- Please keep these annotations SPOILER-FREE by not revealing information from later pages in the novel.
- 1 Page 557
- 2 Page 558
- 3 Page 559
- 4 Page 560
- 5 Page 561
- 6 Page 562
- 7 Page 563
- 8 Page 564
- 9 Page 565
- 10 Page 566
- 11 Page 567
- 12 Page 568
- 13 Page 569
- 14 Page 570
- 15 Page 571
- 16 Page 572
- 17 Page 573
- 18 Page 574
- 19 Page 575
- 20 Page 576
- 21 Page 577
- 22 Page 578
- 23 Page 579
- 24 Page 580
- 25 Page 581
- 26 Page 582
- 27 Page 583
- 28 Page 584
- 29 Page 585
- 30 Page 586
- 31 Page 587
- 32 Annotation Index
Well, no benign associations with "Mulciber"! Mulciber is an alternative name of the Roman god Vulcan, the god of fire and volcanoes, and the manufacturer of art, arms, iron, and armor for gods and heroes. Mulciber is also the name of a character in John Milton's Paradise Lost, the architect of the demon city of Pandemonium. When Pynchon was alluded to on The John Larroquette Show [80s or 90s], the book he was said to be working on was called Pandemonium of the Sun.
In the Harry Potter books, Mulciber is a Death Eater, a minor Dark Wizard.
made to order, hence hand-made and expensive. Somewhere in the novel is a reference to 1 Savile Row, the address of Gieves and Hawkes, a very traditional English tailor.
Sir Basil Zaharoff, originally Zacharias Basileios, (1849, Muğla, Turkey - 1936, Monte Carlo, Monaco) was a Greek arms trader and financier, the director and chairman of the Vickers munitions firm during World War I . He also turns up as an international arms dealer in Reilly, Ace of Spies.
In addition to the arms-dealing and being semi-fictionalized, Zaharoff is also notable for bribing the Japanese Admiral, helping to incorporate the company that eventually became British Petroleum, and through his association with Louis II of Monaco, the purchase of the Société des Bains de Mer, which ran the famous Monte Carlo casino.
trains of history... run
Karl Marx, in Das Kapital, referred to wars as the "express trains of history" because they can spark societal or national crises, marking a historical turning point, and they can release economic, social, and moral forces of unforeseen power and dimensions, making any return to the status quo impossible. Also notice TRP's steady referencing of 'railroads' in a negative way.
Possible allusion to Professor Kokintz's "Q-bomb" in The Mouse That Roared (1959) or to James Bond's master armorer Q. It could also be an allusion to the character "Q" in Star Trek where the name "Q" is also shared by other members of the Q Continuum. Q is a mischievous omnipotent being who has taken an interest in humans. He also has a flair for the dramatic, with a mercurial personality that switches between a joking, camp style and a more ominous and even dangerous manner. While he is boastful, condescending and threatening, he arguably has humanity's best interests at heart. In the episode "The Q and the Gray" (Star Trek: Voyager - 3rd season), Q weapons are provided to the crew of the Voyager to free Q and Janeway, who have been captured by rebels. Synopsis; Wikipedia. Looney Tunes character Marvin the Martian possesses an earth-destroying weapon known as the Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator.
In this context, the Q stands for "Quaternion." See under Q in the alphabetical index.
See also Q-weapon and Photography...
Originally, members of the rebel gangs ("committees"), controlled from Sofia, who made forays into Macedonia, the chief object of Bulgarian expansionism before WWI. The word was also commonly used for Serbian irregular fighters.
- See this slightly different Komitadji.
Ancestor of what Fedex and UPS call "shipping document"; it identifies the article shipped and contains necessary addresses and instructions.
metamorphosed into an American Negro
Cf honorary Negro (Frank above).
More like an actual negro. Dr V. Ganesh Rao, as was explained earlier, literally transforms after each quaternionic yoga pose.
they cannot strictly . . . longitudinal as well as transverse
Hertz's theory and Maxwell's equations describe transverse waves in which the electric and magnetic fields are perpendicular to the direction of travel; no longitudinal waves--with vibrations parallel to the direction of travel--are permitted. In air, sound waves are longitudinal; what's suggested here is a new wave that does not fit the Hertz-Maxwell paradigm.
Quaternion equivalent of the real part.
A scalar quantity in geometry has magnitude but not direction. The length of a line segment is a scalar.
Time is a scalar term.
baritone in a barbershop quartet
Quote:Technically speaking, barbershop harmony is a style of unaccompanied singing with three voices harmonizing to the melody. The lead usually sings the melody, with the tenor harmonizing above the lead. The bass sings the lowest harmonizing notes and the baritone provides in-between notes, either above or below the lead to make chords (specifically, dominant-type or "barbershop" sevenths) that give barbershop its distinctive, "full" sound.
viola in a string quartet
Two violins, a viola, and a violoncello make up a string quartet. The viola is between the others in pitch and is generally considered to have been given the least interesting parts in Classical and Romantic music for string quartet.
Classical musicians have a whole culture of viola-player jokes. Like drummers in rock bands.
The three parts of a quaternion that are multiples of i, j and k (Cf page 525: Quaternions.)
the fulfiller of the Trinity
the name of the first atom bomb detonated at Los Alamos. Alluded to earlier as the "Anti-Stone" (Webb and Merle, p.78). The origin of the name Trinity for this event is uncertain. It is commonly thought that Robert Oppenheimer provided the name, which would seem logical, but even this is not definitely known. A leading theory is that Oppenheimer did select it, and that he did so with reference to the divine Hindu trinity of Brahma (the Creator), Vishnu (the Preserver), and Shiva (the Destroyer). Oppenheimer had an avid interest in Sanskrit literature (which he had taught himself to read), and following the Trinity test is reported to have recited a passage from the Bhagavad-Gita that is quoted earlier in this wiki.
The usage of the Tibetan Mount Kailash, the holy dwelling place of Shiva, God of destruction and regeneration, on p. 437 seems to support this.
Also, a religious allusion to the three-person Godhead in Christian theology.
Also, third ATD meaning!, a college in Dublin mentioned on page 560.
Also,"the Destroyer, the fulfiller of the trinity" recalls the Destroyer on page 154, the meteorite, and thus relates that passage to the Anti-Stone.
Also, in Jungian Psychology the 'fulfiller' of the trinity, making it a complete four-aspect entity, is the 'shadow', or traditionally, the devil (the force always excluded and seen as bad in Christian theology). Cf. C. G. Jung, "Versuch einer psychologischen Deutung des Trinitätsdogmas", Gesammelte Werke 11, especially p.179-94. Interestingly, Jung uses the term 'quaternarisch' for this. More Q-talk, then.
the pulselessness of salvation
salvation lies outside of time?
A weapon based on Time
Time is why there is entropy, that key Pynchonian term. Pynchon has created a brilliant metaphor that uses the concept uniquely. The Q-weapon, at the heart of which lies "a crystal about the size of a human eyeball" is based on Time. Is the Q-weapon a camera?
"...you could become the most feared person in history." ... "I'd rather be loved," said Root.
Echoes Machiavelli's famous aphorism, "It is much safer to be feared than loved."
A mineral structure formed by erosion, see Wikipedia. Laterite is typically rich in metal oxides and poor in organic matter.
Cf page 525:Ostend. Ostend (Dutch: Oostende, French & German: Ostende) is a Belgian municipality located in the Flemish province of West Flanders. It comprises the villages of Mariakerke, Stene and Zandvoorde, and the city of Ostend proper – the largest at the Belgian coast. Wikipedia.
streets in Brussels."In spite of the competition of the Central or Inner Boulevards, the Montagne de la Cour still remains the principal street for shopping in Brussels." "Brussels", Antiques Digest, 1904.
Gare du Midi
The largest railway station in Brussels and a haunt of prostitutes.
It seems this gentleman is fictional. although there are some interesting, but tenuous, connections. Agfa-Gevaert is the current owner of the Wardenclyffe Tower facility which housed the Tesla Tower. Lieven Gevaert (1868-1935) was a Belgian industrialist who founded Gevaert & Co. which produced photographic paper, in 1894. The company specialized in "daylight" paper, which relies on the event of exposure of the positive image through daylight, as opposed to development paper which is based on a process of special manipulation with chemicals. (Are photographs "stolen goods"? "Unworldy go-betweens"? Is the Q-Weapon a ... camera?) Agfa (Actien-Gesellschaft für Anilin-Fabrikation) was founded in 1864 as a manufacturer of dies and stains. In World War II, it became part of IG Farben (prominent in Gravity's Rainbow. The Allies broke up IG Farben after the war and Agfa emerged as an individual company. And, well, there was a Dutch arms dealer named Edouard de Beaumont (1841-1895) who has a rifle named after him. Yes, a stretch... Upon further reflection, I believe "Edouard" may refer to Eadweard Muybridge (Edouard was a variant spelling he earlier used) and his photographic experiments with freezing motion/Time.
The Krupps are an ancient German family, famous for making weapons. A field-piece is a light-cannon.
Describes Belgium, it seems.
A continually repeated musical phrase or rhythm.
Stunned, brought to a mental standstill. (A poleaxe was used in slaughterhouses.)
lost to silence
(Not silent, or very?)Very
A race track in Ostend. (Cf page 528:Hippodrome.)
- A dike of piles in the sea, a river, etc., to check the approach of an enemy. 
French: a young Japanese woman; a police spy.
- When Henry James revised The Princess Casamassima for the 1909 New York edition, the phrase "middle-class spy" in the 1886 text became mouchard. Source: note by Patricia Crick in Penguin Classics edition.
always lead an irregular life
Maria Bayley Hamilton
Hamilton's wife !!!
It was on this site that the mathematician William Rowan Hamilton, in a flash of genius, came upon the formula for Quaternions and scratched it into the stone of the bridge.
About the bridge, the carving, photos of them, a couple of mathematicians' impression of the bridge, etc, see Brougham Bridge.
on the stone
The bridge is evidently a stone bridge. Stone, a natural thing, is a good for Pynchon. Hamilton's action is metaphorically a deeply religious moment. "Pentecostal" wherein the Quaternions 'descend' to earth [in the thoughts of men].
i² = j² = k² = ijk = –1
Cf page 525:Quaternion.
Pentecost (< Greek πεντηκοστή [ἡμέρα], pentekostē [hēmera], "the fiftieth day") is the fiftieth day after Easter Sunday, which corresponds to the tenth day after Ascension Thursday. It is a feast in the Christian liturgical calendar — symbolically related to the Jewish festival of Shavuot — that commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and the followers of Jesus on that day, as described in the Book of Acts, Chapter 2. Pentecost is also called "Whitsunday" (deriving from "Wit Sunday") in UK and other English-speaking areas.
Almost needless to say, the Pentecostal revelation is what is supposed to happen at the end of "Lot 49".
official Mischief Opportunity
like 'shore leave', it seems. To leave the rules of the Organization and create mischief.
absinthe spoons have slits whereon are placed sugar cubes through which one pours the absinthe
A cravat is the neckband forerunner of the modern, tailored necktie. From the end of the 16th century, the term "band" applied to any long-strip neckcloth that was not a "ruff"; the ruff—a starched, pleated white linen strip—started its fashion career earlier in the 16th century as neckcloth that could be changed-a-fresh to keep the neck of a doublet from becoming too-soiled or as a bib or a napkin. A "band" could indicate a plain, attached shirt collar or a detachable "falling band" that draped over the doublet collar.
Necktie fashions have changed over time. The modern cravat originated in the 1630s when Western Europeans saw Croats wearing extravagant neck scarves; the French word cravate meant "Croatian cavalryman."
(See eg Bogdanovich's "What's Up, Doc?") This is also a pun on the name of Georges Feydeau, French writer of farces who was writing when Pynchon's novel is set. One of the recurring physical jokes involves sets with many doors and people coming in and out, just missing each other....
The ranking of farces by door number is mostly jocular. Neil Simon's Rumors is a fine example of a seven-door farce.
the fish auction house.
A city about 18 miles east of Ostende, Cf page 531:Bruges.
A city about 40 miles southeast by east from Ostend, Cf page 531:Ghent.
carillons . . . carillonneur
The carillon was popular in Belgium before it caught on in most other places. It comprises a set of bells, matched in character, forming a scale (a couple of chromatic octaves or even more), with the beaters or clappers mechanically linked to a keyboard. A later development replaced muscle power with electromechanical linkages. In a still later "advance," the carillon was automated with music-box-like control. The American practice of playing recorded bells through loudspeakers is a inexpensive way to imitate carillon music.
The carillonneur is the master at the keyboard.
English-style bell ringing is a totally different pursuit, using (often imperfectly) tuned bells actuated in nonmelodic sequences. The bells, not the clappers, are swung with ropes. The effect of an eight-bell "peal" and a team of ringers with plenty of time on their hands—as heard by this American contributor in Bristol one spring Sunday—is perfectly charming.
By the way: The word "carillon" is derived from the Latin "quaternio" (= consisting of four elements)...
The Hansa or Hanseatic League (definitely a creation of "the Christian North," next paragraph) was a great mercantile system that held itself above national rule.
middle-class married men
Well, a bit more than that: a burgher was a 'citizen', but not everyone had that status. Originally town-dweller of the craftsman or merchant class, probably a member of a guild, and thus eligible to serve in the corporation or town council. Later it comes to mean something like 'bourgeois', which has the same origin, and later still just a 'solid citizen'. In Germanic-speaking countries today it's just a citizen in the broadest sense, someone who has citizenship.
backed up, underwater, with mud; i.e. neglected, because replaced by railroads. -As it silted up "back in the 1400s" we can safely exclude the influence of railroads.
Damme and Sluis
Port cities near Bruges, heavily dependent on them from the 14th Century.
See Damme and Sluis. For an overview map, showing cannals, roads etc, of the general area around Bruges-Damme-Sluis see Bruges-Damme-Sluis
trusted his intuitiveness
Woevre is a natural killer.
"Jou moerskont!"... Afrikaans
Possibly "you horse's ass"? --More likely something like "mother's cunt".
voices of everyone he had ever put to death had been ... scored for some immense choir
A possible reference to Star Wars: Obi-wan experiences the obliteration of an entire planet as "a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced." 
Also another potentially time-less event, all of Woevre's murders collapsed into a single moment.
The "choir" image occurs several times in AtD. One example.
"I cannot bear it ... this terrible light..."
Shades of the Kirghiz Light in Gravity's Rainbow
Afrikaans (maybe Dutch too): Go away! Also spelled voertsek or voetsek.
Borrowed in English with the spelling footsack. The Urban Dictionary, which often excites skepticism, has a useful entry with a marginally plausible etymology. In Finished (1916), novelist H. Rider Haggard glossed it this way: "Among Europeans he rejoiced in the name of Footsack, a Boer Dutch term which is generally addressed to troublesome dogs and means 'Get out.'" And in a defective 1943 book for young readers, Great Caesar's Ghost (by Manning Coles, creator of gentleman op Tommy Hambledon), an English merchant seaman says, "Get out, 'op it, vamoose, footsack, imshi, or I'll—" Imshi is British service slang for "go."
Those who stared at Kit earlier.
referring to 'No'?
A smoker's deep or gritty voice.
A design for an optical beam splitter that causes half of the incident light to be transmitted and the other half to be reflected.
the fatal number four—to a Japanese mind
Japanese character for number "four" has the same pronunciation as that of character "death".
Cf page 258:Japanese character for "four".
four cusps... index-surface
Cf page 527:co-conscious. Repeat here: "mental processes outside the main stream of consciousness but sometimes available to it - from Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary."
Third use, I think. Who/what is co-conscious here? (First time, page 478; then page 527.)
Could it be the dimly perceived consciousness of one's double in the adjacent, alternate world? Or one's consciousness of that world?
Probably a regular icosahedron, where the sides are formed by 20 equilateral triangles. For a picture see Icosahedron.
Pyrite crystals form a structure that can be decomposed into unit cells that contain (part of) 12 sulphur atoms and 8 iron atoms.
German mathematician (Wikipedia)
An early plastic(Wikipedia)
Ohmic Drift Compensator
ohm = the practical meter-kilogram-second unit of electric resistance equal to the resistance of a circuit in which a potential difference of one volt produces a current of one ampere; The Ohmic Drift Compensator a key component of the Q-weapon "regulates how much light is allowed to enter the silvering of the mirror! Special kind of refraction! Calibrated against imaginary index! Dangerous! Of the essence!'" See also Page 541.
speed of the earth . . . kinetic energy
Einstein in 1905 showed most of this argument to be nonsense, but if Lorentz's paper is still recent (next entry) the shift in thinking may not have happened yet.
- Umeki refers on page 564 to 'Minkowskian space-time', which is a geometrical interpretation of Special Relativity, so she must be well aware of Einstein's theory. In fact, this reference to Minkowski, and those at pp 594 and 602, seem to place these episodes after 1908. However, p 596 seems to make Kit's stay in Göttingen contemporary with the 1905 revolution in Russia. So... either Umeki and Yashmeen have knowledge of Minkowski's theories before he makes them public, or (and this gets my vote) it just isn't possible to construct a consistent, real-world chronology for the novel.
- Since the earth's mean orbital speed ( ~ 30 km/s) is rather small in comparison with the speed of light ( ~ 300,000 km/s), no relativistic correction is needed in calculating earth's orbital kinetic energy. And in a reference frame anchored on the Sun, the earth's kinetic eneregy, E = ½ m v², where m is the earth mass and v it's orbital speed, still holds. Einstein showed only that it is no longer true against the nonexistent stationary æther. Of course, it is irrelevant to an earthbound weapon tried to make use of this energy against a person who is standing on the earth.
Recently Lorentz's paper
Lorentz's 1904 "Electromagnetic phenomena in a system moving with any velocity less than that of light" (PDF)
Lorentz . . . Fitzgerald . . . along the axis of motion
It was the phenomenon of the Lorentz-Fitzgerald contraction, together with the abolition of the æther by Michelson and Morley, that led Einstein to his theory of special relativity.
- Michelson and Morley did NOT abolish the æther. Their experiement (1887), attempting to detect the light speed change due to the effect of the æther wind, was a total failure, and they could not explain the negative result.
- OK, would you accept "the abolition of the æther hypothesis in consequence of Michelson and Morley's work"? In fact, that negative result—replicated many times since—did render the notion of the luminiferous æther untenable, as the next two paragraphs make clear.
- The Lorentz-Fitzgerald contraction hypothesis was proposed to explain the "null" result of the Michelson-Morley experiment but still keeping the æther. (see paragraph 8 of Lorentz's 1904 paper above). Lorentz considered the contraction was not physically real but a device to explain the Michelson-Morley experiment. (Lorentz_Fitzgerald Contraction).
- Some of the repetitions of the M-M experiment, all yielding the same result, were performed by Morley with Dayton C. Miller. In the 1920s Miller conducted his own aether-drift experiments, recording positive results (i.e. apparently detecting the aether) and in 1925 was awarded an 'American Society for the Advancement of Science' prize for this work. So it was certainly not universally accepted that the original M-M experiment made the aether hypothesis untenable: it was believed by some scientists that the experiment had simply been a failure. Check out The Golem by Harry Collins and Trevor Pinch for the whole story.
- Einstein (1905) derived the Lorentz contraction directly, without assuming the existence of the æther, from the Principle of Relativity (ie different observers moving at a constant speed with respect to each other find the laws of physics to be identical and find the speed of light to be the same), and proved that Lorentz-Fitzgerald contraction hypothesis had been "ad-hoc". And Einstein explain the failure of Michelson-Morley experiment by abolishing the æther !
Lord Rayleigh [...] wonders if such motion might not cause a crystalline body to become double refracting
John William Strutt, third Baron Rayleigh (1842-1919) was one of the very few members of higher nobility who won fame as an outstanding scientist. Lord Rayleigh's first researches were mainly mathematical, concerning optics and vibrating systems, but his later work ranged over almost the whole field of physics, covering sound, wave theory, colour vision, electrodynamics, electromagnetism, light scattering, flow of liquids, hydrodynamics, density of gases, viscosity, capillarity, elasticity, and photography.
This specific reference is to Lord Rayleigh's paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series A, Containing Papers of a Mathematical and Physical Character, Vol. 98, No. 692 (Jan. 3, 1921), pp. 284-296, entitled "Double Refraction and Crystalline Structure of Silica Glass." The introduction:
- Silica glass, as is well known, may be produced by the fusion of clear crystalline quartz. In this way a clear transparent product is obtained. The present paper deals only with this kind of silica glass. The cruder variety, known as vitreosil, which is prepared from sand, is not free enough from bubbbles and striae to allow satisfactory observation.
- That silica glass may be doubly refracting was noticed in casual observations, made to test its suitability for windows, in my experiments on the scattering of light by gases. It soon become clear that this double refraction could not in all cases be due to stress, but was to be attributed to something of the nature of crystalline structure. At the same time, the double refraction is very weak indeed compared with that of crystalline quartz.
- Glasses have generally been considered essentially amorphous, and, indeed, this property would usually be invoked in the definition of a glass. It may be that, in view of the present results, the definition will need to be modified, though this point is hardly ripe for discussion. In the meantime, I still use the term silica glass.
- I have not met with similar effects in any of the ordinary complex glasses. When these are doubly refracting, it is always attributable to strain. 
In a dream...
This passage, describing Kit's dream of Umeki and the message it conveys, pulls together many of the main themes of Against the Day, tying things together in a way that Pynchon seldom does, almost as if he's providing a rather large piece of the puzzle to help the reader understand the novel:
- "Deep among the equations describing the behavor of light, field equations, Vector and Quaternion equations, lies a set of directions, an intinerary, a map to a hidden space. Double refraction appears again and again as a key element, permitting a view into a Creation set just to the side of this one, so close as to overlap, where the membrane between the worlds, in many places, has become too frail, too permeable, for safety.... Within the mirror, with the scalar term, within the daylit and obvious and taken-for-granted has always lain, as if in wait, the dark intinerary, the corrupted pilgrim's guide, the nameless Station before the first, in the lightless uncreated, where salvation does not yet exist."
This is rather a good description of AtD itself. It is a (inevitably) "corrupted pilgrim's guide", but is the guide corrupted, or the pilgrim?
the corrupted pilgrim's guide, the nameless Station before the first
Cf. p. 436 holy pilgrimages. One defines a destination, proceeds through a series of stations...
...within the daylit and obvious and taken-for-granted has always lain, as if in wait, the dark itinerary, the corrupted pilgrim's guide, the names Station before the first, in the lightless uncreated, where salvation does not yet exist.
Compare with "daylit America . . . its steadfast denial of night" (page 732), AtD epigraph, Thelonious Monk's "It's always night, or we wouldn't need light." and "the boys expressed wonder at how much more infected with light the night-time terrains passing below them had become [...] they felt themselves in uneasy witness to some final conquest, a triumph over night whose motive none could quite grasp" (p. 1032);
sinus/nasal congestion. It is like looking out onto a new world when one's sinus finally clears after days of congestion.
sic for "Konnichiwa / Kon nichi wa" -- Japanese greeting.
new Puccini opera
Obviously, Madame Butterfly
[Americans] can't ever die of shame
shameless, unlike the Japanese
Kimura ( "tree village") is the 18th most common Japanese surname. -san is used as a courtesy title in Japanese-speaking areas as a suffix to the given name, surname, or title of the person being addressed, regardless of age or gender: Yamamoto san; sensei-san.
Kimura is Umeki's colleague who worked with De Forest on vector analysis for syntotic wireless under Gibbs at Yale. (see p. 532 and p. 29) I think this wiki would be more useful if we focused more on internal text references rather than Google-happy idle speculation. Pynchon is pretty conscientious about providing all we need to know within the text itself.
Borel-Clerc... "La Matchiche"
Popular vaudeville song from 1903. "La Matchiche" is French for the Brazilian dance Maxixe.
What about France, Spain, Portugal? Belgium is a port country with a highly developed transportation system into all of these countries. .....it was the first country to industrialize in Europe....Wikipedia.
In addition, Ostend is the westernmost port. It remains today a major Continental ferry terminus for North Sea crossings, including the fastest surface route, the hydrofoil.
the Orient Express
The first Orient Express (1883-1914), connecting the English Channel with the Black Sea, is one of the most famous trains in Europe. It ran from Calais and Paris to Bucharest (Romania), passing through Strasbourg (France), Munich (Germany), Vienna (Austria), Pozsony (or Pressburg; now Bratislava, Slovakia) and Budapest (Hungary). From Bucharest it went through Bulgaria and then, by ferry, to Istanbul of Turkey. The original Orient Express was operated by Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits. Ever since the original Orient Express started operation, the name has become synonymous with luxury travel. After World I there were various railway routes had the name of Orient Express.
The Trans-Siberian is a railway route connecting Moscow (Europe) to Vladivostok or Beijing (Far East Asia). Taking a journey by the Trans-Siberian Railway has long been considered an experience with mythological proportions. It is the longest continuous rail line on earth - about 6,000 miles over one third of the globe. In 1891, Czar Alexander III drew up planes for the Trans-Siberian and initiated its construction, and a more or less continuous route was completed in 1905. It took many more years to make the route smoothly operative.
The Berlin-Baghdad (also Basra) Railway was the route of German's expansion from Europe to the Persian Gulf, from which trade goods and supplies could be directly exchanged with the farthest of the German colonies and the world. It could also supply German industry directly with oil. Its conception (1888) and completion a couple of years later engendered great opposition from Russia, France and England as part of the "Great Game".
See annotation at page 433
Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits
"International Sleeping-Car Company", Wikipedia
two hundred francs
"None of that, Hakkabut. Hold your tongue." And, turning to Rosette, the captain said, "If, sir, I understand right, you require some silver five-franc pieces for your operation?" "Forty," said Rosette, surlily. "Two hundred francs!" whined Hakkabut.-- On a Comet, Jules Verne
theory of sets
Set theory is the mathematical theory of sets, which represent collections of abstract objects. It encompasses the everyday notions, introduced in primary school, of collections of objects, and the elements of, and membership in, such collections. In most modern mathematical formalisms, set theory provides the language in which mathematical objects are described. It is (along with logic and the predicate calculus) one of the axiomatic foundations for mathematics, allowing mathematical objects to be constructed formally from the undefined terms of "set" and "set membership". It is in its own right a branch of mathematics and an active field of mathematical research. Wikipedia
- The members of a set can be, say, [Mike, Mary, Jack, Richard, Ron, Umeki, . . . . . .], the employees of a company, or the passengers of the train leaving the station; they need NOT be abstract. Cf page 525:set theory.
Belgium: Bruges canal. For a picture of the canal see Bruges Canal.
A Venetian water-bus.
The main canal that runs through the heart of Venice and down past San Marco, the city's main square.
San Marco end
See above. This is where Florian's (appears in the novel) is situated.
??? A small piazza. The large square in front of St Mark's is the Piazza San Marco. The smaller side square running beside the Palazzo Ducale down to the canal is the Piazzetta San Marco.
San Giorgio Maggiore
A rather over-ornate church on the Grand Canal opposite San Marco.
live here forever
Pynchon special-pleading that Dally isn't just another tourist. Or is this just a typical reaction of the tourist? And a Pynchonesque longing for home?
Quite the contrary, Dally is thinking she feels "at home" as opposed to Kit on 567 who doesn't know what home is anymore. Note too that the Zombini family have deep "roots" in Italy, and "roots" or small people are exactly part of Dally's quest and what Merle warns that wildcrafting 'seng has to be approached with whispers and carefully (p. 70)
Teatro Verdi in Trieste
A 1200+ seat theatre built in late-eighteenth century in Trieste for classical music, opera and ballet (Teatro Verdi). With its stately columns, elaborate adornments and lush elegance it is rather an unlikely venue for magic show. Another unlikely venue for magic show is Teatro Malibran in Venice (next page).
Malibran... Polo's house
The Teatro Malibran, built at the site of Marco Polo's house, which was destroyed in 1596.
- It is still there ! Cf page 355:Teatro Malibran and the external link (for photos, etc) listed there.
Probably from the pincer movement of military strategy.
- Professor Hoffman's Modern Magic (1876) describes three "passes with coins," La Pincette, Le Tourniquet and La Coulée. Amazon has the book for sale if anyone wants to look up the details.
"Large pockets in tail coats which can be used for vanishes or productions", Wikipedia
??? Misero means poor, pitiful, miserable, etc. Psalm 51 (sometimes numbered as 50) is known as the Miserere because it begins (in Latin) Miserere mei Deus (Have mercy on me, God).
train to Trieste
???Venice and Trieste are on the opposite sides (about 70 miles apart) of the same gulf : Gulf of Venice. Taking a train from Venice to Trieste would mean taking a route several times lengthier than a ferry.
The fictional professor's name comes from the Italian sveglio for "clever, dextrous, skillful."
Different from sharkskin?
glassmakers on Murano
When is that?
Naples dialect: guaglione is boy. (It first appeared on page 531).
another one of his stories
(Jackson Pynchon should highlight all the AtD passages that originated as bedtime stories.)
The Ducal Palace in Venice, residence of the Doge. It's by San Marco.
paramorphic - see the entry for Paramorphoscope
Vellum produced from the skin of an unborn calf
Products used in the grinding of lenses and mirrors.
Italian: the Doubler.
Perhaps an analogue of the diffraction grating that splits the electron into two "alternate" electrons in Schrodinger's thought experiment on quantum effects, source here of a sort of human quantum splitting, an alternate universe creator.
After Neville Maskelyne, from Mason and Dixon. Maskelyne was sent at the same time as M and D to record the Transit of Venus on St. Helena. He became Astronomer Royal while they were in America.
While Maskelyne is indeed a real person, the name is very suggestive of mescaline. The two do not seem to be "related."
smoke back into a cigar
Time's arrow/ entropy motif.
hard-as-a-rock black cigar
The quality of a cigar is usually higher with dark, more tightly-wrapped tobacco. Vincenzo has a fine one, it seems.
sound/feeling of a water-bus?
Longest river in Sicily.Its small deltaic system there is dominated by marine processes rather than fluvial ones. It is a seasonal torrent, with brief but violent floods during the winter rains (from November to February), Is this what riding the salso in and back out again means? Riding the floods from the winter rains?
Hardly. 'Salso' (ital.) means 'salty', so this is probably a poetical word for 'the sea'.
??? The sandolo is a type of boat used in Venice, similar to a gondola but (I believe) larger.
- Actually, smaller.
trains pulling in
Famous early film.
It is one of the six districts (sestieri) of Venice. (The other five are: Cannaregio, Dorsoduro, Santa Croce, San Marco, and Castello.) It (with Santa Croce and Dorsoduro) is located at the south side of the Grand Canal just across the Rialto bridge from San Marco. The San Polo district is the second most important area of Venice in terms of historical immportance and attractions for the tourists. It is the home to the Rialto market, the old artisan quarters of Venice, and the stunning Frari church.
It is commonly spelled Cannaregio. It is located north of the Grand Canal, and is one of the few parts of the city where Venetians still live in great numbers. Canaregio.
thirty years older
In NYC when Dally showed up.
Italian curse word, roughly "asshole"
In bocc' al lupo!
From the Roman dialect, in which the Italians – including Rocco and Pino – seem to speak. Meaning, literally, "In the mouth of the wolf," and idiomatically, "Good luck."
Specifically, as supported by the show business context, the good-luck wish among actors: "Break a leg!"
??? Small squares. A campo is literally a field and by extension a large square in a town. A campiello is a small square. I believe Venice has only one Piazza (San Marco) and the other squares are campi and campielli.
impersonation of itself
echoes "the mountains had become geometrical impersonations of themselves", p. 394
Probably Riva del Vin by the Grand Canal; a great tourist attraction from where one can view the historical Rialto Bridge. (The word riva itself means river bank). Riva del Vin andRialto-Riva del Vin
In the style of a midshipman's blouse (shirt).
not yet been rebuilt
Remember page 256.
Cf. page 129 for reference to the "Venice" phase of Hunter Penhallow's painting career
A waterside street in Venice
ombreta de vin means "a glass of wine" in Venetian dialect.
light's good here
Old joke about drunk looking for car keys under streetlight though he dropped them somewhere else.
inside that labyrinth . . . microcosm of all Venice
A hologram has this property, that a little chip broken off it contains the entire image. This is, however, a specific reference to Fractal non-Euclidian Geometry ... self-similarity over scale. A fractal is an object or quantity that displays self-similarity, in a somewhat technical sense, on all scales. The object need not exhibit exactly the same structure at all scales, but the same "type" of structures must appear on all scales. A plot of the quantity on a log-log graph versus scale then gives a straight line, whose slope is said to be the fractal dimension. The prototypical example for a fractal is the length of a coastline measured with different length rulers. The shorter the ruler, the longer the length measured, a paradox known as the coastline paradox, mentioned by Pynchon on page 821: coastline approaching infinite length.
- Good argument for the fractal reference, better than the original one for the hologram metaphor. Hunter is not making smaller and smaller paintings ("chips") but rather exploiting an observation about scale.
narrow waterway in Venice (Cf page 245:rio.)
A soldo is a small coin.
franc... ten francs
One "franc": a french coin. Not much, even for standard of the times.
Cf page 529:Monsieur Santos-Dumont
Real name: Zuane Antonio Canal (1697-1768), a well-known scenery painter at the time. He went to England in 1746 and returned to Venice in 1755.
Venetian landscape painter, 1697-1768, famous for his paintings of Venice (Italian website).
As described, Penhallow's pictures are reminiscent, in spirit and in some ways content, of John Singer Sargent's Venetian paintings. Sargent also later painted one of the most haunting images of World War I, "Gassed", showing a column of men blinded by mustard gas feeling their way to an aid station.
Allusion to Byron's poem "Beppo - A Venetian Story". Beppo is a husband who's been away for many years and then, returning, reclaims his wife from another man.
Beppo = Mouse, diminutive of Giuseppi. There is also Beppo Levi (born on May 14, 1875 in Turin, Italy, died on August 28, 1961 in Rosario, Argentina) Italian mathematician, director of the Mathematics Institute of the National University of the Littoral from 1939 to 1961. His work included the mathematics of alternative spaces.
From Merriam-Webster Dictionary: chiefly British: an outdoor site (as for camping or doing business).
An expensive hotel near San Marco in Venice.
demobilized from a war that nobody knew about . . . seeking refuge from time
Hunter Penhallow, one of the Trespassers?
a time-traveler from the future
Hunter Penhallow IS a Trespasser.
Not exactly. This subplot doesn't precisely overlap with the trespasser plot, though I think Hunter has seen that version of our future. I know we have a rule against spoilers but we should feel free to go back to previous pages in the text to help us in understanding what's going on even at a basic plot level. So Hunter is from a line of crystal tycoons but stows away on Etienne Malus (p. 129) which also stows away the Destoyer (p. 144) and brings that creature back to New York where Hunter flees by being rescued by some "curious mass conveyance" (p.155) to some futuristic world. Now Hunter has come back from the future, though he doesn't know how he got to Venice. Maybe just some rift in space-time that Miles theorizes about.
Recent art-movie title? I think safe here means safe without allusion.
Is any moment in Time apolitical?
Castello is the largest of the six sestieri of Venice. The district grew up from the thirteenth century around a naval dockyard on what was originally the Isole Gemini.
Not sure on the derivation of Isole Gemini; but Gemini, like Pisces (cf. Fomalhaut, the brightest star in the Pisces constellation) and Sagittarius, are the dual signs of western astrology in keeping with "bi-locations," Deuce Kindred, Renfrew/Werfner, mirrors, etc.
Jyotisha (Indian astrology) includes Virgo as a dual sign or dvisvabha rashis -- thus forming a Quaternity (4 signs or rashis)of Duality. It's interesting that Pynchon does not say Gemini and Pisces directly, but alludes to them behind Castello and Fomalhaut. Be on the lookout for twins, fish, virgins and centaurs!
"At reveille the morning gun goes off; and at retreat, the evening". From a history description. Here is a site with picture.http://www.ziplink.net/~edkreutz/1f.html
Renowned, full-bearded 19th-century English cricket player.
Charing Cross Railway Station, London. The original station was opened on 11 January 1864 by the South East Railway. Now, over 37 million people pass through Charing Cross every year. Situated on the forecourt of the stations is the Eleanor Cross, from which point road distances from London are measured. For more see Charing Cross.
An area of Venice. The Dorsoduro district is a relatively central area of the city, located on the opposie side of the Grand Canal from the San Marco district. But, at the smae time it offers the visitor a chance to explore a delightful part of the city free from the crowds of San Marco. The Accademia Gallery, Peggy Gugggenheim Museum, and the Santa della Maria Salute Church (one of the most famous landmarks of Venice) are all located here. Dorsoduro.
A cheap Italian hotel, like a bed and breakfast.
A historical hotel. La Calcina means The Lime House, because the hotel was built on a 17th-century lime production site. It is located on the Zattere promenade, at the foot of the Calcina Bridge. Various Bohemian artists frequented the Café of the hotel, and John Ruskin indeed stayed at the hotel from February 13 to May 23, 1877. For the historical background of the hotel see La Calcina.
eminent ghosts, Turner and Whistler, Ruskin, Browning....
Evokes Lytton Strachey's Eminent Victorians and this Quaternity of artists were eminent indeed (though not the subject of Strachey's book). All had a conection to Venice, and the note on Ruskin at the La Calcina above could be true of the other three as well.
Robert Browning became a ghost in Venice in 1887. Of particular historic significance, Browning was the first person to ever have his voice heard after his death. Thomas Edison recorded Browning reading his poem "How They Brought Good News from Ghent to Aix" including the poet's apologies for forgetting the words. The recording was first played in Venice in 1890.
"traces of conciousness". Psychical Research beginning to open these matters..streaming by
Possible allusion to Joyce's "stream of conciousness". Ulysses is also set in 1904, the year Joyce met his wife.
But that is not the stream of consciousness refered to here, and it is the wrong "James." William James actually coined the term "stream of consciousness." Joyce was not the first to use it as a literary technique either -- he just perfected it in a way not seen before -- except perhaps in Proust.
Considering the context in AtD concerns ghosts and the very next sentence begins with a mention of Psychical Research, "traces of consciousness" is not so much stream of consciousness as a trailing vapor or whisp of consciousness that streams by as a "kind of ghost." Think in terms of thought transference, ESP, mediums, hypnosis, hallucinations, ghosts. More than a few characters in this novel are involved in these things.
In order to study these phenomena, three dons of Trinity College, Cambridge founded The Society for Psychical Research in 1882. William James helped to found the American branch and was president of the group for a while.
There are recurring parallels in AtD to a famous James quote from Varieties of Religious Experience:
Our normal waking consciousness . . . is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the flimsiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different. We may go through life without suspecting their existence; but apply the requisite stimulus and at a touch they are all there in all their completeness . . . No account of the universe in its totality can be final which leaves these other forms of consciousness quite disregarded.
An area of wide waterfront pavements in Venice.
...in hotels, the way your dreams are often, alarmingly, not your own?
One more possible allusion to Proust, including also the following paragraph. At the beginning of the Recherche, the main character, Marcel, spends a sleepless night in a hotel room, surrounded by memories he can't make sense of.
And it's Pirate Prentice's 'job' in GR and presumably the whole first section of GR is one of Pirate's 'dreams not his own'.
In Lot 49 Oedipa Maas considers all the dreams and memories stored in the mattresses of transients' hotels, and of the information destroyed when they burned.
to pick up traces of the dreams of whoever slept there just before them
Cf. the Tom Waits song "9th & Hennepin": "And all the rooms they smell like diesel / And you take on the dreams of the ones who have slept there". Lyrics
a regional wind, blowing each winter.
Brindisi, Squinzano, . . . Brletta
They are the cities in Puglia (Apula) region of southeast Italy, ie. at the "heel of the Italian Boot".
Tintoretto's Abduction . . .
Tintoretto (1518-94), Venetian painter. Originally named Jacopo Robusti, because of his father's profession of tintore (dye) he was nicknamed as Tintoretto. The most successful painter of Venetian school in the generation after Titian. His drawings, unlike Michelangelo's detailed life studies, are brilliant, rapid notations, bristling with energy, and his color is more somber and mystical than Titian's. For a better, can be enlarged, view of his Abduction of the Body of St. Mark (1562-66). (The title of the work in this Web Gallery of Art is: "The Stealing of the Dead Body of St Mark.")
The major art-gallery in Dorsoduro, Venice
16th century Venetian painter.
Vecellio Tiziano (1490-1576), better known as Titian, the greatest painter of the Venetain School and the leading light of the Italian Renaissance. Titian was recognized as a towering genius in his own time and his reputation as one of the giants of art has never been seriously questioned. He was supreme in every branch of painting and his achievements were so varied — ranging "from the joyous evocation of pagan antiquity . . . to the depths of tragedy in his late religious paintings" — that he has been an inspiration to artists of very different character. In many subjects, above all in portraiture, he set patterns that were followed by generations of artists. For more and Titian's paintings Titian.
→Actually, The Infancy Gospel of Thomas is not the same as the Gospel of Thomas. The former is a brief summary of Jesus' misadventures as a child (as AtD notes, Jesus really is described as a hell-raiser and although at one point he brings a child named Zenon back from death, the Infancy Gospel mostly just makes a shallow exhibition of Jesus' miraculous powers). The latter is a Gnostic text and a "collection of sayings, prophecies, proverbs, and parables of Jesus" (Willis Barnstone, "The Other Bible" p. 299).
Also, I read through the whole Infancy Gospel of Thomas and could not find the particular parable that Pynchon describes. However, Pynchon's parable is in keeping with the style of this Gospel. Jesus gets in trouble--making adults irate--and then sets everything straight. This particular parable also does not appear in The Infancy Gospel of James, The Infacy Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, or The Arabic Infancy Gospel.
The reference to this Gospel is a double+ play on the twins/double/mirror motif. First, as can be seen in this posting, there is confusion between the Gospel of Thomas and the Infancy Gospel of Thomas. The two gospels appear to be the same, but they are different. Second, the name Thomas means twin. Also(+), Thomas is the doubting Thomas. To doubt is to be "of two minds." The historic and theological significance of Thomas is loaded with themes relevant to this novel.
I'd like to add that Pynchon already made up a quote of the Gospel of Thomas in Gravity's Rainbow, p. 537, as an epigraph of Part III, Episode 24: "Dear Mom, I put a couple of people in Hell today . . . ". The author cited his source as "Oxyrhynchus papyrus number classified," which is both correct (the Infancy being a part of the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas which was found on papyri discovered in a Nile river village called Oxyrhynchus) and wrong: the so-called Thomas didn't write that Jesus ever said that to his mother! At least in the papyri that were published… See Weisenburger 2006, (A Companion to GR), p. 282.
Pentecost story in Acts
Pentecost is a Christian holiday commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus' followers and the beginning of the Christian church. Pentecost is celebrated by many (but not all) Christians on the Sunday 50 days after Easter. It often falls in early June. Read the Biblical passages in Acts II...
Yes, well, it's redemption, isn't it, you expect chaos, you get order instead
In the Infancy Gospel of Thomas and the Pentecost, first Jesus, then the Holy Ghost, act as Maxwell's Demon . In the Infancy Gospel story, Jesus sorts the randomly mixed dye molecules so that each garment comes out one color; in the Pentecost story the Holy Ghost causes a single language, just random noise to all but Galileans, to be heard as the many different languages of the listeners. Taking the two stories together, thermodynamic entropy is reversed, but the entropy of information is increased. This is the crux of Lot 49; here it is another "secular miracle"; order emerges from chaos. The mathematicians, artists and similar seekers may bring forth a similar miracle, the ability to experience other dimensions, to understand the universe (See Kit's dream, P.566).
Plural of rio.
An open doorway for public access. (Cf page 246:sotopòrteghi.)
Bodeo 10.4 mm
A mass-produced Italian-made service revolver, initially made around 1889. Demand for them as guns was low, causing thousands of the weapons to be converted to table lamps. An interesting Pynchonian connection between light, manufacture, weapons, and war.
Foschia in Italian means "fog". Foschetta is a term for "light fog".
Blocks of Euganean trachyte used for paving, often marked off by bands of Istrian stone
Probably meaning padrone, "master". -- blicero2
- or female saint? not referring to Tonio but just as an expression.
wine trains up from Puglia
Puglia region is in southeast of Italy (at the "heel of the Italian Boot"). From page 578-579: "In September, when the vino forte arrived from Brindis, Squinzano, and Barletta . . ." These three cities are in Puglia. Cf page 579:vino forte and page 579:Brindisi, Squinzano, . . . Barletta.
taverns (osteria is a tavern)
Is Pugnax's book from p6 at all relevant here?
- Yes! The Princess Casamassima has several resonances with AtD.
Abbreviated form of "Casa," Italian for "house."
Which appears to be multidimensional, or at any rate non-Euclidean, reminiscent of Zombini's cabinet.
Roman Composite order
A classical order (style of building design) dating from late Roman times, formed by superimposing Ionic volute (volute = a spiral scroll ornament) on a Corinthian capital (capital = the head or crowning feature of a column). (Composite order).
The Ponte dell’Accademia - connecting the Venetian quarters (sestieri) San Marco and Dorsoduro - was constructed during the Austrian occupation in 1854. This steel construction got replaced ca. 1933 by a wooden bridge (which was replaced by yet another wooden bridge in 1985) Wikipedia
French port city on the Atlantic (English Channel).
Meaning "come on!", in Italian. -- blicero2
third eyes touching
The third eye, as existing on some reptiles is a dorsal organ that is receptive to light, otherwise known as the pineal eye. Since the two half-sisters are obviously not reptiles, this reference might allude to the figurative third eye, or the eye of the mind, heart or soul. When the two touch foreheads, they are able to peer into each other consciences, by way of these third eyes. /Dictionary Entry
"Swiss insurance salesman. Wolf. No, Putzi."
Bria's had so many beaux she gets them confused? One was a wolf; the other a putz?
- Wolf is an uncommon given name but also a diminutive of Wolfgang. Putzi does not come from a given name; it's like "sweetiepie," a nickname for a cute boy.
Wolf + Putzi sounds a bit like Wuffli. Peter Wuffli was the CEO of UBS (Union Bank of Switzerland)  from December 2001 to June 2007. He unexpectedly resigned in Jun07, some months before the subprime crisis, in which UBS had to take large financial losses, exploded. 
Possibly related, or possibly not-- Putzi's is the club in Cuxhaven where the beleaguered Tyrone Slothrop tries to pick up his forged papers in Gravity's Rainbow. (Home of the Eisenkröte!)topo
A topo is a guide for a crag or climbing area; a shortened form of "topographic map" of any type of surface topology. But what is Pynchon referring to? Topo is "rat" in Italian and "awkward person" in Spanish. The Greek topos means "place" or "commonplace" None seems to refer to a "day out on the water" or a "day off work" as it seems to imply here. Interesting Pynchonesque tidbit found while researching the root source of the word topology: A term used to refer to the continuity of space and spatial properties, such as connectivity, that are unchanged after distortion. (Thanks to the The University of Melbourne's GIS glossary) Topology includes the study of the surface of an object, such a as a the paint of a canvas painting and the transformations such surfaces can undergo mathematically, including through imaginary domains.
- Pynchon writes "Some artist friends had a topo for the day." He is referring to the boat they rented. It means "mouse" in Italian and is apparently the name of a small traditional Venetian fishing boat now used for touring. As for mathematical topology, Pynchon's topological metaphors reach a crescendo in the next chapter.
Custom House, built on a wedge of land called Punta della Dogana (Custom Point). This wedge of land is at the entrance of the Grand Canal, as described in the text: "where the Grand Canal and the Lagoon meet". The original 14th-century customs tower was replaced by a colonnaded building named the Dogana de Mare (Sea Customs Post). See picture Punta della Dogana
An artist and acquaintence made by Hunter Penhallow in Venice. His name is likely derived from the Gioacchino Rossini opera Tancredi or the Voltaire play by the same name. Wikipedia Entry
Tancredi, restored, is a tragedy. the soldier Tancredi and his family have been stripped of their estates and inheritances, and he himself has been banished since his youth. Two more noble families — headed by Argirio and Orbazzano — have been warring for years. Wikipedia. Tancredi presides in exile...he is mortally wounded at the end after learning the person he thought betrayed the heroine did not.
- Actually, per my entry in the Alpha index, more likely the name connects with Tancredi, the time-traveling character in City of Death, a four-part serial in the British science fiction television series Dr. Who which involves time travel and bilocation. Tancredi is the sole survivor of the Jagaroth race, an evil people who destroyed themselves in a war some 400 million years ago. Tancredi explains that a few escaped in a dilapidated spacecraft and found Earth in a primeval, lifeless stage of its development. The ship disintegrated upon takeoff and Scaroth tells of how he was fractured in time, splinters of his being were scattered across time and space, all identical, none complete. Whereas, in City of Death, Tancredi, one of the Scaroff "splinters" living in Renaissance Italy, is plotting to create multiple Mona Lisa's for fraudulent purposes, Against the Day's Tancredi is fighting art fraud. Read the synopsis of City of Death; The name "Andrea" could be a reference to the protagonist Andrea Marsh, a time-traveler in the 1889 novel, Timeless Love by Judy Hinson (synopsis).
Seurat and Signac
George Seurat (1859-1891) and Paul Signac (1863-1935), French painters who developed pointillism. Wikipedia entry.
Term invented by Paul Signac to describe the Neo-Impressionist separation of colour into dots or patches applied directly to the canvas. From Grove Dictionary of Art.
The Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti was the first among [the Futurists] to produce a manifesto of their artistic philosophy in his Manifesto of Futurism (1909)(see below).
Practitioners or followers of Futurism, an early 20th century art movement that is considered the genesis of Cubism, Dada and Art Deco. Wikipedia entry.Marinetti summed up the major principles of the Futurists, including a passionate loathing of ideas from the past, especially political and artistic traditions. He and others also espoused a love of speed, technology and violence. The car, the plane, the industrial town were all legendary for the Futurists, because they represented the technological triumph of man over nature.
See above and The Futurists were often condemned as fascistic in their manifestos and outlook.
A lonely Venetian island: very peaceful and beautiful with a church and little else.
A kind of red wine (same as the original Zinfandel, actually).
Another clashing color scheme.
A hot dust-laden wind from the Libyan deserts that blows on the northern Mediterranean coast chiefly in Italy, Malta, and Sicily.
The correct spelling in Italian is Scirocco.
San Michele, nicknamed The Island of the Dead, is the cemetery island of Venice. It is associated with the sestiere of Cannaregio from which it lies a short distance north east. Walls of San Michele.Along with neighbouring San Cristoforo della Pace, the island was a popular place for local travellers and fishermen to land. Mauro Codussi's Chiesa di San Michele in Isola of 1469, the first Renaissance church in Venice, and a monastery lie on the island.
See p. 155 and annotations. Of course, the machine-inspired Futurists would remind Hunter of this vehicle that 'had borne him to safety'!
Why? Hunter isn't the Futurist here and doesn't seem to share the same naive faith in Progress that Tancredi does.
Exactly the first commenter's point, I think. The ghosts of the future or "traces of consciousness" (p. 578) of his time-travel in the future (via the curious mass conveyance through a futuristic landcape, which Hunter was eventually disenchanted with) prevents Hunter from signing on to Tancredi's futurism. Pynchon is fleshing out Hunter's backstory, albeit vaguely or, if you wish, poetically.
the chill, comfortless faith in science and rationality...
Max Weber's concept of rationality, and the routinization/rationalization of charisma, is a prominent theme in Gravity's Rainbow a spontaneous and charismatic source of authority is eventually "rationalized" and brought under the control of processes and rules. In Pynchon's view, it is a movement toward Death and thematically related to entropy a prominent theme in V. and, in Mason & Dixon, bad Feng Shui and the reduction of the fuzzy boundaries between Pennsylvania and Maryland into a straight line.
Artists often do 'preliminary studies'..'infernal machine' comes out of Futurism's ideas.
“One must begin by accepting Hell -- by understanding that Hell is real..."
See multiple citations for (Hell) A book that takes us through Dante's gate twice (158, 401), has Ryder Thorn warn us explicitly that "this world.. will die and descend into Hell" (553), and ends with the words AtD ends with, may be good practice for taking Tancredi's advice.
Always with us.
Gospel of Matthew. "The poor you will always have with you". Here reference is to born-again Christers.
Literally meaning true in Italian, here it is used as you would use: "Are you talking of an infernal machine, aren't you ?"
Hell in a small bounded space ... But the finite space would expand rapidly
Tancredi is probably envisioning the onset of World War I, which hangs over the entire novel. The war began with the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, an event in land-locked Bosnia that led to a chain-reaction triggering of formal alliances and national interests, i.e. an infernal machine. The cultural changes brought on by the war, continuing through the Twentieth Century, include the suppression of Christianity in Eastern Europe and its decline as an ideology in the West. Of course, this is also an allusion to an actual chain-reaction, an atomic bomb, which begins with a small implosion.
We desire transformation
Aligns the explosion-loving Tancredi with the Rilke-quoting Blicero from Gravity's Rainbow. '"Want the Change," Rilke said, "O be inspired by the Flame!"' (GR p.97)
It also might be helpful to recall that Shiva, who has been referred to implicitly numerous times already in ATD, is the transformative/destructive deity of the Hindi Trimurti.
This section also sets up Tancredi as an opposite of Hunter, who on p.577 wants to find a "neutral hour", that "goes neither forwards or back", and on the same page "felt no desire to join in, quite the opposite." Hunter himself is much like Katje from GR. Page 97 again: "But not Katje: No mothlike plunge. He must conclude that secretly she fears the change..."
A yellow color pigment (Wikipedia)
An artificial color pigment discovered in 1868 in the city of Nuremberg
"The energies of motion, the grammatical tyrannies of becoming, in divisionismo we discover how to break them apart into their component frequencies . . . we define a smallest element, a dot of color which becomes the basic unit of reality . . . .
This seems to describe both the kind of painting done by Tancredi and atomic research. Breaking material into its atomic unit, the basic unit of reality, is literally part of the "energies of motion." This also describes how a television set works. The screen is composed of millions of tiny dots that, taken together, create moving pictures.
Also called Brownian motion. It is the irregular motion of small particles suspended in a liquid or a gas, caused by the bombardment of the particles by molecules of the medium first divscovered by botanist Robert Brown (1773-1858) in 1827. Einstein in one of his four Annus Mirabilis Papers of 1905 explained the random motion using molecular kinetic theory of heat. Cf page 412:young Einstein.
I really love the old dump
For the same reason Dally does: Venice has what Pynchon called (in V.) "Temporal Bandwidth": a life in a depth of time, a simultaneous humane immersion in past, present and future. The canals of industrialized Belgium are silted up, the connections to its Hanse past lost, paved and tracked over. This has not, and cannot, happen to Venice; even a Futurist painter cannot carry out the appaling modernization he describes. Venice is a place to hide from the future; indeed, in terms of physical destruction, the world wars barely touched La Serenisima.
nebbia, nebbietta, foschia, caligo, sfumato
Varieties of fog.
speed of sound
Air temperature is more important than density.
La Velocità del Suono
Italian, "speed of sound"
The Light Over the Ranges
Against the Day
Rue du Départ