||Mason and Dixon reading notes, chs. 42-78
Le Sparks tale, cont., of further adventures in Lepton Castle. the tale of the tub [allusion to Jonathan Swift] and Ds joke on M. Secret panels: 427, etc. Prof Voam and Felipe the Electric Eel [a Torpedo Eel] 425, 431-3 . Austra, the black servant from S Africa, suddenly reappears, now @ Lepton, as if she's stepped through a hidden panel in the Novel. Comparing S Africa and the US 419. See also pp 427, 429, 431 for good details. The chapter ends told via Masons secret journal 433-4
43 Maskelynes ascension to Royal Astronomer, a post Mason was hoping for (he was the Assistant, after all, before being exiled to the Provinces. D, a friend in need, helping M deal with his anger and jealousy. Also note class issues and astronomy, 438
the West Line work begins, April 5, 1765. Rev C narrating again. journal entry on British ley-lines, M+Ds American line---and their powerful effects. cf. Captain Zhang's comments on the Line later. Dissension caused right at the Lines beginning: the comic tales of Mr and Mrs Harland 441 and Mr and Mrs Price 446-7. Ms crystal vision/öolite prisms on the line /Jonas Everybeet, crystal-scryer: 442, cf. 546-7, and rumors of the Jesuit conspiracy. Melvillean comedy: the ax men who are part of the Line crew, etc 443-5
more comic exploits and tales of Armands Duck. on angels: 451. Masons melancholic vision 449-50.
still more comic episodes of the surveying party workers, including Parrot Jokes. Nathanael McClean, undergrad at William & Mary College, joins the crew; writes letter home, 458-9. Ghastly Fop and 18th c pornography 457 (?).
ideal astronomy (460-1) vs actualities in the field. cf. 441, 468-9, 473-5. at the Susquehanna River 461- / Masons journal excerpt about lightning at bottom of page (an actual quote from the journal): compare w/ Pynchons riff on it (462- ). workers letters (incl another of Nathanaels) plus milkmaids songs, 464-5. problems with NE corner of Maryland 463; M+D ordered back East for a time (ch 48)
Mason before his morning coffee; on coffee vs tea 466-67. problems with Maryland/PA/Delaware boundaries 468- . the Unsee World of the Wedge, beyond Resolution and ownership by the State, p 476---cf. the problem of the Tangent Line in ch. 33. M+D impersonated by Darby + Cope?? 471; arguing again 472. the Sorrows of Chain-men 471--and their inaccuracies 473. first appearance (?) of Captain Zhang? 474
Beyond the Susquehannah; Wilderness & Frontier and Fables and Wonders and the Return of the Repressed: 499, 504, etc. D+Ms doubts about the Line---unknowingly prophetic of the Civil War? other topics: religion, heaven and hell; comments by audience on Rev Cs tale.
mathematical methods for hunting Taverns. Popeye pops in? 486. The Rabbi of Prague and his Golem 485- cf other 18th c. automatons/created beings, including Armands Duck... Reading the New World as Kaballah 487
the apparition on South Mountain. Dixons coonskin cap joke. Indian drums? Ms journal entry, visit to a cavern.
crossing the Conococheague; stopping at North Mountain. instruments left with a Capt. Shelby for winter; return East. Dixon on surveying empty places in England; vision of Ghost of Lady Barnard in he Coach (cf. Lady Lepton, ch 41?) 505- . M+Ds comic adventures while sledding on the way East. Emerson on his back to front coat 500
chs. 53-58: break for the winter of 1765-66. for chs. 53-55 and 61-62, see Peter Schmidts web essay Line, Vortex, and Mound: On First Reading Mason and Dixon
Quebec, the Jesuits, Zarpazo; S. Blondelle and the Virgins of Christ and TPs tribute to 18th c porn, including M de Sade (?). Eliza Fields Captives Tale. also Ghastly Fop tales. What is the source of these Tales?
Zhang on fung shui, Zarpazo and Zhangs struggle for control central, with M+Ds Line as background, as a tool for either or both Z and Z. ode to öolite, lead (cf. Felípe the Eel). Z and Z as doubles: 552 (or is Zhang actually Zarpazo in disguise?) 550- Zsuzsa Szabos war exhibit, meditations on geometry & violence. too many possible stories... best things draw up a Book (552). Ethelmers song to Farenheit.
M+Ds field journals. the Eleven Missing Days scandal, part of the Calender reform of 1752: the culture of science vs popular sentiment. 556- Ms dream, ghost vision, and the whirlpool of time theory of Dixon: Ms enters the lost 11 days (?). inventory of lost books and keys to all knowledge, yet M turns away? 559-60
early 1766. Mason South, Dixon to NYC and Broadway, a performance of the Black Hole of Calcutta. Sons of Liberty and anger at Stamp Act--foretelling coming Revolution. Fenderbelly Bodine makes a reappearance (sailor on the Seahorse earlier). cf Israel Potter. Philip Dimdown the Fop reappears too--but revealed as a disguise; hes a Son of Liberty as well 566- . the Quakers and royalty; Indians and Blacks and America 568-
Ms journey south. blending accents into American speech. William & Mary College; meetsTuscarora Indians, to be escorted North through Pennsylv. by Mohawks. meets Col Washington and Gershom again. Nathanael McCleans critique of the Line 573 (cf ch 46).
return to North Mt., end of March 1766. comedy of Tom Hynes, Catherine Wheat, and baby: fake court order, the womens counterattack, etc.---proceedings from the Council of Maryland, 1765? Fights and refusals to belive in boundaries and lines provoking further mess Shebys litigiousness and pomposity: whites as savages. other adventures re the surveyors men.
the English folk legends of the Lambton Worm, as told by D to Zhang during bad weather. also a mock epic tale of the Crusades and return of the crusaders. various interpretations of this tale 594- references to pre-Christian presences still in England?---cf. also the serpent mounds in the Americas?
61 visit to Indian Mound. the Mound vs the Line. also, a Third Surveyor is apparently haunting the Party; tales told of him.
Ms dreams and depression: something waits in our path, something is using our Line. Stig inspired by the Line: Swedish claims to priority in the New World---a tribe of Whiteness; Dreams of a New World, vs the nightmare of slavery 612- Zsuzsa and Eliza 614 . They reach Savage Mt---all waters now flow West, towards Ohio River. the Line c. 165 miles long. Theyve also now reached the limit of M+Ds commission. Zhang on the dangers of the Dividing Line 615.
werebeaver tales! [cf werewolf]: degeneration of Man in forest, or emergence of other identities. a Visto-clearing contest between Beaver and Stig (cf John Henry vs the steam-engine tale)
the adventures of Hsi and Ho, Chinese royal astronomers (Zhangs tale), who missed an eclipse. escaping the Emperor to work for the Market. two versions of the tales end. and Mason & Dixon?
Zhang the main focus of chapter. M+D do a short segment of arc in the Line, heading due East from Point Zero into Delaware. Zhang, M, and D argue of extra space and time; Jesuit/Western 360-degree circle vs Chinese circle (629- ). inconsistencies in Christian calender and Christs birth.
Stigs tale of early Vinelands demise (1st Euro American settlement)--633-4. (the Line seems to encourage Visions in all who work on it; this is Stigs time to be at the narratives Center.) A Voice of the Woods warns the about going too far West 634-5. July 1767, near Cumberland Maryland. 638: portrait of frontier life; tales of Thomas Cresaps family and struggles with Lancaster govt authorities prompting their move further west. questions re the Line return 641-2. more Dog tales 643- a good Goober pea [peanut] joke 645 to end the chapter
meeting the Mohawk Indian delegation re the Warrior Path; M+D argue about crossing it. Ms anxieties re the Indians who will now accompany them, 648-9 Rev Cs dream, 649-50. the Lines complicity w/ settlements advances; sky hallucinations 650-1. Indians and M+D discuss star-gazing 651- Ms memories of childhood 653. tales of wonders in the far West, incl Yellowstone valley (?) and a giant Hemp plant (cf Jack and the Beanstalk)---654. other tales of Giant Vegetables: the West as a place of dream-visions, here and in other chapters
new prospectors and speculators arrive, preparing to evict both Indians and present settlers. M+D taken (in both senses) by a ferryman named Ice. tales of Giants 662. Indians reply to whites: we dreamed of you, yet you never dreamd of us 663. axmen begin deserting, afraid of whats ahead
a chicken proves the Lines mysterious power. more tales of Armands duck, decoyd. world travel: Aunt Euphrenias tales of pretending to be an automaton. Dixons westering rapture: 670- the West as a space for the unrealized, for alternative Pasts and Futures; cf 677. a bad omen 672. West of Monongahela River, more Indians join to watch. info on Indian trade and travel (and warpath) routes connecting the entire North Am continent. M+D taken by Indians to see the Warrior Path they are planning to cross so casually 675- . another omen; on the Chaos among the Indians crossing the Line could bring. end of chapter: M+Ds shared dream, influenced by what the Indians have told them
M+Ds argument over stopping the Line, occasionally switching positions. a private trip to see the Ohio River and its valley; returning East upon the Line, putting up Markers. the Western terminus does cross the Warrior Path: 679. M+D part of an Engine or Entity whose purpose they only dimly discern?--678, 683 etc. 684- return visit to Rabbi, Golem, Timothy Tox. the Visions vanish progressively as they travel back East---except see end of ch, p 686: Tox the poet gets a ride in a flying Conestoga wagon (cf 650-1).
Back in Philadelphia, D. draws a Map of the Line: like the portrait of Tox in previous chapters, is this also a portrait of Pynchon? the end of the Line as a Pole collecting energy of Incompletion, Failure---and the spectre of Slavery: 692-3
boredom, esp. Ms, at tedious extra surveying jobs in Delaware. the South: Ds encounter with a Slave-driver in Baltimore 695- . 701- M+D hear a song [a Negro Spiritual?] giving a new meaning to their Line, vs its other meanings and uses: is this another shared dream for M+D, with voices in both their heads? 703 Ms epitaph and meditation on the Line between life and death. 704 a mysterious visitor before M+D sail for England
an alternative Visto: M+D voyage West, forever moving (707) to escape merely Earthly purposes/exploitation of their work. fantastical, pastoral visions [708-10] vs visions of eternal dissention 710- peoples indifference toward Night, then their imaginations being claimed by Days trivialities 711. 712- M+Ds visions of themselves as an Atlantic Company (vs the East India Co., etc), oceanic cities built over a new East Line crossing the Atlantic. cf. their dreams of discovering a new planet.
74-78, the novels epilogue.
travels to Ireland and Scotland on various other jobs; an encounter with the famous Dr. Johnson, and Boswell. last visits of M&D together as they age. Ms decline and death; his last visions (of a City of the Dead?) Ms sons future in America; an imagined last reunion between father & sons. In what Pynchonian set of space-time coordinates does the final conversation of the book take place?