Mason and Dixon, “America,” reading notes for chs. 26-41 [1764-65]

26
The brilliant opening description of arriving by boat in 18th-century Philadelphia (258- ). on American music (258- ). Note role of Cherrycoke 264, 275

27
Ben Franklin strides into the novel. What do you think of Pynchon's protrait? Ben tries to investigate M&D's plans, at the Blue Jamaican coffee house. F’s glass harmonica see also end of ch 29: F as grim reaper!

28
To Mt Vernon and Col. George Washington. W’s theories of surveying and settlement 277. Note the role of W’s Negro servant Gershom (?!) (278- )--- one of my favorite ‘minor’ characters in M&D. On British colonialism and the Scots + the Americans: cf ch 31. French ‘plates,’ boundary claims, and electricity? 285- Attend also to references to the Jesuits and the Chinese and their plans (?) in the New World, incl the ‘Jesuit telegraph’

29
Dixon on tellurick/magnetic energies (vs astronomical laws): 301. Dolly’s prophecy

30
tavern scenes; street fights; news about the Conestoga PA massacre, which will also figure later in the plot.

31
more on Paxton renegades, now threatening other parts of PA
‘Jacobite’-like rebels elsewhere: Scotland, Britian, India. Mason’s idealism vs his sense of ‘exile.’ memories of colonial conquest & army violence against workers in England (weavers in Mason’s native Gloustershire, coal-miners or colliers in Dixon’s Durham). cf ch 40

32
Pitt and Pliny go to bed. tall tales on D’s teacher Emerson & his perpetual motion clock; contrasted with the sea’s motion. E’s clock is swallowed by a Delaware surveyor!

33
Coffee, tobacco, sugar from New World changing all inherited forms of Order: 330. finding the Zero Point, or beginning point of the West Line, plus how to calculate the Meridian Latitude or Tangent line to mark Delaware’s western boundary, which is supposed to be an exactly N/S line tangent to the Delaware arc 332-33 [M+D’s first job in America]. realities in the field vs the Euclidian geometric perfections requested by colonial powers: the problem of the Tangent Line, the Delaware arc done by previous surveyors, & the ‘Delaware triangle’ 334. M&D quarrelling; to Lancaster PA for winter.

chs 33-43 1764-65 winter interlude before the surveying of the West Line [later to be known as the Mason & Dixon line].Compare chs 52-54, the winter break after the next year’s work on the Line.

34
journey to Lancaster, early 1765, site of an Indian massacre by whites. On how others justify evil. M’s early dawn visit to massacre site; later, D goes too. Their reflections. a comedic contrast: the Ghastly Fop 347---a prelude to predominately comic chs. 35-37

35
Rev C’s adventures in a carriage. C’s epigraph on the past---relevance for this novel? on ‘truth’ in history vs the fabulists (Ethelmer)---debates on History vs the Novel. Note ref to Gothick fictions “folded ... between the Covers of Books” 359. also, intro to the Redzinger’s story, a comedy about religious rapture in the Enlightenment: note contrast betw Louise & Peter R.

36
Rev C’s first encounter with M+D in America; his new commission. intro to the story of Inn’s new chef, Armand Allègre, and his persecution by a mechanical duck (told while all snowbound).

37
Armand’s tale cannot annotated, only experienced.

38 Mitzi Redzinger and Dimdown the Macaroni [Fop]. Thin layerings and their effects on the Whole---in pastry, swords, books and paper 389-90 [and in this very novel?] On Indian Warrior-Paths 386. M&D marginal.

39
M&D central again; discussing M’s mourning for Rebekah; D’s belly. Then M&D split for rest of winter---M goes North to NYC, D south. D meets Jefferson 395 and gives him an important phrase. discussion of Wm Byrd’s Dividing Line [a famous colonial American expedition and then publication]. note concluding comment on D’s blindness to slavery (?)

40
M in NYC. Amelia [Amy] the Milk Maid, who, like, uses ‘as’ instead of ‘like.’ on ‘virtual representation’ in Parliament; on the growing American rebellion against England. on slavery vs work in British weaving mills 406- ; see also 412- on slavery. more on Gen’l Wolfe’s role suppressing weaver’s rebellion in Mason’s home town of Stroud, Gloustershire, in 1756: parallels between English workers’ revolts and the restlessness of the colonies: connecting ‘colonial’ history outside of England with ‘home’ history and conflicts within England itself. ALSO: M’s journal and its ‘shadow,’ the “Foul Copy” [vs “Fair Copy”]: Pynchon's novel occasionally draws on the ‘Foul Copy’ version?---408. Rebekah’s hidden presence for M: cf hidden presences for D in ch 39, or the Duck for Armand---comic versions of this theme.

41
M&D together again. Mr Le Sparks is sometimes the narrator, although he has it all second-hand [410-12]. Lepton Castle & Iron Plantation, somewhere in the ‘wilds of PA,’ a bordello and Gothick Pleasure Dome [420] run by one Lady Lepton, once of England [415-19]. also, Conspiracy references: Dasp, Shadow, Calvert Agents, Zarpaso & the Jesuits?---414-19. the first reference to the Jesuit Widows of Christ---419 [cf chs 52-54]