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xml:lang="en" lang="en" dir="ltr"> Basnight, Lewis ("Lew") - Thomas Pynchon Wiki | Against the Day

Basnight, Lewis ("Lew")

Basnight, Lewis ("Lew")

Although his name could be pronounced as "loo by night" or "lube by night" (using the French pronunciation for bas), I think the character is meant to be seen much more positively. (The presence of another character with the name Lube—Rev. Carnal—would seem to preclude the "lube" reading.) He is, after all, the first AtD character to move from one world to the next, which is why he does not remember what he did to become the "Upstate-Downstate Beast," and he is also the first to achieve grace (p. 42).

Lew's first name was very popular in 19th century America and honored Merriwether Lewis, the explorer. "Bas" in French means "low" and is related to the English "base" and "bass." Both the French and the English words signal not simply "low down," but also "deep"; we see this especially in music, with voices or instruments that are bass. So Lew's surname could be "deepest night," which is the opposite of the brightest day, and is -- "against the day."

We should watch out for him, travelling as he does through parallel universes (in Chicago, and then when he meets Nigel after the explosion out west) and seeing that "things were exactly what they were." No wonder he can "step to the side of the day" as well.

I haven't figured him out, but there's something there....

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