Euclid is first encountered by Anne in the Journals during early studies with Reverend Samuel Knight back in 1808. Mr. Knight, a Cambridge alum, taught the prevailing curriculum of the day of which the Elements were a staple. The first Journal mention is Saturday, 13 February, 1808, where at the age of 16 Anne notes, using the Greek alphabet, “Began Euclid” (SH:7/ML/E/26/1/0022/F.28). This was accomplished between corresponding with Eliza Raine, giving lessons to Miss Maria Alexander, and learning about the quadratic.Euclid is something Anne visits many times and it is unclear in the journals which edition was used, or even if the same edition was used: at the age of 18, 1809, June 8th, Thursday, “began to look Euclid over again by myself,” (SH:7/ML/E/26/1/0032/F.12):
and again at the age of 25, 1816, October, 22, Tuesday (SH:7/ML/E/26/2/0008/R.52, R.83) “Began Euclides,” and in the Literary Index, “Euclid. -”It is on 13 May, 1817, after “Mariana Left Us” (1817 February 27), where for the fourth time and at the age of 26, Anne starts at the beginning of Elements with Book 1, Propositions 1-7 (being studied against Demosthenes de corona and Aschines contra Ctesiphon). Here Anne diligently embarks on a “Scheme of a plan of study -” (SH:7/ML/E/1/0082) marking a turning point with the Post-Mariana vow (SH:7/ML/E/1/0011/V.05-13):
This path is followed with adaptations to the schedule and in the Journals on Friday, 27 June, 1817, (SH:7/ML/E/1/0022/V.10-11) (SH:7/ML/E/1/0081/R.) the first six books outlining the elements of plane geometry and the theory of proportions are completed:
It is unclear from the Journals whether or not Anne read through the first six books in the autumn of 1816, or during the second attempt in 1809 (perhaps there is more on this in the notebooks and indexes), but there is an annotation that the first time through this gauntlet was Friday, 19th August, 1808 to 17th September, 1808 (SH:7/ML/E/26/1/0011):Prior to advancing to Book VII, Anne does it all again! Just to be clear. Monday, June 30th, 1817 (SH:7/ML/E/1/0081/R.16-17):
Nearly a month later on Friday, 25th July, after completing the days literary comparisons of Book 12 of Homer’s Iliad in Greek against two different translations in English (Cowper and Pope), and uncomfortably just prior to embarking on the crypted “The French Pox.” Anne encounters the 13th Proposition in Book 2 (~ the Law of Cosines, used in triangulation), this the third time having noted the second recent attempt two days previous on Jul 23rd, (SH:7/ML/E/1/0027/B.28) and doubled in the index ((SH:7/ML/E/1/0081/R.40):
Proposition 5, Liber 1, (the isosceles triangle theorem) recollects the day of the vow and remains known as the pons asinorum. ‘Pons‘ translating to ‘bridge’ and ‘asinus‘ to ‘ass’ – a beast of burden. Its first known use was in 1645, or 1780, or 1494 depending on which source is consulted. (Though, there is some consensus around the diagrams of Petrus Tartarus.) In logic it is “a method for finding the middle term of a syllogism in Aristotlean analytics.” And recalls Horace’s maxim : Segnius irritant animos demissa per aurem, Quam quae sunt oculis subjecta sidelibus (A feebler impress through the ear is made, Than what is by the faithful eye conveyed.) This is not an issue for Anne, altitude is her thing. Proposition XIII Liber II includes the maxim: The whole is based on the parts and the interaction between them. The journals and indexes indicate that this, for Anne, may be an obsession.
[This sidetrack was first posted on an early iteration of ELU, Friday, November 27th 2020, it is being re-posted with the new(ish) site, its largely a dry listing of entries that are read in the space around and between.]