- Please keep these annotations SPOILER-FREE by not revealing information from later pages in the novel.
- 1 Page 919
- 2 Page 920
- 3 Page 921
- 4 Page 922
- 5 Page 923
- 6 Page 924
- 7 Page 925
- 8 Page 926
- 9 Page 927
- 10 Page 928
- 11 Page 929
- 12 Page 930
- 13 Page 931
- 14 Page 932
- 15 Page 933
- 16 Page 934
- 17 Page 935
- 18 Page 936
- 19 Page 937
- 20 Page 938
- 21 Page 939
- 22 Page 940
- 23 Page 941
- 24 Page 942
- 25 Page 943
- 26 Page 944
- 27 Page 945
- 28 Annotation Index
Holy Week is the last week of Lent, the week immediately preceding Easter Sunday.
Places the action somewhere between April 9 - 15, 1911.
Frank was also in Mexico (Guanajuato) during la Semana Santa back on p.377.
Madero's force at Casas Grandes
Francisco Madero (1873-1913) was a Mexico's liberal political leader. He denounced President Porfirio Diaz and headed an armed revolt to overthrow Diaz's dictatorship in November, 1910. In a span of six months, Madero was successful and Diaz was forced to resign and fled to France in exile, while Madero was elected president in November, 1911. In 1913, Madero was overthrown by his own general, Victoriano Huerta, and murdered.
On March 5, 1911, during the Mexican Revolution, Madero led his forces to attack in Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, but was defeated.
the recent battle
Battle of Casas Grandes, March 5, 1911, defeat for Madero's army in the Mexican Revolution.
something like a city after dark
Like the White City, which he never saw.
¿qué tal, amigo?
Spanish: What's up, my friend?
Spanish: don't you?
José de la Luz Blanco
Colonel, later general, in Madero's revolutionary forces.
Spanish: pleased to meet you.
A strong worsted or cotton fabric made of hard-twisted yarns with a diagonal cord or rib pic.
Adiós, mi guapo
Spanish: goodbye, my lady's man (handsome dude).
Spanish: glasses, cups.
Krupp mountain gun
Picture and text.
Laudanum is an alcoholic tincture of opium; paregoric, a camphorated tincture of opium.
Waving the bloody shirt, as a political tactic, dates back at least 1300 years. The demagogue compels listeners to a desired action by citing a wrong they cannot ignore or forgive.
Bolsón de Mapimí
See p.395: Bolsón de Mapimi
cf. page 376.
...the mysterious ruins thought to have been built by refugees fleeing from their mythical homeland of Aztlan up north.
An interesting anacronism here. From this website, we learn that
- At first, because of its Pueblo-like architecture, Paquime [aka Casas Grandes] had been regarded as a sort of southern extension of the ancient Pueblo world. But Charles Di Peso's excavations in the 1950's raised a "storm of controversy," revealing pyramid platforms mounds, ball-courts, and macaw breeding pens, leading him to conclude that what he had found was a major Mesoamerican "Gateway City," a 14th century urban trading center from whence Mesoamerican prestige items (macaw feathers, marine shells, copper bells) were exported to the American Southwest, bringing "higher" Mesoamerican culture with them.
So it seems that at the time Wren Provenance would have been part of a "semi-official" Harvard dig at Casas Grandes, the original inhabitants wouldn't have been considered to be from Aztlan, unless they are (gasp!) Trespassers/visitors from the future. And on page 930, this is supported.
Also, Pynchon seems to subscribe here to the theory that the actual geographical location of Aztlan was somewhere in what is now the southwestern United States. He refers to Aztlan being "up north" of Casas Grandes. This theory, held by some, seems to contradict a well-established consensus among scholars that these areas were inhabited by North American Indians who, as opposed to Aztecs, left enough artifacts in these areas to document their existence there, and that Aztlan would have been closer to Central Mexico.
This exodus from Aztlan may be an alternate history from a parallel world.
tetas de muñeca
pinga de títere
Frank found himself in a strange yet familiar City [...] nobody but the most senior Astrologers even being allowed to view the sky.
An amazing sentence, perhaps the longest in the novel (more than a page in length), reminiscent of the opening dream sequence or that evensong service in Gravity's Rainbow a hallucinogenic cinematic pan. Awesome!
Amazing indeed, and a brilliant Kerouac pastiche?
Cf page 376: tlachiqueros.
Play on Illuminati, the Illuminated Ones, but the Hallucinati are lit by indigenous cacti and such.
Spanish: time for strolling.
These bear some similarity to the infamous "Tijuana Bibles" of the 20th century.
The annotation to page 851 defines the machine used for communication; here "heliograph" is an image produced by the action of sunlight. See this remarkable page titled "The First Photograph."
Nicephore Niepce invented the process which used the very limited sensitivity of bitumen of Judea to light to create an image.
The Journey from Aztlan
Journey to Ixtlan, by Carlos Castaneda, was the third book in a trilogy popular among the counterculture in the late 1960's and early 1970's. The main themes are Mexican Indian spirituality and alternative realities. Peyote-induced hallucinations constituted a significant part of the author's "Journey".
city not yet come into being
Like an Aztlan alternate, an Aztlan never conquered by Cortez, developing without European influence beyond 1500 AD--what would such a mesoamerican culture look like?
a little light reading
Note the pun. Frank's reading "pamphlets ... hand-tinted heliographs in luminescent violets" (from p. 925) Wren hands him "the exact same periodical"
Notice trespassers, non-capitalized, linked with beasts with wings--and gringos!-- we have seen earlier.
The biplane slowly became visible
From Freudenthal's How Aviation “Firsts” Took Place in Mexico (1945):
"Although, at the beginning of the year 1911, there was practically no aviation in Mexico ... the events taking place in and over Mexico clearly foreshadowed the future importance of this weapon ... in February, 1911, Charles K. Hamilton ... took off from El Paso and flew to Ciudad Juarez, circling twice above the latter city. It was then held by the forces of the Mexican General Navarro. The soldiers, Hamilton reported, showed great fright when he appeared in the skies, running frantically for shelter. Then Roland Garros ... flew his monoplane over the same route, but at an altitude greater than Hamiton’s 900 feet. The following day Rene Simon flew directly over the camp of the insurrectionist General Orozco. These were the first scouting flights of an airplane under actual war conditions" (emphasis mine).
Is the biplane on ATD p. 927 Hamilton’s flight? Here are the clues:
- What: the first wartime use of a plane for scouting (not long before aerial WWI combat)
- When: Feb. 1911
- Where: Ciudad Juarez at 900 feet over General Navarro's troops
Here is more on Hamilton, including pictures of his planes (Garrow and Simon are also have pages on this site).
The harsh hum filled the valley. Everybody looked up. The biplane slowly became visible...It might be bringing anything, to a degree of unpleasantness unknown so far in modern warfare,...
This passage reminds me of a scene in the motion picture Lawrence of Arabia (1962): A harsh hum fills a desert valley. Lawrence of Arabia and Colonel Brighton look up and see a pair of Turkish biplanes slowly weaving through the valley to bomb an Arab encampment. Brighton disparages the Arabs for not following his advice to move out of range of the Turkish forces: "They simply will not understand what modern weapons do!"
...able to sit a horse again,...
Is this a typo? Should be "able to sit on a horse again" maybe? dlb 15:28, 7 June 2009 (PDT)
- Nope, western or horseman lingo, think of it like "sit a'horse" or to stand astride. (Of course, you'll get farther on a horse than on a stride.)
outside chance of saving his soul
Frank must become aware, by developing a historical sense. Pynchon goes beyond his concept of Temporal Bandwidth (in V.), the ability to experience the history of a place and imagine future consequences, to live simultaneously in past, present and future, to (if we agree Frank's vision took him to an alternate Aztlan) the ability to do so and to envision and in some sense inhabit alternate histories. Frank is a typical American, from a place whose history began yesterday; such an ability would save any American's soul.
They were not about to be caught twice
i.e. not like the Mesa Verde people along the McElmo.
Mormons did settle in the desert southwest, and proselytized among the Pueblos, Navajo and other groups. In 1911, Hopi adherents and traditionalists fought a brief civil war, permanently splitting the group between those remaining at the Mesas and those now settled at Tuba City, AZ.
the cruel country of the invaders, the people with wings, the serpents who spoke, the poisonous lizards who never lost a fight
Are these the Trespassers? This also sounds like the Tatzelwurm. Was the Tatzelwurm a Trespasser?
"The professors she works for return in September to the other side..."
Aha, no wonder these professors "under semi-office Harvard auspices" know about the Casas Grandes/Aztlan connection which arose in the 1950s, but they're digging in the summer of 1911! They're from "the other side" visitors/Trespassers from the future!
- Er, I don't know about that. Seems more like "the other side" is the US-Mexico border.
Because they are using Yashmeen's roulette system; see pages 862-3 and annotations.
Cf page 891: Biarritz.
Coastal city in France, on the shore of the Bay of Biscay.
Inland city in France, east of Biarritz.
Aix-les-Bains, pronounced EKS-lay-ban, is a city in southeastern France. (Bains = baths.) The name Yz, probably pronounced like eece but just possibly like the letter Y or Wise, may be an allusion to that. But here are a couple of odd things. (1) Although it is too high in the mountains to be "near the foothills," there is a ski resort called Ax-les-Thermes (Thermes = hot springs). And (2) scattered through the French foothills are a number of places whose names are letters of the alphabet: Ercé (R.C.), Port de l'Oo (O.), Les Eaux (O.), St. Béat (B.A.) and the excessively high peak Cembras d'Azè (A.Z., almost). There may be an intricate game of hide-the-spa going on here.
Possibly because: if Aix=X, we have a real X(-les bans) and a YZ(-le-bans); these are the coordinates, x,y,z. It is "carefully hidden", and as described on this and the following pages resembles the ideal Anarchist Collective of our (and Pynchon's) hippie dreams, ca. 1970. If Riemann functions are involved (see P. 937 and note), Y and Z may be coordinates involving imaginary numbers, fitting for the Edenic commune first referred to on P.372-373: "a place promised them, not by God, which'd be asking too much of the average Anarchist, but by certain hidden geometries of History, which must include, somewhere, at least at a single point, a safe conjugate to all the spill of accursed meridians, passing daily, desolate, one upon the next."
French: mountain stream, torrent.
Veterans of the Cataluñan struggle
Probably referring to the Spanish Secession War the struggle of Catalonia (Spanish: Cataluña) for independence from Spain and France when Cataluña was defeated.
"near one of the foci of the ellipse"
yet another interesting mathematical metaphor: an ellipse (from the Greek ἔλλειψις, literally absence) is a locus of points in a plane such that the sum of the distances to two fixed points is a constant. The two fixed points are called foci (singular- focus). An alternate definition would be that an ellipse is the path traced out by a point whose distance from a fixed point, called the focus, maintains a constant ratio less than one with its distance from a straight line not passing through the focus, called the directrix. 
counter-Te Deum, more desperamus than laudamus
Latin: more "we despair" than "we praise."
A Te Deum is a hymn of praise to God, a sort of thanksgiving for a specific blessed event. It is also known as Te Deum Laudamus (latin: "we praise Thee God"). Therefore a counter-Te Deum would imply complaining about/to God.
I'm not in disguise...
The hippie dream: turn on, tune in, drop out. But bring your skills. People did, as described here.
Sophrosyne is Greek, used in philosophy: moderation, moral sanity.
the old dutch
Rhyming slang: Duchess of Fife = wife.
treacle-and-brown-paper arrangement such as burglars use
One of P.G. Wodehouse's stories gives a good summary. You want to break a windowpane without lacerating yourself and waking everybody in the house. Get some treacle (molasses, syrup) and brown wrapping paper. Smear the window with the treacle and stick the paper to it. Rap the paper smartly. The glass fractures but doesn't fall out. (But is this correct or the fantasy of some crime writer?)
Containing milk protein, salts and phosphates, these were/are made as dog rations and as biscuits for babies and adults. Adults use them as a quick snack when hiking, etc. Ernest Shackleton used them (see second full paragraph) during the British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1909.
1852 U.K. prison in Islington, North London. Female only inmates since 1902.
brooch of honor designed by Sylvia Pankhurst
An honour medal for imprisonment was awarded to Emmeline Pankhurst, founder of the suffragettes, by the Women's Social and Political Union, Pankhurst was arrested in 1908 after she called on supporters to disrupt Parliament. The medal is inscribed with the date of her arrest and Holloway prison, where she was held. (Interestinigly,the medal was recently put up for sale .
Ratty, having tracked rumors and attended to messages...found his way to a secret path...
The way their cheerful menage was founded and how it is structured and worked is reminiscent of the Findhorn Foundationin Scotland, and Esalen in Big Sur, both founded while Pynchon was finishing V in 1962. For that matter, golf is common to all three places. Esalen co-founder Michael Murphy has written several books on mystical golf, calling the game "western yoga" and a "mystery school for Republicans."
The movie Caddyshack spoofs on this theme ... "Be..be the ball, Danny."
And especially Bill Murray in this classic scene as Carl Spackler...
So I jump ship in Hong Kong and make my way over to Tibet, and I get on as a looper at a course over in the Himalayas. A looper, you know, a caddy, a looper, a jock. So, I tell them I'm a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald... striking. So, I'm on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one - big hitter, the Lama - long, into a ten-thousand foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga... gunga, gunga-galunga. So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.
John McTaggart Ellis McTaggart
He is best known today for writing "The Unreality of Time" (published 1908).
May I suggest that with a name like that you get deja vu by the time you finish reading it!
Such 'doubling' in his name is very Icelandic sparring, metaphorically speaking, of course.
A room for seniors at a college or university where they can enjoy TV, pool, ping pong, conversation, wine, dessert, etc.
A light cannon or howitzer (42 mm) packed on two mules, or a rapid-fire 37 mm cannon. Both were in service at the time of the action, but after some 30 years on the market neither was a novelty.
The Industrial Workers of the World, known popularly as The Wobblies. Their slogan was "One Big Union". The organization still exists ; it is currently (2007) organizing Starbucks baristas, among many other projects. Significantly, The IWW was founded in Chicago in June 1905 at a convention of two hundred socialists, anarchists, and radical trade unionists from all over the United States (mainly the Western Federation of Miners) who were opposed to the policies of the American Federation of Labor. The "Wobbly Shop" refers to the grass-roots democracy methods for running industry .
A legacy, one finds, of these ancient all-male structures
A complaint about womens' roles in the Civil Rights and Peace movements of the 1960s, one factor that led to the emergence at that time of the modern feminist movement.
One woman participant in the 1968 Columbia student strike explained: "The men made revolution and the women made coffee."
A "guttie" golf ball has a solid gutta-percha core [ See page 403 annotation ]; gutta-percha cores were invented in 1848. Modern golf balls have cores of titanium compounds, hybrid materials, softer shells and a more pressurized core. "Brambled" golf balls have hemispherical bumps molded into the surface to improve aerodynamics when the ball spins, the exact opposite of dimples which is what the surface of modern golf balls has. A brambled golf ball (sometimes called a Cayman ball) is specifically designed to fly true, but short. It is used on particularly short golf courses where space is at a premium. The brambles help it fly a trajectory that a normal golf ball would so that hooks and slices, fades and draws are possible.
A mathematical operation that "maps" a relation from one domain to another.
Here, "Belgian Congo" maps to "Balkan Penninsula". By 1912, everyone at Yz-le-Bans would be familiar with Conrad's Heart of Darkness, if not with other descriptions of the atrocities of exploitation of indigenous people in Congo. The conversation here and to follow describes the dawning realization of the imperialist exploitation of Eastern Europe by European powers. (Zora Neale Hurston famously commented that Hitler did in Europe what Europeans had been doing in Africa for a century. Cf. The Hereros sections in V.). It begins with railroads and "other straight line" constructions.
The themes of ATD might also "map" to current events in another warzone, where a contemporary Great Game is being played out.
common in dreams
Such as Frank's and Reef's. And/or, dreams require interpretation.
"The rail lines come into it as well, it's all like reading ancient Tibetan or something..."
The role of railroads in rationalizing the magic out of the world and exploiting it have been made clear repeatedly, and their extension to all corners of Asia is exemplified by Kit's and Frank's journeys. We know the strange seal on the AtD cover reads "Tibetan Chamber of Commerce". As Pynchon was writing AtD, China was completing its railroad to Tibet, now open.
self-inflicted Anarchist bomb casualties
In current chapter's context, possibly another 1960's reference, this time to the Greenwich Village (NY) townhouse explosion caused by a Weather Underground bomb manufacturing operation.
a bold horizontal line
Again, a straight line imposed on natural terrain spells trouble.
certain disagreeable events, attributed to 'Germany', are scheduled to occur
This appears to be a map of time, not just of space, and perhaps of alternate historical possibilities.
the weight of a tank
Um, battle tank development did not begin until 1915.
A hand lens used for close examination of objects pic.
instead of real against imaginary values
Suggesting that on this map of time, what is supposedly imaginary is in some way real. Perhaps real in the sense we can learn from it? Real until we reduce the possibilities to a single reality by acting?
The southern province of Congo.
persistent long-standing nightmare
McHugh's scenario for the beginning of the World War.
Having failed to learn the lessons of that now mythical time...
That is, of the recently past Bosnian Crisis. Ratty now proposes yet another possible Balkan scenario leading to General European War.
Both the German Kaiser and the Russian Tsar took their titles from the name Cæsar.
Cf page 495: zadruga, labor cooperative.
Central governments were never designed for peace.
The Anarchist Randolph Bourne wrote in 1919, 'War is the health of the State.'
The forms of 20th century totalitarianism were unknown in 1912.
- Yes. But "that would rise up afterward, from the swamp of the ruined Europe."
Cf page 690: das Interdikt.
Nineteenth century pseudoscience that, oddly, was correct in one big idea and incorrect in all the small ones. Neuroscience in the 19th century believed all parts of the brain were totipotent, able to process any kind of information or carry out any mental function. Phrenologists correctly held that different parts of the brain carried out different and specialized functions. (Unfortunately, they also mapped these functions completely fancifully, and linked them to a series of palpable landmarks on the skull, which could be read as a pattern of mental capabilities ). Cyprian's quip suggests the modern Gaia hypothesis, which treats the Earth as a total conscious organism, would have to deal with the idea that some parts of the planet are more specialized. Niall Ferguson, in The War of the World: Twentieth Century Conflict and the Descent of the West (Penguin Press, 2006) more plausibly points out that the early 20th century Balkans fulfills his three demonstrated conditions for becoming a conflict flashpoint: (1) Multi-ethnic population (2) location at the border of a failing empire (3) economic volatility.
relax into his fate
Cyprian again reacting as a Buddhist, following karma.
What Sleepcoat refers to is the Medieval/Modern Lydian mode (the white keys of the piano played from F to F). As with the Phrygian mode discussed in the wiki entry on page 896, there are two Lydian modes, the ancient Greek and the Medieval/Modern, although both modes in Against the Day refer to the medieval/modern Lydian. The "forbidden note" is the note that makes a tritone (three whole steps above the tonic). In jazz, this is often referred to as a "sharp eleven" (the 11th is the 4th degree of a scale when it is played in a chord that includes a dominant (flatted) seventh). The Beatles' "Blue Jay Way" is in the Lydian mode. Wikipedia on the Tritone.
"Exactly--it's this B natural," banging on it two or three times. "Should be flatted. Once it was actually a forbidden note, you know..."..."The interval which our unflatted B makes with F was known to the ancients as 'the devil in the music'..."
On Sept. 9, 2003, it was announced that astronomers using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory found evidence of sound waves (transmitted by the surrounding gas) emitted by a supermassive black hole. In musical terms, the pitch of the sound generated by the black hole translates into the note B flat, 57 octaves lower than middle-C. The vibrations explain why the gas shell surrounding black holes does not cool .
So the forbidden note in the Lydian mode, not found, Sleepcoat thinks avoided, in Balkan music, draws attention to a fundamental astrophysical property (a Music of the Spheres). Or to the fact that it "should be flatted", i.e. there is a fundamental half-tone difference in the universe as it is and as it mathematically should be.
'the devil in music' aka "diabolus in musica" (see the "tritone" entry above), is a name supposedly given to that unholy musical interval during the middle ages. Maybe because of its "evil" connotation (and its really cool name), the tritone has been used extensively in heavy metal music. One of the great masters of the tritone was the late great Denis "Piggy" d'Amour of famed québécois thrash-metal band Voïvod, which intrestingly enough, is a slavic titlet which translates as "prince" or, in Dracula's case, "count".
Orpheus, since the 6th century BC, was considered one of the chief poets and musicians of antiquity, and the inventor or perfector of the lyre. He is also the only mortal who's literally been to Hell and back.
The Orphic myth is often referenced throughout AtD. One of the interesting versions of this classic story is Jean Cocteau's film "Orphée" , in which the title character crosses mirrors to get to the other side (there's something very iceland sparic about that). Also of note: in Cocteau's movie, Orpheus becomes obsessed with garbled (coded) radio broadcasts he hears on his car radio, which seem to emanate, again, "from the other side".
Town near Pau.
Revolutionary government in Paris for two months in 1871.
...accosting local peasantry and urging them to sing or play something their grandparents had sung or played to them.
Anachronistic, possibly, but it's impossible not to think of Michael Redgrave's character in the Hitchcock espionage classic The Lady Vanishes, traveling through the fictional mountainous, politically volatile nation of 'Bandrika', recording folk music and dances. He gets mixed up in a plot to smuggle military secrets out of the country as well as becoming romantically entangled with a frantic Margaret Lockwood. Included are two cricket-obsessed British ninnies who become suddenly capable and astute when danger appears...
Bartók and Kodály in Hungary
Béla Bartók (1881-1945) wrote music influenced in part by the Hungarian (Magyar) folk songs he collected after 1905. Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967) incorporated some such music into works such as the "Dances of Marosszék."
Canteloube in the Auvergne
Many songs Joseph Canteloube (1879-1957) collected found their way into his "Chants d'Auvergne."
Vaughan Williams in England
Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was one of a small corps of collectors in Britain. A highlight of his output is the "English Folk Song Suite" for military band. His "Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis" is discussed on page 896.
Eugénie Lineff in Russia
Publishing under this French form of her name, Evgeniya Lineva or Linyova (1853/4-1919) brought out collections of Russian and Ukrainian folk songs.
Hjalmar Thuren in the Farøe Islands
Danish musicologist Thuren (1873-1912) collected in the Farøes, East Greenland and elsewhere.
a commonwealth of the oppressed
Such a commonwealth might require the kind of transcendence of desire Cyprian is embarked upon.
But they have the Map--they just can't yet read it.
utopian dreams...defective forms of time travel
Fiction is an escape into Possibility, alternate histories; clearly a reflexive reference to AtD itself. One way to formulate this is to consider fiction, the Imaginary, another coordinate axis for the universe, like the three dimensions of space and the fourth of time. The imaginary/fictional affects reality, the choices made in the realm of the other four axes, by way of consciousness (thought and desire). Utopian dreaming is a "defective" form in that it is not along a "real" axis of travel, or perhaps because it can only affect choices in the other four axes via defective human consciousness.
- Utopian dreams are also a kind of time-travelling in two directions. In the obvious sense, the utopian is dreaming of a perfect future where everything is the way he/she thinks it should be. But utopian visionaries also have a habit of reinventing the past in their own image: once, in some Golden Age, things were like this... Feminists like to believe in some peaceful matriarchal society of the past before things went wrong. Wicca practitioners believe they're following 'the old religion', yet the whole idea of witchcraft as a widespread 'religion' was invented by the witch persecutors and the neo-witches of the 20th century. And of course the classic utopian vision of the past is the Garden of Eden. You invent a past that mirrors the future you want to see.
we make our journies out there in the low light of the future, and return to the bourgeois day and its mass delusion of safety
Thematic. Another interpretation of "against the day"? The idealist anarchist "utopian dream" against the materialist capitalist "bourgeois day."
untouched by cause and effect...points were thrown one by one like a magician forcing a card on spectators...
Action collapses Possibility into Actuality in one formulation of the quantum universe; a reprise of Yashmeen's departure from Vienna.
Cf page 705: Zagreb. Capital of Croatia.
Usually "Belgrade" in English. Capital of Serbia, later of Yugoslavia.
There's ever such a nice panatela right here
Allusion to the famous apocryphal remark attributed to Sigmund Freud: "Sometimes a cigar is only a cigar." Not at all: this time a cigar (a nice panatela) is definitely not a cigar.
Craven A is a brand of English-style flavor cigarette which is made in both Canada and in Jamaica.
Funny little innuendo laden exchange between Reef and Cyprian. Reef wants a chubby cigar (cheroot), Cyprian offers his own panatela (one of the slimmest cigars available) and Reef replies that what he is offering isn't even the size of a cigarette (Craven A). This is not the first time Pynchon alludes to the diminutive size of Cyprian's appendage.
A massé shot in billiards involves driving the cue down onto the white ball so that a steep curve or complete reversal of cue ball direction is obtained without the necessity of any rail or object ball being struck.
Cf page 690: Sofia. Capital of Bulgaria.
Bulgarian: Central (railway) Station.
Boulevard Knyaginya Mariya Luiza
Bulgarian: Princess Marie Louise Boulevard. Named for Marie Louise of Bourbon-Parma (1870-99), consort of Prince Ferdinand, who became Tsar of Bulgaria after her death.
1865-1945, poet and critic who visited Sofia in 1903. And for being sensitive, in 1909 Symons suffered a psychotic breakdown, and published very little new work for a period of more than twenty years.
Kind of like Omaha
This gratuitous comment calls for a self-indulgent annotation. I lived in Omaha for 2 years. Reef's assessment is completely accurate. But it might be worth noting that just as the arrival of the railroad seems to have rationalized Sofia, Omaha, also a city developed on a grid system, was the jumping off point for the Union Pacific half of the Transcontinental Railroad project.
Plural of lev, which is divided into 100 stotinki.
Punning on quid pro quo.
Bulgarian: rissole (something resembling a meat-filled croquette or breaded cutlet). Two notes: (1) The -ta at the end is not part of the word but a definite article; (2) present-day spelling is kebapche.
Bulgarian: cheese patty.
Transylvanian . . . kanástánc
In western Bulgaria he thinks he hears a Hungarian "swineherd's dance" from a part of present-day northern Romania, which belonged to the Kingdom of Hungary until 1918, with a large Magyar population (31.6 pct according to the 1910 census). That song really would have done some traveling. (Should it be spelled kanásztánc? - Oh yes. It had a Transylvanian Romanian version, though, called crucea.)
Answering responsively, as in antiphony.
Nothing to do with ateliers. Bulgarian shop refers to the Sofia district and specifically peasants living there.
The Light Over the Ranges
Against the Day
Rue du Départ