I had managed to muddle through 195 pages of Carl Sagan's Dragons of Eden which I'd picked up in a cheap second hand book store to come across this: However, an algebraic equation is an archetypical left-hemisphere construction, while a regular geometric curve, the pattern in an array of related points, is a characteristic right-hemisphere production. In a certain sense, analytical geometry is the corpus callosum of mathematics. Every now and then authors I read do this and put my comprehension of all that I'd read so far completely off track. Of course, this wasn't as bad as Umberto Eco, who barely seven pages into Foucault's Pendulum managed to come up with this: ...you first cross an eighteenth century courtyard and step into an old abbey church, now part of a later complex, but originally part of a priory. You enter and are stunned by a conspiracy in which the sublime universe of heavenly ogives and the chthonian world of gas guzzlers are juxtaposed. Wow. Whoever's heard of a word starting with chth?
The above two instances are nothing when compared to the sheer brilliance of William S Burroughs, who barely 4 pages into The Naked Lunch shovels this at you: "'Get her!'
"'Get the Paregoric Kid giving that mark the build up!'
"'Eager Beaver wooing him too fast.'
"'The Shoe Store Kid say: 'Give it to a mark with K.Y. and he will come back moaning for more.'
The reader, I assure you, has no idea of the situation, the scene, and who is speaking to whom.