ATD 525-556

Revision as of 15:35, 9 January 2007 by Volver (Talk | contribs) (Page 551)

Please keep these annotations SPOILER-FREE by not revealing information from later pages in the novel.

Page 525

Boulevard van Isenghem


Quai de l'empereur



German: waiter, barman. Use of the German word would be insulting to the Belgian barman.


Pron. lahm-BEEK. Unique Belgian beer style, sour and often thin in body.


Page 526

universal sign
Cf Monopoly game card.


Barry Nebulay
Pun on a term from heraldry, barry nebuly. Barry (pron. BAR-ree, not like the name) refers to a shield divided into an even number of parts by horizontal lines. Nebuly signals that the lines are deformed into stylized "cloud" shapes. Here you can see an example. If a British author had a character with a heraldic name, it would suggest a pseudonym.

University of Dublin
If University College, Dublin, then Joyce had graduated in 1902.


Hamiltonian devotees
The Quaternion faction, after William Hamilton, who devised the scheme.

Grand Hôtel de la Nouvelle Digue

Belgian Art Nouveau

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British slang for "sleeping", "staying overnight"

Russian nihilists

Eugénie, Fatou

Denis, and Policarpe

Young Congo
Probably in reference to the Young Turks, a Turkish revolutionary movement

Garde Civique
A part of the Belgian army. According to the 1911 Britannica, "the mass of the garde civique does not pretend to possess military value. It is a defence against sedition and socialism."

French: phalanx. A military (here mock-military) group ready for combat.

the Digue
French for "dyke"

Congo... Belgians
The Belgian colonisation of the Congo was, as Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" makes clear, notable for its greed and brutality.

Leopold, King of the Belgians
1835-1909, reigned 1865-1909. In the Congo he acted as sole proprietor and absolute ruler.


Force Publique
Belgian armed forces operating in the Belgian Congo (Wikipedia)

rubber worker
See above: One of the early missions of the FP was to increase rubber export quotas through forced labor and related atrocities.

Page 528



Follower of Max Stirner, 19th century German philosopher and author of The Ego and Its Own, a work influential in anarchist thought. Wikipedia entry.



going down lately


Prince... of Wales
(Maud Gonne's husband claimed to have been involved in another such plot.)

Royal Bathing Hut... twenty francs

twenty francs

Page 529

picric family
The explosive picric acid (2,4,6-trinitrophenol) and its derivatives. For picric acid, Brugère's powder and Designolle's powder, see this Britannica article.

Brugère's powder
See "picric family" above.

See "picric family" above.

Monsieur Santos-Dumont
Alberto Santos-Dumont (1873-1932), a pioneer of aviation from Brasil. Check out Wikipedia to get a look at the way he was wearing his "trademark Panama hat".

Green Hour and l'heure vertigineuse
Absinthe-drinking time. The liqueur is green. In French, l'heure verte, so vertigineuse (vertiginous, causing dizziness) is a pun on the word for "green."

Rocco and Pino

Whitehead works in Fiume
Anticipating GR's V2 works.

Fiume is now Rijeka, Croatia. Trieste is on the northern shore of the Istra Peninsula, Rijeka on the southern shore.


Siluro Dirigible a Lenta Corsa
or S.L.C. "slow course torpedo", "slow-running torpedo". Wikipedia Italy‘s Navy was among the first to experiment with manned torpedos. Though according to this site this did not happen until 1935, Italian frogmen as early as October 31, 1918 made it into the harbour of Pula with the help of a modified german torpedo and sank the former Austrian but by then since a few hours Croatian/Slovenian/Bosnian battleship SMS Viribus Unitis. website

Italian dirigibile means "steerable." The word suggests the torpedo is a counterpart of the dirigible Inconvenience.

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Make a surreptitious escape (as "infiltrate" means to make a surreptitious entrance).


Ehi, stugazz', categoria

Nooniness? From Italian mezzogiorno: noon.

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An exceptionally beautiful Belgian town of canals which is thus one of several towns known as the 'Venice of the north'.

Raoul's Atelier de la Vitesse
French: Ralph's Speed Shop.


Daimler six-cylinder

a hundred horsepower


Umeki Tsurigane

Professor Knott

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drover's sombrero



boilermakers and their helpers

Comptes rendus

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aniline teal



in the mood for a clambake
Anachronistic Broadway show tune?

Monopole de la Maison

Idiom Neutral
An invented language, like Esperanto. Idiom Neutral dictionaries first appeard in 1902. It looks like a simplified Latinate language and it grew out of Volapuk, another "auxiliary language." It was abandoned by the Akademi Internasional de Lingu Universal in 1908.

For a list of all the invented languages that linguists are keeping track of, including Klingon, try Eastern Michigan's Linguist List. And don't forget to click on the link to "Browse sites devoted to constructed languages."

Basically, small talk or chatter. Words used to convey fellow-feeling rather than to impart information.

Kampf ums Dasein
German: struggle for existence.

"My fellow Quaternion"?

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Poiret gown

green and long
Pickle, or... what?

Page 535

no-name wine
1970s idiom for common European practice?

Hamilton... first love

Page 536




Scream motif.

beginning to appal


Page 537

broken symmetries

sphinxe Khnopffienne

Pléiade Lafrisée

Female consultant?

Page 538

retroversion matrix

Ma foi

ten thousand francs

Someone cheap or cautious, possibly named after people from PIke County, Missouri, who came to California in the 1800s, looking for work. They were poor, hence cheap.

'Mad Dog'

Hegel... puns

Page 539

vector quotient

'Triangle Asana'
A basic yoga pose.

Here are images of several basic poses.

'Quadrantal Versor Asana'
A triangle pose taken that extra dimension.

"Uwe moer!"



Vacheron & Constantin watch


Page 540

"haar rekening, ja?"
The bill, yes? (Dutch)?

Her bill, yes? I.e., give the check to the lady.

Given the presence of Chris 'Kit' Traverse here, this very much suggests a reference to Christopher 'Kit' Marlowe, Elizabethan poet, playwright and contemporary of Shakespeare. Marlowe was stabbed to death in 1593, in murky circumstances, ostensibly over a bill or 'recokning', though he was widely believed to have been involved in some form of espionage.

Piet Woevre
Pete Weaver?

made him reach
(Cf Ezra Pound?)

not unambiguous
Ie, ambiguous.


de Decker
In Dutch/Flemish, the name means "roofer." (De in these names almost never means "of, from" as in French; it's nearly always the definite article.)

Page 541


MKIV/ODC... Mark Four

your remit

Dutch/Flemish: brownnose, ass-kisser.

one on her wrist

over the day
Title motif?

Page 542


Edmund Whittaker

foaming louche


as if someone
Sound-cancelling vs opacity-cancelling?

Page 543


He Who Must Come

General Boulanger
Georges Boulanger, French War Minister urging an attack on Germany

what death and what transfiguration
Allusion to Richard Strauss' tone poem "Death and Transfiguration" (Tod und Verklärung), premiered in 1890.

Dutch, "certainly"

dead cert
Dead certainty, sure thing.

Von Schlieffen
Alfred von Schlieffen was the author of a German war plan to win a two-front war against both France and Russia by quickly defeating France before Russina troops could be mobilized. The Schlieffen Plan included an attack on France through Belgium, disregarding its neutrality.

Wilhelm has offered Leopold part of France, the ancient Duchy of Burgundy
History of the duchy. Map, with portrait of Duke Charles the Rash.

Title of Pynchon's first published story. Here, ass?

Page 544

Place d'Armes

peau de soie

Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing, Austro-German psychiatrist and author of Psychopathia Sexualis (1886), a pioneering study of deviant sexual behavior and fetishism. Coined both sadism and masochism as terms for these respective behaviors. Wikipedia entry.

A chef's hat




One of Brautigan's books famously ends with the word mayonnaise.

Another Pynchonic word combination, here denoting the two main ingredients of mayonnaise: 1) eggs, and 2) oil. It's not "fecoventilatory collision" as seen in "Vineland," but it's nice.




'Aux armes, citoyens'
Not "Le Marseillaise," you nitwit!

Louis XV

Cléo de Mérode

marquise de Pompadour

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dubious 'victory' in 1756

the ill-fated Admiral Byng
John Byng, convicted by court-martial of failure "to do his utmost" in the battle, shot in 1757. Remembered because of (1) his being the last officer of flag rank to be put to death for conduct in battle and (2) Voltaire's gag in Candide: "In this country it is good to kill an admiral from time to time in order to encourage the others."

"Spanish fly," contact irritant sometimes ill-advisedly used as aphrodisiac.

Pertaining to the Marquis de Sade. The acts the chef performs on the egg and oil have the same names as acts of Sadean sex.



Q.P. system
Quaternion Probability, p?.

Usine Régionale
French: as translated in the text.

Page 546

disjunctive effects of thunderstorms
Folk wisdom says a thunderstorm will cause mayonnaise to separate (oil from yolks).

lounge suit

congress shoes


cuves d'agitation

Clinique d'Urgence pour Sauvetage des Sauces
French: Emergency Clinic for Salvage of Sauces.

Page 547

Cazzo, cretino
Literally, "Dick, cretin." Cazzo is a common Italian interjectionary obscenity, especially in the south. "Cazzo, cretino," is akin to someone saying, "Well shit, dummy," or "F-ing moron!"

È il cowboy!
Italian: It's the cowboy!

Le bambole anarchiste, porca miseria
Italian: Anarchist babes, oh boy.


Quai de l'Entrepôt

Italian: boys, guys.

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timbres fictifs
French: fictive postage stamps. Cf "Lot 49".

As explained in the text

Policies based on revenge, or a person following such policies. In General Boulanger's case, revenge against Germany for the Franco-Prussian War.

the somewhat discomposed General
Having died in 1891, the General by the time of the action is certainly somewhat decomposed; brief biographies do not suggest he was non compos mentis, that is, mentally discomposed.

Page 549

cackled Darby
(When did he lose his innocence?)

a modification of any salsician metaphor toward the diminutive
Salsician: pertaining to sausage. Lindsay says Suckling's penis is better compared to a wiener than a knockwurst.

"Why you little–and I do mean 'little'–"
Another Simpsons reference?

dunes between Nieuport and Dunkirk

Not information, energy.

Page 550

Italian grotto

Major mountain range running northwest-southeast through Poland, Slovakia, western Ukraine and Romania.

Uhlan regiments belonged to the light cavalry. They wore splendid uniforms (model for some U.S. marching band uniforms). Wikipedia article.

Now Timişoara, extreme western Romania.

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securing the mess decks
The Chums follow U.S. Navy idiom in orders (frequently prefixed with "Now") and shipboard activities ("secure" meaning "whatever you did before, undo it now," in this case put away the dishes and fold up the tables).

Ryder Thorn
Tolkienesque name?

He was at Candlebrow.
(Was he?)

the four-note chord in the context of timelessness
A melody is formed by notes following one another in time; a chord on the ukulele violates that practice by having all the notes sound at once. A really clever little passage.

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Brass knuckles.


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Ypres and Menin
Municipalities in West Flanders that were sites of some of the bloodiest battles of WWI.

Ten years from now

Hieronymous Bosch (1450-1516), Dutch painter of nightmares. Wikipedia entry.

Pieter Brueghel the Elder(1525-1569), Flemish painter.Wikipedia entry.

League of Nations?

Page 555

simpletons at the fair
Making Pynchon's metaphor explicit.

Chopin E-minor Nocturne


'plasmic hysteresis'

Annotation Index

Part One:
The Light Over the Ranges

1-25, 26-56, 57-80, 81-96, 97-118

Part Two:
Iceland Spar

119-148, 149-170, 171-198, 199-218, 219-242, 243-272, 273-295, 296-317, 318-335, 336-357, 358-373, 374-396, 397-428

Part Three:

429-459, 460-488, 489-524, 525-556, 557-587, 588-614, 615-643, 644-677, 678-694

Part Four:
Against the Day

695-723, 724-747, 748-767, 768-791, 792-820, 821-848, 849-863, 864-891, 892-918, 919-945, 946-975, 976-999, 1000-1017, 1018-1039, 1040-1062

Part Five:
Rue du Départ


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