouts as he lashes out – ‘Nothung!’ – is ‘the magic sword in Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen’. And this is repeated here. But what does Stephen actually hit with his ashplant? In the text, he ‘smashes the chandelier’. But then the woman who runs the brothel asks, ‘Who pays for the lamp?’ adding: ‘The lamp’s broken.’ When Bloom says, ‘Only the chimney’s broken,’ what does he mean? In Annotations, an OED definition of chimney is given as ‘a tube of glass placed over the wick of a lamp to protect the flame and promote combustion’. The annotators explain: ‘What Stephen has smashed is not a chandelier in any usual sense of the word, but merely a gas lamp.’ This may explain why Bloom throws merely a shilling on the table as compensation; it suggests that the use of ‘chandelier’ rather than ‘lamp’ is hyperbole and high drama that fits in with the phantasmagoria of the scene. In the same episode, Stephen’s friend Lynch mentions a possible penance: ‘Nine glorias for shooting a bishop.’ The annotators comment wisely on this: ‘Nine Glorias would be a surprisingly mild penance for such a deed.’ But then they write: ‘Also, “to shoot a bishop”: to have a wet dream.’ They are citing Partridge’s Dictionary of Slang.

But the meat of the review contemplates the issue of errors, whether intentional or not:

The​ early editions of Ulysses were notorious for misprints and textual errors. For his edition, published in 1986, Hans Walter Gabler made more than five thousand changes. While the writers of the new Annotations have some comments on Gabler’s decisions, they don’t argue with them much. For the moment, the question of a reasonably definitive edition of Ulysses seems to be settled. Gabler set out to discover what Joyce’s intentions were and sought to correct errors that had occurred in the creation of the published text. But he didn’t correct mistakes that were Joyce’s last word, or his final intention, or the nearest to it that Gabler could find. There remains a view that while his typists and typesetters made errors, Joyce did not. He was too scrupulous, as Ellmann would have it, and he had so complete a knowledge of Dublin that the book he published in 1922 and the city of 1904 can be considered one and the same.

One of the great values of this huge book, two and a half times the length of Ulysses itself, is to interrogate this idea. In the introduction, the authors quote Stephen Dedalus in the Scylla and Charybdis episode: ‘A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are portals of discovery.’ But only half this last sentence is true. Joyce’s errors in Ulysses were not volitional or even versions of his unconscious; he would have corrected them had he known of them. […]

‘Error is fundamental to Ulysses,’ the authors of Annotations write, and they quote the critic Sebastian Knowles: ‘The errors of Ulysses – the ones Joyce intended and the ones he did not – all taken together “reinforce the fact that errors are inevitable, that in a book so concerned with the human such errors are not only forgivable but necessary”.’ Sometimes, as in the Sirens episode, Joyce can be forgiven for being unlucky. He knew the Ormond Hotel, where the episode is set. This was where in 1912, on a visit to Dublin, Joyce met his father and a solicitor of his father’s acquaintance, George Lidwell, who appears under his own name. The problem is that the layout of the ground floor of the hotel was changed in 1905 when the owner purchased the adjoining building, adding Number 9 Ormond Quay to Number 8. Giving the Joyce scholar Harald Beck credit for this discovery, the Annotations authors write:

After the renovations, the ground floor contained, in addition to the bar and saloon at No. 8, a kitchen and restaurant at No. 9. The hotel was further expanded and completely renovated in 1932 (and was demolished in 2018). The layout of the Ormond as described in Ulysses, with Bloom sitting at a table in the restaurant from where he can spy on the bar without being seen, only existed in between the renovations of 1905 and those of 1932 … Joyce had been to the hotel in 1912 and was probably unaware of the earlier renovations.

In Calypso, when Bloom leaves his house – 7 Eccles Street – Joyce has him cross the street, to ‘the bright side, avoiding the loose cellarflap of number seventyfive’. But, as the annotators write, ‘Joyce’s representation of Dublin is not always accurate. Presumably Joyce thought that Number 75 was directly opposite Bloom’s house, but it was across the street and slightly to the right and therefore the loose cellar-flap is not in his path as he turns towards Dorset Street.’

Tóibín goes on to catalogue a great many more such failures to correspond with the reality represented by reference books, and concludes:

Ulysses is haunted by the story of its own composition. As Joyce famously put it, ‘I’ve put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that’s the only way of ensuring one’s immortality.’ The annotators point out, however, that it is ‘very likely that Joyce never said this’. It is not their task to look at the many changes and emendations that Joyce made, but when they do, it’s fascinating. In their gloss on the word ‘BELLO’ – the name suggests a masculine aspect to Bella Cohen in the Circe episode – they point out that Joyce ‘initially wrote “BELLA” and switched to “BELLO” on a page proof’. And in an early draft, Joyce – uncertain, it seems, what to do about such gender-bending – called Bloom ‘Leopoldina’, but then in the same draft he reverted to the less daring ‘Bloom’.

How do you gloss the last words of Ulysses, ‘and yes I said yes I will Yes’? The annotators find a source in Monteverdi’s opera Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria. In the final duet, when Ulysses is reunited with Penelope, she sings, ‘Yes, yes, life, yes, yes,’ then he sings, ‘Yes, yes, heart, yes, yes,’ and then they both sing: ‘Pleasure and joy/has come today/Yes, yes, life!/Yes, yes, heart, yes, yes.’ But another way of glossing this, outside the annotators’ remit, is to examine the manuscript sources to see if these words were always there, always in that order. Are there deleted words that will throw light on the words that were printed?

Crispi writes about a recently discovered Penelope draft whose eighteen final words ‘in many ways … have changed our understanding of Joyce’s work and of Ulysses’. Joyce, he tells us, first wrote: ‘and I said I would.’ ‘It is likely,’ Crispi adds,

that Joyce was copying the initial conditional version from a now lost previous document (and we cannot be sure how long it had that form, possibly several years), but only because of the survival of this particular draft are we able to know the precise moment when Joyce profoundly transfigured the entire tenor of Ulysses with that one change. Unlike the other additions that Joyce placed in the left margins of this page … here Joyce paused as he was writing and changed his plans. Looking at this draft, we can see that ‘would’ is crossed out and only then did Joyce write ‘will’ beside it on the same line, before continuing to the final word of Ulysses: ‘yes’.

When I was much younger, I was in thrall to the myth of perfect representation: “if the city one day suddenly disappeared from the earth it could be reconstructed out of my book.” Now I realize that was always an impossible idea, and probably not a helpful one for a writer to hold. Get your novel as close to “reality” as it needs to be for your esthetic purposes, but make whatever emendations you need to — for you, for now, the word is more important than the world.


  1. The “chandelier” vs. “gas lamp” thing reminds me of the similar issue in Rilke’s poem “Archaïscher Torso Apollos”, in which the torso glows “wie ein Kandelaber, in dem sein Schauen, nur zurückgeschraubt, sich hält und glänzt.” This idea of a “candelabra” that can be “turned down” seems to bother and defeat most translators, although I’ve seen what seems a perfectly reasonable argument that a “Kandelaber” is/was a sort of gas lamp.

    My knowledge of German and of lighting in the early 20th century is insufficient to hold an opinion, but I’m someone here will set the matter straight.

  2. That is indeed impressively similar!

  3. J.W. Brewer says

    I thought we were going to learn about arruginative languages, a Joycean alternative to agglutinative ones … You could tell me with a straight face that there was a multi-page riff on that exact theme in Finnegans Wake which I must have “read” when I went though the book front to back in my late teens and I would just assume that was one of many passages that kind of washed over me without being absorbed.

  4. Ask ChatGPT and I’m sure it will provide you with as many such passages as you want. Cf. fake Proust.

  5. i’m not sure about arruginative languages, but i think arruginated languages might include such lects as latin, fusha, talmudic aramaic, coptic, palo kikongo, and académie french.

  6. David Marjanović says

    that’s the only way of ensuring one’s immortality

    ♩♩♩♫ Exegi mŏnŭment’ aerĕ pĕrennjus
    regaliquĕ sĭtu pyrămĭd’ altjus ♩♫♩♩


    A stereotypical name for rather small dogs, because “bark” is bellen.

    This idea of a “candelabra” that can be “turned down” seems to bother and defeat most translators, although I’ve seen what seems a perfectly reasonable argument that a “Kandelaber” is/was a sort of gas lamp.

    I don’t think this parsing is even possible. Zurückgeschraubt has to refer to Schauen.

  7. This idea of a “candelabra” that can be “turned down” seems to bother and defeat most translators, although I’ve seen what seems a perfectly reasonable argument that a “Kandelaber” is/was a sort of gas lamp.
    Indeed. The German word designates two things, a many-armed candle holder and a many-armed lamp.

  8. Stephen hitting the “chimney” with his “ashplant” makes me think of Odin thrusting Gram/Nothung into Barnstokkr (cognate to “bairn stick,” meaning roughly “child tree”), the tree trunk in the middle of Volsungr’s hall, where it is to remain until the greatest of all mortal heroes comes to claim it.

  9. — for you, for now, the word is more important than the world.

    And indeed, Joyce plays with both in a kind of authorial lila:

    I called you naughty boy because I do not like that other world. Please tell me what is the real meaning of that word.
    [Letter from Martha to “Henry Flower”, in “Lotus Eaters”. Compare her “O how I long to meet you. Henry dear, do not deny my request before my patience are exhausted.”]

    There is another world after death named hell. I do not like that other world she wrote. No more do I. Plenty to see and hear and feel yet. Feel live warm beings near you. Let them sleep in their maggoty beds. They are not going to get me this innings. Warm beds: warm fullblooded life.
    [Bloom, near the end of “Hades”.]

    Wanted smart lady typist to aid gentleman in literary work. I called you naughty darling because I do not like that other world. Please tell me what is the meaning. Please tell me what perfume does your wife. Tell me who made the world. The way they spring those questions on you.
    [Bloom, in “Lestrygonians”.]

    Mr Bloom with his stick gently vexed the thick sand at his foot. Write a message for her. Might remain. What?
    Some flatfoot tramp on it in the morning. Useless. Washed away. Tide comes here a pool near her foot. Bend, see my face there, dark mirror, breathe on it, stirs. All these rocks with lines and scars and letters. O, those transparent! Besides they don’t know. What is the meaning of that other world. I called you naughty boy because I do not like.
    AM. A.
    No room. Let it go.
    Mr Bloom effaced the letters with his slow boot. Hopeless thing sand. Nothing grows in it. All fades. No fear of big vessels coming up here. Except Guinness’s barges. Round the Kish in eighty days. Done half by design.
    [Near the end of “Nausicaa”.]

    Intimately connected with Bloom and Martha’s epistolary assignation is his lipographic “high grade ha”:

    The sweated legend in the crown of his hat told him mutely: Plasto’s high grade ha. He peeped quickly inside the leather headband. White slip of paper. Quite safe.

    Under their dropped lids his eyes found the tiny bow of the leather headband inside his high grade ha. Just there. His right hand came down into the bowl of his hat. His fingers found quickly a card behind the headband and transferred it to his waistcoat pocket.
    [“Lotus Eaters”]

    Folly am I writing? Husbands don’t. That’s marriage does, their wives. Because I’m away from. Suppose. But how? She must. Keep young. If she found out. Card in my high grade ha. No, not tell all. Useless pain. If they don’t see. Woman. Sauce for the gander.

    In “Circe” the ha appears complete, but in the same context of dissimulation with reference to his Dublin namesake, Bloom the dentist, and others (and also shift of gender):

    BLOOM I have forgotten for the moment. Ah, yes! (He takes off his high grade hat, saluting.) Dr Bloom, Leopold, dental surgeon. You have heard of von Bloom Pasha. Umpteen millions. Donnerwetter! Owns half Austria. Egypt. Cousin.

    I have made a pervaginal examination and, after application of the acid test to 5427 anal, axillary, pectoral and pubic hairs, I declare him to be virgo intacta.
    (Bloom holds his high grade hat over his genital organs.)

    In “Eumaeus” Bloom reads the report of the day’s funeral (a celebration of absence), and finds himself misspelt adjacent to other absences by omission or otherwise:

    … Stephen Dedalus, B. A., Edward J. Lambert, Cornelius Kelleher, Joseph M’C. Hynes, L. Boom, C. P. M’Coy, – M’Intosh, and several others.
    Nettled not a little by L. Boom (as it incorrectly stated) and the line of bitched type, but tickled to death simultaneously by C. P. M’Coy and Stephen Dedalus, B. A., who were conspicuous, needless to say, by their total absence (to say nothing of M’Intosh), L. Boom pointed it out to his companion B. A., engaged in stifling another yawn, half nervousness, not forgetting the usual crop of nonsensical howlers of misprints.

    “Tickled to death” indeed. M’Coy had asked Bloom to report falsely that he was at the funeral (M’Coy had given the excuse of attending at the inquiry into a drowning, another kind of fall from presence that figures throughout the novel); M’Intosh is a fugitive non-entity making more than one (dis)appearance in Ulysses, first of all at the funeral.

    Lines of bitched type, nonsensical howlers of misprints, portholes of duskothery (for which see the closing pages of “Nausicaa”).

  10. David Marjanović says

    the greatest of all mortal heroes


  11. the greatest of all mortal heroes


  12. Boom! (Donnerwetter.)

  13. And indeed, Joyce plays with both

    I confess I had his lila in mind when I was finishing my post.

  14. Of course you did, Ha. And I thank you for the opportunity to unreel what amounts to a typical Noetic footnote.

  15. If I remember correctly, Local 147 of the Arruginated Clothing and Textile Workers Union is the retirees’ local.

  16. ♩♩♩♫ Exegi mŏnŭment’ aerĕ pĕrennjus
    regaliquĕ sĭtu pyrămĭd’ altjus ♩♫♩♩

    What is the explanation for j? The letter doesn’t exist in Latin, and the meter demands a syllabic i, anyway.

  17. There is an alternative critical edition of Ulysses, prepared by Danis Rose and John O’Hanlon, available, along with their edition of Finnegans Wake, as part of the James Joyce Digital Archive.

  18. Exegi monumentum aere perennius
    regalique situ pyramidum altius,
    quod non imber edax, non Aquilo impotens
    possit diruere aut innumerabilis

    annorum series et fuga temporum.
    non omnis moriar, multaque pars mei
    vitabit Libitinam: usque ego postera
    crescam laude recens, dum Capitolium

    scandet cum tacita virgine pontifex.
    dicar, qua violens obstrepit Aufidus
    et qua pauper aquae Daunus agrestium
    regnavit populorum, ex humili potens

    princeps Aeolium Carmen ad Italos
    deduxisse modos: sume superbiam
    quaesitam meritis et mihi Delphica
    lauro cinge volens, Melpomene, comam.

    – Horace, Odes, 3.30

    I’ve made a monument more permanent than bronze,
    and higher than the failing might of pyramids –
    which neither gnawing rain nor vapid northerly
    could ever hope to wreck, nor yet the numberless

    succession of years, nor elapsing of ages.
    So never shall I die completely; much of me
    evades the deathly Goddess; I will flourish yet
    fresh in future praise, while ever the Capitol

    is scaled by presiding priest and silent Virgin.
    They’ll speak of me where violent roars Aufidus:
    where ever-thirsty Daunus over the backblocks
    and country folk ruled. Proud despite low beginnings,

    I’m first to bring Aeolic airs to Italy’s
    own homely repertoire of song. Now wear this pride
    so richly earned – then gird for me with Delphian
    laurel, Melpomene, my waiting head of hair.

    – Noetica, Horatian Imitations, 1.1

  19. David Marjanović says

    and the meter demands a syllabic i, anyway

    I thought it specifically precluded it, so I thought this must be one of the rare cases where i preceding a vowel wasn’t read as syllabic (the textbook example is Laviniaque urbem in the Aeneid somewhere… but that would require a syllable break between e and u…).

    Now I see that almost the entire rest of the poem does demand the extra syllable.

  20. The note about Doctor O’Gargle might mean that he was a real person but eg a quack or EdD.

  21. Stu Clayton says

    my waiting head of hair

    Nice bit of bathos there.

    They also serve who only lie and wait.

  22. I thought it specifically precluded it

    No, it requires it. Maybe you were misreading the earlier part of the line?

  23. David Marjanović says

    It looks like I misread the Wikipedia article two years ago. Or maybe there was actually a typo in it at the time… no idea.

  24. Laviniaque venit is in line 2 of the Aeneid, and is the second metrical irregularity in the line. It threw me when I was 13 and was just learning metrics (on my own) and then, of course, this was about the first example I saw. I was just thinking about this yesterday.

  25. There is an alternate reading Lavinaque, which for some reason editors don’t generally adopt though it seems to have pretty good support.

    What’s the first irregularity?

  26. My OCT has “Lavinaque venit.”

  27. And hey, Servius says “Lavina legendum est, non Lavinia.” Servius said it, Oxford printed it, I believe it.

  28. editors don’t generally adopt it

    Conte’s Teubner edition (2005) adopts it; in fact, it is the reading of what seems to be the oldest witness (tegula saec. I). according to Conte, Quintilian, Hieronymus, Macrobius and Servius also support this reading.

  29. David Marjanović says

    Oh, good.

  30. Ah, I was overgeneralizing. But Laviniaque is probably the lectio difficilior, for what that’s worth.

  31. Matters Lavinian were ever-so-lightly touched on here.


    Nice bit of bathos there.

    Bathos was not wanted so much as a translation compassing the cingularitysingularity of coma, hard to render in English. I worried about it as I wrote, in my strictly dodecasyllabic (roughly hexametric) rendering that attempts to respect the semantic integrity of each line. The last four could be varied like this (among countless alternatives):

    I’m first to add Aeolian to Italy’s
    homely inventory of modes. Now wear this pride
    we’ve richly earned – and wreathe for me with Delphian
    laurel, willing Melpomene, my waiting locks.

    Your millepassage may differ.

  32. Laviniaque is probably the lectio difficilior

    I read that in a commentary, but I am not convinced. Lavninus seems to be extremely rare: Georges’ Handwörterbuch lists only Lavinius; even his Lexikon der lateinischen Wortformen only has the ablative plural Lavinis in Propertius. For most scribes in the following centuries Lavinius will have been the normal form of the adjective, and the non-syllabic i will have been the everyday pronunciation (according to Georges, Juvenal was the first well-known poet to use this pronunciation)..

  33. Giacomo Ponzetto says


    But Laviniaque is probably the lectio difficilior

    I wonder until when. Twenty centuries later, the word has become trisyllabic in Italian.

    Tu sì placida sei? Tu la nascente
    Lavinia prole, e gli anni
    Lieti vedesti, e i memorandi allori;

    What’s hard now is reading it as any more than three syllables in Latin … Yay synizesis!

    Edit: I was writing as ulr posted. If Juvenal was already using the trisyllabic pronunciation a mere century later, I start wondering if that might have been already current in Virgil’s time.

    That would raise another question I have no qualification to answer, namely whether it’s more likely that Virgil himself or his commentators/copyists/editors would insist on avoiding an everyday pronunciation as too informal for the opening of his epic poem.

  34. TR, the first irregularity is “profugus, Laviniaque” with “-gus” as a short syllable. As Giacomo Ponzetto points out, these features show Latin turning into Italian.

  35. Giacomo Ponzetto says

    @ Rodger C: Isn’t the following scansion regular?

    Ītălĭ|am fā| prŏfŭ|gus Lā|n[ĭ]aque | vēnit

  36. It is indeed.

  37. Well, you’re quite right. I thought maybe my high-school textbook gave different quantities, but I’m now looking at the very page. I must have been a very raw reader of Latin verse then.

  38. whether it’s more likely that Virgil himself or his commentators/copyists/editors would insist on avoiding an everyday pronunciation as too informal for the opening of his epic poem.

    According to the Appendix on Metrica et Prosodiaca in Klingner’s Teubner edition of Horace (Shackleton-Bailey’s Teubner edition lacks this useful appendix), there are six instances of non-syllabic i (i consona) in Horace’s poetry – three in the lyric poems and three in the satires. That proves that this phenomenon probably was a feature of everyday speech in this time, but also that poets only used it in exceptional cases. I haven’t found similar listings for Vergil (I should take a look at the 19th century editions, I guess), but Vergil and Ovid have the reputation of being much more “regular” poets than their predecessors.

  39. Another Vergilian example is Aeneid 7.175 hae sacris sedes epulis, hic ari̯ete caeso. (This came up on Latin SE a little while ago.)

    The unusual Lavina does sound suitably grand for an epic proem, to Giacomo’s point.

  40. David Marjanović says

    whether it’s more likely that Virgil himself or his commentators/copyists/editors would insist on avoiding an everyday pronunciation as too informal for the opening of his epic poem.

    Probably Virgil himself; elsewhere he used archaisms, too – quicquid id est, timeo Danaos et dona ferentis.

  41. Where is there an archaism in that line?
    The one true archaism in Virgil I remember is that at one place he uses a genetive ending in disyllabic -ai.

  42. David Marjanović says

    The Classical acc. pl. is ferentes, with the consonant-stem ending replacing the i-stem one.

  43. As discussed at LH. (Yes, we really have talked about everything.)

  44. Seit der augusteischen Zeit werden die Accusativformen auf -īs immer seltener, und etwa seit der Hälfte des I. Jahrh. n. Chr. war -ēs die allgemein gebräuchliche Form; aber die Richtigkeit der Accusative auf -es bei den vorklassischen und klassischen Schriftstellern zu entscheiden dürfte sehr schwierig sein, da dieselben von Abschreibern u. nicht von den Schriftstellern selbst herrühren konnten.
    (Kühner/Holzweissig, Ausführliche Grammatik der lateinischen Sprache, Part I, §73a)

    So it is only from the mid-first century onwards that you can call -īs a conscious archaism; not at all comparable to the genetive in -āī (a form probably taken from Ennius). Some editors intentionally normalise to -ēs, even if some manuscripts witness to the older form, because you cannot really trust the medieval manuscripts in matters of spelling. Just compare various editions of Sallust’s Bellum Catilinae: some start with omnis, others with omnes.

  45. Editing my last post somehow messed up all characters that are not standard ASCII…

  46. Stu Clayton says

    Editing my last post somehow messed up all characters that are not standard ASCII…

    It is only from the early twenty-first century onwards that you can call ASCII a conscious archaism.

  47. Editing my last post somehow messed up all characters that are not standard ASCII…

    Such as? I fixed the italics fail, but am not sure what else you want changed.

  48. Right after making a minimal edit, all non-ASCII characters (ä, ö, ü, e and i with macron) seemed to have been replaced by some random weird characters; now everything looks OK again. I hate bugs that cannot be properly reproduced.

  49. The same thing started happening here for me, about three weeks ago. It’s intermittent, but so serious that more than once I’ve edited to remove the offending characters and resorted to circumlocution.

  50. It almost always happens to me after editing. I just refresh the page and all is well. Others reading the entry don’t see the garbled characters.

  51. Lars Mathiesen (he/him/his) says

    This is a well-understood glitch. Something somewhere in the innards of WP changed, and the comment editing plug-in is getting the updated text back with one more layer of UTF-8 encoding than it expects. But when you refresh the page, the comment text is processed by mainline code that does expect to get that extra layer and so oll is korrekt. It looks scary, but is harmless.

    (It is also possible that the comment editing plug-in stores the updated text with a layer of encoding that used to be needed and/or decoded before storing, and some automagic in the mainline code detects this for backwards reasons).

    In any case, the c.e.p-i. needs to be updated to render (or possibly store) the updated text correctly. In the nature of things, such a version will be available soon™. But the WP update was so long ago that it might be profitable to check for a new version of the c.e.p-i. about now.

    (I’m pretty sure it started much longer ago than three weeks; I wrote much the same as above in another thread back then, but Googling the Hattery is not my forte. I’m not doing it just to date the old discussion).

    (And on reproducibility: Update a comment with characters outside the Latin-1 range, and you’ll see garbage every time when you press Save. And they will be what you want when you refresh, 100% of the time. I don’t know how the upper half of Latin-1 escapes that dire fate, they are 2-byte sequences in UTF-8 just as the the IPA block. Somebody is playing silly buggers instead doing it right!)

  52. Lars Mathiesen (he/him/his) says

    More testing reveals that WP seems to be flagging posts that keep to Latin-1 and not applying UTF-8. At a guess, because posts/comments used to be restricted to Latin-1. If your non-ASCII stuff is a mixture of Latin-1 and beyond, it all gets the garbling treatment.

    (And such a way of handling your data base, for the non-programmers in here, is archetypical silly buggers. A.k.a. a misfeature waiting to bite you where you don’t want to be bit).

  53. blåbɛɐg̥χœ̰ð̠

    Saved from the hot minute !

  54. Lars Mathiesen (he/him/his) says

    @Stu, I kid you not. It was [blɑbɛɐg̥χœ̰ð̠] earlier in that minute. (And for those who missed it, that’s spelled blåbærgrød and means compote de arándanos. English doesn’t seem to have a cromulent word for a compote eaten as a dessert. G has Grütze, I had a perfectly cromulent Rote Grütze in Hamburg a week ago).

    And of course it features because it’s the shortest word known to 70s/80s CS BS students that has all the lowercase letters that separate the Danish national code set from ASCII. On an ASCII terminal it’s bl}b{rgr|d, upper case BL]B[RGR\D. I used to read and write that fluently.

  55. My favorite anachronism in Ulysses is the reference to Pokorny — yes, *that* Pokorny! Here Buck and Haines are dissecting Stephen over scones:

    Buck Mulligan bent across the table gravely.

    — They drove his wits astray, he said, by visions of hell. He will never capture the Attic note. The note of Swinburne, of all poets, the white death and the ruddy birth. That is his tragedy. He can never be a poet. The joy of creation…

    — Eternal punishment, Haines said, nodding curtly. I see. I tackled him this morning on belief. There was something on his mind, I saw. It’s rather interesting because professor Pokorny of Vienna makes an interesting point out of that.

    Buck Mulligan’s watchful eyes saw the waitress come. He helped her to unload her tray.

    — He can find no trace of hell in ancient Irish myth, Haines said, amid the cheerful cups. The moral idea seems lacking, the sense of destiny, of retribution. Rather strange he should have just that fixed idea.

    No question it’s *that* Pokorny, who was publishing on Old Irish and lecturing on Celtic philology at Vienna while Joyce was writing Ulysses. But in 1904, he was only 17 years old! Maybe Joyce forgot that, or maybe he just thought it would be cool to drop Pokorny’s name. And it is!

    As for how Joyce knew about views that Pokorny hadn’t even published until after Ulysses, one scholarly speculation is that he heard about them while living in Zurich, where intellectuals would have known Pokorny’s work.

  56. David Eddyshaw says

    I suspect that this is actually Kevin Pokorny, his much smarter elder brother.

  57. I don’t suppose he had a copy handy of Who’s Who in Vienna, in which to check Pokorny’s stats.

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