Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0020837, Wed, 6 Oct 2010 07:16:22 -0400

Re: THOUGHT: the whole codology

On Oct 5, 2010, at 5:42 PM, James Twiggs wrote:

> "Codology" is an interesting word, as anyone can see by going here:
> http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=codology

I thank JT for the apology, which wasn't really necessary. Actually my
posting was just an excuse to wave my thesis about Sybil & Disa around
in a shorter form. But let me thank JT also for the link on codology,
mainly because this was not the meaning I intended and I fear now that
I may of misused the term.

codology [kɒdˈɒlədʒɪ]
Irish informal the art or practice of bluffing or deception
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins
Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

My use derives from Joyce's Ulysses, the so-called Cyclops episode,
where the nameless narrator writes:
So they started talking about capital punishment and of course Bloom
comes out with the why and the wherefore and all the codology of the
business and the old dog smelling him all the time I'm told those
jewies does have a sort of a queer odour coming off them for dogs
about I don't know what all deterrent effect and so forth and so on.

Here it is not at all clear that either Bloom or the narrator take
Bloom's pronouncements as being made in jest. I took it to mean the
whole length and breadth of a subject. I also took it as a joycean
neologism. Bloom is at least twice referred to as a cod in the
chapter, and the words coddling, codding, mollycoddle are also used.

--I saw him before I met you, says I, sloping around by Pill lane and
Greek street with his cod's eye counting up all the guts of the fish...

So Bloom slopes in with his cod's eye on the dog and he asks Terry was
Martin Cunningham there.

Unfortunately my sources don't give a full etymology. It's possible
the word originates from this occurrence and subsequently changed
meaning, or that Joyce misused it, or that I, even now, misread it.
Nevertheless I probably shouldn't use it in a way that doesn't conform
to standard usage. So thanks for doing some of the research that I
should have done.


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