ATD 792-820

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

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Sample entry
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Page 792

rishta-doctors . . . guinea-worms
From the context, rishta-doctors means Guinea worm disease doctors.
During 12th to 13th centuries the word in Arabic-speaking countries for macaroni was rishta, but the context clearly indicates that it means worm, or specifically, Guinea worm.
The Guinea worm is a threadlike parasitic worm that grows and matures inside the human body growing as long as 3 feet long. After a year, the worm emerges through a painful blister in the skin causing long-term suffering and sometimes crippling after-effects. People get infected when they drink standing water containing a tiny water flea that is infected with the even tinier larvae of the Guinea worm. The disease occurs mainly in Africa.
Pynchon uses the word "Dracunculiasis" in Gravity's Rainbow a-And this use is an OED citation for the word. OED: 1942 D. L. Belding Clin. Parasitol. xxii. 375 Dracunculus medinensis+. Disease.—Dracontiasis, dracunculosis, dracunculiasis. 1967 Amer. Jrnl. Trop. Med. & Hygiene XVI. 23/1 Dracunculiasis occurs commonly in and around Kurnool. 1973 T. Pynchon Gravity's Rainbow (1975) i. 13 "Dracunculiasis and Oriental sore rampant among the troops, no beer for a month." 1990 Lancet 8 Sept. 630/1 Several studies have reported on the prevalence of permanent disability resulting from poliomyelitis but dracunculiasis (guineaworm disease), another preventable cause of permanent disease, has not received the same attention.

Intense, continuous artillery fire, characteristic of the bombardments that preceded the attempted advances on the Western Front in World War I. The word is a calque of German Trommelfeuer.

to get in out of it
A typo? Should be "to get out of it"?? Not really: this is actually common English usage; for example, "to get in out of the rain."

Page 793

Tierra del Fuego
Not exactly the other side of the world, but the closest land to that point. Tierra del Fuego translates as "Land of the Fire."

This may not be suitable as a permanent feature of the wiki, but there is a strange web site where you can click on a location and see what's exactly on the opposite side of the world:

Page 794

communicate with the explorer Peary, then in the Arctic
Robert Peary did not even leave New York City at the start of his polar expedition until July 6, 1908, 6 days after the Tunguska Event of 6-30-08, and did not reach Ellesmere Island until the summer of 1909(see[1] section on Wardenclyffe Tower).

But this was one of the 'theories' around the time and long after attempting to explain the Tunguska Event. See Tunguska event in Wikipedia.

Robert Peary (1856-1920) was an American explorer who claimed to have been the first person to reach the geographic North Pole on April 6, 1909. He made several attempts to reach the North Pole between 1898 and 1905. His final assault set off from New York City on july 6, 1908 and wintered near Cape Sheridan on Ellesmere Island and from there departed for the pole on March 1, 1909. He established Camp Jesup near the Pole on April 6. In his diary for April 7, Peary wrote "The Pole at alst !!! The prize of 3 centuries, ... Mine at last ..."

Tesla . . . his tower at Wardenclyffe
Nikola Tesla's Wardenclyffe Tower (1901-1917) was an early wireless telecommunications aerial tower intended for commercial wireless trans-Atlantic telephony, broadcasting and to demonstrate the transmission of power without interconnecting wire. The tower was named after James Warden, a lawyer and banker, who had purchased the land in Shoreham, Long Island, about 60 miles from Manhattan. The Tesla Tower was never fully operational and was not completed due to economic problems. The property is now owned by Agfa-Gevaert.

Paramorphic Alert: Thursday, June 7, 2007, an MIT research group headed by Marin Soljacic is making wireless power transfer happen in their lab. Tesla redux.

Ellsmere Island
Commonly spelled Ellesmere Island. Lying within the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and with Cape Columbia, Ellesmere Island is the most northerly point of land in Canada. With an area of over 75,000 square miles, it is the world's 10th largest island and Canada's third largest.

Brother Tom Swift. He spends more time these days in court than in the laboratory.
Tom Swift is the young protagonist in several series of juvenile adventure novels starting in the early twentieth century and continuing to the present. More exactly, each such series stars a young protagonist named Tom Swift who is a genius inventor and whose breakthroughs in technology (especially transport technology) drive the plots of the novels. Besides the similarity (or "brotherhood") between the adventuring youths, the Chums' stories have titles similar to the Tom Swift novels, eg Tom Swift and His Motor Boat; or, The Rivals of Lake Carlopa; Tom Swift and His Airship; or, The Stirring Cruise of the Red Cloud; &c &c.

Although the Tom Swift novels weren't published until 1910 — an apparent anachronism — we should remember that Tom Swift, in this context, is as "real" as the Chums of Chance, and thus the events in the first novel, Tom Swift and His Motor Cycle; or, Fun and Adventure on the Road -- which included patent disputes and lawsuits -- would have "happened" prior to the novel being published.

There are unmistakable resonances of tone and style, doubtless deliberate, between the Tom Swift (Hardy Boys, et al.) novels and parts of ATD.

Semipalatinsk is a city on the Irtysh River, a long way southwest of Vanavara. Soviet nuclear tests were administered from here.

Irbit is a town in Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia on the right bank of the Nitsa River. It is located about 120 miles east of Yekaterinburg.

Russian: situation.

Page 795

Russian: If the stress falls on the first syllable it means great!

If the stress falls on the second syllable it means hello!

Neutral Moresnet
Tiny "country" between Belgium and Germany; existed 1816-1919; see, oh do see, Wikipedia entry.
Another Wikipedia article refers to a plan, early in the 20th century, to declare Esperanto the official language of the country.

Now transliterated chudak. Russian: crank.

Or Kyakhta, only two syllables. Town on Russian (Buriat)-Mongolian border south of Lake Baikal, a center of Russian trade with China.

Not even Russian army does that!
And it cost them dearly in 1914 when intercepted "clear" radio traffic helped the Germans crush them at the Battle of Tannenberg.

Page 796

By dusk . . . running-lights
An enigma. The ordinary way of analyzing it: Make a model, say a flashlight, an orange and a toothpick mooring line with a raisin balloon at the top. As the orange rotates toward the east and the flashlight appears to set in the west, what gets dark first? The base of the toothpick, the shadow progressing upward. But the text says the raisin does, the shadow arc moving downward.

It's very curious that immediately following this apparently topsy-turvy paragraph Miles says "As above, so below." Significant?

I hope nobody minds having most of this quite good conversation moved to the Discussion tab (and a spoiler added there).

Slowly as God's justice
Must be noted given title and everything religious in ATD.

Page 797

upriver from Vanavara
"Ground zero" of the Event was 40 miles north of Vanavara. Cf page 779: A heavenwide blast of light.

"simultaneity" . . . Special Relativity
Einstein's special theory of relativity (1905) refutes the idea that two observers seeing two events can ever agree on whether the events were simultaneous. Adopters of the theory (and in 1908 they were all early adopters) would be asking one another if it applied to this phenomenon.

the error of the seismograph recordings . . . singularity
"Error" doesn't mean mistake or wrongness. It measures the variability within each instrument; every measurement comes with a plus-or-minus figure. If the Event happened instantaneously, each of the charts would record it as a more or less spread-out peak. The energy released in a process is calculated from the area under the curve of intensity versus time; to get the power (rate of energy release), divide the energy by the duration of the process. Even though he states the math wrongly, Vanderjuice suspects the seismographs of the world have responded to a titanic release of energy that took place in essentially no time at all, so that power = energy divided by zero. When physicists see a real process apparently demanding division by zero, they call it a singularity and go looking for an explanation.

the equations of history
Perhaps an allusion to Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy, in which the Psychohistorian Harry Selden calculates equations of history. His equations are (seemingly) thrown off by the advent of a mutant with unusual powers that his predictive equations do not take into account--not unlike the advent of the Tunguska Event.

Tchernobyl, the star of Revelation
Tchernobyl is the Ukraine translation (perhaps mistranslation) for Wormwood "the destroying star in the book of Revelation" (page 784). And, as we all know, in 1986 there was a nuclear meltdown in the Ukranian city of Chernobyl.

something that had not quite happened yet
In short, an Omen. The Tunguska Event could be seen as an omen of the destructive forces unleashed over the entire course of the 20th Century.

Circassian slave
Common figure in European literature about the "Lustful Turk." Circassia is a region in the Caucasus.

In the early 1860s, after Russian conquest of their region of the Caucasus, nearly half a million Circassians migrated to Turkey. Many Circassian women, prized for their beauty, were sold into slavery.

Italian: hooligans, hoodlums, thugs

Page 798

Cf page 506: Krakatoa.

mala vita
Italian: evil life. With more specific reference to Mafia style criminal organizations like the Malavita del Brenta of Venice. There is also a genre of songs glorifying Mafia life called canto di Malavita.

brides picotees
A Venetian lace with a hexagonal pattern. French: tickle straps

Page 799

"Bevis Moistleigh"
Bevis Mostly? Bevis Wetly? Cf. Sir Bevis from Lang's Red Romance Book around this time. Or a Twilight Zone story, Mr. Bevis 1960.
Or, see later in AtD, Bevis is an allusion to Beavis & Butthead. (Idiot)

Possibly, given what follows, an allusion to the Bevis Marks Synagogue in London, oldest extant Jewish house of worship in Britain [2], but more likely a reference to (p.800)Bevis,the Story of a Boy.

Italian for small devices.

Glagolitic alphabet
See excellent annotation to page 252 and this.

As described in the text, each letter of the Hebrew alphabet is also a number. In the simplest form of Gematria, words, phrases and sentences with eqivalent numerical value are somehow linked, in a way promoting exegesis of Torah and Midrash (Torah commentary). More complex, mystical gematria systems are described in [3]. Not strictly gematria, but, there is also the so-called "Bible Code" based on another sort of numerical reading of Torah.

Page 800

Albanian: translated in the text as "disaster." Is this correct?


A policy appealing to the idea that "our" lands are unredeemed, i.e., ruled by some outsider, and must be brought into our domain. See annotation to "Eurasia Irredenta" (page 761).

Bevis . . . the Story of a Boy
Theign taunts Bevis with the title of a popular novel, Bevis, the Story of a Boy (1882), by Richard Jefferies.

This contributor, with a keen sense of sacrifice for the greater good, actually read the three-volume novel. Jefferies writes in a good plain style but seems not to have thought of putting a plot in his book. Bevis, of what would later be recognized as Boy Scout age, spends several hundred pages of a southern English summer exploring and naming the world within a dozen miles of his home (Africa, Ceylon, the East Indies, South America are all there). He is rich and has, sadly, what we must call criminally negligent parents who don't even look for him when he vanishes into the South Seas for a week at a time. Most of the highlights of the book concern Bevis' killing some creature (to eat it, more often than not) or kicking his faithful dog Pan. Bevis doesn't know the meaning of fear, and my guess is that he went into the Army and got his self-reliant head blown off in South Africa. If Bevis shares any thematic point with AtD it is pretty well limited to geographic exhaustiveness; his journeys of exploration are set forth in as much detail as any of the Traverses'.

Bevis takes his name from a hero of medieval romance, Sir Bevis of Hampton.

Page 801

unprovided for in the future tense of any language
I.e., we have no simple way to describe future events in a chaotic system. You can't say that Chinese butterfly will cause a windstorm in Brazil.

High susceptibility to primordial variables
Chaos theorists talk about "extreme sensitivity to initial conditions."

"an emigration of reason itself".......Crusade"
Notice war talk and natural destruction around the Event.
As well, the Crusades were a series of western European Christian attacks on Islam, the Mideast (with the establishment of Crusader Kingdoms), and even Christian Byzantium/Constantinople, linking the text to 19th and 20th century Imperialist ventures. For a map of the medieval kingdoms, see [4]

Railway Brain
A recognized disorder at one time, explained in the text following in AtD.

Page 802

Slang: doctors, especially quacks.

Also: One who croaks, murmurs, grumbles, or complains unreasonably; one who habitually forebodes evil.

The doctors (performing curative activities to earn their fees but not really curing anything) feel they are putting one over on everybody else.

radioactive mud-bath slime
Treatment with naturally radioactive waters from hot springs was thought to cure many ailments. An example of a radioactive hot spring resort in Austria is Badgastein.

Mentone, Italy or across the border, Menton (Italian name Mentone), France, in the Riviera. In fact there was no Menton, France, for a long time until 1860 the former Grimaldi town of Mentone, Italy, was bought by France. Menton is much better known than Mentone; this small town on the Franco-Italian border, about 45 miles northeast of Nice, is the most beautiful town on the French Riviera—La perle de la France (The Pearl of France). It's warm climate makes it a favorite tourist destination. Menton is also a city of gardens; it won the competition for the best city of flowers in France five different times. evening sky which had refused the dusk...
Inverse of Against the Day?

the boulevard Carnolès
There is a Palais Carnolès at 3 Avenue de la Madone, Menton (or Mentone). But couldn't locate the Boulevard Carnolès.
-Carnolès is a village that's just outside Menton, and though there is no boulevard Carnolès, it might refer to the street leading to Carnolès.

The Sixth District of Vienna, known as a shopping district.

Page 803

salesgirls (of Paris).

German: technician, specialist, skilled worker.

"Cute" double diminutive for the Hungarian male name Gábor (Gabriel) and also, more commonly, for the female name Gabriella. The ambiguity (also his looks) fits finely the subversion of gender roles in his relationship to Noellyn Fanshawe.

*Wouldn't it be his relationship to Yashmeen? Jpicco 13:16, 11 April 2007 (PDT)

Page 804

Maida Vale
Maida Vale is a street in north-west London. The area, also known as Little Venice, is mostly residential and often extremely affluent.

Vienna is 86 degrees west of the Event, more or less. Converting longitude to time at 15 degrees = 1 hour, we get a time difference of 5 hours 44 minutes. At 7:17 a.m. Event time, it was 1:33 a.m. in Vienna. Now, at 11:00 p.m. the same day, Vienna time, it is 21 hours and 27 minutes after the event. The atmospheric effect has propagated west (possibly against the high-level winds?) from Siberia to Central Europe in quite a short time. All these numbers are rough!

Page 805

prepare them against the day
Here the phrase means "in anticipation of" or "to be ready for."
And more. Thematic. Given what has been said about the Tunguska Event, colored by accounts of the atmospheric effects of the Krakatoa eruption, highly suggestive of Judgment Day.

I shoulda been keepin' notes, dammit! I am sure that regularly through the book I have been spotting deliberate sentences ending with "... something the day"...but not, until now, with "against the day". And a few score pages ago I'm sure there was a sentence what ended w' "...against the night...", then Tunguska happens, and we now need to be wary o'the day..?

I didn't catch occurrences of "the day" but I did catch a lot of "against the..." Of course I noticed it about halfway through. I would like to read it again and make note of all of the things against some other thing. Also, I believe this is the only place in the book where the title occurs. But then, I do have 6 pages left.

I wouldn't get too hung up on that. You can find 'em all, but then what? Pynchon loves red herrings. More interesting to track more oblique references to the title, some of which are on the Title Speculations page

Page 806

Toward the end of October all Hell broke loose . . . annex Bosnia
The Bosnian Crisis began with the fear on the part of Austria-Hungary of possible reverses of Turkish concessions since the Russo-Turkish War of 1878 by the newly-resurgent Young Turk movement. The answer to this was annexation of Bosnia, which it had ruled as a colony since 1878. Knowing such a move would be opposed by Serbia, in turn supported by Russia, the Austrians offered to support the right of Russia to move warships through the Bosporus, and to support a declaration of independence from Turkey by Bulgaria. This provoked a general crisis [5] from which Serbia had to back down, lacking Russian support. All had been settled in secret meetings in the months before; the Bulgarian (Glagolitic) traffic intercepted by Bevis Moistleigh, above, is thus explained. So is the sense of Grand Conspiracy; all the Great Powers were eventuallly involved.
See The Annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1908.

Brigitte Hamann in her book Hitler's Vienna writes: "Diplomatic observers explained [the annexation] as an attempt 'to help the country get over its internal calamity'....To be sure, the real reason was indeed a patriotic one: annexing Bosnia and Herzegovina was meant to be an anniversary present to the old emperor [1908 marked the 60th annivesary of FJ's reign]. After all, in wars that had brought much loss, the empire had become smaller and smaller during Franz Josef's reign...Now the empire finally was supposed to become larger again for a change, in a way that was erroneously deemed simple. The consequences of such a step on European politics were vastly underestimated, and preparation for the annexation was flawed on an interntational level." Hitler's Vienna, p. 104. Sideming

A coconut shy (or coconut shie) is a traditional game frequently found as a sidestall at funfairs and fêtes. The game consists of throwing wooden balls at a row of coconuts balanced on posts. Typically a player buys three balls and wins each coconut successfully dislodged. In some cases other prizes may be won instead of the coconuts. The origins of the game are unclear, although the term is first listed in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1903. The word 'shy' in this context is a colloquial English term, meaning 'to throw' or toss.

Cf. The "patter song," I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts.

One of the spellings of this word for plum brandy (also slivovica, slivovitz, etc.). Serbian culture (perhaps others) seems to attribute almost nationalist cultural significance to the drink (the contributor is Serbian-American).

one to fifty million . . . mile-to-the-inch sheets
Two extremes of mapmaking. A 1:50,000,000 map of the United States would fit comfortably on a page of AtD with most of Mexico and several Canadian provinces. Austria-Hungary at that scale would be about as big as your two thumbprints side by side.

The British Ordnance Survey produced a famous series of inch-to-the-mile sheets (1:63,360); the detail is about fine enough to show the left-turn lane of a city street. At this scale it would take some 200 unhandily large sheets to cover Austria-Hungary.

Foreign Office: the British equivalent of the US State Department. Also found in V.

Decisions of the utmost gravity
that lead to Gravity's rainbows

Page 807

Major B. F. Vumb
Major Bum Fuck Vumb, as in Dumb? Another Pynchonian V-name with the usual associations.

German: Jewish pig.

the Vienna Woods
The Vienna Woods is a low, wooded section of the Alps in eastern Lower Austria and far into the city of Vienna, covering over nearly 390 square miles and including the northermost parts of the entire Alpine chain. It is a favourite outdoor destination for people living around Vienna.

Christian Socialists . . . Dr. Karl Lueger
Karl Lueger (pronounced in three syllables, LOO eh ger) (1844-1910) was a Viennese politician, Burgomeister (mayor) of Vienna, and founder of the anti-Semitic Christian Social Party. He was a role model for Adolf Hitler.

This is the English form of the German Burgermeister -- mayor.

Austrian parliament.

Wer Jude ist, bestimme ich
German: as translated in text. Lueger used anti-Semitism as the rocket fuel to launch and maintain his political career, yet he himself had Jewish friends and backers. When confronted on this point his retort was this line -- essentially meaning the opposite of how it is used in the text. Instead of non-Jews being labelled Jews indiscriminately, Lueger meant it in the sense that his Jewish friends were not Jews -- and therefore exempt from persecution. His anti-Semitism was based on religion, not race -- which Hitler later faulted as leading to a situation where Jews would convert in name only.

der schöne Karl
German: the handsome, or the nice, Karl. Deeply sarcastic.

Page 808

"Well actually . . ."
Shanghai, which because of its international status did not require a passport or visa for entry, would become a refuge for Jews made stateless by Nazi Germany or were otherwise refugees in the 1930s. Many tens of thousands were able to reach it, and survived the war and the Holocaust under Japanese occupation. Large numbers reached it using so-called Sugihara Passports, letters of transit issued by the Japanese vice-consul to Lithuania in 1940, with the connivance of Dutch diplomats[6]. Obviously an anachronism, but actually...this is about portents and other bends in Time, perhaps things that echo up and down the Timelines (ours and alternates).

Cf page 519: Graz.

Elefant Hotel
The only listed Elefant Hotel in Austria, a building described as "ancient", is in Salzburg, not Graz; it is currently a Best Western. There is also a Hotel Elefant in Prague, once part ot the Empire; perhaps there was a chain?

. . . common Anglo-Habsburg interests...
All the Great Powers found ways to benefit from the Bosnian Crisis, perhaps explaining Theign providing Italian naval decodes to the Austrians. Or, as Latewood accuses below, he is a double agent; McHugh is at least suspicious here. Either way, sending Latewood and Moistleigh on a suicide mission to Bosnia is one way to cover his tracks.

Street in Graz. The Murgasse was first mentioned in a document from 1346. The part of town to the south was occupied by the farmers. Murgasse 8490 Bad Radkersburg, Austria

Page 809

the Treaty of Berlin
Cf page 495: the Treaty of Berlin.

Novi Pazar
Novi Pazar also figures briefly in GR (P.14-15, Viking eds.): "...on this obscure sanjak had once hinged the entire fate of Europe" The Novi Pazar desk is manned by Lord Blatherard Osmo. The crisis passed, but Lord Osmo has an adenoid, and this mucoid "lymphatic monster", now independently alive in 1939, is confronted by an agent of The Firm (an outfit very like its temporal predecessor the T.W.I.T. in its interests in the paranormal) , one "Pirate" Prentice; it is "now as big as St Paul's and growing by the hour" threatening all London, but confined successfully--leading to Lord Osmo's neglect of Novi Pazar...A bizarre satiric experience of Crisis Management by Great Power foreign ministries, and the literally sticky mess they created. Currently, some obscure ex-Ottoman sanjaks, cobbled together as Iraq in 1919, are something of a hinge of history; another paramorphic mirroring of 1900/2000.

Novi Pazar is now a city of Serbia, about 110 miles directly south of Belgrade. Its name means "a new bazaar" in the local language. It was administered by Austria-Hungary from 1878 to 1908, and by Turkey (Ottoman Empire) from 1908 to 1912, and by Serbia 1912 to now.

Constantinople was the capital of the Roman Empire (330-395), the Byzantine Empire (395-1204 and 1261-1453), the Latin Empire (1204-1261) and the Ottoman Empire (1453-1922). It is strategically located between the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara on the Bosphorous Strait. It extends both on the European (Thrace) and on the Asian (Anatolia) side of the Bosphorus, and is thereby the only metropolis in the world which is situated on two continents. It was officially renamed to Istanbul in 1930.

the Young Turks with their revolution
The Young Turks was a coalition of various reform groups in favor of reforming the administration of Ottoman Empire. Their movement brought about the second constitutional era through a revolution against the monarchy. The Young Turk Revolution of 1908 restored the suspended parliament and was a landmark in the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. The Revolution arose from the Ottoman peoples' near-universal opposition to the tyranny and corruption of the Sultan, which forged an unlikely union of reform-minded pluralists, Turkish nationalists, and Western-oriented secularists.

the vile Aerenthal
Aloys (or Alois) von Aerenthal (1854-1912), Austrian foreign minister (1906-1912) who engineered the annexation of Bosnia in 1908.

in three-quarter time
Waltzes are in 3/4 time and so the national powers are waltzing into a European war. Note the chain-like sliding/closing/turning step sequence in Viennese Waltz, and also the rhythm itself represented by the repeated dactyl "and so on, and so on".

Two plausible references: events driven by Vienna, the world's waltz capital, and a dark comic song recorded by the Kingston Trio in the 1960s: "Merry Minuet." In 3/4 time, it includes lyrics commenting on ethnic hatred, irredentism and inevitable nuclear catastrophe.

In fact, the sequence of events described here as a possibility in 1908 were realized in 1914, when Russia, in the crisis provoked by a Serbian youth group's assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria, this time backed Serbia, resulting in the cascade of troop mobilizations that became World War I.

A Serbian town near the Turkish-Serbian border (now in Kosovo), about 25 miles southeast of Novi Pazar and 140 miles southeast of Sarajevo. The full Serbian name now is Kosovska Mitrovica, the Albanian name is Mitrovicë, and the population is mostly Albanian nowadays. (Some precognition about Novi Pazar.)

a railroad link from Sarajebo to Mitrovitsa, and thus to the Ægean Sea
A railroad of 210 miles long linking Mitrovitsa (Turkish-Serbian border) throuhg Skopje (Macedonia) to Salonica (Greece) by the Ægean Sea alredy existed since December 1874.

Alexander Petrovich Izvolsky (Izvolski, Izvolskii) (1856-1919), Russian foreign minister (1906-1910), a major architect of the Anglo-Russian Entente, who on September 15, 1908, traded Bosnia-Herzegovina to Austria in exchange for Austria's help in opening the Bosporus and Dardanelles to Russian ships.
Pynchon's spelling may well be from a contemporary source; consistent transliteration is a more recent fetish.

Sir Edward Grey (1862-1933), British Foreign Secretary 1905-16. He was the other major architect of the Anglo-Russian Entente (1907).

The Dardanelles
The Dardanelles, an international waterway, is a narrow strait in northwestern Turkey connecting the Aegean Sea to the Sea of Marmara. It separates Europe (Gallipoli peninsula) and the mainland of Asia. With the Bosporus, Dardanelles connects the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. Talk about a hinge of history! The Dardanelles were the site of the Trojan War; Troy being located on the western, Asian side of the strait. Xerxes and Alexander marched through. It has figured in the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War and is the site of the Battle of Gallipoli in WWI.

Page 810

It's like having the lights brought up for a bit...
As the crisis wound down to war in 1914, Sir Edward Grey (still Foreign Minister) is famously quoted as having said, "The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime."[7]

Vlado Clissan
His name comes from his hometown of Clissa, but this is the Italian name of the place. In Serbo-Croatian it is Klis. A pseudonym?

Blutwurst Special
German: blood sausage.

a traditional British dish. It consists of sausages in Yorkshire pudding batter, usually served with vegetables and gravy.

Page 811

"iron convergences and receding signal-lamps"
our 'free choices' in . . . life; so ironic at this point.

Kurt Vonnegut, in Slaughterhouse Five, described the human point of view as from consciousness strapped to a railroad car, forever facing only backward; from this vantage, history looks single and inevitable, whereas in reality the train of history is moving over unknown numbers of (from this perspective unseen) switch points, the settings of which are in fact changeable (the more complex view being taken by an extraterrestrial species, the Tralfamadorians, who can see forward to the many possibilities), alternate histories possible at every switch. The character Pointsman in GR in some ways embodies these possibilities.

The Semmering tunnel
It refers to the Semmering mountain-peak tunnel of the Semmering Railway. The tunnel, with a length of 4,700 ft, was opened on May 15, 1854. (A new Semmering tunnel, through the mountain base, was built in 1952). The Semmering Railway, having a total of 15 tunnels, is a part of the Austrian Souther Railway (Südbahn) connecting Vienna to Trieste. The world's first mountain railway with a standard gauge, it was built between 1848 and 1854 and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

the Mur Valley
The valley of the Mur River which, about 300 miles long, runs through the south-central Austria, northeast Slovenia and northern Croatia, where it flows into the Drava River. The biggest city in the Mur Valley is Graz, Austria.

Today the name applies to the eastern part of Croatia, but a map will confirm that the route passes through the Slovenian plain. Writers before the World War must have had difficulty keeping Slovenia, Slovakia and Slavonia straight, especially since all were inhabited by Slavonic peoples.

the Slavonian plain
The Slavonian plain (actually the historical region called Srem/Srijem/Sirmium minus the Fruška Hills) is an agricultural lowland in eastern Croatia and beyond. It is part of the larger Pannonia plain. It is bounded by the Papuk Mountains in the west, the river Drava in the north, the Sava in the south, and the Danube in the east. It was part of Croatia-Slavonia until 1918; the eastern section now belongs to Serbia.

Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia. It is also the cultural and economical center of the country. It is located in central Slovenia.

the Karst
The Karst is a limestone borderline plateau region of southwestern Slovenia and northeastern Italy. It rises quite steeply above the neighboring landscape and is famous for its caves including Vilenica in Slovenia, the oldest tourist cave in the world. In addition to caves, erosion has produced in the Karst fissures, sinkholes and underground streams.

A village about 4 miles northeast of Trieste.

the Piazza Grande
Trieste's central square, a great rectangle lined on three sides by stately imperial buildings, its fourth, short side, revealing the Adriatic sea.

the Piazza Cavana
Trieste's "Nighttown" before World War I.

Austrian double
Latewood, in light of Theign's treatment of Yashmeen, and the apparent passing of Italian naval decrypts to Austria, accuses Theign of being an Austrain double agent.

Page 812

a Fortuny gown
Mariano Fortuny (1871-1949), a Spanish fashion designer worked mostly in Venice, created some of the most remarkable fabrics and dresses of 20th century. His pleated silk gowns and velvet cloaks are regarded by collectors and museums around the world as the unique expression and embodiment of a craft at its best. He was one of the source of inspiration to Marcel Proust.

Mestre Bridge
Mestre is a town in Veneto, northern Italy, a frazione of the comune of Venice. Located on the mainland,the city is connected to Venice by a large rail and road bridge, called Ponte della Libertà (Freedom Bridge). Cf Page 706: Mestre bridge.

Cloisters Court
Cf page 490: Cloisters Court.

Cf page 497: King's

Page 813

'And England's far, and honour a name'
Cyprian quoting from the 1897 poem "Vitaï Lampada" ("They Pass the Torch of Life") by Sir Henry Newbolt (1862-1938), previously quoted on page 236 (also see annotation). (Discussed in this wiki's article by Peter Vernon, It Just Isn't Cricket: Cricket As Metaphor in Against the Day)

Cf. "Cricket is 'chess made flesh'"--John Fowles

Cf. Falstaff on.

the Caffè degli Specchi
Trieste was one of the first European cities took to coffee in a big way. It is the leading coffee port on the Mediterranean and is renowned for its cafes and coffee. The first coffe houses in Trieste opened at the beginning of the 18th century. They become very popular with artists and intellecturals. Several of the original coffe houses are still going strong; the Caffè degli Specchi, located in the Piazza Unità d'Italia and opened since 1839, is one of them.

Specchio (plural: specchi) is Italian for mirror.

Page 814

A lateener is a boat with a lateen sail: a triangular sail with one edge tied to a long spar, which is supported in the middle on a mast.

German: streetwalker, hooker, prostitute.

LLoyd Austriaco
A ship line. Lloyd Triestino was formed in 1919 as the successor to Lloyd Austriaco following the incorporation of Trieste into the Kingdom of Italy on January 3rd 1919.

Molo San Carlo
A pier (molo) in Trieste. See Molo San Carlo'picture around 1900.

Page 815

"Nimrod" . . . from Elgar's Enigma Variations
"Nimrod" is the ninth section of this major 1899 work by English composer Edward Elgar (1857-1934). Like the other 13 sections, it characterizes a family friend; this one is A. J. Jaeger (whose name means "hunter" in German, hence "Nimrod," the name of a hunter mentioned in the Bible). Here is a very good description of the work and "Nimrod" in particular.

The "Nimrod" variation is perhaps the most poignant of the piece; it rises to a cresendo and slowly, sadly, fades; an anthem for the fading of the 19th century.

"La Gazza Ladra"
Overture by Rossini to an opera whose title means "The Thieving Magpie." It is as bright and impersonal as "Nimrod" is serious and sentimental.

Gazza (Italian) specifically identifies the European Magpie (Pica pica), while magpie designates any of a dozen species.

"The Volga Boatmen" . . . "Auld Lang Syne"
The puzzle in the "Enigma" Variations is this: Variations are based on a theme, but Elgar never states the theme; what is the melody? These are two of the popular guesses.

Gonzalo who?

Probably not the elderly adviser shipwrecked in The Tempest, by Shakespeare, considering the in-joke connection to Millicent.

It's a stretch, but some searching turns up a Millicent Silver and a Gonzalo Soriano, two among many musicians on a series of recordings by Victoria De Los Angeles of songs of Spain. Otherwise no connection between them.

? Millicent Fawcett (1847-1929), a British suffragist and an early feminist. Is this the right person?

Mathematical symbol used to represent a short length of time.

In addition, Pynchon is very concerned with dt,(little delta-t) the time differential, an infinitesimal change in time; to quote Pynchon from Lot 49 (Lippincott, 1965 p.129): "a vanishingly small instant in which change had to be confronted at last for what it was, where it could no longer disguise itself as something innocuous like an average rate; where the velocity dwelled in the projectile though the projectile be frozen in midflight, where death dwelled in the cell though the cell be looked in on at its most quick." But, the paragraph goes on, "dt" also suggests DTs, Delirium Tremens (alcohol withdrawal) a state giving access to hallucinatory experiences, "spectra beyond the known Sun, music made purely of Antarctic loneliness and fright." Which is the general mood in the wake of the Tunguska Event and the Bosnian Crisis, or should be, if the characters were not so dutifully repressing it. (In Lot 49 the realization of the dt/DTs connection has to do with Oedipa Maas' realization of the finality of death, and what inaccessible realms of experience are lost with each individual's death).

Are you confusing Δt, symbolizing a finite duration, with dt, a duration shrunk to an infinitesimal?

(Possibly--my physics/calculus may be rusting. The connection may still hold; note emendation above--thanks. Edit further if necessary!).

Davos is a municipality in the eastern part of Switzerland. A popular destination for the rich and ailing because its high valley climate has long been considered excellent by doctors for curing lung desease. It is the setting of Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain. Davos is famous as the host of the World Economic Forum, an annual meeting of global political and business elites.

German. Wind warmed and dried by descent on the lee side of a mountain. Germans even today acknowledge that its presence (say, in Munich) affects mood and emotions.

co-conscious with the everyday
again. Linked to creativity here.

Ramanujan's Formula
an elegant hyperbolic summation, Ramanujan's formula for the Riemann zeta function evaluated at the odd positive integers. Cf page 498: Rumanujan didn't come to the attention of Western mathematicians until he wrote to Hardy in late 1912 - early 1913 and travelled to Cambridge in 1914. Is Yashmeen prescient?

Page 816

dolce far niente
Italian: sweet idleness (literally, sweet to do nothing).

divided second
A dt.

of his entry
Vlado the Impaler?

the Karst
Cf page 811: the Karst.
Generic "karst topography" takes its name from this area of Slovenia and Italy (locally called kras and carso). The terrain features limestone with fissures and cavities eroded by water. Caves as well as underground streams and lakes are common.

These are informal eating places out in rural areas, where farmers sell their meats, cheeses, olives and wines.

The Roman province in which modern Trieste is located.

Illyria was in Clssical antiquity a region in the western part of today's Balkan Peninsula, found by the tribes and clans of Illyrian, an ancient people who spoke the Illyrian languages. Illyria was a formidable local power in the 4th century BC, only after the Roman conquest in 168 BC did Illyria become one of the Roman provinces, Illyricum. In the context "ancient before Illyria" referrs to the period before the Roman conquest.

Page 817

quiet spaces between trams, unpredictable, even, she imagined, mathematically so
An observation that might have seemed "foreign" to mathematics at the time she made it. A Poisson distribution expresses the probability that a specific number of trams arrive during a given time interval but cannot determine the exact arrival time of the next tram. The length of the "quiet space" varies in a chaotic way—which doesn't at all mean that the transit system is random.

The appearance of "chaos theory" in the second half of the 20th century provided a vehicle for interpreting the process, and observations like that of the trams were incorporated into mathematics. Two familiar "rhythms" have this quality of chaotic intervals: the beating of the human heart and the sound of water dripping from a faucet. The second part of the phrase is subtle: the time of the next tram/thud/drip can't be mathematically predicted (to arbitrary accuracy), but it is possible to describe in mathematical terms the way in which it's unpredictable. James Gleick's Chaos, Making a New Science, is just one of the good sources on this new theory.

never farther than half a block from the counter-soporific fluid
Perhaps an allusion or parallel to the 21st century ubiquity of Starbucks.

Cf page 813: the Caffe degli Specchi.

Svr šavam!
Croatian/Serbian: I'm finishing. Here it means I'm coming. Should be: Svršavam.

Cf page 326: Velebit. A ridge that runs parallel to the Croatian Adriatic coast a few tens of miles south of Trieste. Lying a short distance inland, it is made up of limestone karst.

Page 818

Cf page 697: Zengg.

Veglia, the second largest Adriatic island, is a Croatian island (Krk) in the northern Adriatic Sea, located near Fiume.

persisted from day to day
The image again of the storm that retains its identity over a long time.

Stationary waves
Crests and troughs that don't move. Seen more often where water is flowing (up/downstream of rocks in rapids), but also where waves coming onshore interact with those reflected from the shore.

A family from Novi, a town on the Adriatic coast in Croatia about 10 miles north of Zengg (Senj) and 22 miles southeast of Fiume (Rijeka).

Cf page 697: Uskok.
Serbian/Croatian: fugitive. Writers even in antiquity noted that piracy was a main economic activity along this coast.

In all, Vlado seems very like the Traverse brothers, set against the modern world, or anyway modern power arrangements, a bit of an anarchist in his own way. But his grievances have historic depth and resonance, more of what Pynchon in V. called "Temporal Bandwidth".

Uskok is also a place's name.

the Argonauts
The Argonauts, in Greek mythology, were a band of heroes who, in the years before the Trojan War, accompanied Jason to Colchis in his quest to find the Golden Fleece. Their name comes from their ship Argo which in turn was named after its builder Argus.

Split, situated on a small peninsula on the eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea about 150 miles southeast of Zengg, is the largest and most important city in Dalmatia, Croatia.

Town from which Vlado Clissan takes his nom de guerre. Locally called Klis which is located inland just 5 miles northeast of Split near the eponymous mountain pass. Because of its geographical position, Clissa is susceptible to a rather strong bora wind.

Page 819

You know the play by Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice? [...] We keep hoping till the end for Antonio to come to grief.
In The Merchant of Venice, Antonio, the protagonist, is a wealthy merchant in Venice, his wealth coming from the ships he owns, which could easily be at peril from pirates. So, natch, Vlado and his comrades who attack Venetian ships are pulling for the pirates.

mala vita
bad life

Serbo-Croatian for crepe or thin pancake.

Page 820

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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