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 D’s 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 Mason’s secret journal 433-4

43 Maskelyne’s 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+D’s American line---and their powerful effects. cf. Captain Zhang's comments on the Line later. Dissension caused right at the Line’s beginning: the comic tales of Mr and Mrs Harland 441 and Mr and Mrs Price 446-7. M’s 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 Armand’s Duck. on angels: 451. Mason’s 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- / Mason’s journal excerpt about lightning at bottom of page (an actual quote from the journal): compare w/ Pynchon’s riff on it (462- ). workers’ letters (incl another of Nathanael’s) 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 C’s 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 Armand’s Duck... Reading the New World as Kaballah 487

the apparition on South Mountain. Dixon’s coonskin cap joke. Indian drums? M’s 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+D’s 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 Schmidt’s web essay “Line, Vortex, and Mound: On First Reading Mason and Dixon

Quebec, the Jesuits, Zarpazo; S. Blondelle and the Virgins of Christ and TP’s tribute to 18th c porn, including M de Sade (?). Eliza Fields’ “Captive’s Tale.” also Ghastly Fop tales. What is the source of these Tales?

Zhang on fung shui, Zarpazo and Zhang’s struggle for control central, with M+D’s 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 Szabo’s war exhibit, meditations on geometry & violence. “too many possible stories... best thing’s draw up a Book” (552). Ethelmer’s song to Farenheit.

M+D’s field journals. the Eleven Missing Days scandal, part of the Calender reform of 1752: the culture of science vs popular sentiment. 556- M’s dream, ghost vision, and the ‘whirlpool of time’ theory of Dixon: M’s 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; he’s a Son of Liberty as well 566- . the Quakers and royalty; Indians and Blacks and “America” 568-

M’s 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 McClean’s 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 women’s counterattack, etc.---proceedings from the Council of Maryland, 1765? Fights and refusals to belive in boundaries and lines provoking further mess Sheby’s 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.

M’s 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. They’ve also now reached the limit of M+D’s 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 (Zhang’s 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 Christ’s birth.

Stig’s tale of early Vineland’s demise (1st Euro American settlement)--633-4. (the Line seems to encourage Visions in all who work on it; this is Stig’s time to be at the narrative’s 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 Cresap’s family and struggles with Lancaster gov’t 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. M’s anxieties re the Indians who will now accompany them, 648-9 Rev C’s dream, 649-50. the Line’s complicity w/ settlement’s advances; sky hallucinations 650-1. Indians and M+D discuss star-gazing 651- M’s 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 dream’ed of you, yet you never dream’d of us” 663. axmen begin deserting, afraid of what’s ahead

a chicken proves the Line’s mysterious power. more tales of Armand’s duck, decoy’d. world travel: Aunt Euphrenia’s tales of pretending to be an automaton. Dixon’s “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+D’s shared dream, influenced by what the Indians have told them

M+D’s 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. M’s, at tedious extra surveying jobs in Delaware. the South: D’s 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 M’s 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- people’s indifference toward Night, then their imagination’s being claimed by Day’s 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 novel’s 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. M’s decline and death; his last visions (of a City of the Dead?) M’s 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?