Annotations to James Joyce's Ulysses/Lotus Eaters/069

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dolce far niente     (Italian) pleasant idleness.[1] The literal translation of this common Italian expression is sweet doing nothing.

Azotes      Azote is an archaic name for nitrogen, the commonest constituent of the Earth's atmosphere. The French chemist Antoine Lavoisier called this gas azote, from the Greek roots ἀ (a) and ζωή (zōē) meaning not-life, because it could not support life. Most plants, however, require nitrogen, which is probably what Bloom is thinking of. He seems to believe that such plants are called azotes, though I have not found any references to support such a belief.[2] It is possible that he has confused azote with exotic, a plant that is not native to the local ecosystem. Exotics are to be found in the hothouse in Dublin's Botanic Gardens, alluded to by Bloom immediately after azotes. Richard Ellmann referred to such near misses as Bloomisms.[3]


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  1. Gifford (1988) 85.
  2. William Benjamin Carpenter, Popular Cyclopaedia of Natural Science (1844), "Animal Physiology", p. 25. ... most plants require the element nitrogen or azote as one of the materials of their growth....
  3. Ellmann, Richard (1984). Ulysses on the Liffey. London: Faber and Faber Limited. p. 36. ISBN 0-571-13309-6.
Annotations to James Joyce's Ulysses
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