- Please keep these annotations SPOILER-FREE by not revealing information from later pages in the novel.
- 1 Page XX
- 2 Page 821
- 3 Page 822
- 4 Page 823
- 5 Page 824
- 6 Page 825
- 7 Page 826
- 8 Page 827
- 9 Page 828
- 10 Page 829
- 11 Page 830
- 12 Page 831
- 13 Page 832
- 14 Page 833
- 15 Page 834
- 16 Page 835
- 17 Page 836
- 18 Page 837
- 19 Page 838
- 20 Page 839
- 21 Page 840
- 22 Page 841
- 23 Page 842
- 24 Page 843
- 25 Page 844
- 26 Page 845
- 27 Page 846
- 28 Page 847
- 29 Page 848
- 30 Annotation Index
Please format like this.
John of Asia
John of Asia, also called John of Ephesus, was a 6th-century church leader and historian. The ruins of Ephesus are located in western Asia Minor, now in Turkey.
Perhaps erroneously, I took this to be a joke about like southeast Asian sex tourism.
Pola, the largest city in Istria, is situated at the southern tip of the Istrian Peninsula 52 miles directly south of Trieste. From the 19th century through World War I, Pola was the headquarters of the Austro-Hungarian Navy.
the Bocche di Cattaro
The Bocche di Cattaro, the Gulf of Kotor, is a winding bay on the Adratic Sea in Montenegro. The gulf is in fact a submerged River canyon of the disintegrated Bokelj river which used to run from the high mountain plateaus of Mount Orjen.
coastline approaching infinite length
A reference to Fractals (another fractal reference occurs on page 575: inside that labyrinth). Benoit Mandelbrot, in Fractals: Form, Chance and Dimension discusses the infinite coastline of Britain: "We will see that . . . the final estimated length is not only extremely large but in fact so large that it is best considered infinite."
Although this pov is true, might this line mean that the "coastline" of the Adreatic Sea, which is where Bocche di Cattaro is, circling as it does on the inside, almost connects with itself? When it would be "infinite". See Wikipedia.
- Wikipedia ?
- Circular doesn't mean infinite. There's no reason to cite Wikipedia to illustrate a mistaken point. A fuller citation of the Mandelbrot passage would be useful, though.
The surname suggests the necessity of wiping the "drool off" the gentlemen's chins. Jacintha, pronounced yah-SIN-tah and of Dutch usage, is the Latinate form of Jacinthe, which is the French feminine form of Hyacinth.
- Obsessive searching turned up two Drulovs. First is a brand of pellet gun made first in Czechoslovakia and later in the Czech Republic. The Drulov DU-10 Condor is a popular target pistol. The second Drulov is very odd (I mean the connection is very odd; probably an entirely conventional fellow). A historian of medicine named Richard Koch left Germany in 1936 and spent the rest of his life in a Russian spa town, Essentuki. His old university, Tübingen, acquired his papers and created an online index. It lists a letter to Koch from one Druloff, identified as—here it comes—the director of a balneological institute: a center for the study of therapeutic baths. This is just too zany to mean anything, and I don't expect this note to survive the wiki editing process, but it truly did make my hackles stand up for a moment.
Quethlock is/was a place in Australia in 1915.
Zhenski Tzrnogorski Institut
Montenegrin: Montenegrin Female Institute. Женски Црногорски Институт. The use of "tz" in the transliteration (instead of present-day "ts") signals an old source and may indicate that Pynchon has found a real school. Differences between the Montenegrin and Serbian languages are relatively slight.
Cetinje is a town in southwestern Montenegro. It nestles on a small Karst plain surrounded by limestone mountains.
I suggest this is a minor theme of AtD. Every couple of chapters we have a reference to someone learning to act like an idiot (never a fool, a zany, an imbecile, a twit—always an idiot). Is there a connection to the notion of the "holy fool" here?
Good question. There is also the possible play on Applied Robotics and/or A. I. = Artificial Intelligence.
Idiots and Idiocy in Against the Day
Before getting too far into theories of advanced idiocy you have to keep in mind that this is quite simply a running gag in the book. English upper-class twits of the Monty Python variety are secretly spies. Their idiocy is their 'cover'. It's related to the other point about the English 'speaking in codes'. The other theories and allusions are of course worth considering, but let's not forget the bleeding obvious. The appropriate parallels are John Le Carré, Graham Greene, the Cambridge spies of the 60s, etc.
A real town in the west of England, birthplace of J. K. Rowling. Sod is short for sodomite, commonly heard in Britain and frequently used in AtD.
In fact MI6, Directorate of Military Intelligence, Section 6 (UK), responsible for collection of overseas intelligence. Deliberate solecism by Bevis the Idiot? -Seems more likely it's Pynchon having some fun.
Exactly. Sometimes a joke is just a joke: MIIIIII is M6I.
Out on the floor. . .
This is the first song to appear in nearly 140 pages, the longest such stretch (by far) in any Pynchon novel. Book Four, with its relentlessly darkening tone, has been until this point verse-free.
a Tsarist school
See the annotation to page 822.
The Eridanus is a river of Hades in Greek mythology whose name has been adopted by paleogeographers to describe the real ice age river that ran where the Baltic Sea is now. There have been various guesses at which real river was the Eridanus: the Po in north Italy, and the Nile and the Danube.
Virgil (70 BC-19 BC) was an ancient Roman poet, the author of the Aeneid, a Roman Empire's national epic. He also was Dante's guide through Hell and Purgatory in The Divine Comedy.
The Argo was the ship on which Jason and the Argonauts sailed from Iolcus to retrieve the Golden Fleece.
Apollonius of Rhodes
Apollonius of Rhodes (early 3rd century-after 246 BC) was a poet, scholar and director of the Library of Alexandria. He is best known for his epic poem the Argonautica, which told the mythological story of Jason and the Argonauts' quest for the Golden Fleece.
Euxine to Cronian Seas
Euxine Sea → Black Sea, a sea between Europe and Asia.
Cronia Sea → North Polar Sea.
Colchis was a nearly triangular ancient Georgian region, now mostly the western part of Georgia. In Greek mythology it was the home of Medea and the destination of the Argonauts.
Medea was the daughter of King Aeētes of Colchis and later wife of Jason.
The Timavo river has its source at the foot of Mount Nevoso, the highest mountain top of the Slovenian Carso. It flows through most of the Karstic Plateau underground and comes up to the surface again in San Giovanni di Duino. Jason and the Argonauts were able to reach the Black Sea and safety by going up the mouths of the Ister river first and then of the Timavo river.
The Padus, the Latin name of the Po, is a river that flows 400 miles eastward across northern Italy from Monviso in Alps to the Adriatic Sea near Venice. It is the longest river in Italy.
A river described by Apollonius of Rhodes in his Argonautica, which some scholars claimed is the Rhine.
the Amber Islands
The islands, Brac, Hvar, Vis, etc, in the Adriatic Sea next to the Croatian coast were known to ancient Greeks as the Amber Islands.
Metković is a city in the southeastern end of Croatia close to Montenegro.
Kotoa, located in a most secluded part of Gulf of Kotor, is a coastal town in Montenegro.
Ragusa, now called Dubrovnik,is an old city on the Adriatic Sea coast in the extreme south of Croatia about midway between Metković and Kotor.
a brodet full of skarpina
Brodet is a general name for a fish stew on the Croatian coast. It is generally made from various types of fish—skarpina, ugor, skusa, etc. See a picture of skarpina fish.
the Gulf of Cattaro
Cf page 821: the Bocche di Cattaro.
the Bay of Teodo
The outermost part, the entrance, of the Gulf of Cattaro is the Bay of Teodo (or Bay of Tivat).
Zelenika is a little village near Herceg-Novi in the Bay of Teodo, the entrance to the Gulf of Kotor, in Montenegro.
A village on the Adriatic coast in Herzegovina.
An inland city southwest of Sarajevo, about 90 miles northwest of Ragusa in Herzegovina.
"This 'annexation' is a Habsburg death-warrant"
Literally true; it resulted directly in the death of the Habsburg heir in 1914 and the dismemberment of the Empire in 1918-1919.
"National Defense" — Narodna Odbrana — (1908-1911). As a reaction to Austria's annexation of Bosnia, on October 8, 1908, Narodna Odbrana, a semi-secret society, was founded in Belgrade. The purpose of the society was to recruit and train partisans for a possible war between Serbia and Austria. The society also undertook anti-Austrian propaganda and organized spies and saboteurs to operate within Austro-Hungarian Empire. Under pressure from Austria the Serbian government stopped the Narodna Odbrana's terrorist actions around 1910. Some members of Narodna Odbrana formed in 1911 a new secret organization, Union or Death, to continue the terrorist actions. Also see Narodna Odbrana.
Gavrilo Princip, the 1914 assassin of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his accomplices were members.
Officers' Club. Kasinos in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy were modelled after traditional English clubs. Militär-Kasinos were officially sponsored clubs for the local military caste but were also open to rich and "respectable" civilians.
Sephardic Jews are a subgroup of Jews originating in the Iberian Peninsula, including the descendants of those subject to expulsion from Spain by order of the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, or from Portugal by order of King Manuel I in 1497.
Salonica, now known as Thessaloniki, is Greece's second-largest city and the capital of the Greek region of Macedonia. It is Greece's second major economical, induatrial, commercial and cultural center as well as a major transportation hub in southeastern Europe. Salonica's Jewish community, largely of Sephardic background comprised 49% of the city's population as late as 1902 but only less than 0.5% now. But the Jewish influence on the city is still very strong.
Ma'min is Hebrew: believer, in this case a household of believing Jews. Transliteration of words written in the Hebrew alphabet always causes trouble; you may also see mamin and even ma'amin.
The song called "Ani ma'min" is titled in English "Faith in Redemption," but the first two words Ani mamin just mean "I believe." If you will allow yourself time to dope out the alphabet, you can see from this page that the plural form maminim means "believers."
Also known as Ladino, the language of the Sephardic Jews, i.e. those originating in Moorish Spain (Sepharad). Just as Yiddish is a German dialect written with Hebrew characters, with admixture of Hebrew loan words, Judezmo/Ladino is medieval Spanish written with Hebrew characters with admixture of Hebrew loan words . As Pynchon partially explains, the Ottoman Empire welcomed Jewish refugees from the Spanish Expulsion of Jews and Moslems following the completion of the Christian Reconquest in 1497 (those who remained faced the Inquisition, forcible conversion, or false conversion: outward following of Catholicism with underground Jewish worship; those who followed this third course were called Marranos). The Ottomans settled these refugees in border areas and places of uncertain allegiance to the Empire (Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Bosnia, Serbia, parts of North Africa) on the theory that these would be grateful and loyal Ottoman subjects.
Cf page 711: the Evidenzbüro.
Another information-collating agency. German: evidence office.
the forty-fifth parallel
It is a line roughly from Belgrade (Serbia) through Turin (Italy) to Bordeaux (France). Sarajevo is located at 43°52‘N, Constantinople (Istanbul) 41°00‘N.
the war between Turkey and Russia
Cf page 229: the Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878).
the Treaty of Berlin
Cf page 495: the Treaty of Berlin.
The glacis is an artificial slope of earth in the front of works such as fortifications or a city wall, so constructed as to keep any potential assailant under fire to the last possible moment. (A vertical city wall cannot achieve that.)
An anise-flavored Turkish alcoholic beverage.
Not necessarily anise-flavoured. It's like schnapps or ouzo or grappa and can have different flavours or none.
to Bosna-Brod, change there, return by way of Zegreb
Bosna-Brod's current official name is Bosanski Brod. It is a Bosnian village on the Bosnian-Croatian border, located on the Sava River about 90 miles north of Sarajevo. Just across the Sava is a much larger Slavonski Brod, Croatia, an important railway junction and 120 miles southeast of Zagreb, the capital and largest city of Croatia. There is a major railway linking Slavonski Brod to Zegreb.
"set to spy"
seems a typo for "sent to spy" because of next phrase.
- No need to assume a typo - 'set to' is perfectly normal English useage. Compare the proverb, 'Set a thief to catch a thief'
Croatian: Emperor Street.
A wine from Macedonia.
British military issue revolver. (Webley Revolver).
Misha and Grisha are perfectly capable of saying "Cyprian" or the Russian counterpart "Kiprian"; is this superconsonantal garble just their private joke?
Or chistka. Russian: the cleanup.
. . . left him alone . . . with a loaded pistol, expecting a . . . traditional suicide
Cf page 712: Hotel Klomser & Colonel Alfred Redl.
Though Colonel Max Khäutsch uses the pistol to shoot his way out, this - and much of what we have learned of Khäutsch‘s career - strongly recalls the fate of Oberst (german for Colonel) Alfred Redl (1864-1913), whose suicide has "entered the folklore of the business" as well. Redl was an Austrian officer who rose to head the counter-intelligence efforts of Austria-Hungary. His term in office was marked by innovation, and he used very high technology for the time to ensnare foreign intelligence agents. When the Russians learned that he was a homosexual, they blackmailed him into committing treason against his homeland, although the Russians made quite substantial cash payments. The Austrian found out about this much too late and by chance only. In the early hours of Sunday morning May 25, 1913, Colonel Alfred Redl blew his brains out in a room at the Hotel Klomser, in the fashionable Herrengasse district of Vienna. He was permitted to "judge himself" after interrogation.
Wikipedia 1 2 3 forum entry 1 forum entry 2 paysite
Platz Am Hof . . . Kredit-Anstalt . . . the Hofburg briefly became Dodge City
Hof = german court. Some geographical confusion here: the War Ministry resided at "Platz Am Hof" 17 (later 2) german Wikipedia 2 from 1776 until 1912. The building was demolished "a short time before WW1" and replaced with the headquarters of the "Länderbank", by now owned by the "Bank Austria - Creditanstalt". At the given time the only building "next door" to the one of the War-Ministry was a church. The contributor is not sure whether there was a bank at "Platz Am Hof" yet when the Colonel fled. Furthermore, the "Platz Am Hof" is not to be confused with the "Hofburg". At "Am Hof" the Dukes of Babenberg Wikipedia resided until 1246. When the Habsburgs took over, they took residence much closer to the city-walls about 600 meters away to the south in what was to become he "Hofburg". interactive map
Head of Turkish secret police, assassinated after the 1908 revolution.
that Brusa job
??? (Brusa, Bursa, is a city in northwestern Turkey).
Error for artificial.
The chosen persons at the mosque who lead the call to Friday service and the five daily prayers from one of the mosque's minarets.
Greek, derived from Turkish: belly dancing. See this site for an explanation.
Aside from the magical explanation in the text, isn't this a silent movie gag too? The passage is also mysteriously reminiscent of "The Fez", a 1976 recording by American jazz-rock artists Steely Dan, in which the narrator refuses to do "it" without the fez on, for fear of being considered unholy. Complete lyrics:
- "No I'm never gonna do it without the fez on
- Oh no
- No I'm never gonna do it without the fez on
- Oh no
- That's what I am
- Please understand
- I wanna be your holy man
- No I'm never gonna do it without the fez on
- Oh no
- Don't make me do it without the fez on
- Oh no
- That's what I am
- Please understand..."
Jpicco 11:23, 23 April 2007 (PDT)
Kiseljak is a small town in central Bosnia-Herzegovina, located northeast of Sarajevo.
Zenica, the fourth largest city in Bosnia-Herzegovina, is situated by the Bosna river about 40 miles northwest of Sarajevo.
Travnik and Jajce
They are located northwest of Zenica. For their locations see the Bosnia-Herzegovina map.
Serbian/Croatian: Hello, gentlemen.
Cf page 806: šljivovica.
Croatian/Serbian: not reasonable. Might be an error for Ne razumem: I don't understand.
- The suggestion seems correct.
About 30 miles north of Jajce. (Cf the Bosnia-Herzegovina map of page 833: Travnik and Jajce). Current capital of Republika Srpska, Banja Luka was/is the center of the Serb population in Bosnia.
Vakuf . . . Bugojno
Vakuf also called Donji Vakuf. Vakuf and Bugojno are south of Jajce. See this map.
"Union or Death"
See annotations to page 827.
9 mm Parabellum ammunition
The 9 mm Parabellum pistol cartridge was introduced in 1902 for the Pistole Parabellum, a higher-power version of the earlier 7.65 mm Luger Parabellum and the most widespread used pistol cartridge in the world.
A picture of 1907 .32 caliber Savage pistol, manufactured by Savage Arms, a New York company.
Also called "brown coal," a dirty-burning fuel with an acrid odor.
Serbian/Croatian for "field". Local meaning explained in text.
Croatian/Serbian? "The Devil!"
Cf page 389: Mausers.
En tu kulo Dio!
I just don't believe this is Serbian or Croatian; one of Danilo's many other languages?
It's sort of Spanish (Danilo is originally a Spanish Jew) meaning: "fucking God!" -- Blicero2 09 March 2007
It's the previously mentioned Judezmo, and literally translates to "Up your ass, God!"
Whatever her name may signify in Greek, it also corresponds to the Russian word for "spring" (the season).
. . . he found that for some undefined time now he had not even been imagining desire, its arousal, its fulfillment, or any occasion for it
This is the absence of all desire (even of the desire to not desire) that is the goal of all Buddhist spritiual development, enlightenment, the highest state, the release from Maya (illusion). Cyprian has found it through intense caring. In a sense he has found Shambhala, in the middle of the "Balkan Powderkeg".
But he has found it in the mountains, away from the circumstances of the Bosnian Crisis. These mountains are as lawless, anarchic as Pynchon's Colorado Rockies; there, too, the Traverses seem to find fulfillment(s), or anyway are free to do so in the same way Cyprian is free in Bosnia--he is at least temporarily unmoored (perhaps outside Time). This all brings to mind Eliot's line in The Wasteland: "In the mountains, there you feel free"(I, 17).
A roast lamb dish.
. . . both rivers . . .
The Sava and Danube Rivers. Belgrade lies at the confluence of these two rivers.
More commonly spelled Pljevlja of Serbia-Montenegro, a city about 120 miles southwest of Belgrade just inside Montenegro.
Apparently Turkish: mansion.
A geographical and administrative unit in Turkish. (Sandžak in Serbian).
A Turkish railhead in 1908-09. Cf page 809: Mitrovitsa.
the Black Mountain of Skoplje
The range of hills around Skoplje. It is known locally as Skopska Tserna Gora — the Black Mountain of Skoplje. The name "Black Mountain" is due to the fact that the hills of the area have always been covered in black pine (pinusnegra).
Skoplje or Skopje, situated by the Vardar River at the foot of Mount Vodno, is the capital and the largest city, but still village-like, of Macedonia. It is also the birthplace of Mother Teresa. It lies one third of the way from Kossovska Mitrovitsa to Salonica.
A 3,520 ft high mountain at its foot Skoplje lies.
The Vardar, with a length of 240 miles, is the longest river in Macedonia and major one of Greece. It flows into the Aegean Sea west of Salonica.
the Tikveš Plain
A plain situated in central Macedonia known for an artifical lake, Lake Tikveš on the Crna River, and home to the town of Kavadaci, famous for its wine.
Demir Kapija, the Iron Gate
Demir Kapija, located near the Vardar river and the limestone gorge of the same name. The name Demir Kapija originates from the Turkish time, meaning "The Iron Gate".
the mosqueless idea of a city . . . orthogonal
When the Young Turks abandon the mosque as the center of civic life, they must adopt the European model with streets meeting at right angles.
Cf. Cartesian grid of Chicago.
The screen in an Orthodox church where icons are hung.
Stringed musical instruments: the oud is fretless, the baglama has frets that are tied on.
What Pynchon is suggesting here is the origins of the music that the Greeks call rembetika today - 'bouzouki music', which settled into its classic form in Piraeus after the exchange of populations between Turkey and Greece (that is, after World War I). The 'oud is an Arab lute that corresponds to the Greek lauda. The baglama is today a small bouzouki mostly used to mark the rhythm.
Portamento: A sliding up or down the string from one note to the next note. Fretless would suggest an instrument without frets, like the oud, and, hence, very smooth sliding.
Greek: coquette. I like Pynchon's description better, "a flame, a brilliant focus of cognizance."
Tha spáso koúpes
??? (Answer:) Like the text says, "I will smash all the glasses" (a more eastern (east of Greece)/Asia Minor sounding bellydance song).
Bastard plural (i.e., English -s grafted to singular) of a Greek word argilé or arghilé: water pipe, nargileh, hookah.
Breaded butter cookies made in various shapes, circles, braids, coils, figure eights, etc., with (possibly) a sesame seed sugar glaze. More than one recipe found searching the internet.
A face-to-face couple dance.
An exclamation of mercy, Turkish in origin. From online Glossary of Greek.
And a standard wail in the Greek rembetika songs - have mercy, baby!
Greek: As explained in the text - at that time, back then, back in the day.
bottom dead center of the European Question
In a rotary system like the crankshaft of an engine, angles and times are reckoned from one of two points: top dead center and bottom dead center. Bottom dead center occurs when the piston is at its lowest point and stationary for an instant.
Dervish boys? See later use.
Gabrovo is a city in northern central Bulgaria, 100 miles east of Sofia. Another AtD character named for his physique (like, e.g., Flaco = "slim" in Spanish).
Apropos of Flaco: This web site remarks on the number of people named Slim who were involved in the Mexican Revolution.
rembet (pl. rembetes): The most well-known name given a member of the Greek urban sub-culture of the early 20th century. Originally thought to derive from the Turkish, Stathis Gauntlet has presented an analysis that throws this into doubt. from: Online glossary of Greek Slang.
the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization
The Internal Macedonia Revolutionary Organization was a revolutionary political organization in the Macedonia and Thrace regions of the Ottomann Empire as well as in Bulgaria. It was founded in 1893 in Salonica by a group of Bulgarian exarchist from Macedonia. IMRO was active in Macedonia and Thrace at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. The stated goal of IMRO was to unite all elements dissatisfied with the Ottoman oppression for autonomy for the two regions and eventual unification with Bulgaria.
Gotse Deltchev or Delchev (1872-1903) was an important 19th century revolutionary figure in Macedonia. He was one of the leasders of IMRO. He was killed in the St. Ilya's Day (May 4, 1903) uprising against Turkish rule in Macedonia.
that short-lived 'Big Bulgaria' as it was before the Treaty of Berlin
At the end of the Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878), the Treaty of San Stefano (March 3, 1878) a 'Big Bulgaria' (or Greater Bulgaria) was formed. But four months later, it was divided by the Treaty of Berlin of July 13, 1878, into Principality of Bulgaria, East Rumelia, and the Macedonia. See page 690: the Macedonia Question.
Oh, I'm the Scarlet Pimpernel, now, is that it?
The Scarlet Pimpernel is a classic play and adventure novel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, set during the French Revolution. It first opened on 15 October 1903 at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal, in London; the character is an anonymous hero who, through a combination of courage and daring, has rescued many French aristocrats from the guillotine and brought them safely to England. Wikipedia entry
Tsoupra: Apparently an Albanian word for shepherdess that has passed into Greek. 'My shepherdess'. Bo Peep?
"you are my destiny"
The title of a 1958 Paul Anka hit. It reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100. A classic late fifties flame song, it is characterized by noirish piano and grandiose backing vocals as well as one of Anka's best vocal performances which adds undertones of menacing jealousy to what might otherwise have been a straightforward love ballad.
From this website:
- One of the reasons why the tavernas flourished was Salonica's insatiable appetite for music of all kinds. Before 1912, musical contacts with Istanbul had been very close, and musicians in the sultan's service used to give concerts at the Café Mazlum on the waterfront. "Spring in Salonica" ran one popular Judezmo song, "at Mazlum's café a black-eyed girl sings the amane and plays the oud." Music united all tongues and faiths. "There was not one Salonican who did not run to hear the voice of Karakas Effendi an elderly man, tall as a pine, his 75 years hidden in a black frock-coat was an Istanbul Jew who moved easily, like many musicians, between the café and the synagogue, challenging the cantors to see who could chant the blessings more beautifully."
dervisi (pl. dervisades): In Turkish, a dervish, member of the Mevlevi sect. In rembetika, -- a musical underworld -- used to denote a hash smoker.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church, deputy to a patriarch.
Constantinople. Its present name, Istanbul (Stambul), comes from the Greek phrase eis ten polin (είς την πολιν): into the City.
Dock area of Constantinople at the mouth of the Golden Horn, on the south (Stambul) side of that inlet.
Former English spelling of Stambul or Istanbul.
"...a gangster from Smyrna named Dhimitris..."
This seems to be a nod or link to Eric Ambler's classic spy/crime novel The Mask of Dimitrios. The novel follows the life of a man backwards from the time his body is washed up on a beach in Istanbul. The book bounces to and fro across Europe, especially around the Balkans, and involves espionage, the criminal underworld, massacres and warfare. (I wish I could be more specific but it's been years since I read it and I can't find my copy. I can't be certain of this association, but it seems like a given that Mr. Pynchon would be familiar with Ambler's book. Can anyone else help? Infanttyrone 14:38, 27 February 2010 (PST))
The Rayleigh-Jeans law says that the intensity of radiation emitted at any wavelength λ by a body at a temperature T is proportional to T/λ4. Jacintha, "carelessly radiant," is following the law into the short-wavelength region (small λ) where it does not apply. The failure of Rayleigh-Jeans in the ultraviolet or short-wavelength range—it predicts infinitely intense radiation, contrary to observation—is referred to as the Ultraviolet Catastrophe.
Geneva, New York
Bevis is referring to Geneva, Switzerland and New York, New York, but, as a silly aside, there is also a town upstate, Geneva, New York. It is located on the northern tip of Seneca Lake, the largest in area of the Finger Lakes. Ithaca, home of Cornell University, is on the southern tip of Cayuga Lake, the longest of the Finger Lakes. The two lakes are adjacent Finger Lakes. Geneva is the home of Hobart College for men (founded in 1822) and William Smith College for women (founded in 1908).
I am offended only by certain sorts of wallpaper
Allusion to a famous quote of Oscar Wilde's: "My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or other of us has got to go." Sometimes cited as his last words, it actualy dates to a month before he died in 1900 , . Cyprian's apparent spiritual transformation is continuing here; sarcastic as ever, he realizes the nature of love and the superficiality of materialism. One of his natures, the old or the new, the superficial "wallpaper", or the authentic self he is discovering, has to go. That he should voice this in a Wildean witticism is pure Cyprian.
The Light Over the Ranges
Against the Day
Rue du Départ