Open main menu

Page:Carroll - Notes by an Oxford Chiel.djvu/32

This page has been validated.
vi
INTRODUCTION

Mathematics. Who shall say what germs of romance, hitherto unobserved, may not underlie the subject? Who can tell whether the parallelogram, which in our ignorance we have defined and drawn, and the whole of whose properties we profess to know, may not be all the while panting for exterior angles, sympathetic with the interior, or sullenly repining at the fact that it cannot be inscribed in a circle? What mathematician has ever pondered over an hyperbola, mangling the unfortunate curve with lines of intersection here and there, in his efforts to prove some property that perhaps after all is a mere calumny, who has not fancied at last that the ill-used locus was spreading out its asymptotes as a silent rebuke, or winking one focus at him in contemptuous pity?

In some such spirit as this we have compiled the following pages. Crude and hasty as they are, they yet exhibit some of the phenomena of light, or 'enlightenment,' considered as a force, more fully than has hitherto been attempted by other writers.

June, 1865.