ATD 724-747

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

Page 724

Mountains, a sub-chain of the Alps, northeast Italy. Dolomites.

Page 725

Francesco Squarcione (c.1397-1468) was a Padovan artist. His pupils included Andrea Mantegna (with whom he had many legal battles), Cosimo Tura and Crivelli. There are only two works signed by him: the Madonna with Child (imaged here, Berlin) and an altarpiece (Padua).

Andrea Mantegna (1431-1505) was an Italian Renaissance artist. He was one of the foremost north Italian painters of the 15th century. A master of perspective and foreshortening, Mantegna made important contributions to the compositional technigues of Renaissance painting.

the famed Paduan collector and impresario
ie. Mantegna. Mentegna studied and worked between 1441-1459 at Padua, a city of northeast Italy west of Venice. At that time in Padua there was much interest in collecting and studying Roman antiquities. Padua was an important cultural center during the Middle Ages and was known for its artistic and architectural works by Giotto, Mantegna and Donatello. Galileo taught at its university from 1592 to 1610.

No, the collector and impresario is Squarcione. Vibe is hoping that among the things attributed to Squarcione will be a Mantegna, inaccurately ascribed so that he'll get it cheap.

On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away
Indiana's state song; lyrics.

Page 726

Lost Lands
a fictitious place in the Lagoon?

The Sack of Rome
a fictitious mural artwork?

I suspect this is a typo, and should be carolina which is a small boat, a skiff. In the context, this one is steam-powered.

"caorlina" in fact appears to be accurate according to this description: caorlina-
Caorlina is indeed a kind of rowing boat, which derives its name from the town of Caorle, near Venice. Nowadays it can be seen exclusively during the traditional "Regata Storica" (Historical Regatta) held every year in Venice

Marco Zoppo
Marco Zoppo (1433-1478), another Paduan painter. An innovator with a very personal style with rich artistic inventiveness. His reputation as an artist diminished gradually in the past, but his contributions to Venetian painting and book illumination have now been recognized.

Roman religious functionaries who looked for clues to the future in the entrails of sacrificed animals.

strung by one foot upside down
The Hanged Man again.

Cassily Adam rendition
It's Adams. Titled "Custer's Last Fight," the picture was acquired by Anheuser-Busch, reproduced and placed in thousands of taverns. The company later gave the work to the 7th Cavalry Regiment.

Page 727

Cf page 573: Cannareggio.

Italian: "fireflies", and common slang for "prostitutes"

Italian: "teams", "gangs". It should be "squadre" because the word is feminine.

Italian: "money"

Although on page 582 there is one foschetta here it doesn't fit in. It should be "forchetta" in Italian and the meaning is "fork", but here it refers obviously to the resting place of the oars on the side of the gondola (due to the form, similar to a fork). The omission of a double consonant is typical of the dialect of north-eastern Italy.

Part of a series of zany distortions. French attentat = coup, assassination.
Hottentot was the former, colonial name of the Khoekhoe of modern Namibia who together with the Hereros were the object of German genocide from 1904 to 1907. For Reef, it was a current event. Pynchon mentions the Hereros in both V. and GR.

It refers to the Battle of Antietam in the American Civil War. The Battle of Antietam was an important Union battle in the War and fought on September 17, 1862 near Antietam Creek in Maryland. It was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history with almost 23,000 casualties, and Union victory (although McClellan failed to follow up) permitted Lincoln to issue a preliminary Emancipation Declaration. Earlier important battles include Grant's successes at Ft. Donelson [February 1862] and Shiloh [April 1862](although this victory too was not followed up).

Page 728

San Polo
Cf page 573: San Polo.

Rialto bridge
Cf page 439: Nuovo Rialto.

Venetian dialect: "peas".

a large square.

Ca' Spongiatosta
Casa Spongiatosta: House of Princess Spongiatosta. (see page 582).

Helianthus tuberosus: Jerusalem Artichoke, or sunchoke (Wikipedia). It is a variety of sunflower; tuberous root was used as a potato substitute in WWII [1]. The name "topinambur" is used in Europe.

Friuli is a region in northeast Italy next to Slovenia and Austria.

Treviso is a town in the Veneto region of Italy.

a chicory of a red variety with variegated leaves.

Italian: cabbage.

auguri, ragazzi
Italian: "all the best, folks" "good luck, boys"

Page 729

no . . . apiarian byproduct of hers
I.e., none of her beeswax (American slang for "business").

More foreign-language comedy. Italian pensione = pension (lodging with board included).

the Britannia, once known as the Palazzo Zucchelli
Originally a 19th century residence, the Britannia hotel is situated behind Rome's famous Opera House. As far as its being once known as the Palazzo Zucchelli...
A rich history in this 18th or 19th-century building on the Grand Canal. Here is a photo of it, circa 1868, as the Hotel Barbesi. Apparently it and two contiguous properties have been in hotel service ever since (1868 Barbesi, 1881 Britannia, 1930s Regina, 1938 Europa & Britannia, 1976 Europa & Regina, now Westin Europa & Regina). This Westin page contains many photos; click the very first thumbnail. The structure that used to be the Britannia is on the right.

offer old Barkie the light
"offer the light" is a cricket term where the umpire asks the batsmen if they wish to continue playing in poor light conditions. But who's "old Barkie"? Often, wooden boats are affectionately nicknamed "old Barkie," but...

eighty-seven not out
Cricket metaphor: having a banner day and not close to the end of it. It is also known as an unlucky number, thirteen away from century (100 runs), in which many batsmen get out.

Eleanora Duse
Consensus spelling is Eleonora. 1859-1924, Italian actress, pioneer of realism on the stage.

Page 730

Damned cowboy
Same expletive used on page 623 (see annotations).

A café in San Marco Sqaure.

Italian: "whatever"

Page 731

Italian: "chambermaids", but it should be "cameriere" since it is a plural feminine, while the ending -i is masculine plural. Usually the word means "waiter" / "waitress". In fact, "camerieri" is right: its literal meaning is indeed "chamber-servant", both male (cameriere/i) and female (cameriera/e), but nowadays it is most commonly used to indicate a waiter (waitress) or a butler

Italian: "east wind"

the ancient family arms
"[A] sponge couchant on a field chequy with flames at the foot." Pynchonian mock-heraldry. Couchant refers to an animal lying down with its erect head to the viewer's left. Well, at least sponges do belong to the animal kingdom. Chequy (one correct spelling) identifies the field or background of the shield as being divided into squares like a checkerboard. At the foot is a heraldic solecism; in base is preferable.

Taking two colors at random, say gules (red) and argent (silver or white), we could blazon the arms as "Chequy argent and gules, a sponge proper couchant above flames of fire of the third in base." Of course when the arms are carved in stone you can't see the colors. Proper means "in the color of the natural object," so . . . sponge-colored for the sponge, red and yellow for the flames.

Heraldists refer to "canting arms" when the charges on the shield pun on the bearer's name, as in this case: The flames are toasting the sponge.
Which makes the device a toasted marshmallow?

Page 732

Pearl Street
The location of the headquarters of Vibe Corp. See annotations, p. 333.

daylit America . . . its steadfast denial of night
An echo of the "daylit fiction" of the Columbian Exposition, is a vision of always-optimistic, boosterism, positive thinking America, in Pynchon's mind, which has not internalized its own darkness, it seems. Cf. The novel's epigraph, Thelonious Monk's "It's always night, or we wouldn't need light."

outnumbered . . . overwhelmingly
One of Cantor's results. If aleph0 represents the "cardinality" of the rationals (a measure for infinite sets that corresponds to the number of elements for finite ones) and C represents the cardinality of the real numbers, then C + aleph0 = C. In words, the reals don't even notice if you take away the rationals, leaving just the irrational numbers. Pretty overwhelming.

Gran Caffè Ristorante in Venice. Quadri has been considered a symbol of gastronomic excellence directly overlooking St. Mark's Square.
Quadri (like square or quad) is also a pun on the ever present "4."

Caffè Lavena at Piazza St. Marco, Venice.

the D.and D.

Deaf and Dumb

a Cavour
A cigar brand.

Page 733

Reef getting his Italian wrong again: arrivederci, goodbye.

Page 734

Italian: "pub" or any other place where you can drink and eat at all hours.

zuppa di peoci
Italian: Venetian mussel soup

Page 735

Italian: vulgar for "penis" and used extensively as interjection in a manner similar to the English words "fuck" or "fucking."

Page 736

Italian: "true"

Italian: "exactly"

Italian: "rag"

German for Mariánské Lézně, a spa town in the Carlsbad Region of the Czech Republic. The town's Golden Era was in the second half of the 19th century, when many celebrities and top European rulers came to enjoy the curative carbon dioxide springs.

Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart, is the fourth-largest city in Austria. It is located in the western Austria at the border with Germany. Its "Old Town", a UNESCO World Heritge Site, is well-known for its baroque architecture. The 1965 movie The Sound of Music drew ambivalent reactions from the citizens of Salzburg: the film is too tacky for their taste but it is also Salzburg's fattest cash cow.

forty mule
A Reefian parting shot: French faute de mieux, meaning "for lack of anything better."

A kind of pocketbook or purse that hung from a wrist (not in the OED, however).

Page 737

Rigby Nitro Express
A big game rifle cartridge. Black powder as the propellant in cartridges began to be replaced by smokeless powder/Cordite in the 1880s. Firearms maker John Rigby & Co. of Dublin, renowned for "elephant guns," got into the ammunition line late in the century, and some of the cartridges the firm brought out a century ago are still in use. The .350 Rigby Nitro Express came on the market in 1908. Other Rigby products are the .416 Rigby, still a standard, and the .470 Rigby, introduced in 1907. Problem: According to the Wikipedia entry on the company, the only .450 Rigby cartridge appeared in 1995. But (there's always a "but") the Swedish Wikipedia confirms a .450 Rigby Nitro Express produced from 1897 on.

These rounds could stop a rhino dead in his tracks and might have been effective against a plutocrat.

Henry Clay Frick
Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919) was an American industrialist and art patron. In 1881, he and Andrew Carnegie formed a partnership between H.C. Frick & Co and Carnegie Steel Co. with Frick in charge of the Steel Company's operations. The 1892 Homestead Steel Strike was mishandled by Frick, and he soon became a target of radical anarchists and others.

Brother Berkmann
Alexander Berkmann (1870-1936), also spelled Berkman, Anarchist and lover of Emma Goldman, with whom he plotted his unsuccessful 1892 attempt to assassinate Henry Clay Frick after the bitter Homestead Steel Strike. Dally dates this to "fifteen years ago", making it 1907 in book time.

Cf page 643: drygulched.

Page 738

the San Marcuola stop
Photo of the Canal Grande at San Marcuola vaporetto stop.

I think there's a slip here? They were on the roof at the start of this section, right? Not on a boat.

Laguna Morte
Dead Lagoon.

Italian: "no way". It should be "macché".

Page 739

La macchina infernale
"Infernal machine"; a (particularly 19th century) term for explosive devices used for terrorist attacks. The most famous example is "La conspiration de la machine infernale", or "Plot of the Rue Saint-Nicaise", an assassination plot against Napoleon that failed in 1800 (wikipedia). Earlier in the book, we have encountered Tancredi working on "Preliminary Studies" toward such a machine (see page 585f.)

Gaetano Bresci (1869-1901), an Italian-American anarchist who assassinated Italian King Umberto I on July 29, 1900. He died in prison.

Luigi Lucheni (1873-1910), an Italian anarchist who stabbed, with a frayed file, to death the Austrian Empress Elizabeth in Geneva, Switzerland, on Septem 10, 1898. He later died in prison.

bad news rolling up the rails
cf p. 41: "Most people have a wheel riding on a wire, or some rails in the street [...], to keep them moving in the direction of their destiny". Inevitability?

Page 740

Torino, Turin, is a major industrial city as well as a business and cultural center in northern Italy. It is the home of the headquarters of Fiat and host of the 2006 Winter Olympics. It was the first capital of Italy.

Lampo, Gaulois
A very small firearm. Some great photos and a description (in French). Gaulois.

Cf page 575: Riva.

Page 741

the Procuratie
The Procuraties are three connected buildings on St Mark's Square in Venice. They are historic buildings over arcades and also connected to St Mark's Clocktower.

The first layer of paint applied to a canvas, a base color that helps establish and control tone in the painting.

A murmur or whisper. From the Latin susurrare, to whisper.

Strauss Jr.
Johann Strauss Jr. (1825-1899) was an Austrian composer known especially for his waltzes, such as On the Beautiful Blue Danube, Tales from the Vienna Woods and Emperor Waltz.

Luigi Denza
Cf page 353: Luigi Denza.

Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari
Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari (1876-1948) was an Italian composer, best known for his comic operas.

Page 742

an overcoat.

piano nobile
In a large house, the level holding formal spaces, usually the first or second floor above ground level.


his terrible intention
moral judgment of the attempted assassin.

Via, via!
Come on, come on!

like the glowing coal in the Buddhist parable
The Buddha is said to have taught, "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned." Contributor researching source text.

A pistol manufactured by Glisentis Company of Italy

Page 743

hitmen; murderers

Batti! batti la faccia
Beat! beat the face.

Vibe "takes on mass" (!)

his gravity increases! Cf. GR, of course.

Set right, made square, rendered unidirectional.

Here: self-justification into "iron impregnability". Pynchon does not use iron positively in ATD.
"Rectification" is a buzzword used in Henry James' The Princess Casamassima, where it seems to mean doing away with the class system.

Italian: "haze"

Empress Elisabeth
Austrian Empress Elizabeth was stabbed to death by Luigi Lucheni on September 10, 1898. Cf page 739.

King Umberto
Italian King Umberto was shot on July 29, 1900 by Gaetano Bresci. Cf page 739.

Page 744

the Bauer-Grünwald
The Bauer-Grünwald Hotel in Venice. It is a five-star luxurious hotel located a few minutes walk from San Marco Square. Cf page 136 & page 576.

A high-class French champagne. Pommery.

Page 745

Somebody shopped him
Betrayed him (in exchange for something). Shop= to trade 1) in buying and selling for profit. 2) To make an exchange of one thing for another. American Heritage.

Cf page 663: stranniki

Page 746

the Ponte degli Scalzi
The Ponte degli Scalzi is one of the only three bridges in Venice to span the Grand Canal. It connects the districts of Santa Croce and Cannaregio. The Italian words mean Bridge of the Barefoot.

Giudecca is an island in the Venetian Lagoon lying immediately south of the central islands, from which is is separated by the Giudecca Canal.

An Italian warship. It was an Etna Class Protected Cruiser, launched on February 4, 1886 and sold for disposal on March 10, 1907. See Italian Cruisers.


the Zattere
Cf page 578: Zattere. The Zattere, a long riva (river bank) extending from the basin of San Marco to San Basilio, has a panoramic view of the island of San Giorgio and the whole of the Giudecca island with Palladio's churches.

Page 747

melancholy of departure
Allusion to: Giorgio de Chirico's painting: Gare Montparnasse (The Melancholy of Departure), dated to 1913 or early 1914; the title was reused in works with the same theme of 1914, 1915 and 1916. The paintings reproduce the sadness of separations by depiciting haunting, empty railway stations, pictorially or in abstract [2].

Annotation Index

Part One:
The Light Over the Ranges

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

Part Two:
Iceland Spar

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

Part Three:

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

Part Four:
Against the Day

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

Part Five:
Rue du Départ


Personal tools