ATD 678-694

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

Page 678

Whitechapel . . . Ripping . . . murders of the late '80s
Whitechapel is an inner city district east of Charing Cross, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. The heart of the district is Whitechapel Road itself, named for a small chapel of ease dedicated to St. Mary. In Victorian era Whitechapel area was full of poor English country stock which was swelled by large number of immigrants. This endemic poverty drove many women to prostitution. Such prostitutes were the victims of the serial killer known as Jack the Ripper who terrorised this part of London in the autumn of 1888.

Piggott's should have such 'bags'
Baedeker's London for 1900 shows Pigott's as a tailor and general outfitter at 177 Cheapside. "Bags" is university slang for trousers.

the Strand
The Strand is the popular name of a street in London called Strand. It derives its name from the Old English "shore" or "river bank". It currently starts at Trafalgar Square and runs east to join Fleet Street at Temple Bar. There are many prominent buildings, churches, and palaces along the street.

exhibiting that sinister British craving for the dark and shiny...
Perhaps an Orwellian reference here:

'It's this bloody thing that does it,' she said, ripping off the scarlet sash of the Junior Anti-Sex League and flinging it on to a bough. Then, as though touching her waist had reminded her of something, she felt in the pocket of her overalls and produced a small slab of chocolate. She broke it in half and gave one of the pieces to Winston. Even before he had taken it he knew by the smell that it was very unusual chocolate. It was dark and shiny, and was wrapped in silver paper.[1]

The whole paragraph also recalls the Velvet Underground Song Venus in Furs Lyrics, a hymn of the SM/Fetish-scene: "dark and shiny... patent boots... mackintoshes..." reads like catchwords from the covers of Atomage Magazine, whose editor John Sutcliffe, btw, did the costumes for the TV-Series The Avengers.

...students of the chimpanzee...
A stretch? According to a paper done by Arthur W. Epstein (1987), (male) chimpanzees and other primates might develop a fetish: "The endowing of an object with ... [erotic associations] has been noted in a zoo-dwelling chimpanzee ... who displayed sexual arousal toward one specific object, a rubber boot.... The chimpanzee quickly approached, gazed at the boot and handled it. The penis became erect and was touched to the boot. Shortly thereafter, manual self-stimulation and ejaculation occurred. The ejaculate was then consumed. This response was said to be invariable and occurred whether the boot was worn by a keeper or simply placed in the cage. (pp. 143-144)" source

To me, the text implies the chimpanzee likes all the bright and shiny stuff, not that it has any neurotic fetishes...see list down to albedo. The experts in 'erotic neuropathy' see what 'students of the chmpanzee' know. [User: MKOHUT, February 4, 2007]


Marcasite, in keeping with the idea of bilocations and doubles, is also a twinned mineral, its opposing pair being pyrite (fool's gold), much as diamonds are twinned with graphite. [1]

queasy albedo
Albedo is the ratio of reflected to incident electromagnetic radiation power. It is a unitless measure indicative of a surface's or body's reflectivity. The word is derived from albus, a Latin word for "white".

streetlighting... luminous equivalent of a ...shriek

Whitechapel and white color theme all over.

persons who entertain in a public place for donations.

Duke of Cumberland's Theatre
Queen Victoria's uncle Ernest Augustus was the Duke of Cumberland; see annotation to page 230. A real theater?

Page 679

Made up from morphine and tussis (Latin for "cough"). Cf p 678: "opiated highballs of British cough syrup". I co-tenant of Tarot Card XV...Renfrew
Werfner? Card XV is the Devil.

K. & K. Landwehr
In Musil's Man Without Qualities, Austria-Hungary is known as Kakania. German. K. und K. or K-K, Kaiserlich-Königlich, Imperial and Royal. Landwehr, a section of the "joint" Austro-Hungarian Army over which only the Austrian (as disctinct from Austro-Hungarian) government had authority.

slightly more mineral
cf Frank's "mineral condition", page 395.

Jack the Ripper
The serial killer in Whitechapel district of London in 1888. Cf page 678:Whitechapel . . . Ripping . . . murders.

Page 680

"including the blood everyone's come for"
The audience at a musical about Jack the Ripper 'comes for blood'? Revenge motivations even here? Notice response of other audience member...

German: anyway.

I think this is right only in conjunction with some verb (for instance Ich gehe sowieso - I'm going anyway). As a standalone as in this case I (Austrian German speaker) know it only in the sense of of course, certainly, or without any doubt. But Pynchon probably intended to express "anyway" here. WolfgangFaber 07:06, 18 October 2008 (PDT)

"...sure did look a hell of a lot like Renfrew"
Here surfaces one of the most obvious forms of bilocation in the novel.

Piccadilly Circus
Piccadilly Circus, a circular open space at a street junction, is a famous traffic intersection and public space at the heart of West End, London. It links to several well-known theathres and is close to major shopping areas in a central location. Its memorial fountain status itself is a major tourist attraction.

Simple play on "ripper" and "operetta".

Stephen Sondheim's 1979 operetta is about an English throat-slitting barber, Sweeney Todd.
'The Beggar's Opera', featured in Mason & Dixon, was adapted as Die Dreigroschenoper (The Threepenny Opera) in 1928, which features the famous song "Die Moritat von Mackie Messer" or "Mack The Knife", a light hearted ditty about a serial killer. Moritat is a medieval version of the murder ballad.

Page 681

the tragedy at Mayerling
The deaths of the Austrian Crown Prince, Archduke Rudolf, and his girlfriend, Baroness Mary Vetsera, at the Mayerling hunting lodge in Lower Austria on January 30, 1889. Austrian officials regarded it as an act of a suicide pact but many others believed an international conspiracy of murder.

old F.F.
Franz Ferdinand. (See annotation to p. 45: Francis Ferdinand).

German: love-death. Most famously used as the climactic song/concept in Wagner's opera Tristan und Isolde".
Here, the concept is extended to Rudolf's unfortunate love-death as well as to Austria's death-love thru Ferdinand, perhaps.

German: shop talk.

the Triple Alliance
The treaty by which Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy pledged on May 20, 1882, to support each others militarily in the event of an attack against any of them by two or more great powers.

Ach, die Vetsera
German: ah, the Vetsera. Baroness Mary Vetsera was the mistress of Crown Prince Rudolf. In 1889 both were found dead at the Mayerling hunting lodge.

cherchons la femme
French: let us seek the woman. The phrase usually means to look for the woman who has set events in motion; here it's used ironically to mean that focusing on the search for the woman will mask any questions about Rudolf and his father.

usually worded differently (i.e. "cherchez la femme" = "look for the woman"). "Cherchons" is first person plural ("we"). "Cherchez" is second person plural ("you")

Ripper murders and history
Fact: in the wake of the Ripper murders, Ripper scares were recorded in Europe and elsewhere.

It is not inconceivable that paranoids and/or fantasists of the time would suspect Jack the Ripper as the culprit of any major crime, as Khäutsch does here.

Pynchon here associates the Ripper murders, and the numerous theories regarding his identity, with space, time, history, multiple worlds and multiple histories. A few pages later, the phrase "lives by the trainload" (683) appears, hinting at connections to the Holocaust.

  • Interestingly, this is close to what Alan Moore does in From Hell (1989-96), in which Moore examines various attempts to solve the Ripper identity and presents the Ripper murders as some kind of extremely unique moment in history, a node, a "birth of the 20 century," including the Holocaust (in From Hell's final pages, Hitler's birth takes place), and with plenty of allusions to multiple dimensions.
  • Moore drew some of his ideas in From Hell from British authors associated with the psychogeography movement, particularly Iain Sinclair, who previously penned books connecting the Ripper murders with just such concepts. It is possible that Pynchon drew some inspiration from any of these authors. Benvolio (talk) 10:00, 12 May 2013 (PDT)
  • Seeing Dr. Stranglove again, this user sees that perhaps TRP elaborated the Jack the Ripper metaphor from Kubrick, who created General Jack Ripper, the general who launches the unstoppable nuclear attack on Russia, which will result, with the built-in automatic 'retaliation' by Russia, in mutual annihilation. MKOHUT 11:36, 5 August 2007 (PDT)

Page 682

Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square is a square in London that commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar (October 21, 1805) in which the British Navy of 27 ships soundly defeated the French and Spanish combined fleet of 33 ships west of Cape Trafalgar in south-west Spain. The square, a popular site for political demonstrations, is the location of Nelson's Column.

the "Boston"
A dance somewhat like the waltz.

porter and Champagne... a Velvet
Believe it or not, an actual drink, described in a bartender's manual from 1888.

A scale with five notes per octave. C-D-E-G-A(-C) or A-C-D-E-G(-A), for example. Western listeners sense this as an "Oriental" scale—Ravel used it in the "Empress of the Pagodas" movement of his Mother Goose Suite—but it occurs much more widely ("Loch Lomond").

Page 683

Franz Josef
Franz Josef (1830-1916), Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary and Bohemia from 1848 to 1916. His 68-year reign is the third-longest in the recorded history of Europe.

the Belvedere
The Belvedere Palace, Vienna, comprises two magnificent baroque mansions facing each other across a sloping formal garden. Prince Eugene of Savoy, whose campaigns against the Turks enabled the Habsburg Emprie to reclaim Hungary, purchased some land beyond Vienna's city walls in 1693, upon which he ordered a park with elaborate water features and fountains to be built. In 1714 the Prince had the lower Belvedere built and in 1721 the upper one. The Palace now is open to public tours. See Belvedere Pictures.

Prince Eugene of Savoy
Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736) was the greatest general to serve the Habsburgs.

Ballhausplatz is a square in central Vienna containing the building that over 200 years has been the official residence of the State Chancellor. As a result, Ballhausplatz is often used as shorthand for the Austrian Chancellery

the Anglo-Russian Entente
Cf page 618:the Anglo-Russian Entente.

Cf page 496:Wilhelmstrasse.

gemütlicher alter Junge
German: good old boy.

a man who is standing where he should not be.
This ominous sentence could be applied to the likes of GWB and those shady charcters who allegedly stood on the grassy knoll (among others).

some symmetry was being broken
Spontaneous symmetry breaking in physics takes place when a system that is symmetric with respect to some symmetry group goes into a vacuum state that is not symmetric. At this point the system no longer appears to behave in a symmetric manner. A common example to help explain this phenomenon is a ball sitting on top of a hill. This ball is in a completely symmetric state. However, it is not a stable one: the ball can easily roll down the hill. At some point, the ball will spontaneously roll down the hill in one direction or another. The symmetry has been broken because the direction the ball rolled down in has now been singled out from other directions [2].

Here, the meaning appears to be that the equilibrium of the twinned professors is broken; Werfner is in London, where he "should not be" (Renfrew's territory); a historical stasis has been broken; this must mean something. Perhaps a foreshadowing of the collapse of the Great Power "symmetry" of 1814 to 1914.

Not spontaneous symmetry broken, just plain broken symmetry. Cf page 537:broken symmetries.

"what hidden social codings he might've learned"
Cf. Pynchon's 2006 letter in support of author Ian McEwan: "Given the British genius for coded utterance, this could all be about something else entirely, impossible on this side of the ocean to appreciate in any nuanced way..." source

Page 684

da capo
Musical direction. Italian: (repeat) from the top.

Spitalfields is an area in Tower Hamlets, in the East End of London, near to Liverpool Station and Brick Lane.

Brick Lane
Brick Lane is a street in the East End of London. The street is paved with bricks and the area was known in earlier times fo brick and tile manfacture.

Stepney is an inner-city district in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets as Spitalfields.

Page 685

See da capo.

impersonating British idiots
Again and again in AtD we see the vital importance of being able to act the part of an idiot.
Otherwise known as "twits."

Lew, detective realizing he is also a hired hand, has an epiphany into bilocation/doubling theme re Renfrew and Werfner.
"kept separate.. [by].. two distinct kinds of light."p. 686

Page 686

Dr. Otto Ghloix
p. 132 & 148.

Ghloix bears some resemblance to C.G. Jung, a Swiss alienist (psychotherapist) interested in paranormal phenomena (ala T.W.I.T) whose comments on fate are exactly those as presented here by Ghloix. Jung, born in 1875, would have been about 31 at the time of the novel's action. Interestingly, Jung chose to go into this field after reading Krafft-Ebbing. Also, 1906 was the year Jung initiated contact with Freud.

Specifically Jung wrote:

The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside as fate. That is to say, when the individual remains undivided and does not become conscious of his inner opposite, the world must perforce act out the conflict and be torn into opposing halves.

Alternately, or in addition, the name of the character Dr. Otto Ghloix is quite likely an allusion to Otto Gross, an early psychoanalyst - and later anarchist - in Jung's circle who may have influenced some of his ideas on personality. [3]

Interesting article on beyuls: [4]

Pure Land
Shambala but any other meanings? Yes, Pure Land Buddhism....a faith oriented branch of Mahayana Buddhism that held that the world was in decline (entropically speaking!) and that Nirvana was getting harder and harder for common folk (the preterite) to reach. This school teaches that devotion to Amitabha brings re-birth in the Pure Land from which Nirvana is guaranteed.

Page 687

the coal of Dr. Ghloix's Corona
Corona: A long straight-sided cigar (OED).

Again, cigars and psychoanalysts call to mind Freud and his famous assertion that "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar"; although it too emits a glow of light.

a small Welsbach unit
Welsbach mantle, a device for generating bright white light when heated by a flame. It is one of many inventions by Welsbach (1858-1929), an Austrian scientist and inventor.

Plafond Lumineux
French: luminous ceiling.

the light offered the batsmen at the end of the day
Cricket term whereby the umpires give the batsmen the opportunity to cease play due to deteriorating light. Also referred to as "bad light" (cf page 691:28). This example is just about consistent with the light-in-dark examples in the remainder of the Cohen's speech. Umpires offer the light when it's too dark to play safely.

Page 688

"When we lost our ethereal being ..."
The passage sounds very much like the gnostic thought that our world is a world that has "fallen" from eternal light and pure spirituality to an material existence that is dark, evil, and temporal. According to one version this fall was caused by the emanation Sophia who wanted to see God. Her son, Demiurge, is the creator of the material world.

"Since horn can be softened and made malleable, and be molded into various shapes, such as spoons, . . . combs . . ." In Middle Ages, horn "was also used to make lantern panes, window panes," etc.

we risk being divided in two . . . Atonement, in any case comes much later
A superbly constructed wordplay. "Atonement" means seeking and gaining release from guilt or ostracism, but the word is constructed from "at one." So the risk of splitting in two is followed, at length, by becoming one again.

Pinks and finks
Pinks = Pinkertons (Pinkerton Agency)
finks = "rats" - people who betray their compatriots.

Page 690

"the structural principle leaps into visibility..."
Cf. hidden patterns, ley lines, shapes hidden in the monuments and streets in certain novels...

the Macedonian Question
Macedonia is a geographical and historical region of the Balkan peninsula in southeastern Europe whose area was politically re-defined several times in the past. Nowhere in Europe are races and nationalities (Greeks, Bulgarians, Albanians, Bosniaks, Serbs, Turks, etc) so inextricably intermingled as in Macedonia. Much of the difficulty of the Macedonian problem lies in the communal antagonisms of these peoples, and in the ambitions of the neighboring Balkan States and the intrigues of the "Great Powers". Until the summer of 1878, there was no Macedonian Question because it was part of the general Balkan question.
Russia's ambition of having access to the Mediterranean Sea and extending her influence over the Balkan Peninsula by driving the Ottoman Empire out from there led to the Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878). The war ended with the Treaty of San Stefano (March 3, 1878) by which Romania, Serbia, Montenegro obtained their independence and a Russophile Greater Bulgaria was established causing great concerns in Britain, Austria-Hungary, Germany, France and Italy. The Greater Bulgaria was then dismembered by the "Great Powers" in the Congress of Berlin (June 13 - July 13, 1878) under the terms of the Treaty of Berlin: Bulgaria was divided into Principality of Bulgaria, East Rumelia, and the Macedonia, which was returned to the Ottoman Empire. On September 6, 1885, however, the Bulgarians of East Rumelia unified with Bulgaria making Bulgaria the largest state in the Balkans then, much to the annoyance of Serbia and Greece, and the anger of Russia. Now, the stage was set for the appearance of the Macedonia Question: with all the Slavs living in Macedonia but under the Turkish rule providing a new focus point for the century-old Balkan rivalries to explode in various forms.
A two-week war (November 14-28, 1885) was fought between Serbia and Bulgaria right after the Bulgaria's Unification. These two countries had their different ambitions for Macedonia which led to
two Balkan Wars in 1912-1913 involving other Balkan countries. And then World War I, World War II, War in Slovenia (1991), Croatian War of Independence (1991-1995), Bosnia War (1992-1995), Kosovo War (1999), Southern Serbia Conflict (2001) and Macedonia Conflict (2001), and up to present day. The question of Kosovo's independence is still not solved as of 2007 and prospect of violence there is highly likely.

Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria, located in the western part of the country.

Balkan Range
Balkan Mountain Range runs 340 miles from Eastern Serbia eastward through Central Bulgaria onto the Black Sea.

Sredna Gora
Sredna Gora is a mountain range in Central Bulgaria.

das Interdikt
Prof Werfner's name for a 200-mile long, from Sofia to the Black Sea, phosgene (poison gas) line.

irreversible, pitiless
Definition of a Doomsday Machine. See Dr. Strangelove and too many other authorities to count.---One may also think of Yeats' famous 'A Second Coming' where he describes the male Sphinx of Memphis as possessing a gaze 'blank and pitiless as the sun'.

District of Berlin, west and south of the city center. Woods, a castle.

Charlottenburg was an independent city until 1920. As a symbol of power and authority, Charlottenburg here refers to the Charlottenburg Palace (now a museum) in that city.

Fenner's is the cricket ground of the University of Cambridge. It has hosted first-class cricket matches since 1848, and many world-class players appeared there.

I Zingari is an English amateur cricket club which was formed on July 4 1845. The name was from the Italian for "the gypsies".

the Gentleman Bomber
Cf page 236: The Gentleman Bomber of Headingly

Page 691

the match, which I Zingari, beginning on a rather damp pitch, eventually won by eight wickets
A mistake. A cricket team batting first cannot win by eight wickets, or any number of wickets. If say IZ scored 200 runs and their opponents were all out for 150 (ten wickets have to fall), then they won by 50 runs. If IZ scored 200, and their opponents scored 201 for two wickets (two batsmen out), they would have won by eight wickets. A sign of Pynchon's insecurity over the complexities of the game, though there are some excellent jokes elsewhere: see pages 965-966.

"I Zingari"
Pynchon is being ironical: "I Zingari" means "the Gypsies", and of course no cricket team consisting of gypsies would have been allowed to play in those days. Perhaps Pynchon's irony extends to the eight wickets in the preceding comment.

Ah but see the comment on the above page about the actual club "I Zingari"

Cf page 234: Cheapside

Dr. Coombs De Bottle
Cf Page 234.

carbonyl chloride
Phosgene, a poison gas used in World War I, Cf page 236: Phosgene.

the Jameson Raid
Cf page 146: Dr. Jim's little adventure.

Page 692

"No one seemed to be in charge"
The non-violent situation and meaning of anarchism. Things still worked and Lew on the next page felt free, released from a "contract", the social, political contract?

Page 693

An elevated area of barren rocky land with little or no soil cover, often crossed by dry stream channels. Often used in the plural.
But surely no accident that is also means the land of scabs = strikebreakers.


  1. 1984, George Orwell, 1948, Ch. X

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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