Cadaeic Cadenza

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"Cadaeic Cadenza" is a 1996 short story by Mike Keith. It is an example of constrained writing, a book with restrictions on how it can be written, it is also one of the most prodigious examples of piphilology, being written in "pilish". The word "cadae" is the alphabetical equivalent of the first five digits of Pi, 3.1415; a cadenza is a solo passage in music.

In addition to the main restriction, the author attempts to mimic portions, or entire works, of different types and pieces of literature ("The Raven", "Jabberwocky", the lyrics of Yes, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", Rubaiyat, Hamlet, and Carl Sandburg's Grass) in story, structure, and rhyme.

The limitations[edit]

When the number of letters in each word is written out they form the first 3835 digits of pi.

One / A Poem / A Raven / Midnights so dreary, tired and weary,
3 . 1 4 1 5 9 2 6 5 3 5

While in this example each word is the same number of letters as the next digit of pi (and ten letters for the digit 0), some sections use words of more than ten letters as a one followed by another digit:

And fear overcame my being the fear of "forevermore".
3 4 8 2 5 3 4 2 11

where 11 represents two consecutive digit "1"s in pi.

Taking "A" as 1, "B" as 2, "C" as 3, etc., the name of the piece itself is based on pi, as "Cadaeic" is the first 7 digits of pi, when rounded to that number of significant digits.

C a d a e i c
3.1 4 1 5 9 3 

Near a Raven[edit]

The first part of Cadaeic Cadenza is slightly changed from an earlier version, "Near a Raven", which was a retelling of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven".[1]

Poe, E.

Near a Raven

Midnights so dreary, tired and weary,
Silently pondering volumes extolling all by-now obsolete lore.
During my rather long nap - the weirdest tap!
An ominous vibrating sound disturbing my chamber's antedoor.

"This", I whispered quietly, "I ignore".

— Mike Keith, First verse of Near a Raven

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Near A Raven, Archived 2011-07-17 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]