Preliminary inquiry: Sigla for James Joyce's Finnegans Wake

catherine butler crmb211 at
Thu May 8 11:09:49 CDT 2014

We're struggling to master the intricacies of proposing new Unicode characters specific to the James Joyce masterpiece "Finnegans Wake".

There are somewhere from two to two-dozen 'sigla' that occur in the published text and the voluminous surviving notes, representing Joyce's basic archetypes: man/woman, boy/girl, old-man/old-woman, judge/jury, message, etc. Scholars currently use various elaborate compromises to represent these in published articles.

Because they're all fairly simple geometric shapes, most of them already have approximate representations somewhere in Unicode (eg triangle, circle, caret, bracket), but as a gesture of respect it would be great to replace these so the whole set can be precisely matched for heights, linewidths, angles, etc.

The highest priority would be the 90 and 270 degree rotations of the capital 'E' (still missing as far as I can tell). There's also rotations and reflections of capital 'F' that occur in the published text but not exactly as sigla (so far as we can judge-- scholarship is still in its early days).

Are there precedents? Would testimonials help? Might this qualify for the full two dozen set?

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