Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Bloomsday 100 (part 1): A link, and the infallibility of water as paradigm and paragon

In the Village Voice, a competent description of Bloomsday 100 by Andrew Lewis Conn (ok, unfair; here is a gentler review).

And here is Bloom (from the 'Ithaca' episode of Ulysses) on why he loves water. All of the words in bold were unfamiliar to me, so I looked them up, and included definitions from the Oxford English Dictionary at the end of the post.

What in water did Bloom, waterlover, drawer of water, watercarrier returning to the range, admire?

Its universality: its democratic equality and constancy to its nature in seeking its own level: its vastness in the ocean of Mercator's projection: its umplumbed profundity in the Sundam trench of the Pacific exceeding 8,000 fathoms: the restlessness of its waves and surface particles visiting in turn all points of its seaboard: the independence of its units: the variability of states of sea: its hydrostatic quiescence in calm: its hydrokinetic turgidity in neap and spring tides: its subsidence after devastation: its sterility in the circumpolar icecaps, arctic and antarctic: its climatic and commercial significance: its preponderance of 3 to 1 over the dry land of the globe: its indisputable hegemony extending in square leagues over all the region below the subequatorial tropic of Capricorn: the multisecular stability of its primeval basin: its luteofulvous bed: Its capacity to dissolve and hold in solution all soluble substances including billions of tons of the most precious metals: its slow erosions of peninsulas and downwardtending promontories: its alluvial deposits: its weight and volume and density: its imperturbability in lagoons and highland tarns: its gradation of colours in the torrid and temperate and frigid zones: its vehicular ramifications in continental lakecontained streams and confluent oceanflowing rivers with their tributaries and transoceanic currents: gulfstream, north and south equatorial courses: its violence in seaquakes, waterspouts, artesian wells, eruptions, torrents, eddies, freshets, spates, groundswells, watersheds, waterpartings, geysers, cataracts, whirlpools, maelstroms, inundations, deluges, cloudbursts: its vast circumterrestrial ahorizontal curve: its secrecy in springs, and latent humidity, revealed by rhabdomantic or hygrometric instruments and exemplified by the hole in the wall at Ashtown gate, saturation of air, distillation of dew: the simplicity of its composition, two constituent parts of hydrogen with one constituent part of oxygen: its healing virtues: its buoyancy in the waters of the Dead Sea: its persevering penetrativeness in runnels, gullies, inadequate dams, leaks on shipboard: its properties for cleansing, quenching thirst and fire, nourishing vegetation: its infallibility as paradigm and paragon: its metamorphoses as vapour, mist, cloud, rain, sleet, snow, hail: its strength in rigid hydrants: its variety of forms in loughs and bays and gulfs and bights and guts and lagoons and atolls and archipelagos and sounds and fjords and minches and tidal estuaries and arms of sea: its solidity in glaciers, icebergs, icefloes: its docility in working hydraulic millwheels, turbines, dynamos, electric power stations, bleachworks, tanneries, scutchmills: its utility in canals, rivers, if navigable, floating and graving docks: its potentiality derivable from harnessed tides or watercourses falling from level to level: its submarine fauna and flora (anacoustic, photophobe) numerically, if not literally, the inhabitants of the globe: its ubiquity as constituting 90% of the human body: the noxiousness of its effluvia in lacustrine marshes, pestilential fens, faded flowerwater, stagnant pools in the waning moon.

multisecular: that has existed for many ages; recurring in, or involving many ages (OED)
neap tide: designating or relating to a tide occurring just after the first or third quarters of the moon, when the high-water level is lowest and there is least difference between high- and low-water levels (OED)
freshet: a small stream of fresh water (OED)
minch: ??? (OED has it as British slang, related to secrecy; "Who know what he does when he goes out minching in the middle of the night?")
tarn: a small mountain lake, having no significant tributaries (OED)
artesian: pertaining to Artois, or resembling the wells made there in the 18th cent., in which a perpendicular boring into a synclinal fold or basin of the strata produces a constant supply of water rising spontaneously to the surface of the ground. By extension applied to water obtainable by artesian boring (OED)
luteofulvous: of a tawny, yellow color (in Botany; OED)
rhabdomancy, rhabdomantic: use of a divining rod (synonym: 'witch-wiggling'; OED)
hygrometric: pertaining to the humidity of the atmosphere (OED)
Scutchmill: a mill for preparing flax (OED)
lacustrine: Of or pertaining to lakes (OED)