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In the short story "Inertia" by Rudy Rucker (which I found via this ID question on another site, and which is published to be read in full at the author's website here), the near-Googlewhack phrase "pulchritudinous callipygosity" appears in a piece of dialogue near the start:

“Campbell’s dead, more’s the pity.” Harry sucked a last drop out of the beaker and smacked his lips. “I’m commencin’ to feel pret-ty damn good.”

“You learn to talk that way at the prep-school?”

“The Collegiate Academy. Oh, my, yes. Those sweet girls. Bless their hearts. The cardioid curve, dear Fletcher, is, of course, a traditional symbol for pulchritudinous callipygosity, and when I speak of blessing, I think, selbstverständlich, of the censer and thurible, the spray of holy anointment, and the fullness of emotion appropriate to such …”

Maundering on in such fashion, Harry drifted over to my equipment and began hefting this object and now that.

What is Harry on about, and why is he talking like this?

Googling the phrase "pulchritudinous callipygosity" gives me only three results, none of which explains its meaning, while "censer and thurible" are apparently some incense vessels used in religious ceremonies. It might be some sort of euphemism, but I'm not getting it.

Also, beyond the question of meaning, why is Harry giving vent to his loquacity by extraneous bombastic circumlocution? He doesn't seem to talk like this all the time - he does use some long words when talking about advanced physics, but it's kind of necessary in that context. Even in the rest of their conversation while drunk, he talks normally most of the time, except in this one paragraph.

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    The two words together don't come up with much but pulchritudinous and the adjective of callipygosity, callipygous do have definitions. Put the two definitions together, you get a pretty good idea of what it means. I suppose it is kind of euphemistic! – Fabjaja Dec 7 '17 at 16:51
  • Someone with a kissable arse, iirc (my English, not the kissing). – Mick Dec 7 '17 at 17:27
  • This is just learned humor, in the tradition of Sterne's Tristram Shandy and O'Brien's At Swim-Two-Birds. – Brian Donovan Dec 10 '17 at 15:55
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  • pulchritude and pulchritudinous mean (physical) “beauty” and “beautiful” respectively.
    (See quotations for pulchritude, pulchritudinous.)
  • callypygian and callipygous both mean “having shapely, beautiful buttocks” (from the Greek prefix calli- beautiful, as in calligraphy and calisthenics).
    (See quotations for callipygian, callipygous.)
  • The intended meaning of pulchritudinous callipygosity is therefore straightforward, although the phrase is pleonastic.
  • The cardioid curve is the one given the equation r = a(1 - cos θ) in polar coordinates:

    cardioid static cardioid animated

    (Above image from MathWorld; see also Wikipedia.)

  • In the story, Harry has recently been teaching at the Collegiate Academy for Young Ladies:

    My near-bankruptcy had finished Harry right off: he’d been my research and development department. I was still making a little money with consulting, but I had no work at all for Harry. He was making ends meet by teaching high-school physics. Rumpled genius Harry was teaching at the Collegiate Academy for Young Ladies.

  • When Harry says “I’m commencin’ to feel pret-ty damn good”, the narrator Joe Fletcher finds the language (or register) out of character for Harry, being more suitable coming from high-school or college girls, and asks Harry if his new place of employment is where he picked it up: “You learn to talk that way at the prep-school?”

  • At the Collegiate Academy for Young Ladies, Harry has presumably been teaching things like the cardioid curve (perhaps because the cardioid comes up in physics in the context of microphones: Wikipedia, Physics.SE).

  • Given the fact that in academia, men are overrepresented (relative to the general population) in physics, and women in the humanities, it is likely that most of the students (and the teachers) at the Collegiate Academy for Young Ladies are leaning towards the humanities. The stereotype about the humanities, especially as seen by physicists, with or without postmodernism (consider this, this, this) is that they meander on saying things like this being a symbol for that, use circumlocution in the service of impenetrability, pepper their sentences with needless jargon and foreign words (selbstverständlich simply means "of course"), and so on.

So overall, my impression is that in:

“You learn to talk that way at the prep-school?”

“The Collegiate Academy. Oh, my, yes. Those sweet girls. Bless their hearts. The cardioid curve, dear Fletcher, is, of course, a traditional symbol for pulchritudinous callipygosity, and when I speak of blessing, I think, selbstverständlich, of the censer and thurible, the spray of holy anointment, and the fullness of emotion appropriate to such …”

Maundering on in such fashion…

Harry is simply using the reminder of “learn to talk that way” to actually talk in the way of typical language encountered at the Collegiate Academy either by the students or (more likely) by the teachers.

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To me it seems a veiled reference to sex.

Cardiod shape = shape of heart is likened to shape of "beautiful buttocks" (as per @Fabjaja comment) and extrapolation on "blessing" (spray & censer, etc) kind of makes one think of the whole paragraph as allegory.

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    Don't know why you got down-voted, you’re quite right. Perhaps allegory was too subtle :o) – Will Crawford Mar 15 '18 at 17:57
  • @WillCrawford yes, well, I was not to sure how explicit one should be here :) – Gnudiff Mar 15 '18 at 18:29
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    Yes and I'd also add that "of the censer and thurible" is fairly loaded too, a censer is essentially a thurible, so why methion it twice? The thurible is a basket suspended on chains, and it swings like a pendulum. So by mentioning it twice "censer and thurible" he's evoking "breasts". He's choosing a convoluted way to say he's happy at work surrounded by "breasts and buttocks" (or insert a cruder phrase of your choice). In light of which the meaning of "spray of holy anointment, and the fullness of emotion appropriate to such"_ is obvious and i'm not going to pick that apart. – Binary Worrier Oct 17 at 12:56
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    @BinaryWorrier my thoughts exactly – Gnudiff Oct 17 at 16:20

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