- Please keep these annotations SPOILER-FREE by not revealing information from later pages in the novel.
- 1 Page 588
- 2 Page 589
- 3 Page 590
- 4 Page 591
- 5 Page 592
- 6 Page 593
- 7 Page 594
- 8 Page 595
- 9 Page 596
- 10 Page 597
- 11 Page 598
- 12 Page 599
- 13 Page 600
- 14 Page 601
- 15 Page 602
- 16 Page 603
- 17 Page 604
- 18 Page 605
- 19 Page 606
- 20 Page 607
- 21 Page 608
- 22 Page 609
- 23 Page 610
- 24 Page 611
- 25 Page 612
- 26 Page 613
- 27 Annotation Index
In ancient history, tanning was considered a noxious or "odiferous trade" and relegated to the outskirts of town, amongst the poor. Indeed, tanning by ancient methods is so foul smelling that tanneries are still isolated from those towns today where the old methods are used.
Literally "praise to God", as an exclamation also "Thank God!". Though it is rare, it is a real German name.
Very much so: for example of mathematician/philospher Gottlob Frege, who did study at Göttingen, but not at this time.
A German translation of Humphrey. This was not an existing German name any time after the medieval, though.
After Carl Friedrich Gauss died in 1855, his brain was preserved for research purposes. To this day, it is in the possession of the University of Göttingen. Cf page 498:Gauss.
impervious to the wind
(Attribute of tanned leather?)
A German expression of surprise, translated elsewhere as "Holy Moly!"
It is she, she!
probably an allusion to H. Rider Haggard's She. See Wikipedia entry. She has been purified by a pillar of fire. In Against the day, she rises from the swamp. Carl Jung, who used the novel She (1887) as an example of anima, posited the anima is an archetypical form, expressing the fact that a man has a minority of female genes. Haggard's Queen Ayesha is an unmistakable anima type the ultimate guide and mediator to the inner world. The idea has also connections with the observations of James Frazer in his classical study The Golden Bough. Haggard's idea of a journey into the "darkest Africa," which turns into a spiritual search, has been used by a number of writers, including Joseph Conrad in Heart of Darkness (1902).
"My empire is of thy imagination", She says in the novel, "She". Cf. a line, [which I am checking] in "The Crying of Lot 49".
She is 'discovered' somewhere in unknown Africa by some British 'explorers' in a hidden kingdom, and she first appears in a sort of late 19th century private boudoir there. She came to that place via a complicated story some 2000 years earlier, and is of Yemenite origin, having come to the world in pretty much the normal fashion. Yashmeen seems indeed to be based on some fin-de-siecle imaginations of the 'ideal' woman (her looks in general, and the often mentioned streaming black hair of hers), but unlike Haggard's She, Yashmeen is rather powerless in the long run, despite her obvious erotic influence on the men and women in ATD. - Tommaso
- Powerless is a term worth lots of discussion here. [User: MKOHUT]
Kit pretends to think he's referring to monocle as 'chichi' (stylish).
Sofia Kovalevskaia, 1850-1891. Russian mathematician, in 1884 appointed professor in Stockholm. The third female professor in Europe ever. Cf page 500:Sofia Kovalevskaia and (Wikipedia)
The X-ray glasses that used to be advertised in comic books.
Those curves are everywhere continuous but nowhere differentiable
This is exactly a description of a Weierstrass function (1872), a pathological example of a real-valued function on the real line. This function was cited on page 594 by Yashmeen as one of the crises in mathermatics. Also see Weierstrass function from MathWorld and Cf page 500:Karl Weierstrass.
Those curves . . . Noli me tangere
A well-turned wordplay: The operation of differentiating a curve involves drawing tangents to it at selected points. The curves in question are continuous, but the injunction Noli me tangere means you can't draw the tangents.
- If a curve is nowhere differentiable then there will be no tangents anywhere. The curve is everywhere untouchable.
Noli me tangere
Latin for 'don't touch me'
or, in the immortal words of MC Hammer; "You can't touch this"
And is that a revolver you're carrying
Implying, perhaps, an unvocalized "or are you just happy to see me?" Which would be in accord with Kit's reaction to the sight of a woman wearing a toque.
German: a giant housekey, as defined, literally House Bone,with perhaps a double entendre on bone?
Hadamard... Poussin... Prime Number Theorem
Hadamard and Poussin independently proved the prime number theorem in 1896, relying on Riemann's Zeta function.
Jacques Hadamard (1865-1963), a French mathematician best known for his proof of the Prime Number Theorem in 1896.
de la Vallée Poissin (1866-1962), a Belgian mathematician best known for his proof (independently) of the Prime Number Theorem and his major work Cours d'Analyse.
Kühlbox here just means "icebox" or "cooler." Refrigerators were available at the time of the action but not widely used, so an icebox is more likely. It's upstairs in Kit's room, so not necessarily portable.
"Patent," attached to a noun like leather or pencil, could mean really, officially patented or novel and gimmicky. Patent medicines are sold under protected names but not genuine patents in most cases. So the icebox features some radical or distinctive design. My money's on asbestos insulation between the zinc sheets.
Pic of a ca. 1920 Eiskiste-model. According to German Wikipedia, the mobile "Eiskiste" (icebox) had to be filled with (natural) ice, while its successor, the Kühlbox, worked/works with "Kühlaggregate" (cooling units). The contributor is not sure if suchlike were around at that time. German Wikipedia on Eiskiste and Kühlbox.
a group (from the whole) under attack
That is, is it was some smile
Typo, for That is, it was some smile.
Prime Number Theorem
Gives an estimate of the number of primes less than a whole number n. For example, if n is 20 then there are nine primes less than it (1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19). The Prime Number Theorem is closely related to the Riemann Hypothesis.
- It seems the Prime Number Theorem says something about π(n)(ln n)/n approaches a limit as n increases indefinitely. π (n) is the number of primes.
Literally the buttocks. As a slang term, a 'prat' is an idiot.
Die Nullstellen der ζ-Funktion
German: the zeroes of the ζ function. (Null = zero; Stelle = location.) Wikipedia on the "Zeros of the Riemann zeta-function".
not all that hard to prove
Kit will upset the applecart if he can prove the Riemann Hypothesis; Yashmeen's research topic will shrink to triviality. (Last time I checked, no one had yet proved the hypothesis.)
"Richard Harding Davis"
Popular writer of fiction and drama, journalist/war-correspondent and a major male-role-model of his time (1864 - 1916). He was considered the model for illustrator Charles Dana Gibson's dashing Gibson man, the male equivalent of his famous Gibson Girl. He is also referenced early in Sinclair Lewis's book, Dodsworth as the example of an exciting, adventure-seeking legitimate hero. Wikipedia. Among other things, he reported on Belgian atrocities in the Congo.
seldom, if ever
Cf p559 re Umeki!?
made up from greek "tettares" (prefix -tetra) = four and "latreia" = worship
C. Howard Hinton
Charles Howard Hinton (1853 – 1907) was a British mathematician and writer of science fiction works titled Scientific Romances. He was interested in higher dimensions, particularly the fourth dimension, and is known for coining the word tesseract and for his work on methods of visualising the geometry of higher dimensions. He also had a strong interest in theosophy. Wikipedia Entry
Johann K.F. Zöllner
Johann Karl Friedrich Zöllner (1834–1882) was a German astrophysicist. Studied Photometrie and optical illusions. He insisted a fourth dimension should be considered in Physics and tried to scientifically explain spiritist phenomena.
Nice wordplay as Yashmeen seems to think the vogue of mysticism is not very precise, is 'vague' intellectually. Further play on "vague" = wave, as in an intellectual fad, e.g. in film, the French "Nouvelle Vague" (New Wave).
Also Pléiade p538. In mathematics that would be the operator del Wikipedia. Since pre-history and across most cultures the upside-down triangle is a symbol for the female (genitals).
Florian Cajori's A History of Mathematical Notations (v.2 p.135) states that the del (aka Hamiltonian operator) was introduced by William Hamilton in his 1853 lecture on Quaternions. Rumour has it that it is supposed to be a drawing of an ancient Hebrew harp (nabla). It is also known as the atled (backword delta).
This in turn suggests (within the context of AtD (atled??) a reversal of time or a mirror image of change.
screamingly obvious fallacy in this . . . "proof" of yours
Yashmeen reacts in a slight panic to Kit's threat (page 591).
Hausknochen on doors, with 'banging' entendre.
In Euclidean (three-dimensional) space a distance is just what you think it is. In other geometrical systems the term "metric interval" is preferred as a generalized distance.
social life is unpredictable
mirrors the situation in the "Hotel Noctambulo", p. 462. Are all these guys "chums of chance"?
[Not sure about the "chums" idea, but more confusion between public and private space on pg. 155 -- Hunter Penhallow leaving the ruined city, presumably in a time machine: "At some point he must have come indoors, entering a sort of open courtyard....Without intending to, he was walking through inhabited rooms."]
The main shopping street in Göttingen.
Prinzenstrasse and Weenderstrasse
A street corner at the very center of Göttingen (Google Maps), "known to mathematicians here as the origin of the city of Göttingen's coordinate system".
The intersection of these two streets is colloquial called "the navel". For visitors it is not that spectacular, but it's the number one meeting point for people who live in Göttingen before going to a cafe or pub. (I don't know, why we allways meet there, but we allways do!) So Pynchon definitley knows, why he compares this street corner with the origin of Göttingen's coordinate system.
By the way, one of the oldest bookstores of Göttingen is situated right at the described corner of Prinzen- and Weenderstrasse.
A mark is short for deutschemark, a German monetary unit.
That was the case after the Second World War, but the unit was just called the mark until at least the end of the empire. Here is a picture of a 20 mark coin from the period of the action.
German: the pistol hero. Meaning: the gunman. 'Pistolenheld' seems rather funny, the correct German word is: der Revolverheld.
automorphic functions and the Anharmonic Pencil
Automorphic Functions are generalizations of trigonometric functions and elliptic functions.
Anharmonic Pencil see page 532:Anharmonic Pencil.
Or das nichtharmonische Strahlenbündel. German: the anharmonic pencil. A "pencil" is the set of lines passing through a point.
Leonhard Euler (pronounced Oiler; IPA [ˈɔʏlɐ]) (April 15, 1707 – September 7, 1783) was a Russian-German mathematician and physicist of Swiss descent. From Wikipedia and below:
Euler made important discoveries in fields as diverse as calculus, number theory, and topology. He also introduced much of the modern mathematical terminology and notation, particularly for mathematical analysis, such as the notion of a mathematical function.  He is also renowned for his work in mechanics, optics, and astronomy.
Euler is considered to be the preeminent mathematician of the 18th century and one of the greatest of all time.
Felix Klein (1849-1925), a German mathematician, best known for his work in non-Euclidean goemetry, for his work on the connections between geometry and group theory, and for results in function theory. Cf page 565:Felix Klein.
Mathematical Theory of the Top
Published in the U.S. in 1897. Compare Felix Klein and Arnold Sommerfeld, Über die Theorie des Kreisels, 4 volumes, 1897-1910.
Leopold Kronecker and Cantor
Leopold Kronecker (1823-1891), a German mathematician, primary contributions were in the theory of equations. He made major contributions in elliptic functions and the theory of algebraic numbers.
Georg Cantor (1845-1918), a German mathematician. He founded set theory and introduced the concept of infinite numbers with his discovery of cardinal numbers. He also advanced the study of trigonometric series. (Cf page 250:Dr. Cantor).
The "monumental quarrel between Kronecker and Cantor" is also referred to as a "religious war," appropriately enough. It's based in a disagreement over the legitimacy of numbers. Kronecker held that "'the positive integers were created by God, and all else is the work of man.'" This is contradicted by "'Cantor with his Kontinuum, professing an equally strong belief in just those regions, infinitely divisible, which lie between the whole numbers so demanding of all Kronecker's devotion.'"
The disagreement between the two mathematicians is reminiscent of (or does it anticipate?) the rift between Pointsman and Mexico in Gravity's Rainbow. Kronecker's integers "created by God" have become a Pavlovian digital binary for Pointsman, but the two oppositions track faithfully right down to the italicized "between."
"The young statistician [Mexico] is devoted to number and to method, not table-rapping or wishful thinking. But in the domain of zero to one, not-something to something, Pointsman can only possess the zero and the one. He cannot, like Mexico, survive anyplace in between. Like his master I. P. Pavlov before him, he imagines the cortex of the brain as a mosaic of tiny on/off elements.... But to Mexico belongs the domain between zero and one." [Page 55]
It should be noted, however, that the continuous number line was a modern innovation. In Greek number theory, a number is a collection of indivisible units. Irrationals, such as the square root of 2 are not numbers but "magnitudes." One is not even a number for it is not a number of units. There are no negative numbers as well. (see Klein's Greek Mathematical Thought and the Origin of Algebra.) So Kronecker's position may be less of a crazy innovation as much as a maintenance of ancient theory.
- That last paragraph makes an excellent point.
the square root of minus one
The imaginary number i. Cf page 133:Imarginary Number.
the square root of plus two
From Carl B. Boyer's A History of Mathematics, 2nd Ed. 1991, pp.564 & 565):
The domain of rational numbers can be extended to form a continuum of real numbers if one assumes Cantor-Dedekind axiom that the points on a line can be put into one-to-one correspondence with the real numbers. "Arithmetically expressed, this means that for every division of the rational numbers into two classes A and B such that every number of the first class, A, is less than every number of the second class, B, there is one and only one real number producing this Schnitt, or . . . cut. If A has a largest number, or if B contains a smallest number, the cut defines a rational number; but if A has no largest number and B no smallest, then the cut defines an irrational number. If, for example, we put in A all negative rational numbers and also all positive rational numbers whose squares are less than 2, and in B all positive rational numbers whose squares are more than 2, we have subdivided the entire field of rational numbers in a manner defining an irrational number—in this case the number that we usually write as" suqare root of 2. In fact, the squae root of plus two "can be defined simply as that segment or subclass of the set of rational numbers made up of all positive rational numbers whose squares are less than 2 and also of all negative rational numbers." —— This is what Kronecker did not believe.
This passage closely parallels the one about the "microcosm of Venice" on page 575.
German: nerve clinic. Three-dollar word for a mental hospital.
boundless epsilonic world
Epsilon, Greek letter like E. In mathematics (particularly calculus), an arbitrary (or nearly so) small positive quantity is commonly denoted ε; see limit. By analogy with this, the late mathematician Paul Erdős also used the term "epsilons" to refer to children (Hoffman 1998, p. 4). Wikipedia; of Huxley's five classes of citizens in Brave New World epsilons were purposely stunted physically and intellectually.
The choice of the tavern "The Dwarf of Darkness" may have been meant as a dig at five-foot-tall Kronecker.
A/k/a "knockout drops" a/k/a a "Mickey Finn". Hence the Mickifest. Wikipedia entry.
Gauss passing to Weber a remark
Carl Friedrich Gauss (Gauß) (30 April 1777 – 23 February 1855) was a German mathematician and scientist of profound genius who contributed significantly to many fields, including number theory, analysis, differential geometry, geodesy, magnetism, astronomy and optics. Sometimes known as "the prince of mathematicians" and "greatest mathematician since antiquity", Gauss had a remarkable influence in many fields of mathematics and science and is ranked as one of history's most influential mathematicians. (Cf page 498:Gauss.)
That influence is seen in the field of statistics where the Gaussian distribution (also known as the normal distribution, popularly known as the bell curve) is named after him. With its ability to correctly model "psychological measurements and physical phenomena"  and its resemblance to both the rainbow and the rocket's arc, there's no surprise Pynchon references it often in GR, even having Roger Mexico quote the formula as "an old saying among my people" (p.709).
Wilhelm Weber (1804-91), a noted German physicist. He studied magnetism with Gauss and in 1831, on the recommendation of Gauss, he was appointed as professor of physics at Göttingen. And in 1833 Gauss and Weber constructed the first electromagnetic telegraph. The SI unit of magnetic flux, the weber, is named after him.
In 1831 Gauss developed a fruitful collaboration with the physics professor Wilhelm Weber; it led to new knowledge in the field of magnetism (including finding a representation for the unit of magnetism in terms of mass, length and time) and the discovery of Kirchhoff's circuit laws in electricity. Gauss and Weber constructed the first electromagnetic telegraph in 1833, which connected the observatory with the institute for physics in Göttingen. Gauss ordered a magnetic observatory to be built in the garden of the observatory and with Weber founded the magnetischer Verein ("magnetic club"), which supported measurements of earth's magnetic field in many regions of the world. He developed a method of measuring the horizontal intensity of the magnetic field which has been in use well into the second half of the 20th century and worked out the mathematical theory for separating the inner (core and crust) and outer (magnetospheric) sources of Earth's magnetic field
Göttingen . . . in the war with Prussia
This refers to Austro-Prussian War, (also called Seven Weeks' War), June 15–August 23, 1866, between Prussia, allied with Italy, and Austria, allied with Bavaria, Wüttemberg, Saxony (where Göttingen is located), Hanover, Baden and several other smaller German states. It was Bismarck's aim to expel, by force, Austria from the German Confederation as a step toward the unification of Germany under Prussian dominace.
- Göttingen is in Saxony now (specifically the state of Niedersachsen or Lower Saxony), but until 1866 it was an important city in the Kingdom of Hanover.
political crisis in Europe
The period of 1870 to 1914 was characterized by the Anglo-German naval race and European powers - Germany, Italy, Belgium, Britain and France - scrambled for Africa. The major events in Europe were: 1870-1871 Franco-Prussian War; 1905 Russian Revolution; 1908 Bosnia Crisis; 1911-12 Italian Turkish War; 1912-13 Balkan War; 1914 World War I began.
crisis in mathematics . . . Weierstrass functions, Cantor's continuum, Russell's inexhaustible capacity for mischief
A genuine crisis as well-established ideas were challenged. Weierstrass functions have the unheard-of property that they are "continuous but nowhere differentiable." Cantor's ideas about the continuum violated a longstanding prohibition against infinite quantities. Bertrand Russell around this time was setting the cat among the pigeons by identifying paradoxes and inconsistencies in set theory and number theory.
"the infinite" was all but a conjuror's convenience
There is a very good book relating how the infinite, between the 18th and early 20th centuries, finally found a place in mathematics: In Search of Infinity by N.Ya. Vilenkin (translated by Abe Shenitzer).
That winter, in St. Petersburg . . . Hundreds were killed and wounded.
22 Jan 1905, Bloody Sunday.
The event on January 22, 1905, Bloody Sunday, was a watershed in the Russian history.
Russia's armies were losing to the Japanese in the Far East. Her workers at home were challenging the rule of Romanov's Autocracy. At the beginning of 1905, the worker of Putilov Works of St. Petersburg, the capital of Russia, went on stike for better living and working conditions. They were joined by many from other factories. Father Gapon, a priest, urged the striking workers to present directly to the Tsar on January 22, 1905 a petition to seek justice and protection. They would beg Nicholas II to come to their aid. The morning of January 22 was very cold (about five degrees below freezing) and some 200,000 workers and their wives and children came peacefully and orderly carrying icons, portraits of Nicholas, and no revolutionary placards not even red handkerchiefs. To stop the workers' march upon the Palace Square barracades were set across several avenues that connected to the city center. At each of these points, soldiers tried to turn back the marchers and, at several of them, officers ordered to fire into the crowds. The worst slaughter took place on the Winter Palace Square itself, between 150 and 200 men, women, and children lay shot dead and another 450 to 800 had been wounded while the Cossacks charged into the dispersing crowds with sabers drawn.
Bloody Sunday, as that tragic day soon became known, marked the beginning of what the Tsar's mother called the "year of nightmares", and the beginning of what many others called the "year of revolution". (Based on W. Bruce Lincoln's Romanovs (1981)).
Grand Duke Sergei
Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich Romanov (1857-1905) was the uncle and brother-in-law of Tsar Nicholas II (1868-1918, Reign: 1894-1917). In 1891 he was appointed as Moscow Governor General. In 1894 he also was a member of the State Council. He resigned from the Governorship on January 1, 1905 but continued as Commander of the Moscow military district. In the afternoon of February 17, 1905, in a carriage leaving the Kremlin Grand Duke Sergei was killed by a nitroglycerine bomb thrown by a Socialist Revolutionary terrorist directly into his lap. He was literally blown to bits and pieces. The assassination of Grand Duke Sergei signaled the beginning of a broader wave of popular unrest that had been sparked by the events of Bloody Sunday and swept the whole nation. Many more assassinations, strikes, disorders and uprisings followed during the year. (Grand Duke Sergei's replacement, Shurvalov, was assassinated on July 11 of the same year.)
More strikes . . . peasant and military insurections . . . into the summer
In January-February, turbulent reaction to Bloody Sunday spread across neighboring regions, especially the industrial centers which experienced spontaneous workers' strikes: Vilno, Kovno, Kiev, Moscow were paralyzed. In February-March the labor unrests reached Saratov Province and the Caucasus, and Siberia. Labor unrests were persistent throughout Russia into August. In early March university students left their classrooms, and at the end of the month the authorities closed down all the universities throughout the whole country for the rest of the academic year. (Student unrest even reached Orthodox seminaries.)
In March, peasant unrests erupted widely, especially in Kursk, and Chernigov and Orel provinces and northwest regions of European Russia. In June, the Battleship Potemkin mutinied and in the Black Sea port city Odessa there was a large scale uprising by the sailors, soldiers, workers and ordinary citizens. On June 28 afternoon hundreds of protesters were killed on the Odessa Steps which was immortalized by the classic movie sequence in the 1925 Eisenstein's The Battleship Potemkin (considered by some one of the greatest films of all time). In summer widespread peasants' attacks on landowners' estates dramatically increased throughout Russia. The Peasant Union was organized at a secret August 13-14 Moscow conference.
Kronstadt was a naval fortress in the Gulf of Finland 18 miles west of St. Petersburg. Following the destruction of the Baltic Fleet by the Japanese in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05) (Cf page 318: The Russo-Japanese War) Kronstadt joined the general uprising which swept the whole Russian country. The first Kronstadt uprising on November 8-9, 1905, participated in by the majority of Kronstadt's 13,000 sailors and soldiers, was basically a large armed riot accompanied by liberal political demands. It lasted only two days. Kronstadt's second uprising took place in July 1906 but was brutally suppressed.
A port city of Russia (now, Sevastopol of Ukrain), located on the Black Sea coast of the Crimean peninsula west of Yalta. Sebastopol was associated with rebellion, mutiny and civil war.
On June 27, 1905 the battleship Potemkin sailed from Sebastopol to Odessa and to mutiny against the ship's oppressive officers. The mutineers killed seven of the eighteen officers, including the Captain and the Second in Command. The ship eventually sailed to Romania and turned over to the authority there on July 7. (Sergei Eisenstein's The Battlehip Potemkin made her famous well beyond Russia.)
On October 1, 1905, citizen of Sebastopol and sailors from the Black Fleet demonstrated in the city center demanding the authority to free political presoners, etc, but were met with gun fire. Wide spread unrest and naval mutinies followed. In November the cruiser Ochakov led a rebellion joined by several other warships. The rebellion was eventually suppressed by a stronger government force a couple of months later.
The name was a derogatory one, adapted from the term "White Hundreds", which was used in medieval Russia for the privileged caste of nobles and wealthy merchants. The lower-class types who joined the Black Hundreds were not in this class hence their ironic nomenclature. It was formed in response to the October Manifesto by those who had either lost or were afraid of losing their petty status in the social hierachy as a result of modernization and reform. They blamed the Jews as the ultimate cuase for Tsar's retreat. Fighting revolution in the streets was their way of revenging themselves, a means of putting the clock back and restoring the social and racial hierarchy. (Based on Orlando Figes' A People's Tragedy (1996))
The Japanese destroyed the bulk of the Russian Baltic Fleet in the Battle of Tsushima Strait on May 27-28, 1905. In GR, the soon-to-be-defeated fleet puts in at German Southwest Africa during the 1904 Herero Revolt; Tchicherine's father, a sailor in that fleet, may also be the father of Enzian, leader of the Schwarzcommando.
By January 1905 the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05) had been going on in Manchuria for nearly a year. In the summer of 1904, the Russia's Pacific Fleet was bottled up inside Port Arthur (now, Lüshun, Liaoning, China) and the port was under siege as from August. In October, the Tsar sent the entire Baltic Fleet to relief the siege. At the beginning of 1905, Port Arthur finally fell after a siege and bombardment lasted 156 days. In March 1905 Russia and Japan fought the greatest land battle in the history up to then at Mukden (Shenyang, Liaoning). Each side committed more than 300,000 troops and over 1,000 pieces of artillery. After nearly one month's fighting both lost more than 50,000 killed and wounded, but the Russians withrew 40 miles to the north. After streaming halfway around the world in a grueling voyage of many months without adequate logistic support, on May 27 the Russian fleet met the waiting Japanese (under Admiral Togo) in the Tsuhsima Straits that separated Japan and Korea. The Battle of Tsushima Straits (May 27-28) was one of the most decisive naval battles in history. Even though the Russians had more ships and more heavy guns, but within a few hours, they lost 8 battleships, 3 cruisers, 5 minelayers and 4 other ships. Four more battleship surrendered next day, and the Russian commanding admiral (Admiral Rozhdestvenskii) was also captured. The Japanese lost only a total of 3 torpedo boats. (Based on W. Bruce Lincoln's Romanovs (1981)).
After two months' negotiation, the Russo-Japanese War officially ended with the signing of the Peace Treaty of Porstmouth (New Hampshire) on September 5, 1905.
A general strike in the autumn . . .
In late September a printer's trike in Moscow was in progress for over a fortnight. By October 18 it seemed that the strike was losing steam. But on October 20 railroad workers struck the Moscow-Kazan Railway and the strike spread outward along all the railroad lines: to St Petersburg in the west, to Voronesh and Kharkov in the south; and by October 23 it had reached Siberia. Twenty-six thougsand miles of track were immobilized as 750,000 railroad employees struck. At this time much of European Russia was in the grip of one of the greatest and most effective general strikes in the history of labor protest anywhere in the world. All of Russia's industry ground to a halt, everyone stopped work. Factory workers, servants, postal workers, telegraph operatiors, janitors, and hackney drivers all walked off their wjobs, as did bank clerks, shop clerks, and clerks in government office. Doctors, laywers, shcoolteachers, university professors, even the entire corps de ballet of the great Imperaial Mariinskii Theatre—all joined the strike. There were no newspapers, no streetlights, no tramcars . . . As all rail traffic stopped and telegraph line dead, Russia was isolated from the rest of the world. At the same time, the revolutionary groups organized a new body for coordinating the activities of the striking workers and for expressing their joint political and economic demands: the "St. Petersburg Soviet of Workers' Deputies". Many other Soviets were set up and developed later as alternate governing organizations. The name and organization Soviet (Russian word Sovet means council) took on a legendary meaning from then on and became historical.
With the regime on the verge of collapse, in response, the Tsar, advised by the Prime Minister, issued the famouse October Manifesto on October 30, 1905, by which Nicholas granted to all Russian civil rights, agreed to summon a Duma (Parliament) elected by wide (though not universal) suffrage, and agreed that all laws must be approved by the Duma. In the meantime, on December 16, troops were sent to arrest some three hundred members of the St. Petersburg Soviet of Workers' Deputies. The Revolution of 1905 in the Capital passed into history.
In December . . . another major uprising
In Moscow, the Soviet of Workers' Deputeis proclaimed a general strike for December 20. When the authorities moved to arrest the stike leaders, an armed uprising broke out. Barricades went up in workers' quarter of the city, and revolutionaries from St. Petersburg, Odessa, and elsewhere joined in the struggle. Nicholas dispatched elite troops with artillery which reduced the rebels' area to ruins. By December 31, the rebellion in Moscow was over. The number of killed and wounded totaled over a thousand.
In the East . . . up and down the railroad lines
The Russo-Japanese War was officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Portsmouth on August 23, 1905. In late summer there were numerous minor mutinies by troop returning from Manchuria on the Trans-Siberian Railroad. Fighting between the left and the right erupted on October 20 around Tomsk. On November 12, mutinous soldiers and sailors destroyed much of Vladivostok on the Pacific coast, the end of the Trans-Siberian. There were unrests and prisings in Chita (November 29), Irkutsk (December 13), and Novorossiisk (December 22) as well.
The downfall of the Ottoman Empire by Turkey?
- No. In this whole paragraph Pynchon only factually describes the events in Russia and the Russian 1905 Revolution.
- Muslims in Central Asia (Kirghiz, Kazakh, Uzbek, Tadzhik, and others) had never been happy as pawns in the "Great Game" and now (1905) attempted to throw off Russian domination. Turkey, center of the Ottoman Empire, had its rebellion a few years later.
- The text said "a Muslim rebellion". Anyone knows this 1905 Muslim Rebellion in Russia?
the year that followed . . . Russians everywhere
The well-known 1905 Revolution in Russian history was the beginning of the fall of the Old Regime. The text "as the Revolution went collapsing" refered exactly to this one, not the February and October Revolutions in 1917. So "the year that followed" refered to 1906. In fact, Pynchon explicitly stated on page 602: "By 1906 there were Russians everywhere, . . ."
Soon after the collapse of the 1905 Revolution many Russians emmigrated abroad. They were 1) opponents to the Tsar regime feared of reprisal and backlash; 2) intelligentsia who were frightened by what just happened and afraid of a more violent upheaval in the future (Maxim Gorky, the writer, left Russia in the spring of 1906); 3) Jews, the victims of the large scale pogroms in 1905-06 (1964 Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof told the story of how one Jewish family being forced to leave Russia in 1906); 4) youngsters who escaped the compulsory millitary service or looked for a quieter place for education. This was the second wave (1905-1917) of Russian emmigration. (1st wave: 1880-1905; 3rd: 1917-1939; 4th: 1945-1960; 5th: 1991-current).
as the Revolution went collapsing
The first paragraph of this page is a factual description of the revolutionary events occured in Russia in 1905 which wwere later collectively called 1905 Revolution. It was the foreshock of that of 1917. It had all of Russia in its grip, and its outbreak had not been planned; it had simply grown spontaneously. It failed under the usual combination of repression and concessions. (see Richard Pipes' The Russian Revolution (1990)). In Soviet Marxist history 1905 Revolution is second only in importance to 1917 October Revolution, one of the most important revolutionary iconic events. (The 1917 Frebruary Revolution, the one actually overthrew the Tsar's Regime, was lightly mentioned because it was considered a bourgeois revolution.) Numerous books, songs, poems, films . . . had been devoted to this Revolution. To the west the most memorable are the Eisenstein's silent film Battleship Potmekin (1925) and Shostakovich's Symphony No 11: The year 1905 (1957).
Peter and Paul Fortress
At St. Petersburg, established by Peter the Great. Political prisoners were confined there from the first half of the 1700s. Conditions were notoriously harsh.
A Cossack dance, stereotypical Russian behavior.
Waziristan (Pashto: وزیرستان) is a mountainous region of northwest Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan and covering some 11 585 km² (4,473 mi²). It comprises the area west and southwest of Peshawar between the Tochi River to the north and the Gomal River to the south, forming part of Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The North-West Frontier Province lies immediately to the east. The region was an independent tribal territory from 1893, remaining outside of British-ruled empire and Afghanistan. Tribal raiding into British-ruled territory was a constant problem for the British, eliciting frequent punitive expeditions between 1860 and 1945. Wikipedia
Currently, it is thought to be the last stronghold of Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden.
- Worth noting, perhaps, that Yashmeen came from Russia and had been transported to Waziristan for sale as a slave.
as-ever transcendentally interesting hair
(Perhaps a reference to Albert Einstein?)
Possibly, but given the numerous mentions of the Zeta function it is most likely a reference to
Transcendental Numbers. These are irrational numbers that do not exist as the zero (or solution) to any algebraic function. A number of groundbreaking results regarding transcendentalism were made around the time the novel is set, and most if not all of the mathematicians and mathematical methods mentioned in the book revolve around transcendental numbers and functions.
Given that these numbers are often expressed as an infinite series, in which successive terms add ever-more-minuscule amounts to the value of the number, yet each digit is fascinatingly unique (since the decimal never repeats), it seems to me that Pynchon is suggesting that Yashmeen's hair has the quality of being endlessly fascinating, that even the observation of a single hair (or even a portion of a single hair) is involving and invigorating. This would mirror Kit's fascination and infatuation with Yashmeen, and the term would likely spring readily to the mind of a mathematician of the era.Dharper 08:15, 16 January 2007 (PST)
. . . the Revolution
Russian 1905 Revolution.
...it all finds its way back to the T.W.I.T. people....
"and what comes out of their shop can surprisingly often be trusted"
Suggestive of the CIA's Stargate Project in Remote Viewing
British military slang for information. To gen-up is to learn quickly. OED gives earliest recorded use of the word as 1940.
a soul impaled . . . as if to bisect me
Harks back to the fate of La Jarretière in V.
An Afghani coin, more usually transliterated as "dirham". This site has pictures and more information.
Usually transliterated as Ghaznavid Empire (Wikipedia)
Coffee motif. More likely: coffee heir.
Günther von Quassel
"quasseln" is a German verb, meaning roughly "to jabber"
less than universally respected Ludwig Boltzmann
Boltzmann proposed an explanation of thermodynamics based on the statistical behaviour of atoms. Many influential colleagues at the time did not believe in the reality of atoms and thus worked to discredit Boltzmann.
A Gymnasium is a German secondary school
Ach, die Zetamanie
German: Oh, the zeta-mania.
one measure of the chaos
Cf. p. 188, where Neville and Nigel are referred to as "the N's," and to the proliferation of N name in T.W.I.T. in general.
Hinting at Webb's role in the novel?
One of Pynchon's central themes and best depicted in The Crying of Lot 49 which can be read as a satire on the order of crime novels and a comment on the central order of narrative structures. Certainly ATD can be read as a vast extension on this theme. The chaos/ order binary has already been a introduced a couple of lines above.
Humfried's comment reiterates something Pynchon says in his essay 'Is it O.K. to be a Luddite?', in virtually the same words.
Like other university towns, Göttingen has developed its own folklore. On the day of their doctorate, postgraduate students are drawn in handcarts from the Great Hall to the Gänseliesel-Fountain in front of the Old Town Hall. There they have to climb the fountain and kiss the statue of the Gänseliesel (Goose girl). This practice is actually forbidden by law, but the law is not at all enforced. She is considered to be the most-kissed girl in the world. Wikipedia.
Addendum of interest for GR and ATD. Nearly untouched by allied bombing in World War II (the informal understanding during the war was that Germany wouldn't bomb Cambridge and Oxford and the allies wouldn't bomb Heidelberg and Göttingen).
The square in front of City Hall.
Axioms of Zermelo
The basic axioms of Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory.
Henri Poincaré (1854-1912), one of France's greatest mathermaticians and theorectical physicists. (Wikipedia)
Augustin Louis Cauchy (1789-1857), a French mathematician. His name was connected with many other mathematicians mentioned in ATD: Cauchy-Riemann equation, Cauchy-Frobenious lemma, Cauchy-Euler equation, Cauchy-Kovalevskaia theorem. (Wikipedia)
Whittaker and Watson
A standard mathematics textbook of the time (Wikipedia)
two point one
(Cf Sondheim lyric, "A Little Night Music" lyrics.)
- I think here just point-by-point listing was being used: 1); 2); 2.1).
"What here is he doing?" . . . "Obviously, we must now a duel fight."
In keeping with his name (see p. 596 annotations), Günther speaks in a stage-German accent.
Probably student corporation insignia.
Obviously the name of the Chums' airship; whenever the word appears there seems to be a reference to the Chums; here: "...Here, not completely...slightly...somewhere else" as the airship always seems to be.
Egal was, meine Schatze
German, "No matter what, my darling" - though "meine Schatze" is an improper femininization, which ought to be "mein Schatz".
Meine Schatze literally means "my treasure" and is the term of endearment I used with my German girlfriend. She never mentioned it being "improper".
- "Meine Schatze" is definitely no German phrase, and it also sounds really strange to my (Austrian German) ears. "Meine Schätze" would be the plural, but that does not seem to make sense in this context. "Mein Schatz" instead would fit perfectly.
A specialized weapon for student duels. See Wikipedia's Academic fencing article.
A rapier with a basket ("Korb" in German) like protection hilt.
French for sword
A sharp-pointed duelling sword.
I guess Kit's luggage beat him to Gottingen.
German: connection, union. Here the student corps one belongs to.
upon the face of the other, to inscribe one's mark
In several of his movies, the actor Erich von Stroheim appeared with a nasty scar on the left side of his face. Dueling was a pastime of honor at some universities, and the sword scar was the mark of having sustained one's honor there. Special weapons, masks and inflaming treatments were employed to produce this lifelong disfigurement.
a Mexican tilde
The wavy mark over the letter ñ in Spanish.
restoring moment, elastic constants
Günther's scar is tilde-shaped because as his opponent's sword passed across his face it vibrated up and down once and returned to its starting position. The following would be a reasonable problem for a high-school physics student: If you know how fast the blade tip was traveling side to side and you're allowed to measure the scar, what was the frequency of the up-and-down motion? A second-year university physics student could work out the frequency of vibration given certain properties of the sword and swordsman. A restoring moment acts to swing the blade back to its mean position when it is deflected; the duelist's wrist exerts one restoring moment and the elasticity of the steel exerts a second one. The restoring moment depends in part on a number called elastic constant that relates force to linear deflection (think of the classic fisherman's scale, where more weight extends the spring farther).
wasn't going to converge . . . skipped a step . . . divided by zero
Kit insults Günther by pointing out blunders in the proof he gave to Yashmeen.
German: confidential counsellor. A title of honor given to prominent civilian figures in Germany. For Hilbert Cf page 324:Dr. Hilbert.
German, "code of honor"
A device to keep one's mustache safe from entanglement when sleeping, like this.
Zeiss "Palmos Panoram"
An early panoramic camera, mentioned in the 1911 Britannica's Photography article.
"Auf die Mensur!"
German, "to the duel"
Here's a mention of tattooing practices in the Andaman Islands
Stephanie du Motel... group-theory godfather Évariste Galois
Évariste Galois died in a duel at the age of 20. Though much confusion surrounds the affair, it is suspected that he provoked the duel after being rejected by one Stéphanie-Felice du Motel. (Wikipedia)
By 1906 there were Russians everywhere, flown and fleeing westward
Cf page 595:the year that followed . . . Russians everywhere. fleeing westward: most popular destination for Russian refugees was then France, later America.
Peter D. Ouspensky (1878-1947), Russian mystic and philosopher, author of The Fourth Dimension, appropriate to Pynchon's themes in ATD.
An anachronism: Ouspensky's The Fourth Dimension wasn't published until 1909. (See Linda Dalrymple Henderson's The Fourth Dimension and Non-Euclidean Geometry in Modern Art.)
A Pynchonism. From Theosophist Cf page 219:Madame Blavatsky, Theosophical Society. the suffix "oid" often used in mathematics, indicates a "similarity, not necessarily exact, to something else". (android: similar to a man, ovoid: similar to an egg, etc.) As it is explained in the next sentence, "That's a Theosophist, only not entirely". Fitting, in a book that is obsessed with doppelgängers and people who are at once themselves, but not quite (see the transformations of Dr. V Ganesh Rao)
A strange and seemingly unlikely visitor to Göttingen. The name might be taken from the Chinese philosopher Wang Chong, or Wang Ch'ung. Could also be Cheech Marin's partner, Tommy Chong (C.Marin alluded to earlier p.477). - This is Sidney Reilly, a famous spy of the time, in disguise. See the note on Sidney below.
(Precipitous drop in authorial expectations?)
Chinese Communist. For the true meaning of Bolshevik Cf page 616:Bolshevists
Sidney . . . Kensington Sid
Kensington is where elected officials worked.
This is Sidney Reilly, the famous Ace of Spies. The reference is made clear by Swome on page 630, and, to the extent that any appearance here makes sense, a spy makes more sense than a political theorist. An annotation on page 630 includes a Wikipedia reference for Reilly. I don't know whether Reilly (or British spies of the day in general) had a particular association with Kensington, or whether the reference is to Chunxton Crescent, which is placed in roughly that part of London.
Beyond the three.
"Spiritual... At Göttingen?"
Gottingen is materialistic. Preserved brains as like in a tannery.
Applied Mechanics Institute
An institute of the University of Göttingen
Prandtl's recent discovery of the boundary layer
Ludwig Prandtl (Wikipedia) in 1904 developed the theory of the boundary layer (Wikipedia) in aerodynamics, greatly simplifying aerodynamic calculations.
powered flight . . . at the edge of history
In 1905 already a reality, but the pioneering empirical work was taking place in Ohio, not Germany.
A proto golf-ball, see here.
German, "Citizen's Street", a street in Göttingen.<bre> This translation is correct but here "Bürger" refers to the German poet Gottfried August Bürger (1748 - 1794) who lived in Göttingen.
The Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla) is a finch related to chaffinches, and is plumed orange, black, and white. Widespread in northern Europe and Asia, it occasionally strays to Alaska and farther south.
German, "Brewery Way", a street in Göttingen.
The Joukowsky Transform maps the unit circle in the complex plane to a shape very much like an airfoil.
Geheimrat = Privy councillor.
In geometry, the Klein model, also called the projective model... is a model of n-dimensional hyperbolic geometry in which the points of the geometry are in an n-dimensional disk, or ball, and the lines of the geometry are line segments contained in the disk; that is, with endpoints on the boundary of the disk.
glass of tea
(Why not 'cup'?) because in Europe, as opposed to in England, tea may be drunk from glassware.
draw pictures . . . flights of arrows . . . vectors without pictures
Vectors can be visualized as arrows in a plane or three-dimensional space; more generally they can be represented as arrays of coefficients, and now they are not limited to three dimensions.
"...according to Spiral Theory, up to infinity."
"And beyond, " added Gunther, nodding earnestly.
Reference to Buzz Lightyear's stock character phrase in 1995's TOY STORY (Pixar/Disney): "To Infinity... and Beyond!" --Btchakir 07:43, 19 December 2006 (PST)
- The text said nothing about Spiral Theory, I believe.
This reminded me of the caption "Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite" in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. WolfgangFaber 07:44, 10 October 2008 (PDT)
The Riemann zeta function has two classes of zeros, the trivial zeroes being at negative even integers (-2, -4...), the non-trivial complex numbers, believed (but not proven) to have Re(z)=1/2. See Wikipedia. or Cf page 496:Zeta function conjecture.
At the 1900 International Congress of Mathematicians in Paris, Hilbert proposed a research programme of 23 problems. The Riemann hypothesis is number 8 on the list.
Until 1971, the name Sorbonne refered to the historic University of Paris in Paris, France, one of the best universities in France. The name is derived from the Collège de Sorbonne, founded in 1257 by Robert de Sorbon as one of the first significant colleges of the medieval University of Paris; the university itself as such predates the college by about a centure. In 1971, after the univeristy reforms, the five faculties of the former University of Paris were split and then reformed into thirteen interdisciplinary universities. Three of them as true "heirs" to the original, have kept the Sorbonne name as part of their official title: Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV), the New Sorbonne, and the Panthéon-Sorbonne. The University of Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV) was the inheritor of the former University of Paris' Arts and Sciences Faculties.
the outstanding problems in mathematics
Hilbert's Problems are 23 (originally) unsolved problems in mathematics proposed by Hilbert. Of the 23 total appearing in the printed address, 10 were actually presented at the Second International Congress of Mathematics at the Sorbonne, Paris on August 8, 1900. Hilbert's Problems were designed to serve as examples for the kinds of problems whose solutions would lead to the furthering of disciplines in mathermatics. As such, some were areas for investigation and therefore not strictly "problems".
Wikipedia Dudley Eigenvalue, D.D.S., was a character in V.
A Hermitian operator generalises some of the ideas of symmetry when complex numbers are involved. Wikipedia
spine of reality . . . "Rückgrat von Wirklichkeit"
Probably a reference to the main diagonal of a Hermitian matrix, which can contain only real numbers. The German phrase is one accurate way to translate the English.
- are there any others? Translate the German back to English and you get "backbone of reality"
The conjecture that the zeroes of the Riemann function would be the eigenvalues of a Hermitian operator, just what Yashmeen is suggesting.
The voracious detective is a stock figure in the mystery genre (Nero Wolfe, Mycroft Holmes, Inspector Dover, D.C.I. Dalziel and others).
Is his name pronounced Eye Chrome, as in private eye? Weak possible connection?-- a truck light called Big Eye Chrome. The name sounds like 'fancy chrome.'
Full English Breakfast
Bacon, eggs, tomato, toast... otherwise known as a fry-up.
The Greek philosopher Pythagoras, who lived towards the end of the 6th century BC, was a prominent proponent of vegetarianism. The Pythagorean diet came to mean an avoidance of the flesh of slaughtered animals. Pythagorean ethics first became a philosophical morality between 490-430 BC with a desire to create a universal and absolute law including injunctions not to kill "living creatures," to abstain from "harsh-sounding bloodshed," in particular animal sacrifice, and "never to eat meat." (From a review of The Heretics Feast: a History of Vegetarianism by Colin Spencer, University Press of New England, 1995)
and never to eat beans (strange but true).
kippers and bloaters
Different words (both Scottish) for smoked herrings
soft bread rolls - another Scottish word
Appropriate technology. An English-made hand-cranked coffee grinder that doesn't light up, lacks a readout to tell when the beans are ready, and signally fails to function before the user wakes up. Only drawback is that some spouses compare its sound to half a load of cobbles being dumped on the roof.
From full 78. Wikipedia
It exists: Google search
"Replevin" is a legal term for a form of civil action to recover possession of property being wrongfully held by another.
Elflock: A lock of hair tangled as if by elves. Often used in the plural.
Stuffed Edge, Herts
An imaginary village in the South-East English county of Hertfordshire. Stuffed hedge?
A hot breakfast dish of fish, rice, and eggs.
Anthropologist who devised a method of identifying criminal "types" from their facial structures. (Cf page 172: Dr. Lombroso).
From the other side of the Oxus River (now Amu-Darya) in Central Asia. Cf. page 439:the Oxus.
The hybrid cultural background evidenced in Shambhala. Greco-Buddhism, sometimes spelled Graeco-Buddhism, is the cultural syncretism between Hellenistic culture and Buddhism, which developed over a period of close to 800 years in Central Asia in the area corresponding to modern-day Afghanistan and Pakistan, between the 4th century BCE and the 5th century CE. Wikipedia and Cf page 438:Graeco-Buddhist.
A bad hat is a slang term for a rascal
As explained in the text, the Scotland Yard bureau that kept gas communications under surveillance.
communication by means of coal-gas
Cf Nabokov's "Ada". Also inverse of Tesla's energy-transmitter. A parallel to the Tristero, too. The description of communication by gas seems like a self-parody of The Crying of Lot 49.
(Did they bomb post offices?!?)post boxes:Suffragettes carried out direct action such as chaining themselves to railings, setting fire to the contents of mailboxes, smashing windows and on occasions setting off bombs. Wikipedia
Majority language in Iran, now called Farsi.
A language spoken in Afghanistan and nearby.
A language spoken in Tadjikistan. "Mountain Tadjik" presumably dominates in the 60% or so of the country that is in high mountains.
In Covent Garden, London - a place where 7 roads meet. An unsavory assignment for a policeman.
Pythagoreans follow a proscription against eating beans.
A suet pudding with raisins or currants
A cured herring from the port town of Yarmouth.
...if not for these unauthorized dilettantes all pottering about...
Oddly reminiscent of the villains' perennial complaint in the old "Scooby-Doo" cartoons.
a doughnut,which comes in various shapes? Including the math-relevant shape: a torus. But probably just a bit of bun, scone, etc. listed as Vance's breakfast...no doughnut listed.
'Shape' is another word for blancmange, which is made of gelatin, derived probably from the bones of some animal. Aychrome wonders "what's it made of", to which Lew responds "Maybe you don't want to know." Nehoccramcire 09:14, 12 March 2007 (PDT)
Victoria Embankment, London, Scotland Yard was located there from 1890 to 1967. Scotland Yard was founded on September 29, 1829, on a street off Whitehall; and in 1967 it moved to the present location at 10 Broadway Street, London.
Traditionally hung outside police stations in England.
Lamé (fabric), a fabric inwoven metallic threads
Lamé, name of the electrically conductive jacket worn by foil and sabre fencers
Lamé (armor), an unarticulated component of a larger piece of armor
yarmulke... high crown... dented Trilby style
Image of a Trilby hat.
Cf page 425:Bukhara
Kelly's Suburban Dictionary
The peerless London A to Z did not come along until the 1930s.
Politician and journalist William Cobbett (1763-1835) called London "the great wen." It was not a compliment, because wen means a sebaceous cyst. Wenlets are small versions of the "great" wen.
from the streetlamps, lit up for hours?
refused to dim
Vontz's Universal Pick
Vontz (Yiddish): bedbug.
Gas works that manufacture syngas also produce coke as an end product, called gas house coke.
Fluid coking is a process by which heavy residual crude is converted into lighter products such as naptha, kerosene, heating oil, and hydrocarbon gases. The "fluid" term refers to the fact that coke particles are in a continuous system versus older batch coking technology. Wikipedia
an embossed fabric used for covering walls, invented in 1877 by Frederick Walton as an alternative to more expensive wallpapers (wikipedia).
having one hip lower than the other: a Greek statue in hipshot pose.M-W.
In The Crying of Lot 49, Oedipa Maas is referred to as a "captive maiden" in the scene where she's standing in front of the Remedios Varo painting. It would certainly be worth while to examine the parallels more closely.
Polygons with sides of unequal length.
jet black, a color.
Apotheosis Sparkless Torch
An alloy of magnesium and aluminum.
Lamont Replevin (for it was he)
Formula from penny-dreadful literature: Open the chapter with an unknown character (referred to ahead of time but never yet making an appearance), describe looks and some little action, then spring the name on the reader.
The Slow and the Stupefied
Daytime soap 'The Young and the Restless'.
Cf pothead, acidhead, etc.
Lew's old stompinground.
A curious pseudonym assumed by Lew Basnight while in the presence of Lamont Replevin. As Mr. Swallowfield, Lew professes to be an insurance salesman. The name is very overtly British and is possibly referential to the Swallowfield estate in Berkshire, which itself has a curious history.
most theft policies
A closed van or carryall. (Is TRP trying to put a burr under S. Weisenburger's saddle by bringing this vehicle back? SW's gloss in the GR Companion, at page 19 of the Viking edition, is famously wrong.)
Pantechnicon can mean either a furniture warehouse (originally a bazaar) or a removal van. The reference in GR to "the piano in the pantechnicon" is therefore ambiguous. TRP might say that he meant a van, not a bazaar, but that would not mean that SW was wrong. Just that SW and TRP had different readings of the novel. And the author's reading does not necessarily have primacy.
This assertion is generally debateable and in the case of TRP his conscious intentions in his fully thought out novels carries a lot of primacy most of the time, most might argue. This wiki attests to that.
- Lots of people would say the wiki is wrong then. You can discover sources and you may be able to parse processes (rewrites, selection of information), but the author's intentions are not accessible; only the work is. Therefore (and so on and so forth). A philosophical question and probably not wiki-able.
legitimate bill of sale
That is, a stolen object with a stolen bill of sale cannot be proved to be stolen; the thief has the receipt.
Although TRP writes that most theft policies were written in the US by the time Lew speaks to Replevin, the first burglary policy was in fact offered by Cuthbert Heath, an Underwriter at Lloyd's, London in about 1889, which would seem to be a few years earlier than the scene. Antony Brown, Cuthbert Heath ( David & Charles, New Abbot London 1984)at pages 72-76. TheKenoshaKid 15:52, 9 March 2008 (PDT)
brecciated white marble with violet veins from Docimia, Asia Minor.
Phrygia is an ancient region of west central Asia Minor, to the south of Bithynia. Marble from there was highly valued.
From Greek and Roman mythology. Atys (or Attis) is a young lover of the goddess Cybele (also known as Agdistis in Phrygia). When he wished to marry, Cybele drove him mad and he castrated himself. Catullus wrote a poem on the subject.
The Mutilation of Atys
No images: Google image search
Arturo Naunt, Chelsea's own, shocking the bourgeoisie since 1889
Phrasing reminiscent of advertising.
shocking the bourgeoisie
A popular pastime for young and not-so-young soi-disant radicals ("Epater le bourgeois").
A container for fermented horse's milk. Perhaps like this one: 
According to the OED, an early form of the word 'koumiss' was 'cosmos' - its appearance here doesn't seem coincidental given the short disquisition on the etymology of 'chaos' soon to follow. For the Greeks 'cosmos' was the antithetical concept to 'chaos'. Pythagoras is said to be the first to apply the original meaning of 'cosmos', i.e., 'an orderly arrangement' to the universe itself.
depending on the angle you hold it at, sometimes it doesn't look like anything at all
A concise description of anamorphic and paramorphic images; this one needs the Paramorphoscope to interpret it.
wrathful deities from Tantric Buddhism
Tantric Buddhism is also known as Varjayana Buddhism. In Varjayana Buddhism, a dharmapāla (Tibetan drag-gshed) is a type of wrathful deity. The name means "Dharma-defender" in Sanskrit, and the dharmapalas are also known as the Defenders of the Law (Dharma) or the Protectors of the Law in English. In Buddhist iconography, they are invariably depicted as fearsome beings, often with many heads, hands or feet; blue, black or red skin; and a fierce expression with protruding fangs. Though dharmapalas have a terrifying appearance, they are all bodhisattvas or buddhas- embodiments of compassion that act in a wrathful way for the sake of sentient beings.Wikipedia
tiny German hand camera
Probably a Zeiss Ikon. Wikipedia Entry
A Zeiss Ikon would be an anachronism, as this company was created as a merger in 1926.
The description somehow suggests the classic Minox "spy cameras", but also these were created only in the 1930ies (originally in Latvia, mass production in Germany).
A small German camera matching the time would be Gnom, a version of which was also sold in the UK.
light from a gaslight is not 'artificial' as from electric lights, streetlamps, etc. Cf. Telleruide section.
Love of gas.
The name is a German word meaning visionary, zealot, raver.
Waves in a timeless stream of Gas
Replevin equates piped gas to the æther.
A burner flame adjusted so that it responds to the tiniest disturbance in the air. Used by both physicists and spiritualists.
cognizant nose...medium for the most exquisite poetry
A city in south India and Chidambaram is one of the Panchabhoota Sthalams - temples built for the 5 elements said to embody Shiva - at Chidambaram (space), Kalahasti (wind), Thiruvanaikaval (water), Tiruvannamalai (fire) and Kanchipuram (earth).
Akasa is the fifth element,the ether, unseen and invisible but an important element permeating the whole universe. It is also considered to be indentical with Brahma, the creator.....
Akasa is 'simple,continuous infinite substance and is the substratum of sound.' Both from Indian Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 1999.
Occultist Eliphas Levi associated akasa with what he called the "Astral Light". He writes: "[T]his electromagnetic ether, this vital and luminous caloric (Perhaps this explains Pynchon's insistence on the term "luminiferous aether"?), is represented on ancient monuments by the girdle of Isis which twines round two poles and in ancient theogonies by the serpent devouring its own tail, emblem of prudence and of Saturn" -- emblem of infinity, immortality, and Kronos -- 'Time'". He says it is "a force in Nature," by means of which "a single man who can master it... might throw the world into confusion and transform its face"; for it is the "great Arcanum of transcendent Magic." It is a "blind force... which souls must conquer in order to detach themselves from the chains of Earth; 'for if they should not,' they will be absorbed by the same power which first produced them and will return to the central and eternal fire."
It gets better... He writes: "It is through this Force that all the nervous centres secretly communicate with each other; from it -- that sympathy and antipathy are born; from it -- that we have our dreams; and that the phenomena of second sight and extra-natural visions take place... Astral Light, acting under the impulsion of powerful wills, destroys, coagulates, separates, breaks, gathers in all things... God created it on that day when he said: Fiat Lux..." He refers to akasa/Astral Light variably as "the body of the Holy Ghost", the "grand Agent Magique", "Lucifer" and "Baphomet", the winged-goat figure that served as the inspiration for the Devil Tarot card designed by Colman-Smith. From Madame Blavatsky's "The Secret Doctrine"Más
This page also equates akasa with the ether and sez that "each subsequent element originated from the previous one" with akasa being the first, similar to the Kaballic Tree of Life.
Sanskrit. In Hinduisim, the innermost essence of each individual. Also, the soul. Cf. Weed Atman in Vineland.
allusion is seems to Genesis. "Chaos" is in fact the Greek word [for without form and void], says this site. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness." -- Genesis 1: 1-4 (KJV)
He claimed to have coined the word "gas" in just the way described here.
'In his "Physica" (1633), the Rosicrucian alchemist Jan Baptist van Helmont, wrote: "Ad huc spiritum incognitum Gas voco," i.e., "This hitherto unknown Spirit I call Gas." Further on in the same work he says, "This vapor which I have called Gas is not far removed from the Chaos the ancients spoke of."' wiki
The Light Over the Ranges
Against the Day
Rue du Départ