ATD 318-335

Revision as of 21:13, 10 May 2007 by Bleakhaus (Talk | contribs) (Page 319)

Please keep these annotations SPOILER-FREE by not revealing information from later pages in the novel.

Page 318

Yale... how little the place was about studying and learning
Pynchon's sustained attack on Yale follows his treatment of Harvard in GR -- "'Harvard's there for other reasons. The "educating" part of it is just sort of a front'" (GR 193).

I wonder if Pynchon's skewering of the Ivies is tied to both his admiration for The Education of Henry Adams (Adams said that at Harvard, he got little from his professors and less from his classmates) and Pynchon's autodidacticism. Bleakhaus 20:55, 10 May 2007 (PDT)

Jewish mysticism. Wikipedia. Also see p.227: 'Kabbalist Tree of Life' tattooed 'below Madame Eskimoff's bared nape.'

latent in the Maxwell Field Equations years before Hertz found them
Physics lore says that Maxwell's Equations, written to illuminate processes in fairly slow systems, were at first regarded as having fantastical solutions that predicted undetectable waves in the æther. No one until Hertz connected the equations with observed electromagnetic vibrations (and ultimately with light waves).

Heinrich Rudolf Hertz (1857-94), German physicist, born at Hamburg, studied under Kirchhoff and Helmholtz, and ultimately became professor at Bonn in 1899. In 1887 he realized Maxwell's predictions, by his fundamental discovery of electromagnetic waves, which, excepting wavelength, behave like light waves. The wave frequency unit, hertz, cycle per second, was named after him in 1930. A crater at the far side of the Moon, just behind the eastern rim, was named in his honor. [Hertz].

Shunkichi Kimura
Shunkichi Kimura is mentioned in this article on Tesla's relationship with Japan. Cf page 29.

war with Russia
10 February 1904. Wikipedia.

The Russo-Japanese War (1904-05) actually started on 8 February,1904 (11:50 pm Manchuria Ttme; 12:20 am, 9 February, Tokyo time) with a Japanese sneak, naval night-attack on the Russian fleet anchored at Port Arthur, Manchuria. The war was then officially declared by the Japanese Government on 10 February, 1904, long after the first Port Arthur Naval Battle had ended in Japan's advantage.

Gibbs had died
28 April 1903. Wikipedia Pynchon's interest in Gibbs may stem from Gibbs's work in thermodynamics, particularly entropy, a theme that pervades Pynchon's work.

High-hat is an adjective in this context and so means snobbish; haughty.

Page 319

"he [would later ask] why did I want that so much?"
Similar to a comment by Siegel in his Playboy article: (to paraphrase from memory) Pynchon was disappointed that he was not admitted to a fraternity at Cornell, but he lacked the crude sociability for that.

eyes in leafy ambuscade
eyes behind a bush (with leaves) waiting in ambush, (a bit of a pun) in the sense of the hiding place used for the surprise attack (no surprise attack in this context).

Page 320

In British universities, a housekeeper/valet. At Yale too?

Latin; means nearest, closest, next. It also is the name of, among many other things, a computer code performing a non-orthogonal matrix transform based on recursive partitioning of a data set.

Georg Hermann Quincke (1834-1924) was a German physicist. He was a physics professor at the Univeristy of Berlin between 1865 and 1872. As from 1875 he was the professor of physics at the University of Heidelberg until he retired in 1907. One of his many research works was to investigate experimentally the reflection of light, especially from the metallic surfaces. (Not sure whether this was done at Berlin or Heidelberg.) Wikipedia.

Page 321

Page 322

The unofficial Yale club, founded circa 1861, nicknamed Mory's, incorporated into the "Whiffenpoof Song" about 1909. The "Louie" in the song is Louis Linder, not to be confused with next entry.

Louis Lassen
Founder of Louis' Lunch, located at 261-263 Crown Street, New Haven, CT, and still operating today. Founded in 1895, Louis' Lunch is widely believed to be where the hamburger was first served, although without ketchup or mustard. Website.

The origins of the hamburger are widely disputed, much depending on how you define a hamburger. But it is widely agreed that the term has its origins in Hamburg, Germany.

West Rock
One of two prominent natural features near New Haven, CT. Reported to have been the location of a cave where officials who presided over the execution of Charles I took refuge when the Restoration reversed their political fortunes. West Rock is also the subject of a well known painting by Frederick Church and sits over today's Wilbur Cross Parkway.

ten years before
The meeting between Vibe and Vanderjuice in Chicago in 1892.


Page 323

A style of pizza common in New Haven, CT. Wikipedia entry Many maintain that pizza as we know it was first served in New Haven--that is, if you consider something with white sauce and clams a "pizza."
I believe that "pizza as we know it" was first served in Italy, probably Pisa.

It has the reputation of coming from Naples, though, which is way to the south of Pisa and doesn't always speak the same language.

Page 324

P.G. Tait on Quaternions
Peter Guthrie Tait, a Scottish physicist and mathematician, wrote two books on Quaternions, "An Elementary Treatise on Quaternions" and "Introduction to Quaternions"

'lamp' this
"Look at this" ; "Check this out".

Grassman's Ausdehnungslehre
A treatise on the foundations of linear algebra (including vector spaces) by Hermann Grassmann.

Literally, Ausdehnungslehre means Theory of Extension.

But in context, the statement that "Grassmann's Ausdehnungslehre can be extended to any number of dimensions you like" indicates that we are talking about a mathematical theory, not a book. The word Ausdehnungslehre has actually been borrowed in English, but the subject is more often referred to as "exterior algebra" or "algebra of the exterior product." It relates to an antisymmetric operator that acts on "differential forms." It is definitely a Vectorist pursuit.

Dr. Hilbert
David Hilbert (1862-1943), German mathematician. Hilbert's work in integral equations in about 1909 led directly to 20th-century research in functional analysis (the branch of mathematics in which functions are studied collectively). This work also established the basis for his work on infinite-dimensional space, later called Hilbert space, a concept that is useful in mathematical analysis and quantum mechanics.
He studied mathematics at the University of Königsber and received his doctorate in 1885. One of Hilbert's friends was Minkowski who also was a doctoral student at Königsberg. He became professor at Königsberg (1893-1895) and Göttingen (1895 to retirement), made important contributions to the theory of numbers, the theory of invariants and the application of integral equation to physical problems. His work in geometry had the greatest influence in that area after Euclid.

Hermann Minkowski (1864-1909), German mathematician. He was born near Kovna, Russia (now Kaunas, Lithuania) to German parents. When Minkowski was eight the family returned to Germany and settled in Königsberg. He entered the University of Königsbert at 1880 and became close friend with Hilbert. He received his doctorate in 1885. He was professor at Bonn, Königsberg, Zürich (where Einstein was his student), and Göttengen. He wrote on the theory of numbers and on space and time (1909). Minkowski developed a new view of space and time, and laid the mathematical foundation of Einstein's the Theory of Relativity.

Spectral Theory
Introduced by Hilbert. In mathematics, Spectral Theory is an inclusive term for theories extending the eigenvector and eigenvalue theory of a single square matrix.

infinite dimensions
Hilbert space can be of infinite dimensions. In Pynchon's paramorphoscope, the physics of 1900 (the mathematics revealed multiple dimensions beyond the 4 of space and time) is concerned with the same issues as the physics of 2000 (in which string theory requires multiple dimensions). The relation of physics and mathematics to centers of political and economic power are echoes as well, here drawn together in Kit's life.

A term used in some of David Hilbert's mathematical and logical systems, it appears to have several disputed meanings, including something like "peculiarities" or "unique values or characterizations" (eigenheiten) [1].

But Eigenheit also means :"Own-ness" or "Self-Ownership" [2], a concept of the German individualist-anarchist Max Stirner (Johann Caspar Schmidt)[3], an issue of real concern to Kit, both in his immediate situation vis a vis Scarsdale Vibe, and perhaps also because of Stirner's radical individualist concept of trade union activity.

Hamburg Amerika Line
Transatlantic shipping company established in Hamburg, Germany in 1847 Wiki. By 1872 the company was making weekly passages to New York from Hamburg via Southampton.

Page 325

A set of physics problems to be worked out as homework.

th' Four-Color Problem's just a Stu-dent prank
The four color problem is a well-known problem concerning the minimum number of colors necessary to color regions on a map so that no adjacent regions have the same color. First stated in the mid 1800's, a number of faulty or incomplete proofs were published around the turn of the century. The problem was solved, but not without reservation, in 1976 with the aid of a computer. The proof is not accepted by all mathematicians because it would be unfeasible for a human to verify by hand. Ultimately, in order to believe the proof, one has to have faith in the correctness of the compiler and hardware executing the program used for the proof. Wikipedia

wanted to trust 'Fax
Suggests that he also wanted to trust "facts."
'Fax also suggests a copy [of his father]?

good skate
A good guy.

Page 326

all but careened
The boat is nearly turned on its side by the force of the wind. You careen a boat on purpose (on dry land) for cleaning, caulking, or repairing areas well below the waterline.

McKim, Mead, and White
Architectural firm established by Charles McKim, William Mead, and Stanford White. Introducing the Roman and Italian Renaissance style to public architecture and urban planning on the east coast around 1900. Asscociated with the "American Renaissance", "Beaux Arts" and the "City Beautiful" movement Wiki.

In various Slavic languages: boundary.

In vector calculus, curl is a vector operator that shows a vector field's rate of rotation.

In mathematics, Laplacian, or Laplace operator, is a differential operator. It is widely used in areas of wave propagation, heat flow, electrostatics, quatum mechanic, etc. It is named after French mathematician Pierre-Simon Laplace (1749-1827). (Laplace.)

A ridge near the Adriatic coastline of Croatia. The terrain is limestone karst, characterized by eroded cavities and channels.

Page 327

one day

from Parthia, 'an ancient country corresponding to modern northeast Iran,however, Parthian also means "delivered in of as if in retreat", according to the American Heritage Dictionary. The use cited comes from Bret Harte, American writer about the West of this book's time: "a Parthian volley of expletives from Uncle Billy".

The full expression "Parthian Shot" comes from the Parthian cavalryman's ability to fire arrows over their shoulders while retreating.

It is a hand game played for points by two people. Both players show either one or two fingers and simultaneously call out loud the number of fingers the other player will show. A correct call wins the number of points. morra.

Page 328

'North River jibes'
In sailing, to jibe is to shift a fore-and-aft sail from one side of a vessel to the other while sailing before the wind so as to sail on the opposite tack. This means the boom, a long spar extending from the mast to hold or extend the foot of the sail, shifts from one side of the vessel to the other, since the sail is attached to it. One does not want to get hit with the boom during a jibe (kind of like getting hit by a big baseball bat): it will hurt, if not kill, you and most likely knock you out if the boat. Apparently, 'Fax jibes a lot in the North River.

Page 329

Page 330

??? Speculation: A fungo, baseball jargon (origin unknown), is a fly ball hit for fielding practice by a player who tosses the ball up and hits it on its way down with a long, thin, light bat, called a fungo bat. This is the only use of the word so possibly neofungoline is more Pynchon inventiveness and cleverness.

have that long
Vibe is about 60 years old.

trying not to speak too carefully
Cf phony Yale posing.

Page 331

forward of the stacks
Preferred cabins located upwind of soot and smuts from the ship's funnels.

one of those negative results with resonance far beyond itself
Like the Michelson-Morley experiment.

Grand Central Station
This was called Grand Central Terminal until the "new" Grand Central Station opened in 1912, which was after this episode occurs. History of Grand Central Station

Page 332

how mighty are the wings we shelter beneath
Wings of God, thinks Vibe. There have been hints this is not so.
Compare p. 211, where the Rev. Lube Carnal says, "We like to think of Jeshimon as being under God's wing," to which Reef protests, "But wait a minute, God doesn't have wings—" And Carnal replies, "The God you're thinking of, maybe not. But out here, the one who looks after us, it's a kind of winged God, you see."

the bloodline of my enemy
Interesting phrase. Not the blood of his enemy. Vibe says his own seed is cursed, and he is seeking by adoption to make the Traverse bloodline his own. See also "it was desire," p. 158.

Page 333

I didn't have my war then
Vibe saying his time to fight was not 1862 but in the 1890s.

a ruler isolated in self-resonant fantasy
Perhaps speaking to the furniture and hearing the echo agree with him. "No reference to the present day is intended or should be inferred."

Page 334

the moderate American tradition of Massachusetts Bay or Utah
Benign, homegrown theocracy contrasted with deranged foreign theocracy.

Cooper Square
Cooper Square where Fourth and Third Avenue merge into the Bowery in New York City.

A district of vice in New York City (American Heritage Dictionary). The West Side from about 27th Street to about 62nd Street. Gave its name to a very funny musical (1960; music by Jerry Bock, book by George Abbott and Jerome Weidman, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick).

Nellie Noonan or Anna Held
Anna Held was a popular stage performer of the 1890s and 1900s wikipedia. Nellie Noonan may be a reference to the title character in Little Nellie Kelly, a George M. Cohan musical made into a film starring Judy Garland in 1940 (imdb), but Cohan wrote the musical in 1922.

Page 335

the Wilderness
A Civil War battle in May 1864, just before the battle of Cold Harbor. Wikipedia

Cold Harbor
Where Foley Walker, acting as Civil War Substitute, "took a Reb bullet" for Scarsdale Vibe - see p.100/101.

Annotation Index

Part One:
The Light Over the Ranges

1-25, 26-56, 57-80, 81-96, 97-118

Part Two:
Iceland Spar

119-148, 149-170, 171-198, 199-218, 219-242, 243-272, 273-295, 296-317, 318-335, 336-357, 358-373, 374-396, 397-428

Part Three:

429-459, 460-488, 489-524, 525-556, 557-587, 588-614, 615-643, 644-677, 678-694

Part Four:
Against the Day

695-723, 724-747, 748-767, 768-791, 792-820, 821-848, 849-863, 864-891, 892-918, 919-945, 946-975, 976-999, 1000-1017, 1018-1039, 1040-1062

Part Five:
Rue du Départ


Personal tools