ATD 644-677

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

Page 644

Union Depot
El Paso's Union Depot Passenger Station was built in 1905. The Depot was the first passenger train station to be built in the United States specifically for international railway traffic. It is located at San Francisco Ave downtown El Paso vey close to the US-Mexico border. There is a rumor around in El Paso that Pancho Villa used the Depot's bell tower as a lookout for the attack of Juárez during the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920). The Depot now is listed in the National Register of Historic Commission.

El Paso
El Paso, the sixth largest city in Texas, is located at the western tip of Texas. It is the second largest city along the Mexican border. And lies across the Rio Grande is Juáres, Mexico, the other half of the bi-national metropolitan area.

It was a disputed parcel of land between El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. The dispute was caused by the differences between the bed of the Rio Grande as surveyed in 1852 and the present channel of the river. The river shifted south continually between 1852 and 1868 with the most radical shift in 1864. As a result, the newly exposed land, about 600 acres, came to be known in Spanish as El Chamizal, from chamiza, the name of a species of wild cane or reed. The final resolution of the dispute came about only in 1963.

E.B. Soltera
Soltera is Spanish: spinster. Estrella Briggs, Unmarried.

Regeneration Equipment
In chemical technology "regeneration" means taking a spent product out of the system and cleaning it up for reuse.

stressed motif. Cf. alabaster temples at the Columbian Exposition.Cf. whiteness in GR.

Page 645

El Paso, Texas.

buyer beware
That is, caveat emptor.

Page 646

For heaven's sakes.

Geronimo (1829-1909) was a prominent Native American leader of the Chiricahua Apache who fought against the encroachment of the United States on his tribal lands and perople for over 25 years.

Willow and Holt
Willow: Stray's sister (pp. 361 & 367), Holt: Willow's husband (p. 367)

Page 647

For really it was the sidekick who presented the problem. Restless type. Fair hair, hat back on his head so the big brim sort of haloed his face, shiny eyes and low-set, pointed ears like an elf's...
Billy the Kid? No, he died in 1881.
The Waco Kid, the gunfighter played by Gene Wilder in Blazing Saddles?

Daisy, Daisy
"Daisy Bell" is a popular song whose lyrics ("Daisy, Daisy, Give me your answer do...I'm half crazy, all for the love of you..." as well as the line "...a bicycle built for two") are considerably better known than the song's actual title. "Daisy Bell" was composed by Harry Dacre in 1892. As David Ewen writes in American Popular Songs: "When Dacre, an English popular composer, first came to the United States, he brought with him a bicycle, for which he was charged duty. His friend (the songwriter William Jerome) remarked lightly: 'It's lucky you didn't bring a bicycle built for two, otherwise you'd have to pay double duty.' Dacre was so taken with the phrase 'bicycle built for two' that he decided to use it in a song. That song, Daisy Bell, first became successful in a London music hall, in a performance by Kate Lawrence. Tony Pastor was the first one to sing it in the United States. Its success in America began when Jennie Lindsay brought down the house with it at the Atlantic Gardens on the Bowery early in 1892." Wikipedia....see this for memorable occasions of its use. It was evidently sung at the OK Corral gunfight, if TRP says so but I have not substantiated this yet.

Pynchon did not say Doc Holliday sang "Daisy, Daisy" before or during the Gunfight. But Doc Holliday, in his "rejoinder to Frank McLaury", did use the 1880s' slang phrase "daisy" — according to some accounts. After the Gunfight people then, claimed by Pynchon, used the song "Daisy, Daisy" as a "sort of telegraphic code . . . for Boot Hill" (graveyard, see page 648).

More popularly, sung by HAL, the failing shipboard computer, as it is disabled in Stanley Kubrick's film 2001, A Space Odyssey.

Agreed. Although all that's interesting enough info I guess, the most relevant piece of data that we need to make sense of the text in question and not just tangential random association is what the directly alluded to "rejoinder" itself was, namely:

"I've got you now," McLaury challenged.

"Blaze away! You're a daisy if you have," countered Holliday. (Daily Nugget, Oct 27, 1881)

Also of interest is how Doc didn't shoot McLaury following this exchange according to the autopsy reports, but got skimmed in the ass by McLaury but Morgan Earp actually got the killshot, thus proving Doc's bluster or bravery to be just that, a ballsy but not necessarily factually accurate "rejoinder" in the heat of a shoot-out.

Page 648

at the O.K. Corral
It refers to The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. The 30-second event occurred on October 26, 1881, in a vacant lot, behind the corral in Tombstone, AZ. It was Wyatt Earp, Morgan Earp, Virgil Earp and Doc Holliday fought against Frank McLaury, Tom McLaury, Ike Clanton, Billy Clanton, Billy Claiborne and Wes Fuller. Frank and Tom McLaury and Billy Clanton were killed while Morgan Earp, Virgil Earp and Holliday were wounded. The gunfight supposed to be between law-and-order and open banditry and rustling in frontier towns of the Old West. The Gunfight has been the subject of many many books, movies, songs, . . . etc.

Boot Hill
It is the name for any number of cemeteries, chiefly in th American West. During the 19th century it was a common name for the burial grounds of gunfighters or those who "died with their boots on" (ie. violently). Also, Boot Hill graves were made for people who died in a strange town without assets for a funeral. The most famous Boot Hill graveyard of the Old West is, of course, in Tombstone, AZ. Buired at the site are various victims of violence and desease in Tombstone's early years, including those from the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Boot Hill was also the destination for bad-men and those lynched or legally hanged in Tombstone, AZ.

Page 649

Rosie's Cantina
As found in Marty Robbins's 1959 hit song "El Paso" (a song frequently covered by the Grateful Dead). When the exiled narrator attempts to return to the cantina, he sees to his right "five mounted cowboys/Off to my left ride a dozen or more."

...Night-time would find me in Rosa's cantina; Music would play and Felina would whirl.

The rest of the lyrics: El Paso.

Law and Order League Cf page 644.

also internet slang for Laughing Out Loud (LOL).
or "Lots of Luck"

light draining away
cf. p.198: "He watched the light over the ranges slowly draining away", as Webb dies.

Page 650

Ocotillo is a drought-deciduous shrub. It can have anywhere from 6 to 100 wand like branches that grow from the root crown with a stem anywhere from 9 to 30 feet tall.

In northern Mexico and TransPecos Texas, cut branches are often rooted in a trench and wired together to form a living fence.

Rock Springs
Wyoming town, center of the Wyoming oil boom of the late 1970s, early 1980s, known then as a wide open town.

Ladies' Friend
a small pistol that could be concealed in a lady's clothing.

Central Colorado town, like Telluride once a mining town, now a ski resort.

Page 651

Dixies and Fans and Mignonettes
Just typical names of bar girls?

Page 652

Karawankenbahn . . . Tauern . . . Wochein
A series of tunnels constructed as part of a huge Austrian public works project in the first years of the 20th century. They are named for ranges of mountains and hills they pass through. The objective was to develop rail transport to the port of Trieste. Read further in this entry for the location of Wochein.

Karawankenbahn means Karawanken Railway in German.
Between 1867-1918 Trieste (Cf page 516:Trieste) was part of Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was Austria's first seaport and the principal outlet for the ocean trade of the monarchy. But it did not have adequate railway communication with Austria's interior. To give a great impetus to the trade of Trieste in particular and to the over-sea trade of Austria in general, it was decided in 1901 to build the Karawanken Railway connecting Trieste and Klagenfurt, the capital of the federal state of Carinthia in Austria. The railway was built over and through the Karawanken mountains, Europe's longest (70-mile long) mountain range on the border between current Slovenia and Austria. The Karawanken Tunnel was opened on October 1, 1906; it is the fourth longest railway tunnel in Austria with a length of over 4.8 miles (7,976 m). (For a Karawanken Tunnel construction picture).

At the same time (1901-1909) another railway, Tauernbahn (Tauern Railway) over and through the Tauern mountains was built between Schwarzach-St.Veit (in the province of Salzburg) and Spittal an de Drau (in Carinthia). It can reach Trieste by connection through Karawanken and Wochein tunnels.
Tauern Railway passes underneath the Hohe Tauern Mountain Range through the 5-mile long Tauern Tunnel which was opened on July 7, 1909.

Wochein, the old German name, is now Bohinj in Slovenia. It is an alpine valley and a municipality in the north-west of Slovenia, in the Julian Alps. The Bohinj Railway is a railway in Slovenia extending into Trieste, Italy (both were parts of Austria-Hungary before 1918). It was built in 1904 with a 3.8-mile long Bohinj (Wochein) Tunnel under the 5,00-ft tall Koblas Mountain.

French name for the Swiss city of Brig, a historic town with 5,000 inhabitants. Brigue is located close to the Swiss-Italian border. The language used in every day transactions is a unique German dialect.

An Italian city located at the foot of the Italian Alps, a minor passenger-rail hub. Its strategic location accommodates Swiss rail passengers, acting as an international stopping-point between Locarno (a Swiss city in the Italian language zone) and Brig (a Swiss city in the German language zone) via the Simplon Pass. [Domodossola].

two parallel galleries
The description of the Simplon tunnel project seems to be close to the facts. The Simplon tunnel consists of two parallel tubes, the first of which was opened in 1905, the second not until 1921. The second gallery this passage refers to was built alongside the first tube in order to supply the workers with fresh air. It was later extended.

The Simplon Tunnel is a 12.3-mile long railway tunnel consisting of two separate single-track tunnels completed 16 years apart — the first one opened on June 1, 1906 and the second one October 16, 1922. For half a century it was the world longest railway tunnel. It was planned by Alfred Brandt of the Hamburg firm of Brandt & Brandau, and its construction began in 1898. It was a tremendous feat of engineering in almost impossibly difficult conditions. It seems that Pynchon in describing the tunnel work followed closely How the Swiss Built the Greatest Tunnel in the World.

Page 653

Brandt drills
Brandt & Brandau were Hamburg engineers responsible for the tunnel project. Possibly also an allusion to Adolf Brand (1874-1945), German homosexual activist and anarchist Wikipedia article.. "Brand" is also a German word for fire or combustion.

Kanuni Lekë Dukagjinit
should be "Kanuni i Lekë Dukagjinit". "Kanuni" is Albanian for "code".

Kanuni i Lekë Dukagjinit, The Code of Lekë Dukagjini, is a set of laws developed by an Albanian prince, Lekë Dukagjini (1410-1481), who fought against the Ottoman Empire. These laws were used mostly in northern Albania and Kosovo from the 15th century until the 20th century and were revived recently after the fall of the communist regime in the early 1990s. Some of the most infamous rules specified how murder was supposed to be handled (resembled the Italian vendetta) and it often led to blood feuds that lasted until all the men of the involved families were killed.

League of Prizren
Aimed for Albanian unity and autonomy; 1878; Wikipedia article.

Page 654

Jetokam, jetokam!
I'm alive (Albanian).

Më fal
Sorry (Albanian).

many superstitions inside this mountain
Tunnelers and miners were among the most superstitious trades. Small wonder.

history. They suffered from it...survive to see the day.
Title thematic.To see the day History [Time] ended?

Page 655

non è vero?
It's not true?

A/k/a Swiss dragon. A mythical creature or cryptid, depending on who you believe. Wikipedia entry; Cryptid zoo website.

The name literally means "pawed worm".

[S]ometimes a Tatzelwurm is only a Tatzelwurm.
Echoing the comment attributed to Freud, "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar", the cigar-loving alienist who would have been on the faculty of the University of Vienna at this time.

Page 656

Name used mostly in western Switzerland for föhn, a dry wind blowing down the lee side of the Alps.

Term in thermodynamics meaning an absence of heat transfer. Wikipedia entry. Also, confusingly and probably not coincidentally, a term in quantum mechanics referring to an infinitely slow change in the Hamiltonian of a system. Wikipedia entry. Yes, it's that Hamilton.

People avid for mineral baths and spas like those at . . .

Baden-Baden . . . Wagga Wagga
In Germany and New South Wales (Australia) respectively. Names, of course, which suggest bilocation.

Moazagotl clouds
A persistent cloud formation associated with the föhn. Technical definition.

Ruperta Chirpingdon-Groin
Great alliterative last name given her effect on men.

Page 657

Macchè, gioia mia
Italian: No way, my joy!

Spanish: brute, pig. ? Italian: troglodyte, cave dweller, barbarian

Italian: Take it easy.

Tutto va bene. Un amico di pochi anni fa
Italian: It's all right. A friend from a few years ago.

Synthetic amber used for costume jewelry.

Italian: treasure.


Page 658

Petite Roquette
A Paris prison later used as a reformatory for boys.

Cryptozoologists also use the term "Swiss dragon" for this mythical Alpine beast. Its habitation is not said to be limited to mines and tunnels. Cf page 655:Tatzelwurm and Mostly uninformative Wikipedia entry.

Ndih'më! . . . Nxito!
Albanian: Help me!...Quickly!

a scream
again that Pynchonian expression of horror as elsewhere in ATD, such as in the 'inner sands' scenes and GR, of course.

Various languages: hospital, infirmary.

Page 659

bien sûr
French: certainly. Here "Of course it did."

showered again, unlocked his private pulley-rope, lowered his clothes . . . hung his wet working gear on the hook, raised it again and padlocked the rope
from How the Swiss Built the Greatest Tunnel in the World:

"At the top of the building steampipes were fixed, and each man was entitled to his own private rope and padlock; this rope passes over a pulley in the roof, and has a hook at the end to which he can attach his day clothes, . . . and pulling them up by the cord and padlocking it he secures the safety of his belongings. On returning from his work he . . . has his bath, lowers his clothes, and, hanging his wet mining dress on the hook, raises it to the roof. Here it hangs until he again returns to work, when he finds his clothes dry and warm."

Cf page 652:Domodossola.

didn't look back
Sodom & Gomorrah motif.

They had been good friends, that crew
A number of homoerotic allusions in the preceding passages.

Gotthard Railway Tunnel is a 9-mile long tunnel in Switzerland opened in 1882. The tunnel is part of the Gotthardbahn Gotthard Railway connecting Lucerne through the Alps to Cjiasso on the Swiss-Italian border.

Page 660

Page 661

Now Verbania, on the shore of Lago Maggiore, Piedmont, in northwest Italy.

It's a wind coming from the North in Italy, usually cold and cutting.

Wilhelm Weber
Cf page 594:Wilhelm Weber (1804-1891), German Physicist.

Baron von Waltershausen
Baron Wolfgang von Waltershausen (1809-1876), a German geologist. He was Friedrich Gauss's close friend and biographer.

Riemann knew he was dying
Riemann died of tuberculosis, July 20, 1866.

the Seven Weeks' War
The Austro-Prussia War (June 15 — August 23, 1866). Cf page 594:Göttingen . . . war with Prussia.

Now spelled Kassel, a city in Hessen, Germany. It is about 25 miles southwest of Göttingen.

German name of Hanover, a major city of northern Germany. It is the capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony where Göttingen, about 50 miles south, is also located.

Since 1956, called Bad Langensalza, a city about 45 miles southeast of Göttingen, in Thuringia, Germany. It was a site of the 1866 Second Battle of Langensalza between Prussia and Hanover during the Seven Weeks' War.

The Veneto region, one of the twenty regions of Italy, is in northeastern Italy by the Adriatic Sea. It consists of seven provinces. One of them is Verona, home to Romeo and Juliet; another one is Venezia, home of Venice.

Also spelled Custoza. A village of northeastern Italy in the province of Verona. It was the site of the Battle of Custozza of June 24, 1866, between Austria and Italy resulted in Austria's victory.

Deep Germany
"the folk-dream behind the Black Forest", and so on to p. 662

Black Forest
A wooded mountain range in Baden-Württemberg, southwestern Germany. It is bordered by the Rhine valley to the west and south. It also has the source of the river Danube. The Black Forest is part of the continental divide between the Atlantic Ocean watershed and the Black Sea watershed.

Page 662

Elves are mythical creatures of Germanic mythology and Germanic paganism which still survive in northern European folklore. Elves are often pictured as youthful-seeming men and women of great beauty living in forests and other natural places, underground, or in wells and springs. They have been portrayed to be long-lived or immortal and they have magical powers attributed to them.

shadows with undulating tails and moving wings
shadow of Satan image?. Cf. p. 211
-Feels more like another dragon image to me (following close on the heels of the Tatzelwurm references), due to the size of the shadows and the surrounding imagery in the paragraph.

the Haupt-Bahnhof in Frankfurt
the Central Railway Station in Frankfurt. Regarding passenger volume alone, it is the second largest station outside Japan. Built close to where in earlier times the gallows had been located.

Orient Express
Cf page 567: the Orient Express. The accident mentioned happened on December 7th 1901, though according to [1] the train came to rest in the waiting hall rather than the restaurant.

collapse of the Campanile in Venice
Bell-tower on St. Mark's Basilica. The campanile reached its present form in 1514. As it stands today, however, the tower is a reconstruction, completed in 1912 after the collapse of 1902. Cf page 256:the tower collapses, page 259:dov'era com'era, and St. Mark's Campanile.

roof of the Charing Cross Station
A major railway station in London. The elegant original roof structure collapsed on 5 December 1905. By great fortune, only six lives were lost (two workmen on the roof, a bookstall vendor and three passers-by in the street, where most of the girders fell). It was rebuilt two years later.
Cf page 577:Charing Cross and Charing Cross Station.

So it is now 1906 in this chapter.

the revenge of Deep Germany...shameless German primitivism
We have seen an earlier reference to deeper Germany, to the pre-Christian, pre-rational Germany, here supposed to be avenging itself upon the mechanised, rational order that has supplanted it.

This pre-Christian Germany was the mythical Golden Age Nazism sought to draw upon and revive. In 1936 G.G. Jung wrote essay entitled "Wotan", in which he argued that the German psyche had been overwhelmed by the sudden awakening of the archetype of the ancient Norse god, Wotan, who had slumbered for 1,000 years, was the god of frenzy and magic and would, Jung predicted, more than likely lead the German people into some cataclysmic event.
[Fascinating reference. This reminds me strongly of the Vormance expedition from the "Iceland Spar" section of AtD, which brings some kind of artifact back to civilization, unleashing ruin; cf. pg. 142 for references to Norse gods being reawakened.]

The use of this word in the context of anarchist bombs and collapsed buildings suggests a reference to one "bin Laden." (quite a stretch....)

Page 663

Russian, literally: pilgrims, wanderers. Dissenters from the Russian Orthodox Church; a sect of Old Believers who rejected the Orthodox priesthood and sacraments. cf. The Way of the Pilgrim

podpol'niki, underground men
They are pod pole, literally under the floor. Allusion to that religious Russian, Dostoevsky and his Notes from Underground (Zapiski iz podpol'ya). Interestingly in that work, Dostoyevsky uses a Palace of Crystal as a metaphor for a functionalist utopia where everything works like clockwork and life is a complete bore. The narrator abhors and fears such a state and is obsessed with its destuction. Compare this to the train crash, and the roof and camponile collapse of the section above. Not to mention 9/11. "Shades" of Ted Kaczynnski here.

I don't know about all that. People keep assuming this is a "post-911 novel" (a marketing term or journalistic cliche more than anything). We don't know when Pynchon wrote this. By all accounts, he'd been writing a draft of this book since the early 60s. The Dostoyevski reference seems pretty obvious, though. Especially since TRP refers to "the fall of the crystal palace" on the first page of GR. Dostoevski's anxious, deluded anti-hero seems to be a good spokesperson of idealistic but pathological dissent appropriate to AtD.

"not the day we knew"
Thematic re day.

"extralogical...mathematical work"
math work is beyond logic, mystical-like.

"Now I am expelled from the garden"
Yashmeen is expelled from the paradisiac Göttingen like Eve was expelled from the Garden of Eden; she's probably echoing (and Pynchon definitely is) Hilbert's famous and mistaken line about set theory and infinite sets: "Aus dem Paradies, das Cantor uns geschaffen, soll uns niemand vertreiben können. (From the paradise, that Cantor created for us, no-one can expel us.)"

smooth-enough World-Line
linear History, not the ATD 'line', with a verbal pairing to 'World-Island', that Pynchonian way of naming the Earth.

Perhaps reference to: world line n.

The path in space-time traveled by an elementary particle for the time and distance that it retains its identity. general usage, a world line is the sequential path of personal human events (with time and place as dimensions) that marks the history of a person —perhaps starting at the time and place of one's birth until their death.

Much more here: [2] from

Page 664

Sanatorium Böpfli-Spazzoletta
Allusion to the Davos tuberculosis sanatorium of Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain, which was indeed the anteroom of death for its protagonist, Hans Castorp, who goes on to be "cured" to serve in World War I, a personification of the death of Europe. Note that, at the sanatorium, Castorp falls in love with a Russian named Madame Chauchat, to whom Yashmeen's presence here may allude. Alchemy is also a leitmotif of The Magic Mountain, with the sanatorium as an enclosed system in which something is turned to gold (Castorp's enlightenment).
I might be wrong, but I've found no evidence that a "Sanatorium Böpfli-Spazoletta" ever existed. The name is a compound of a (mock?) Swiss-German word and an Italian-sounding one and thus recalls the Simplon passage. ("spazzolata" means "a brush", hence "spazzoletta" might mean "a small brush".Which does not make the name any clearer.)

anterooms of death
The metaphor repeated from page 526, now possibly with a different meaning. Interestingly enough a Swedish novel with the title "I dödens väntrum", literally "In the Anterooms of Death", was publlished in 1930. This novel takes place in a Swiss sanatorium. Three possibilities: sheer coincidence; "the anterooms of death" was a commonplace metaphor for sanatoriums in that day ("the consumptive chic" points in this direction; Pynchon actually knows about the Swedish novel.

A fedoras made by Italy's famed Borsalino Company.

Page 665

Glenwood Springs
Colorado town, then as now site of a famous inn and hot springs, hydrotherapy center and spa, located on the main line of the Denver & Rio Grand Western Railroad. Until the early 1980s, a popular excursion was an overnight trip from Denver along the upper Colorado River through Glenwood Canyon to the venerable hotel/baths on the D&RG's venerable rolling stock, the last privately operated passenger train in the U.S. The route is now operated by Amtrak, but the canyon has been ruined by the completion of I-70 through it. Pynchon's sinister railroad of the 1800s has been superseded, has become in its turn a nostalgic retreat from a newer modernity. For Kit, in his eastward trip from home, Glenwood Springs would have been the last large stop before Denver.

tunnel Italian
The pidgin Reef learned in the tunnels.

St.-Gotthard Tunnel
Cf page 659:St.-Gotthard.

Bellinzona is the capital city of the canton Ticino, Switzerland. The city is famous for its three castles — Castelgrande, Montebello and Sasso Corbaro, now part of the UNESCO world heritage.

repeated figure being played on an alpenhorn
Ri-i-co-la! The Swiss call the instrument alphorn or alpenhorn.

French: Skunk.

French: Butterfly.

Any of a breed of small dog related to the spaniel, having a long silky coat, a bushy tail that curves over its back, and large ears shaped like the wings of a butterfly. picture

Page 666

Reader, she bit him.
Reef has failed, both literally and figuratively, to screw the pooch. (and, of course, a parody of the opening sentence of the final chapter of "Jane Eyre")

Page 667

Affectionate term for a man. The foundling Skeezix was the protagonist of the comic strip "Gasoline Alley."

A real game. Which Reef here pretends not to understand, a classic card-sharp gambit.

Unfortunate placement of the hyphen makes it look as if it's avant- something, but it's a single Russian word, авантюристка, meaning "adventuress."

Page 668

Lady's handbag, especially one made by netting or tatting. Cf page 539:reticule.

Ite, missa est
Last words of the Latin mass: Go, you are sent.

literally: "go, the mass is said" or "go, the mass is done". Yashmeen's way of telling Kit there will be nothing more said about the subject. In more legalistic terms, she could have said "case closed", but there is a religious theme running through the whole page ("Sectarian vector wars, trafficking with the unseen, priesthoods and heresies"; "vows of abstinence").

to sleep; particularly at a common lodging-house or 'doss-house.'

Page 669

Pinkerton agents.

Page 670

glowing giant amœbas that leave sticky residues
A recent book, Spook, by Mary Roach, tells how 19th-century mediums prepared these cheesecloth apparitions and secreted them in their vaginas.

Page 671

Bozhe moi!
Russian: My God.

bunco man
The original bunco was a dishonest gambling game played with dice. Eventually the word evolved the sense 'the playing of a bunco game', and hence 'swindling or fraud of any sort'. From Spanish, Banco, a card game like monte. First recorded usage in 1870's, when it became popular quickly.

speakin as an old bunco man . . . it was him talkin
Reef displaying the kind of skepticism that would eventually explode the whole spiritualist enterprise.

Page 672

Page 673

"I'm screamin again"
Screamin motif in Webb's channelled memory.

"Take a picture next time."
Photographs of ectoplasm, spirits and suchlike were very popular around 1900. This interest was fuelled by Roentgen's discovery of X-rays.

"(a) each of a set of values of a parameter for which a differential equation has a non-zero solution (an eigenfunction) under given conditions; (b) any of the numbers such that a given matrix minus that number times the identity matrix has zero determinant" (Shorter Oxford English Dictionary)

Page 674

"great never-sleeping hydropathic"
Internal and external use of water as a therapeutic treatment for all forms of disease. hydro·pathic (hdr-pathik) , hydro·pathi·cal...American Heritage Dictionary.
In 1877, the estate became the property of the Craiglockhart Hydropathic Company, who set about building a hydropathic institute. Such was Craiglockhart's function until the advent of the First World War. Between 1916 and 1919 the building was used as a military psychiatric hospital for the treatment of shell-shocked officers. Wikipedia.
see esp. the next paragraph.

One who performs general, menial duties.

vis inertiæ
Latin: force of inertia. Not considered a "force" since Newton.

draining away
once more "draining away", though for the first time not referring to light (cf. p.198, 649).

Page 675

Lee de Forest
cf page 29

All Kit had anymore

As light began to steep in...

Like on page 566, this dream-passage seems to contain a top-down examination of Kit's progress; of his motives and awareness of complicity in the Traverse vengeance-quest against the Vibes. Similar to Kit's earlier dream(s?), it's a thematic reduction and feels like a significant 'clue':

As light began to steep in around the edges of the window blinds, Kit fell asleep again and dreamed of a bullet en route to the heart of an enemy, traveling for many years and many miles, hitting something now and then and ricocheting off at a different angle but continuing its journey as if conscious of where it must go, and he understood that this zigzagging around through four-dimensional space-time might be expressed as a vector in five dimensions. Whatever the number of n dimensions it inhabited, an observer would need one extra, n + 1, to see it and connect the end points to make a single resultant.

notice this word and not 'result' in the above paragraph. 'Resultant' has math vector meanings! ...Issuing or following as a consequence or result. 1. Something that results; an outcome. 2. Mathematics A single vector that is the equivalent of a set of vectors....American Heritage Dictionary.

In addition to the broad narrative summary, there appears to be a metatextual implication here. Regarding the reader in Pynchon's overall 'Against The Day' scheme: the novel n must be observed from an n +1 perspective (that is: dimensionally distinct) to connect end-points and weave a single result, to engage and correlate strands and twines into a coherent narrative whole. Without an overarching consciousness there's apparent anarchy: with said consciousness there's meaning and vector.

Part of which meaning I might argue is that Kit's revengeful bullet is part of the overarching 'problem' of mutual complicity, which we readers have to see.

remy 10:52, 28 December 2006 (PST)

Hour of the Rat
In Chinese astrology, the hours between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m., marking the beginning of a new day. The rat is the first of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac, as it is said to have won the race between them.

Page 676

Constanţa, Romania's seaport on the Black Sea.

Too many of us have to sit foolishly by...
Vibe = Vibration, a wave disturbance of the aether; for most of us incoherent force driving human misery, but for the Traverse family a person, a personified malevolence on which vengenace can be wreaked.

Page 677

Budapest, the capital city of Hungary. The cities of Buda and Pest (archaic spelling Pesth) were unified in 1872; the hyphenated spelling persisted for many years.

Psychical Research
The Society for Psychical Research (SPR) is a non-profit organization in the United Kingdom whose purpose is to research and investigate supernatural, magical, paranormal, and occult phenomena in a scientific and unbiased manner. It was founded in 1882 by three dons of Trinity College, Cambridge, Edmund Gurney, Frederic William Henry Myers, and Henry Sidgwick, because of their interest in spiritualism. Wikipedia.
Wikipedia has no Budapest connection, but it says the Society was very active in its first thirty years, the time of ATD. A history of the Society might have the Budapest sections.

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


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