NOTES TO MASON & DIXON, pp. 511-53.
#s following the period (as in 511.1 below) refer to the line # on the page, counting down from the top. Accuracy of notes has not been checked, and there are plenty of typos. But many of these seem very useful. Notes are by Richard Romeo, a Pynchon-L participant.
From: RR.TFCNY@mail.fdncenter.org (RICHARD ROMEO)
Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 09:54 EST
Subject: MDMD(18)--Notes (Final)
thx again to andrew...
511.1 `The Ascent to Christ is a struggle thro' one heresy after
another, Riverwise up-country into [. . .] A Realm of Doubt [. . .]
the America of the Soul.' Is the `Ascent to Christ' from some mystic
like St John of the Cross? M&D's driven line stands in stark contrast
to this backtracking struggle inland. The heresies being one
misconception of self after another?
511.9 `The Acta Thomae' Anyone know the specifics of this text? Is it
otherwise heretical than including `doubting Thomas' as Christ's twin?
and why the stress on doubt as so important?
511.12 `Wouldn't something less doubtable ave done?" Than Resurection,
that is? No, it has to be resurrection if the Faith is to be proof
against `Mortality' (511.15)
511.15 `She had found in her Kitchen, the Kitchen Garden, the beehives
and the Well, a join'd and finish'd Life' Hmm, an echo of `Garden
Love' as in GR's Hooker passage? The pious virtues here soon make way
for some bodice-ripping action. We have entered recursively into an
embedded narrative, `the next in the Ghastly Fop series' (527.5). This
being read by Brae (526.19) and it appears also by Wicks, who has not
only introduced Ghastly Fop prototypes already (Dimdown Lepton et al)
and, I recall, the GF himself but subsequently appears to merge tis
story into his own narrative of M&D's adventures (536.14).
511.19 `ev'ryone else in town at the Vendue' US & W Indies L17, from
OFr vendue = sale via Du, A public sale; an auction.
512.6 `yet for them to come for her, this far East of Susquehanna'
She, it is later revealed, turns out to be the `elder daughter of
Joseph Fields, of Conestoga Creek' (536.34). Conestoga Creek reaches
Susquehanna's East bank about a mile below Middletown. It runs East
North East for about 5 miles. Blue Mountain (513.4) is a ridge running
NNE/SSW about 10 miles due North from the crek at its nearest point,
the first in a stretch of such ridges at the Northern end of the
Alleghenies. Don't know where `the Towns, Equnox, New Cana, Burger's
Forge' (512.24) are supposed to be,-- not on my map.
512.24-25 Equinox, New Cana, Burger's Forge-? anybody have a colonial
map somewhere? (RR)
512.29 `how had her Party found Darkness and Safety amid the busy
White Densities?' Densities of white people I take this to mean?
512.31 `French-built Battoes' I think we saw battoe earlier, arch
variant of bateau E18 , fr Fr = boat, A light riverboat, esp of a
flat-bottomed kind used in Canada. Suggesting their eventual
destination and the lack of consequent `rape' in this rape.
513.1 `As she stepped to the Western Shore, she felt she had made
herself naked at last, for all of them, but secretly for
herself. . . .' I don't understand wy she has crossed Susquehanna
East-West if she is headed for Quebec. This line is also quite
disturbing. Clearly, the nakedness is intended, in part at least, by
way of Ghastly Fop pot-boiling. But does Pynchon have some ulterior
motive in including this image here. Is the East-West transit
pertinent? I don't think this is just titillation. In particular, the
crossing is described as follows `And they cross'd then, as simply as
the thought of a distant Child or Husband might cross the Zenith of a
long Day. She knew the instant they pass'd the exact Center-line of
the River.' (512.34) Is this yet another preterition? Later we are
told `They were her Express,-- she was their Message.' (513.13).
513.4 Blue Mountain, Juniata--BM is a range in SE PA, part of Kittatinny
Mountain. J--river in S-central PA, 150m long, flows east thru Mifflin,
Juniata, and Perry into Susquehanna river. (RR)
513.19--"terrible massed beat of their wings...Snowy Owl Year...white
visitors from afar." Again we have that image of owls, white death-faced
hunters, nocturnal and evil, satan's pawns. Notice in Ch. 55, the
description of "death foraging blind" resonates back here. (RR)
514.2 `they continue North, till they enter a great River, fill'd with
a Traffic of Canoes, Battoes and Barges, with ev'rywhere white faces
on the Shore, and a Town, and another. . . .' presumably the St
Lawrence River as it takes them to `Quebec' (514.10).
514.11 `the Jesuit College' cf 515.33
514.16 `Perhaps a Crypto-Porticus, or several, leading to other
buildings in parts of the City quite remov'd.' porticus E17 fr lat as
portico, 1 = portico, 2 spec in Archit, An addition on the north or
south side of a church of the Anglo-Saxon period, resemblling an aisle
or transept and containing a chapel, L19. For portice Sh OED has, E17
It fr Lat porticus = porch, 1 Archit A formal entrance to a classical
temple, church, or other building, consisting of columns atregular
intervals supportig a roof often in the form of a pediment; a covered
walkway in this style; a colonnade, E17, 2 the Portico = the Stoa, the
great hall in Athens, in which the philosopher Zeno lectured, and from
which his followers were called Stoics; the Stoic school of philosophy
(also called the Porch), L18 (the Stoa is L17).
514.19 `with the black nidor of their torches for her first Incense'
nidor, now rare E17, fr Lat, The smell of burnt or cooked (esp fatty)
animal substances. Formerly also, a strong, esp unpleasant, odour of
any kind. So, Pynchon creates his image of the time with the precise
language of the time. Ethnographically sound History (or do I mean
ethno-auditorily graphed History?).
514.19 `their Light sending shadows lunging from corners and crevices
abd window-reveals' reveal, also revel, L17, from revail fr Fr
reveler, orig from Lat revelare = to show or unveil, An internal side
of an opening or recess, at right-angles to the face of the work; esp
the vertical side of a doorway or window opening. Sh OED lists for
reveal as noun, rare E17, fr the verb, A revelation; a
disclosure. What with all this talk of revelation and torch vs window
light that's a mighty fine word to have picked.
514.33 `Cells of many sizes, whose austerities are ever compromis'd by
concessions to the Rococo,--' for Rococo cf MDMD(11) (413.44).
515.4 `an Astronomer finishes his Night's reductions' as played on in
`reduc'd to Certainty' in MDMD(2) (45.28), this is a technical term,
Sh OED has as entry 8 for reduce, a) Adapt (a thing) to purpose, arch
LME-E17, b) Astron Adapt or correct (an observation) to a particular
place or point, now rare or obs M17. There are so many other
interesting entries for and derivatives of reduce that the Sh OED is
worth consulting in full, notably its usage in logic and theorem
proving, its emergence in reductionism and its al/chemical usage. Like
reveal this will be one of those Pynchon key-words in the Cliff Notes
to M&D, right next to Golem, Haunting, Duck and, of course, Death (not
to mention Life, oh and Fishing, and, naturally, you too).515.11 `Ecce
Coffea' Behold, coffee. Coffea did not seem right to my schoolboy
Latin ear but, sure enough, its apparently themodern horticultural
name for the coffe tree, a paleotropical genus of the madder family,
apparently. This C18th coffee machine and its function as
early-morning social lubricant sounds somewhat anachronistic. Is there
a nod to the institutionalisation of work practices, including feeding
at the desk, amongst the ranks of the Jesuits who man the information
technology represented by their Telegraph? These guys seem like a
bunch of hackers.
515.17 `Pere de la Tube' a Jesuit in a violet cassock' de la Tube?
515.24 `a tightly folded sheet of paper, seal'd with Wax and chops in
two of the colors of blood' chop, E17, fr Hindi chap = stamp, brand, 1
In the indian subcontinent, China, etc: a seal; an official stamp,
E17, 2 A license, permit, etc, validated by an official stamp; an
official permit, E17, 3 A trade mark, a brand of goods (orig in
China), E19. I'm betting the colours are red and browny-rust, the
other colours of blood being blue and purple. Note the Chinese origin
and also the beginnings of trademarking. I wonder if that chop is
something like Microsnot (TM).
515.35 `the jesuit telegraphy' Apparently effected by means of Lights,
Kites, Balloons and Mirrors.
516.1 `Portes-Cocheres' Orig port-cocher, L17 fr Fr = coach port, 1 A
gateway for carriages, leading into a courtyard, L17, 2 A covered area
at the entrance to a buidlign into which vehicles can be driven,
chiefly US L19. O'Brien uses this term in his novel Post-Captain.
516.2 `Northern Aurora' aka the Northern Lights and Aurora
Borealis. aurora, LME fr Lat = dawn, related to the same root as east!
1 a) The rising light of the morning; dawn, Also (A-), a goddess in
Roman mythology, LME, b fig, the beginning, early period, M19, 2 A
rich orange colour, as of the sky at sunrise, M17, 3 A luminous
phenomenon, often taking the form of variable streamers or resembling
drapery, seen in the upper atmosphere in high northern or southern
latitudes, and caused by the interaction of charged solar particles
with atmospheric gases, under the influence of earth's magnetic field;
orig w spec adjective, australis (southern), borealis (northern), or
polaris (polar), E18. n.b. aurora polaris refers to both or either of
the auroras. Also, an interesting aside, Nabokov is cited for using
auroral in the sense, of or pertaining to the dawn; eastern. The quote
used in the Sh OED is `An atmosphere of . . barbecue smoke,
horse-play, jazz music, and auroral swimming' First, who can spot the
quote? My guess is Pnin, only I have made the mistake (I shite ye not)
of lending my copy to a friend, so canot look it up right now. Second,
is there a Nabokovian double entendre on auroral, an echo of an
eastern dawn caught up in the atmospheric swim of curren tperception?
How typical of Nabokov that his words should be used to elucidate a
meaning he has learned, probably from the very same dictionary, and
that the OED should serve by way of Golem Kinbotian commentary on his
516.10 `"Twenty-six letters, nine digits, blank space for zero," a
Sergeant's voice nstructing a platoon of Novices, "-- that suggest
anything to any of you Hammer-heads?" "An array seven by five of, of
--" "Think, Nit-Wits, think"' Information Theory 101, I believe so
what are we nit-wits supposed to think about? An array of 5 by 7 bits
can store one blank pattern and 35 distinct one bit patterns, one less
than 36, but you can also store lots of multi-bit patterns, in fact
there are actually 2^35 possible patterns in total, rather a lot of
data (128 Mb in fact). It can also be used to depict the 35 shapes of
the letters and digits,-- as displayed in any 7x5 font, and, indeed,
by the Sergeant wen he spells out I-D-I-OI-T-S. But that would be an
extravagant way to transmit information and, as is pointed out, would
not hide the message in a code. So, let us nit-wits think. 36
characters requires 6 bits per character leaving enough for
punctuation too. A 6x6 grid would make sense, therefore but not
7x5. Actually, there are more efficient ways of coding the characters
so that less than 6 bits can be used for some letters. But these would
have to be coded serially into the grid from left to right and top to
bottom, whereas an nxm rectangular array allows parallel transmission
of n characters with m bits. Sounds like this puzzle might have been
thrown at our favourite ex-naval communications officer in his first
Information Theory 101 lecture. Well, there's a clue of
course. hammer-heads is listed in the Sh OED as M16 fr hammer + head, 1
the head or striking part of a hammer, M16, 2 A person's head (derog);
a stupid person, a blockhead, now chiefly US & Dial M16, 3 Any of a
number of sharks of the genus Sphyrna with a flattened, laterally
elongated head, M19, 4 A long-legged African marsh-bird. Interestingly
enough, the next entry is Hamming, M20 fr R Hamming b 1915 US
scientist, Used attrib to designate concepts in information coding,
Hamming code: in which errors are detected by multiple parity bits,
Hamming distance: the number of positions at which two words of equal
length are different. And indeed careful selection of Hamming distances
between bit sequences will allow 36 characters to be sent using at most
6 bits per character and sometimes less. 7 bits will do for parity
checked 6 bit data, so the jesuits are sending 5 characters in
parallel. OK, now the paranoid bit. I don't think it is accidental
that Hammer-heads is next to Hamming in the Sh OED. I know, I know,
it's alphabetical,-- what I mean is I think Pynchon set this up, this
and a whole load more dictionary games, having spent much of his time
going back and forth between a C18th and the Oxford dictionary. Shades
of Kinbote? What with all those Popish couplets (and I don't mean our
516.35 Brazilian Tourmaline--mineral made of various components
specifically occurs in 3, 6, 9 sided prisms...shows double
refraction...makes a gem of great beauty. color is usually pale green,
bluer and darker than emerald. (RR)
517.8 `"Do you think she understands?" the Visitor asks in rapid
French. The other shrugs. "She will understand what she needs to. If
she seeks more. . . ." The two exchange a look whose pitiless Weight
she feels clearly enough.' Well, what have *we* understood so far? and
what if we seek more . . . ?
517.5 `She could not break free,-- could she?-- [. . .] up-borne by
Friendly Presences, as by Brilliance of Will' Interesting image?
517.20 `the great Warriors' River, keeping her course ever
south-westward' This is travelling up the St Lawrence in towards the
517.35 `and your Situation here a Paradise of charming Catalepsies' Sh
OED has catalepsy, fr Gk katalepsis fr katalambein = to sieze upon, 1
Med A condition of trance or siezure with loss of sensation or
consciousness and abnormal maintenance of posture, LME, 2 Philos
Comprehension, apprehension, arch M17-M19. Catalepsy referring both to
the falling and acts of observation, therefore. Though we do not know
yet if this Chinese is observing the women or the proceedings. Our
cataleptic certainly appears to be apprehending the intentions of the
518.6 `"Wouldn't that depend, [. . .] upon whether she is to be a
Bride of Christ, or stand in some other Connexion?" "As . . . ?"
[. . .] "His Widow. A Novice in Las Viudas de Cristo."' We last met
these merry Widows (of Christ)in the lepton castle scene, retold
either by Wade, or possibly Wicks. Looks like one or other of them has
been following the Ghastly Fop and using it to embellish the tale. So
much for History. Perhaps Wicks, or Wade, brought it into the Lepton
scene to surprise Thelmer, by way of expressing disapproval? In any
case, it will turn out that the Widows have led a somewhat immoral
previous life and that this has tended to colour their later approach
to the religious life. n.b. nuns are usually regarded as Brides of
Christ, but I don't think this lot are supposed to be widows just
because he is dead. They appear to be a college of Jesuit Mata Haris
as per Austra in the Lepton scene.
518.22 `She understands that she is being bargain'd for having
remain'd all the while upon her knees, disobediently gazing up at the
men, waiting as long as possible to see which may be the first to
notice. . . .' Another woman being bargained for?
518.25 "Blondelle, gypsy, child of the sun"--some kinda flower girl ("I
love the flower girl...she's just a dream to me or just reality"
Cowsills, right?. makes that painful labia apparatus all the more ironic
considering where the rose goes) (RR)
518.32 `Soldiers like Ramrods, and Sailors like Spars' A ramrod being
an essential part of a soldier's equipment, a spar being a long pole
and, therefore, highly apropos of a sailor, whether mast, yard or
boom. Ooerr, missus!
519.14 `She is accompanied by a couple of Sisters, in close, but for
those days advanc'd, Harmonies.' So, when are `those days' exactly?
and when are these days, by implication? This Ghastly Fop story is
somewhat ahead of its time, talking about the past from the point of
view of the present, or rather about *its* past from the point of view
of *its* present. Is the Fop story set in the 60s and the narratorial
comment made from the 80s? by the narrator or author of the GF
story. Of course, those musical developments sound distinctly C20th
but that is just another overtone on the GF narrator, no?
519.32 "Grincheuse"?--gotta love that name like Pere de la Tube (RR)
520.10 `Twill be the Cilice for you I'm afraid' L16, fr Cilicia = an
ancient district of S Anatolia now in South Turkey, (A garment of)
haircloth. Not exactly, . . .
520.11 `*Never discuss Desire*. Get that sorted out, you'll be a good
Catholic in no time.' Just don't talk about, note.
520.21 `expertly twisted into a Breech-clout' clout is an OE word for
a piece of cloth. Breech is an M16 word for the buttocks, now archaic
except in the sense of a baby's buttocks before or at birth.
522.5 `The Model [. . .] is Imprisonment. Walls are to be the
Future. Unlike those of the Antichrist chinese, these will follow
right Lines." i.e. orhtogonal lines, whihc, on a sphere, are the
latitudes and longitude.
522.19 `Padre, Padre! Which Rome is it, again, that the Jesuits are
sworn to?' A good question. The Rome which crucified Jesus on a pair
of right lines sound more likely than anything Christian. The real
choice here is not between God and Mammon, above and below, but
against the division which this signifies.
522.28 `"Heresy" loses its force in these Provinces, this far West,
with Sects nearly as numerous as Settlers.' In the inlands of the
America of the Soul any charge of heresy is besieged by doubt. But a
Doubting Thomas would not fear to look within if, thereby, he were to
forego the certainties of superficial understanding. The heart of this
darkness, this blankness on the map, is the seat of forces which when
encountered may manifest as empire, murder, abuse and corruption, yet
may also herald impending Revelation, the Ascent to Christ. `For the
working mystic, having the vision and passing through the chambers one
by one, is terrible and complex' (GR 749.36)
522.32 `la Obra' Spanish = work
523.5 `that undifferentiated condition before Light and Dark,-- earth
and Sky, man and Woman,-- a return to that Holy Silence which the Word
broke, and the multiplexity of matter has ever since kept hidden,
before all but a few resolute explorer.' The Word which differentiated
Above from Below, the map from the mapped. apparently this is Chinese
feng Shui, to judge by the Student's reaction (523.10)
523.15 "Pues Entonces"? (RR)
523.23 `Or in plain Spanish, Siempre Alguien derrama las Judias'
translated below as `Someone always scatters the Jews' derramar is
also used for shed, as in blood or tears. This is linking the Jewish
creation myth of the scattered fragments to the actual scattering of
the Jewish people and, perhaps, to their slaughter.
524.6 `The Christless must understand that their lives are to be spent
in Servitude,-- if not to us, then to Christians even less Godly,--
the Kings, the Enterprisers, the Adventurers Chartr'd and Piratickal.'
This with the comment from our narrator (don't ask which one) `'twas
an earlier, simpler Time, Children, when many grew quite exercis'd
over uestions of doctrine.' Officially it is the narrator of the GF
who is telling us this, but it could also stand as coment on the
Godless American Republic, either Wick's version, or our own, in both
of which the Death of Christ has ceded power to Kings, Enterprisers
and Adventurers or all sorts.
525.1 `There came an evening during my novitiate when, after being fed
but lightly, I was taken to a Chamber, and there laced into an
expensive Corset [. . .]' Cue the porn schlock. But why suddenly the
switch to first person? Was the previous third person the GF
narrative? or Brae's rendering as she read? Is this the real GF text
or is it refracted through the consciousness of one of out characters?
525.7 "Maquilleuses"? (RR)
525.20 `The food they eat there is delicious beyond belief, - Shrimps
with Hot Chillies and Peanuts! Slic'd Chicken in Garlick and black
bean Sauce! Cold Sesame Noodles! Sweet Biscuits with Messages folded
inside upon Paper you can eat,--' Something tells me the nearest
Blondette has been to China is the local restaurant, but in the C18th?
526.5 `Basest form of desire, Blondelle.' This with a co-ordinated
dance step and wag of the fingers from the nuns. Ok, so the correction
they provide is intended as mock-porn. But is there some other reason
for introducing this catholic sin and punishment scene?
526.22 `"aahck. . .um, well what's that you're reading? Hmm," having a
look, "something of cousin DePugh's I guess." She gazes at him for
what seems to him a long time. "You left it for somone to find." she
whispers at last.' Love that 'aahck. . .' and the attempt to blame
Cousin DePugh. What does Brae's comment mean? Why is this scene
527.8 `The Ghastly Fop. He's seen off Ridottoes and Hurricanoes, close
to Gaming-Tables, as to expensive Nymphs. [. . .] He is reported to be
the Waith of a quite dreadfully ruin'd young man, come to London from
the Country, who can return neither to there, not the World of Death,
until, sizable debts in this one be settl'd' Sounds like Lord L is
based on one of the GF stories, as, in part, are Ludd Oafery and Mr
Dimdown. For Ridotto cf MDMDC(?) and for Hurricanoe cf MDMDC(?).
527.28 `not only from Ranelagh or Covent Garden, but all over the
Kingdom. Thornton-Le-Beans, Slad, name your town'. Covent garden is
the old fruit and veg market in London, now a tourist
mecca. Thornton-Le-Beans is in N. Yorkshire near North Allerton about
15 miles sout of Darlington. Slad is in Gloucestershire about 2 miles
North of Stroud. Ranelagh is not on my map.
527.3 `Grub Street' cf MDMD(?).
528.18 `Relations stash'd orthoganally all about' Yet another
manifestation of the Grid, enclosing our young heroes.
528.23 "pippin"--an highly admired person or thing, also a type of apple
528.29 `with a sure domestick Touch she sweeps Pillows and Bolsters
into a longitudinal Berm more symbolick than practical, and lies down
upon one side of it.' Another line of longitude, through this time
'tis acknowldeged it is pretty much symbolic. Berm is used in GR
(89.17) when Pointsman and Mexico are walking along the Beach towards
the White Visititation, E18 pr related to ON barmr = brim, 1 A narrow
space or ledge; esp in fortification; the space between a ditch and
the base of a parapet, E18, 2 A flat strip of land, raised bank, or
terrace bordering a river etc; a path or grass strip beside a road,
529.82 `among the Doxology' Funny usage here since I take it the
meaning is amongst those who study and recite the Doxology, doxology,
also D-, M17 med Lat fr GK doxa = expectation, opinion, repute, glory
= -ology. Christian Church 1 The utterance of praise to God,
thanksgiving, arch only in M17, 2 A liturgical formula of praise to
God, M17. Combined in Greater Doxology, the Gloria in Excelsis, and
Lesser Doxology, the Gloria Patri. This comes in a description of a
dream about that river, a chapter Thelmer decribes as `a Pippin'
(528.23). Eliza wants to stay this side of the River, apparently among
the preterite. Does this dream signify anything? I presume the River
is Susquehanna not St Lawrence, cf 513.1.
530.9 `Zhang has been fluent in Spanish all the while' Which revives
the question as to what those `charming Catolepsies' (517.28) were. He
530.13 `But then the Spaniard may see an opportunity to remove certain
memories, and substitute others,-- thus controlling the very Stuff of
History.' Not sure how to read that 'then . . . may' Is that then' as
in 'yet' or as in 'at that point in time'. And whence this story of
historical, or is that rather brainiackal manipulation?
530.19 `The Wolf of Jesus, perhaps never aware that Lies and Truth
will converge, albeit far from this Place, -' another one of those
damn V's, and a precise metaphor which works on several levels, as a
sociological observation, a historical observation on Church doctrine
as documenting the Church's misrepresentation, as a psychological
comment on the eruption of the repressed, as an oblique reference on
the terrors that confront the 'working mystic' en route to Revelation
and as a summary of the Gnostic unity that links all binary opposites,
'As above, So below'. Vintage Pynchon to scatter all these foundations
while developing the character and then to reduce his heresies to one
key metaphor. Zhang's passive acceptance of the Wolf's barrage of
lies, like water off a duck's (?) back, suggests that Feng Shui should
be aligned with this Gnostic Truth.
531.5 `Winters, long and Mortal and soon enough productive of
Visitants from beneath the Ice' Any idea what those Visitants are?
Indeed, `What moral instruction does th' American Winter bring them,
hiding upon the stark hill-side, the River remote as Heaven, below?'
The River this time being the St Lawrence, their means of escape, not
531.20 `nor should she pray, not now. That is over. This is journey
onward, into a Country unknown,-- an Act of earth, irrevocale as
taking Flight.' Act of Earth, eh? The unknown country being the
America of the Soul and this an act of Earth only, not the Heavens
also, since there is no map (and a compass wouldn't help at all).
531.24 `into Six Nations territory ' the Iroquois, the most likely
candidate for Nations in this vicinity are listed in the sh OED as the
Five Nations, Iroquois naming a confederation of 5 peoples. Does
Pynchon include a parity bit?
531.26 `one day when they have gained the Mohawk' n & a also Mohock
(see below) M17, fr Narragansett mohowawog lit = man-eaters, A n 1 A
member of an Iroquois Indian people, one of five of the original
Iroquois confederation, orig inhabiting parts of upper New York State;
the language of this people, M17, 2 Skating A step from either edge of
the skate to the same edge on the other foot in an opposite direction,
cf Choctaw, L19, 3 A Mohican haircut, chiefly US, L20, B attrib or as
adj 1 Of or pertaining to the Mohawk or their language, M18, 2 Of a
hairstyle = Mohican. Mohock is a variation of Mohawk, M17, 1=Mohawk,
M17-L18. 2 Hist A member of a band of aristocratic ruffians who roamed
the streets of London at night in the early C18th. Doubtless after
reading all those GF stories. Pynchon inventing history here? Even so
lies and truth will converge, albeit far from this place. Mohican,
meanwhile, a & n. Also (exc sense 2, & now the preferred form) Mohegan
M17, A adj 1 Designating or pertaining to an Algonquin Indian people
formerly inhabiting part of Connecticut, or these language, M17, 2 Of
a hair-style: in which the head is shaved except for a strip of hair
from the middle of the forehead to the back of the neck (similar to
the depictions of a deep hair topknot worn by Indian men in the novel
by J F Cooper, Last of the Mohicans (1826)). So, the New Yorkers are
not punks with Mohicans but Mohawks, presumably with braids. Now you
may be wondering why I mention all this, so I suggest you all turn to
Isaiah Two Four, . . . no that's bottom line of page 17 in
Vineland. And, before yo go hollering `Mistake!' and recalling Planet
9 From Foppl's Orrery, remember that `6 Nations' mistake and recall
all this attention to verbal precision.
531.28 `Guided by Captain Zhang's miraculous Luo-Pan' A lodestone,
531.30 `Fort Stanwix' ??? Ditto, `Johnson Castle'
532.3 `The Irish Baronet' Apparently, Sir William Johnson. Of
Johnson's Castle? He seems to be a mason (533.3).
532.8 Sir William Johnson--1715-74, British colonial leader, born in
Ireland. Settled in Mohawk Valley, became a merchant, and gained great
power among the local Indian tribes, founded Johnstown NY in 1762 and
lived in apparent splendor. because of his influence with the Indians,
he became very important during French and Indian War, helped forge
British Indian policy. Defeated at Lake George but captured Niagra in
1760, captured Montreal in same year, appointed control of Indian affairs
north of the Ohio and from areas gained from France. Though not as
successful in establishing centralized control over his regions, he did
much to further British rule before the revolution. (RR)
532.17 `Thro' the Gloom close enough for her to see, he smiles. Zhang
does.' That's a sneaky trick, jumping to an outer narrative and then
commenting on the jump back in using another narrator suspended in limbo
between the two stories.
533.23 `"Mistress, to you and me, any, which we style, in Chinese,
Yin-Yang, is forbidden," he tells her, "We were not born to play
Theatrickal Roles assign'd for us by others, for their Amusement."'
Suddenly they start disussing their role as archetypes in a myth vs
stereotypes in a pot-boiler, the `Lascivious Chinaman' or `Debauch'd
Heretick Maid'. This is not just an interlude or amusement, then. No
Yingle-Yangle is going to happen. So if this pair neither archetypes,
Yin and Yang, nor stereotypes, nor for amusement, what are they here
for? To tell a direct message?
534.6 `Mentrix' Not in Sh OED, but presumably a female mentor, who
taught her all the Men Tricks she knows (none of which tricks appear
to be of much use).
534.22 `"That's what they call Chinese, Buck" "Not sure I'd want to
eat that."' Talking Dogs'
534.30 `At last, [. . .] they arrive at the West Line, and decide to
follow the Visto east, and ere long they have come up with the Party'
Now, suddenly, we are back in the Revd's story, with his own
appearance at 548.24 and no explicit emergence to the outer narrative
until 'Thelmer appears at the Clavier at 552.21. Is this Wicks' story,
or has Brae fallen aslepp and is she dreaming Zhang & Eliza's reaching
535.10 `Viudita' ???
535.29 `Zsusza Szabo, the operator of the automatick Battle of
Leuthen' Anyone know what this is about or who she is? I can't even
pronounce it. Nor the Nadasdy Hussars, but that `Hello Boys, it's
Zsusza' (535.32) sounds familiar.
535.29 Battle of Leuthen--December 5 1757, during Seven Years War, a
great Prussian victory by Frederick II against the Austrians. Note this
quote from Clausewitz: "Frederick II doubtlessly won the battle of
Leuthen only because he massed his small army together in one place and
thus was very concentrated, as compared to the enemy." Chimes with
Zsaszu's boasting of Prussian precision. More on the battle: 1.
FREDERICK II (the Great), King of Prussia from 1740-1786, is one of the
great military figures of history. The first half of his reign was
largely devoted to war, with Austria under Maria Theresa
as his chief adversary and Silesia as a major cause: the first and second
(1740-45) and the Seven Years' War (1756- 63).
It was especially during the latter war, when Prussia, allied with
England, had to fight the superior
alliance of Austria, France, Russia, Sweden, and Saxony, that Frederick
proved his unusual skill
and audacity as a military leader. One of his most brilliant and decisive
victories was won near the
Silesian village of LEUTHEN (Dec. 5, 1757). This victory against a vastly
superior Austrian army
under Prince Charles of Lorraine was due to Frederick's military genius
as well as the excellent
morale of his officers and men. Before the battle, in the presence of his
generals, the King delivered
a famous address, which illustrates Clausewitz's point. It ended thus:
"Gentlemen, the enemy stands
behind his entrenchments, armed to the teeth. We must attack him and win,
or else perish. Nobody
must think of getting through any other way. If you do not like this you
may hand in your resignation
and go home." see
535.31 Nadasdy Hussars--Ferenc N dasdy V married Maria Rottal, the
granddaughter of Count Johann Rottal, who had been instrumental in his
grandfather's prosecution. Ferenc later distinguished himself leading his
hussars in a successful military campaign in 1742, for which Queen
Maria-Theresa granted both him and his brother the title of Count in
1744.(This is the second time this title was bestowed on the family this
time however also for Austria.) Subsequently, in 1757, Maria-Theresa's
army won a major battle against the Prussian forces at Kolin thanks
largely to the prowess of Hungarian hussars led by N dasdy, earning him
the sobriquet, "Hero of Kolin." A regiment of Hungarian hussars bore his
name until World War II.
Of his three children, Ferenc VI became Lord Lieutenant of Fever
Province, and Tamas, a general. His grandson, Ferenc VII, died at the age
of one in 1800. In further generations, the particularly outstanding
members of the N dasdy family were Laszlo, secretary of the treasury, his
brother Ferenc, archbishop of Kalocsa, and Mihaly, a commander of the
Hungarian military forces in the Napoleonic wars and later a
minister.--History of the Nadasdy family (RR)
536.13 `Orrery of Engagement, displaying the movements of the troops'
for Orrery, cf MDMD(3) (94.11)
536.23 `You resemble far too faithfully One whom I have not beheld,--
not in Body,-- for seven years.' Rebeka again. Although, Charles knows
it is not her (537.1). The Revd suggest `Resurrection of a Body'
(537.23) by way of explanation.
537.11 `("You're making that one up," Uncle Lomax now wagging a Finger
he eventually hits himself in the Nose with. [. . .]")' So, we are
back to Wicks' story. Unless Brae is dreaming this intervention too!
538.4 `Daffy's Elixir' cf MDMD(9) (267.3)
538.31 `straightforwardly squalid Pelhamite arrangements' ???
539.25 `It has only now come to light, how she was the thrown-aside
toy of a Leadenhall Street Nabob [. . .] and their attentions to you
are conditioned upon you marrying her.' Mason's paranoia surfaces in
his dreams images from which we are presented with until he wakes and
`makes a Loxodrome for the Pot' (540.7) only to find that Eliza no
longer resembles Rebekah that much, any way.
543.4 `Sha, or, as they say in Spanish California, Bad Energy' Vibes,
anyone? Feng Shui (542.1) was discussed in the pre-MDMD archive.
542.11 `Boundary' Edges again.
543.21 `Molinas and his followers' The `Molinistas' (563.23) being ???
544.12 Luo-Pan? (RR)
544.30 `your Sponsor, Le Maire' Sponsor, eh? Dixon does not deny it
until it is reraised at 546.19.
545.21 `"And Mason and I,--" "Bystanders. Background. Stage-Managers
of that perilous Flux,-- little more."' The reference to `Elsinor'
(545.15) makes a clear link to Stoppard's Rosencrantz and
Guildenstern, presumably with the Civil War as the bloody climax all
this Sha is being piled up for. Dixon's comment that it's `no worse
than Copernicus' (545.24) refers to the `discovery' that the Sun does
not rotate around the Earth.
546. `Stig could be a Confederate' another Civil War innuendo, like
that Iroquois Confederation?
547.17 `Galena' Lead Sulphide, the principle ore of lead. These lead
spheres underground sound a bit suspect. Anyone have any pertinent
expertise to explain them? What about Galena as a Classical or
547.24 `Oolite' The same as the prisms we encountered at the `Post
Mark'd West' in MDMD(15) (440.15) and also at 442.24 and 442.30. Any
better explanations now? e.g. the fact that this stone contains
fossils in its composition?
552.17 `Too many possible Stories. You may not have time enough to
find out which is the right one.' Amen to that, brother.
553.12 `"Where's Brae, Thelmer?" [. . .] "Dreaming [. . .]"' Well,
maybe Zhang's story was just Brae's dream?
Coordinator of Cooperating Collections
The Foundation Center-NYC