ATD 892-918

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

Page 892

The Bodeo was the Italian service pistol.

Coglione is Italian for testicle, literally. However, the word is also used figuratively, with the connotation of a foolishly annoying person, which the British might translate as "twit". I guess in American English you would translate it as dork.

Fashionable London district including the British Museum and University College London.

west of Regents Park
The huge park is in northern central London. To the west are Lisson, Paddington, Westbourne Green, Kensal Town and other districts. Parts of The Princess Casamassima are set in Lisson Grove.

Notably Lord's Cricket Ground is directly West of Regent's Park. Lord's is the home to the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), Middlesex County Cricket Club, the England & Wales Cricket Board, the European Cricket Council and until 2005 the International Cricket Council. Regarded as the "Home of Cricket" and hosting the world's oldest sporting museum, it is also where "the Ashes" of English cricket reside. The playing field features a substantial slope; the north-west side of the playing surface is 2.5 metres (8 ft 2 ins) higher than the south-east side. A weather vane of Old Father Time looks over the ground.

Page 893

taximeter cab
The taximeter is the device (mechanical in this context) that calculates passenger fares based on a combination of distance travelled and/or waiting time. It is the shortened form of this word that gives the "taxi" its name. The modern taximeter was invented by German Wilhelm Bruhn in 1891, and the Daimler Victoria, the world's first meter-equipped (and gasoline-powered) taxicab, was built by Gottlieb Daimler in 1897. Taximeters were originally mechanical and mounted outside the cab, above the driver's side front wheel. Meters were soon relocated inside the taxi, and in the 1980s electronic meters were introduced, doing away with the once-familiar ticking sound of the meter's timing mechanism.

Capitalized because at the time it was recognized as a proper name: from Sardou's play Fédora. Description, picture and history on Wikipedia. Another hat named after a play (because someone in the play wore such a hat) - the other being Trilby.

Italian-made pistol.

Peckham Rye
District in southeast London.

Perhaps of significance, perhaps not: site of Muriel Sparks' 1960 novel The Ballad of Peckham Rye, in which one character, around whom the action revolves, may or may not be the Devil, but who is certainly disruptive of normal middle class values.

Perhaps more pertinently where William Blake first had a vision of angels in 1767.

Most likely Nunhead Cemetery, one of the so-called "Magnificent Seven" Victorian cemeteries that encircle London. Nunhead Cemetery was consecrated in 1840.

Henry Newbolt
Sir Henry Newbolt (1862-1938) was an English author and poet.

"Vitaï Lampada"
Dally noting passages from the Newbolt poem quoted by Cyprian on page 813 and by Dr. De Bottle on page 236.

Works so titled commonly show Mary, the mother of Jesus, with his body after its removal from the cross.

Page 894

predators' wings
Western art mostly depicts angels with the wings of prey species, namely doves.

Angel of Death
This angel appears in V. and GR too.

Katie bar the door
Slang expression dating from the late 1800's meaning, Look out! (there's trouble headed this way so close and "lock" the door). For a possible etymology see: [1]

The story of 'Catherine Bar-the-Door', the lady who tried to protect the Scots King James by inserting her arm as a 'bolt' in the door was a standard item of the pop history they taught in Scottish schools back in the fifties (I was there!), like Bruce and the Spider, King Alfred and the Cakes, Washington and the cherry tree and so on. That surely must be the origin of the phrase.

Pegamoid traveler's satchel
Pegamoid: a fabric coated with plasticized nitrocellulose; used for early aircraft fuselages, convertible roofs and wallets. There is a Pegamoid Road in the borough of Enfield, London.

Page 895

capitalist temples . . . those of us who do
Is Dally a concrete being or an abstraction? Here she is flipping back and forth. She is very "concrete:" the reference is to a statue which she modeled for.

The Spirit of Bimetallism
Beautiful title: invented image for a perfectly spiritless policy.

I'm not so sure how "spiritless" the policy was; many less wealthy folks favored a more inflationary money policy, which bimetallism represented. For a contemporary political cartoon reflecting this, see [2]. -- After the Civil War, there was a decades-long debate about whether the US should keep silver as well as gold coinage, and whether the dollar should be pegged to gold (the "gold standard"). It was an issue important to the Populist Party and was the basis of William Jennings Bryan's "cross of gold" speech. For economic details, see [3].

L. Frank Baum's populist parable, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) also took up the call for bimetallism. In the book, the Ruby Slippers that transport Dorothy home are actually made of silver, echoing Bryan's call for the deliverance of the laboring classes through the "free coingage of silver." The golden Yellow Brick Road leads only to the big city but no deliverance. Whereas, "Your Silver Shoes will carry you over the desert.....If you had known their power you could have gone back to your Aunt Em the very first day you came to this country.". Glinda explains, "All you have to do is knock the heels together three times and command the shoes to carry you wherever you wish to go."

Like Dahlia, Dorothy can be said to represent The Spirit of Bimetallism.

Does bi-metallism parallel bi-location?

Note that as a child (p.27) Dahlia is called a helpless angel (Italics in original text).

And one that had turned to blood in the Colorado mines.

A bimetallic strip was the moving part in a thermostat.
Still is, but in context the word refers to a currency system based on both gold and silver.

In general, Pynchon is parodying the Late Victorian tendency of the plutes to glorify their activities by decorating their institutions with 'art' allegorizing them, for example sculptures of young ladies representing Commerce, Industry, Agriculture and so on... Dally can see the real living girls who've been fossilized into these figures.

French: girl sowing seeds.

the "semeuse" is referred to here as "classic" because she is the symbol of France: the shawl or hood is in fact a Phrygian cap (emblem of the French revolution) and the figure of the semeuse was ubiquitous on French coins and stamps throughout the XXth century.

Charlie Sykes
Charles Robinson Sykes was a sculptor who designed the hood ornament for Rolls Royce, called "The Spirit of Ecstasy." See also p. 1074.

Page 896

Three Choirs Festival
Three Choirs Festival, a British music festival held each August alternately at the cathedrals of Hereford, Gloucester and Worcester and originally featuring their three choirs.

Ralph Vaughan Williams
English composer, 1872-1958 [4]. He premiered the "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis" in 1910.

English seaside resort in East Sussex on the English Channel. Brighton enjoyed a disreputable reputation for clandestine romantic liaisons, not least due to the Prince Regent's Royal Pavilion, originally built to house the Prince and his mistress, Maria Fitzherbert.

cantores and decani
Cantoris (another print error in AtD?) is the side of a church choir occupied by the Cantor. In English churches this is typically the choir stalls on the north side of the chancel, although there are some notable exceptions, such as Durham Cathedral. The opposite side is known as Decani, the side of a church choir occupied by the Dean. In English churches this is typically the choir stalls on the south side of the chancel.

The theme is in the "modern" phrygian mode which, if one starts on the "e" note, consists of the notes e-f-g-a-b-c-d-e. You don't have to start on "e," but you must maintain the relationship of the intervals: half-step, whole-step, whole-step, whole-step, half-step, whole-step, whole-step.

very slowly Ruperta began to levitate...
Ruperta's levitation, caused or triggered by the Phrygian music she is hearing, has a Pythagorean precedent:

Pythagoras discovered that the seven modes — or keys — of the Greek system of music had the power to incite or allay the various emotions. It is related that while observing the stars one night he encountered a young man befuddled with strong drink and mad with jealousy who was piling faggots about his mistress' door with the intention of burning the house. The frenzy of the youth was accentuated by a flutist a short distance away who was playing a tune in the stirring Phrygian mode. Pythagoras induced the musician to change his air to the slow, and rhythmic Spondaic mode, whereupon the intoxicated youth immediately became composed and, gathering up his bundles of wood, returned quietly to his own home. From Pythagorean Theory of Music and Color

However, whereas in the Pythagoras story the Phrygian mode causes the young man to become agitated, in Ruperta's case, the effect is physically and spiritually uplifting. Moreover, Pythagoras' Phrygian mode is the ancient Greek Phrygian mode (d-e-f-g-a-b-c-d, what is called the Dorian mode today) not the "modern" one used by Thomas Tallis and, hence, Vaughn Williams. Also, Spondaic is a rhythmn, not a mode. The new mode Pythagoras asked the flutist to change to was the Hypophrygian (g-a-b-c-d-e-f-g).

Somehow, I alone, for every single wrong act of my life, must find a right one to balance it
Ruperta retuns to earth a Buddhist; her first step is to restore karmic balance in her life. If any music in the world could produce such a transformation, it is Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, heard in an English cathedral's acoustics. This, too, produces alternate histories.

That is one of the most elegant entries in this whole wiki.

Page 897

The unfilled white ground of a canvas, painted only with white primer. (It can be other than white, especially in Venetian painting.)

immoderate light-space . . . Dido Building Carthage
1815 painting in the National Gallery, London.

Page 898

West End
Area, centered roughly on Shaftesbury Avenue, where London legitimate theaters concentrate. British equivalent of Broadway.

Hebrew: good or worthy deed.

Wogs Begin at Wigan
Another classy theatrical offering from the producer of "Dagoes with Knives." Does TRP have a low opinion of theater?

The point being an allusion to jocularly racist expressions like "Wogs begin at Calais", i.e. where England stops. In this case, the northern English consider the southerners equally alien. Or perhaps vice versa.

Mr. Pynchon was spotted at a recent all-day production of Tom Stoppard's newest three-part play, The Coast of Utopia, not surprising perhaps.(2007) The Coast of Utopia is a trilogy about the origins of modern political radicalism in 19th century Russia. The central figures in the action are Michael Bakunin, Vissarion Belinsky, and Alexander Herzen. The work consists of three plays: "Voyage", "Shipwreck", and "Salvage". From wikipedia.
He seems only to have a low opinion of low plays, plays which manifest and feed our cultural stereotypes. MKOHUT 08:31, 15 June 2007 (PDT)

character juvenile
In a theater company the "juvenile" played a young, eligible man, counterpart to the ingenue. "Character" is almost an antonym for a stock player, having the ability to play many roles without limitation by physical type.

vocal range was half an octave
A song as simple as "Home on the Range" calls for a full octave of range. Half an octave is not much more than inflected humming.

Shaftesbury Avenue, the Strand, Haymarket, and Kings Way
The rough quadrangle bounded by these streets lies west of the City and includes Covent Garden, the Royal Opera House, the National Portrait Gallery and one entrance to Charing Cross railway station.

Kings Way is a typo; the thoroughfare in question is called Kingsway.

from Camberwell Green to Notting Hill Gate
Camberwell Green is in southeast London, Notting Hill Gate in the west central part of the area.

Scotch eggs
A delicacy Americans often just refuse to believe: a hard-boiled egg enrobed in sausage meat, coated in breadcrumbs and baked or deep-fried.

chip-shop newspaper
The newspaper traditionally used to wrap the fish and chips (US: French Fries); very greasy, naturally, but the only paper that may come to hand.

Page 899

laddered stockings
Britishism; in US parlance, stockings ruined by a run (producing a laddered effect).

beauties of photogravuredom
When newspapers used the gravure process, costs dictated they reserve it for pictorial material of special value, often publishing a separate section or even a magazine showing fashionably dressed women.

René Lalique (1860-1945) was one of the world's greatest glass makers and jewellery designers, renowned for his stunning creations of perfume bottles, vases, jewellery, chandeliers, clocks, and automobile hood ornaments.

Turkish railway intrigues
Refers to the international machinations among the Powers over the proposed (Berlin to) Baghdad Railway, in fact the Basra railway. Such a rail link would give Germany access to development of a large swath of the Ottoman Empire, and make possible a naval presence in the Persian Gulf, seen by Britain as a threat to routes to India in case of war. Britain and other states also worried, quite rightly, that the German rapprochement with the Ottomans could lead to army connections. From about 1911 German military advisors trained Ottoman officers, and in World War I the Ottoman Empire sided with Germany (which is why Australian troops were sent to die at Gallipoli).

Elsewhere in AtD there are references to the proposed routes for this rail network (routes through East Roumelia, the Orient Express route), which was eventually completed--the last link being put in place under Vichy France in Syria in 1940 [5].

The meaning within AtD of such a network, linking Europe and Asia, widens to potential links to Russian railways, e.g. the Trans-Caucasian Kit rides, and the Trans-Siberian; and via Palestine and Cairo, to Cecil Rhodes' proposed Cape to Cairo Railway. Add the recently completed Channel Tunnel and a recently proposed Bering Strait Tunnel, and there is a potential for a world-spanning network of steel rails, binding everywhere to everywhere--a 19th Century dream come true--and the old routes languish, as in Ostend.

From Turkish railway intrigues, Crouchmas had . . .
See pp. 237-239.

Page 900

North of the City of London and near the suggestively named Shoreditch.

Northumberland Avenue
Upscale street near Charing Cross and Scotland Yard.

in expensive déshabillé
Déshabillé is French: undressed. I.e., dressed (expensively) but not dressed to go out.

neglige — a loose dressing gown for women.

Oxfordshire, where the University of Oxford is located, is a county in the south-central of England.

Dally and Lew meet over lunch. Nice.

Moon, Sun
Which Dally held in her balance as the Spirit of Bimetallism, P.895. Silver Moon, Gold Sun.

Page 901

Madeleine Vionnet (June 22, 1876 - 1975) was a French fashion designer. Called the "Queen of the bias cut" and "the architect among dressmakers," Vionnet is best-known today for her elegant Grecian-style dresses and for introducing the bias cut to the fashion world. The bias cut and absence of padding allowed a new freedom of movement.


the giant crayfish clattered slowly out of the bathing-pool, and the dog began to bay
Lew's vision descibes the imagery on the Moon Tarot Card XVIII

the Dog Star Sirius, which ruled this part of the summer
A sky enigma (see the annotations to page 796 for another). In old beliefs, Sirius "ruled" late summer (the "Dog Days") by lining up with the Sun so that their heats added together. In this season Sirius and the Earth are on opposite sides of the Sun, so that you look toward the Sun and see Sirius near it and behind it; Sirius sets a little time before or after sunset rather than ascending throughout the evening.

I suggest it is worth the effort to seek a way this passage can be technically and thematically right. --Volver 14:44, 28 January 2007 (PST)

Page 902

playing now in 3/4, too fast to be called a waltz...
Disaster in 3/4 time--see P.809 and note. Once again the pace of movement toward the European Disaster is picking up; here again there is an echo of Ravel's chaotic La Valse.

Page 903

the King is the Kaiser's uncle
British Queen Victoria's eldest child, Princess Victoria, married Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia in 1857. Their eldest son became Germany's last Kaiser in 1888. When Queen Victoria died in 1901, her eldest son (second child), Prince Albert Edward, became King Edward VII.
It is interesting to know that through Queen Victoria's daughters, British King, German Kaiser and Russia Tsar were related. Queen Victoria's second daughter (third child), Princess Alice, had a daughter, Alix, who was the wife of Russia's last Tsar, Nicholas II.

rapid changes in Turkish politics
The Turkish oscillations between the other Powers, here principally England and Germany, the Berlin to Baghdad Railway being one among the issues at stake.

level of 'reality' at which nations, like money in the bank, are merged and indistinguishable
This rather cryptic line will take on more meaning on P.904, where there is reference to alternate historical possibilities (note the partial quotes around 'reality'), literally merging England and Germany, victor and vanquished in the First World War. This is also an Anarchist tenet, the equally evil nature of all governments.

It is the opposite of cryptic. It states clearly that all authoritative governments are based upon the same principles, much like money in the bank, which they interchange as amenably as loyal countrymen, the only difference being their loyalty is to no country in particular but rather to Countries in the universal sense, which allow them to separate the world into digestible pieces and consequently hold happily onto their individual plots.

St.Paul's Cathedral, London. The current St Paul's Cathedral is the fourth one to occupy its site on Ludgate Hill. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, it's first stone was laid in 1675 and the final stone was not laid until 1710. The height of St Paul's from the pavement to the top of the cross is 365 feet.

Page 904

A royal charter . . . illuminating gas
Ernest Augustus (1771-1851) was a younger son of British and Hanoverian King George III. In Britain he had a substantial military career and, as Duke of Cumberland, began to pursue a political one as well. His niece Victoria acceded to the British throne in 1837—the crown passing to her as heiress of an older son of George III—but Hanover's laws said a woman could not serve as monarch there, so the royal dynasty split. Ernest Augustus was named King of Hanover and occupied the throne until his death. He evidently used the name Ernst-August in Hannover.

(Göttingen, by the way, lay in this kingdom. Its university was founded by Ernest Augustus' great-grandfather George II.)

The tunnel in question would link Galloway in Scotland to Ulster in Ireland, burrowing under 20 miles of seabed in waters some 100 fathoms (over 150 m) deep. In 1837-51 it was laughably unfeasible, and indeed it would not become an economic proposition until over a century later. (From most parts of Britain it would be harder to get to Galloway than Ireland anyway.)

So the "charter" mentioned in the text was granted for an impossible project by a monarch who, our history tells us, had no jurisdiction in the countries affected. It is essential to read this bit of text in conjunction with the Grand Cohen's speculations on pages 230-231.

(What is suggested here is that the building houses files from alternate timelines, alternate histories,; or: from alternate Possibilities that collapsed into the certainty of a single timeline).

A railroad . . . East Roumelia
As in Mason & Dixon, another straight line cast across the land.

And part of the proposed German financed Berlin to Baghdad network outflanking Britain's sea routes, through some territory of doubtful and disputed sovereignty.

Or guilloché, a pattern of interlaced curved lines, most commonly seen on banknotes. These patterns were traditionally used for security printing purposes as a protection against counterfeit and forgery, as well as for decorating valuable objects such as Fabergé eggs and pocket watches.
Guilloché machines (alternately called geometric lathes, rose machines, engine-turners, and cycloidal engines) were first used for a watch casing dated 1624, and consist of myriad gears and settings that can produce many different patterns.

A deed . . . Buckinghamshire . . . east of Wolverton and north of Bletchley
Is it coincidence that this area contains the designed town of Milton Keynes? Bletchley has another resonance: Alan Turing worked during WWII at Bletchley Park, the center for British code-breaking.
Buckinghamshire is the eastern neighbor of Oxfordshire.


A real French colony in present-day Djibouti; sovereignty is not made clear by the Wikipedia entry. According to the 1911 Britannica (search on Obock and go to history), the French took formal possession of Obock in 1883 and were currently (1911) using it as a coaling station for warships and as a highroad to Abyssinia.

A Russian colony near Obock; another Wikipedia article.

Or Achinov: adventurer who sought in 1889 to establish the colony of Sagallo.

the archimandrite Païsi
Archimandrite: a ranking priest in the Orthodox Church. Païsi is the (Russian Orthodox) priest who is not named in the Wikipedia article on Sagallo.

Page 905

Architecture: a supporting column sculptured in the form of a draped female figure.

I think the point is that Dally is in the British Library (part of the British Museum). A copy of everything published had to be registered there, so there would be treaties and contracts of international importance - evidence of what Crouchmas had been up to. It was the largest building in Britain at the time (see Wikipedia article on British Library). So the simple fact that she's there makes Crouchmas suspicious. She's doing some 'investigative journalism' using 'public' sources that are hidden away unless you know where to look for them.

A lune is the surface formed by cutting a sphere with two planes each including the center.

Having the luster of pearl or mother-of-pearl.

Used figuratively (in this context): obscured (mental or moral perception)

Madame Entrevue
Mrs. Interview.

In its "journalistic" sense, "entrevue" is used only in French Canada (the French prefer the English term "interview"). Here, "entrevue" means "a concerted meeting". or it might take on the alternate meaning, "seen partially".

Page 906

Baz Zaharoff
Mentioned on page 557.

A sleeping car on a European railroad train.

but it's they who want to sell him something
Uh-oh. The device that Umeki took away is coming back.

Oh yes ... and there's more...

Page 907

condition of sin
Possible reference to the (perhaps hopeless) intertwining of spiritual and temporal quests, like the search for Shambhala. The seeking of knowledge seems hopelessly entwined with the seeking of power.

Turkish Delight
Turkish delight is a confection made from starch and sugar. It is often flavoured with rosewater and lemon, the former giving it a characteristic pale pink color... During his travels to Istanbul, an unknown Briton became very fond of the delicacy... and shipped them to Britain under the name Turkish Delight. It became a major delicacy in Britain. (Wikipedia)
Also, a memorable part of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe."

" I come, Constantinople."
Dally's chapter-ending remark is a reference to the chorus of "Constantinople," a popular recording by The Residents from their 1978 EP Duck Stab! Like Thomas Pynchon himself, The Residents have been famous since the early 70s yet the world knows little of their identity. Complete lyrics

Jpicco 16:46, 13 May 2007 (PDT)
- The Residents also had a later album called Wormwood, aka Tchernobyl, one of the explanations for the Tunguska event, cf. annotation to page 797

Page 908

what some were beginning to call Istanbul
See annotation to page 846.

An amusing bit of musical ephemera in this context: Istanbul (not Constantinople) performed by the Trevor Horn Orchestra, 
from Mona Lisa Smile OST

District in Istanbul somewhat west of Aya Sophia.

Byzantine schemes
Wonderful play on words. Constantinople was the capital of the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire until the Turkish conquest of 1453; any complex intrigue, said to be typical of the old and very sophisticated Empire, is called "Byzantine" in complexity. Here of course the schemes are both complex and, located in Constantinople, literally Byzantine. A good example of Pynchonian "Temporal Bandwidth"; this is a multicultural, multitemporal joke.

Imi and Ernö
Imi is the diminutive for Imre (Emery); Ernő (with double long accent) is the Hungarian equivalent for Ernest.

Szeged is a city in southern border of Hungary, a major center of paprika production.

Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits et des Grands Express Européens (the International Sleeping-Car Company and Great European Expresses). Originally, the company deployed sleeping- and dining-cars in Europe, similar to the Pullman company in the US. The company deployed the first sleeping and dining cars for long-distance train travel in Europe. In 1883 the company started with a service to Constantinople called the Orient Express [6]. The train followed several routes in its storied history ([7]). Kit and Dally are both on the luxury Wagons-Lits version, running by way of Vienna and Budapest [8]. The European sections of the route were as much subject to political machinations as the proposed Ottoman Empire continuations on to Baghdad and beyond.

Page 909

Zaharoff úr
Hungarian: Mr. Zaharoff.

Hungarian: chief, boss. Also a slangish form of address, showing friendly intentions to a (male) stranger.

Page 910

Hungarian: pardon!

Quick thinking, but she may not be flattered. The genus Euphorbia comprises the spurges, large-leafed plants with milky sap. Yes, and perhaps the best known Euphorbia is the poinsettia, euphorbia pulcherrima, which has large red (like Dally's hair) flowers (pic). (The red flowers combined with its green leaves make it a popular plant around Christmas time). The poinsettia is beautiful and pulcherrima means most beautiful, so she may be flattered.

chef de brigade
French: crew chief.

Hungarian: the complicated card game klaberjas or "klob." Kalábriász is a more common spelling.

Porta Orientalis
The Eastern Gate Pass in the Southern Carpathians (Transylvanian Alps), complete with railway tunnel, connecting historical Translyvania with the Danubian Plain in Walachia (southern Romania).

Széchenyi-Tér tramline
Széchenyi tér is a central city square in Szeged, where the first tramline (electric streetcar) was inaugurated in 1908. Recall Merle Rideout's work with streetcars.

Town 70 miles southeast of Budapest on the route to Szeged.

Page 911

the invisible city ahead of him gripping him ever more surely in its field
Istanbul (was Constantinople...) is another city, like Venice, with enormous Temporal Bandwidth. Ancient, multicultural, politically and historically complex, it (its "field"?) grips Kit as Venice gripped Dally. It is, in fact historically connected to Venice (two poles of the medieval Mediterannean) by trade and competition. Venice had a hand in the destruction of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade in 1204-5; Venetian mercenaries were among its last defenders in the Turkish siege of 1453.

Galata Tower
Galata Tower, one of Istanbul's most striking landmarks, is located on the Galata side of the Golden Horn. Genoese traders built it in 1348, with a height of 220 ft the tallest structure when built.

Eminönü, a district of Istanbul, is the heart of the walled city of Constantine, the focus of a history of incredible richness and a seaport.

the Sultan's threatened counterrevolution
April 1909.

Pera Palace
Pera Palas Hotel in Galata district of Istanbul was originally founded in 1892 for the specific purpose of hosting passengers arriving on the Orient Express. Room 411 of the hotel is now preserved as "Agatha Christie Room" because it was said Agatha Christie wrote Murder on the Orient Express in that room.

the Committee of Union and Progress
The Committee of Union and Progress (C.U.P.), an umbrella political organization, was found in 1906 by various underground revolutionary factions with the common goal of disolving the Ottoman Empire. It came to power between 1908 and 1918.

Cf page 557: Balkan komitadji.

Viktor Mulciber
Cf page 557: Viktor Mulciber.

Page 912


air show in Brescia last year
The competition took place in September 1909.

pilots like Calderara and Cobianchi
Mario Calderara (1879-1944) and Mario Cobianchi (1881-1944), Italian pioneers of aviation. For an eerie foreshadowing of Inconvenience and the Campanile, look at the photo near the middle of this page.

A Turkish tavern.

A "politissa" is "a woman from Constantinople (Istanbul)." See this article.

Page 913

the promise . . . year before last
So the promise and Dally and Kit's goodbye took place in 1908?

Grand-Hôtel Tisza
Named for the Tisza River.

Hungarian: new wedded couple (literally). The formation is perfect but there is no such compound word in common usage; seems to be a calque for "newlyweds"

Varosi Színház
Hungarian: Municipal Theater. The correct spelling should be Városi.

Béla Blaskó . . . from Lugos
In the same way that a man from Miskolc took the name Miskolci, this successful actor in another life will take a new stage name. Born in 1882, his full name was Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó. If you haven't figured out who he would become after crossing the Atlantic, read here[9]

Page 914

Diminutive for István (Stephen).

Hungarian: fisherman soup.

In Romanian, Timişoara, in Transylvania, another political football in 19th and early 20th century politics; reinforces the Bela Lugosi reference. - In the strict sense Temesvár/Timişoara does not belong to Transylvania proper but to Banat, a particularly multi-ethnic region between the Danube and the southernmost reaches of the Carpathians. Under Habsburg rule it was a garrison town with mostly German population, and in 1989 it was the birthplace of the Romanian revolution.

The Burgher King
I.e., middle-class.

Also, of course, a play on the fast food chain, similar to the character Muller Hoch-Leben (MIller High Life) in GR.

Interplay between the aristocracy and the middle (or lower) classes was a central theme in the Austro-Hungarian operetta of the age, with titles like Prince Bob, Baroness Lili, Countess Marica, the Count of Luxemburg, the Princess of Circus, and last but not least, the Queen of Csárdás, a perennial classic.

Comic German name: a shlep from shlepville.

Machen wir . . . nichts kaufen
German: Let's go for a window-shopping stroll; / Put on something fiddly (or fancy). / In streets and lanes let's just run— / Stare at everything but don't buy anything.

In addition, the German here is not correct. The second line should read "Überwirf Dir irgendeinen Fummel" or "Wirf Dir einen Fummel über", or something like that.

Page 915

molto agitato
Italian musical direction: highly agitated.

Hungarian: street.

So super-ficially deep...Good time girl from the K and K
The plot is a mash-up of countless operettas. As far as "good time girls, superficially deep": at this point (1900-1910) the art and literature of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was replete with complicated women in complicated relationships (cf. the paintings of Gustav Klimt, the stories of Robert Musil, Stefan Zweig; not to mention Sigmund Freud's case histories, particularly "Dora"); mistresses and prostitutes did figure heavily as well.

K and K (k.u.k) stands for kaiserlich und königlich, imperial (Austrian) and royal (Hungarian).

The lyrics resemble (maybe by accident, maybe not) one of the all-time operetta hits, "Girls are angels", basically about flirtation and extramarital sex with chorus girls, from The Queen of Csárdás (see note to The Burgher King on page 914). The song is traditionally performed "wearing a silk hat at a rakish angle", and contains "superficially deep" lines like "here all existence is just an appearance / here everyone is allowed to play a role".

(the passage reads like a very Pynchonian take on the whole tradition, in a way comparable to "The Courier's Tragedy" in "Lot 49".)

Page 916

"that piece of business where he bites old Heidi's neck, what was that all about?
Nod to the actor's (who would rename himself Bela Lugosi, see page 913) future defining role of Dracula. Lugosi first played the famous vampire on Broadway in 1927 before scaring movie audiences to death in 1931. When Dally adds "Something they do in these parts?", she unknowingly refers to the long tradition of belief in vampirism in the Balkans, especially in Transylvania (modern day Romania).

up the river
The Tisza.

Town east of Budapest.

Lake Balaton
Long narrow lake in west central Hungary, with reputedly the finest beaches in Central Europe. Popular holiday resorts.

Pragersko in present-day Slovenia.


Town on the southern shore of Lake Balaton.

Page 917

A gaff-rigger is a boat or ship with gaff-rigged sails. Gaff-rigged denotes a fore-and-aft sail bent to a mast, to a boom at the lower edge, and to a gaff (inclined spar) extending from the mast at the top.

Hungarian: zanders synonymous with (Lucioperca lucioperca or sandra). The correct spelling is fogasok, without an accent.

Page 918

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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