Difference between revisions of "Chapter 1"

 
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Title Page: '''The Crying of Lot 49'''
 
Several concepts [and maybe a pun or two] are embedded in the title of Thomas Pynchon's second novel [a work that the author dismisses as the worst of his juvenilia in his introduction to 'Slow Learner']. The title suggests a property auction as auctions are 'cried' and 'Lot' usually is in reference to a plot of land. Crying of course has the additional meaning of expressing sadness. The number 49 has a great deal of Christian and Occult signifigance. Christian numerology has 49 as the number before Pentecost. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentecost Wikipedia/Pentecost]:
 
  
". . . .one of the prominent feasts in the Christian liturgical year, celebrated the fiftieth day after Easter Sunday (the tenth day after Ascension Thursday). Historically and symbolically related to the Jewish harvest festival of Shavuot, it commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus as described in the Book of Acts, Chapter 2. Pentecost is also called Whitsun, Whitsunday, or Whit Sunday in the United Kingdom and other English-speaking areas."
 
  
There is an implied meaning of 'revelation' in Pentecost, so 49 would be just before revelation.
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Title Page: '''The Crying of Lot 49'''<br>
 
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In property auctions, numbered "lots" of property or tangible objects are "cried" by an auctioneer.  
John Dee, astrologer to Queen Elizabeth and one of the most learned men in Renaissance England worked out his "Enochian" system of magick in order to communicate with Angels:
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*There's a line in ''Ulysses'' that bears an odd coincidence to the title: "The lacquey by the door of Dillon's auctionrooms shook his handbell twice again and viewed himself in the chalked mirror of the cabinet. Dilly Dedalus, loitering by the curbstone, heard the beats of the bell, the cries of the auctioneer within. Four and nine. Those lovely curtains." (Ulysses, 304) Given that ''Gravity's Rainbow'', written at the same time as CoL49, contains numerous Joyce references (mainly in the character of Sir Stephen Dodson-Truck), it's possible that this is a nod.
 
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    "In 49 voyces, or callings: which are the Natural Keyes, to
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    open those, not 49, but 48. (for One is not to be opened)
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    Gates of understanding, whereby you shall have knowledge to
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    move every Gate, and to call out as many as you please, or
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    shall be thought necessary, which can very well, righteously,
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    and wisely, open unto you the secrets of their Cities, and
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    make you understand perfectly the [mysteries] contained in the
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    Tables."
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See: [http://www.luckymojo.com/esoteric/occultism/magic/ceremonial/enochian/dtenochianapocalypse.txt The Enochian Apocalypse by Donald Tyson] also [http://www.themagickalreview.org/enochian/conferences.php Enochian Materials] and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enochian  Wikipedia: Enochian].
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The Wikipedia article on Enochian Magic notes: "the features showed are commonly found in instances of glossolalia. This could be indicative of Kelley actually receiving at least this set of texts through the well-known phenomenon of glossolalia." Pentecost is associated with glossolalia, a mode of verbal articulation that fits out author to a "T" .
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John Dee's skills also included map-making and navigation, very important tools that assisted England in their exploration and colonization of 'The New World.'
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But  the number 49 has an additional meaning, very deeply buried in Pynchon family history.
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[http://tinyurl.com/2gb8aa Popular Law Library, Albert Hutchinson Putney] has Pynchon v. Stearns, a court case concerning estates and property rights in what is generally known as the 'Waste Doctrine'. And for some reason, page 95, citing 'Pynchon v. Stearns', has the ominous heading :"Section 49: Who May Commit Waste."
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The Stearns family were, like the Pynchon Family, among the first settlers in New England, beneficiaries of John Dee's cartography, becoming a force to be reckoned with as the lands they aquired as early settlers became the hub of American investment banking and insurance.
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The 'S' in T. S. Eliot stands for Stearns. Charlotte Champe Stearns (1843–1929) was a social worker, a poet and the mother of T.S. Eliot. [RL]
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 +
*For a discussion of some other things the title may or may not allude to, see the article [[7 x 7|'''''7 x 7''''']].
  
 
a: 9, b: 1 - '''Oedipa'''<br>
 
a: 9, b: 1 - '''Oedipa'''<br>
 
Oedipus was the mythical king of Thebes who unknowingly killed his father and married his mother. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oedipus Wikipedia] Oedipus the King, aka Oedipus Rex, is a Greek tragedy written by Sophocles and first performed in 428 BC. Many critics, including Aristotle, consider it the greatest tragedy ever written. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oedipus_the_King Wikipedia]  
 
Oedipus was the mythical king of Thebes who unknowingly killed his father and married his mother. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oedipus Wikipedia] Oedipus the King, aka Oedipus Rex, is a Greek tragedy written by Sophocles and first performed in 428 BC. Many critics, including Aristotle, consider it the greatest tragedy ever written. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oedipus_the_King Wikipedia]  
  
:Whether Oedipa has anything to do with Oedipus is an open question. Some critics find zero connection and note that the name indicates that names are only words, and not necessarily full of meaning (mysteries without answers being a theme in CoL49). Others have teased various interpretations from Sophocles' play to connect its protagonist to Pynchon's. So far, no single explanation is remotely concrete or thoroughly convincing.  
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*Whether Oedipa has anything to do with Oedipus is an open question. Some critics find zero connection and note that the name indicates that names are only words, and not necessarily full of meaning (mysteries without answers being a theme in CoL49). Others have teased various interpretations from Sophocles' play to connect its protagonist to Pynchon's. So far, no single explanation is remotely concrete or thoroughly convincing. [[User:Bleakhaus|Bleakhaus]]
  
:Some suggest the Oedipus reference is to an incident earlier in the king's career, having to do, in fact, with the way he became king of Thebes. Oedipus famously solved the riddle of the Sphinx and heroically freed Thebes of her curse (cf. the deeds of young Theseus, the labors of Herakles, etc.). Sophocles' play has an older Oedipus finally figuring out the riddle of his own birth, over-confident in his own ability to figure things out. Oedipus is the riddle-solver, by definition. And doesn't it make sense to think of Oedipa as a riddle-solver? Q.E.D. Now the riddle is sometimes said to be "what walks on four feet in the morning, two feet in the afternoon, and three feet at night?" The answer is man (baby=4; man=2; old man with cane = 3), which is where this gets interesting: one of the legendary precepts engraved on the temple of Apollo at Delphi is "gnothi seauton", "know yourself". This almost certainly is taken to mean not (as we might tend to think) that we should discover ourselves as individuals, but rather that we should know our own nature, i.e. the nature of mankind, i.e. "know that you are mortal". Oedipus solves the riddle of the Sphinx with the answer "man", but he doesn't know himself as a man, fallible and doomed--count no man blessed until he's dead, Greeks were fond of saying--not until the peak of his powers, walking on two legs, so to speak. His story doesn't end there: he wanders the earth blind after putting out his eyes (death would be too good for himself), and eventually as an old man settles on Athens as a place to die, knowing that his spirit will be a powerful force in the land of his death (see Soph., Oedipus at Colonus). This is the essence of a hero for the Greeks, a mortal who remains powerful in death, as is reflected in their practice of hero-cult offerings at grave sites (compare, say, Xtian saints' relics, bones thought to have power). As an old man, Oedipus is like a holy prophet (compare the blind sage Tieresias, or the legendary blind poet Homer), a man who sees without eyes (compare what Paul Atreides becomes in the second Dune novel). So, does Oedipa ascend to some deeper understanding by the end of the novel? Wait and see.
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*''See also'' Emma Miller, "The Naming of Oedipa Maas: Feminizing the Divine Pursuit of Knowledge in Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49" ([https://www.pynchon.net/owap/article/view/12/67 Link])
  
:Oedipa's name is probably pronounced in the American fashion, ED-i-pa, not British fashion, EED-i-pa, because Mucho uses the short form "Oed," which almost has to be ED.
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*A number of fragments further discussing Oedipa's name are in the [[Talk:Chapter_1|Discussion page]].
 
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:A further comic level in the name Oedipa: It looks like a feminization of ''Oedipus,'' which is a Latin name derived from the Greek ''Oidipous.'' While ''-pus'' has the look of a word-ending that might alternate between masculine and feminine forms, like proper names ''Julius/Julia'' or adjectives ''sanctus/sanctum/sancta,'' in fact it stands in for Greek ''-pous,'' meaning "foot," a form that doesn't alternate. (All feet are the same gender no matter who's wearing them.) Whoever coined the name Oedipa pretended to know a little more than they really did.
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Additionally, there is the Freudian concept of the Oedipal Complex.  Basically, a son loves his mother (in an unconscious sexual way) and is jealous of his father and wants to kill him and have his mom all to himself.  The daughter version of this is called the Electra Complex. In the Electra Complex the daughter is upset that she has no penis and is jealous of her father's penis and becomes angry at him ("penis envy").
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RL notes that the 'punchline' of 'Oedipus Rex' is that this proto-typical gumshoe finds out that he was the criminal all along, Oedipus is the detective that swears vengance on Oedipus the criminal.  
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a: 9, b: 1 - '''Maas'''<br>
 
a: 9, b: 1 - '''Maas'''<br>
''Maas'' is the Dutch word for ''mesh''. Her name thus introduces the leitmotif weaving/nets, and makes her one element within a larger structure. It is also the Dutch word for ''loophole'' (in the architectural and the figurative sense as well).
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For more discussion of the name, see below.
 
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A-and as most women's names did in the sixties, her name derives from her husband's, Mucho, whom she married some time after her affair with Pierce Inverarity, further meshing the weaving/nets maas-up [so to speak] leitmotif, and providing a tantalizing puzzle, since "mucho mas" means "much more" in Spanish, as in, "there's much more going on here than Oedipa/we can understand".
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a-and the near-likeness "mass" becomes an important word/concept in ''Gravity's Rainbow'' and, especially, ''Against The Day'', although the associative meanings do not seem to mesh.! [[User:MKOHUT|MKOHUT]] 13:42, 11 July 2007 (PDT)
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Note 'Webb Traverse' in 'Against the Day' [RL, 11/30/07].
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a: 9, b: 1 - '''kirsch'''<br>
 
a: 9, b: 1 - '''kirsch'''<br>
Kirschwasser, German for "cherry water", often known simply as Kirsch ("cherry"), is a clear brandy made from double distillation of the fermented juice of a small black cherry. In the past, the sour morello cherry was used, and as the cherry was originally grown all around the Black Forest in southern Germany, the drink is believed to have originated there. "Kirsch" is an essential ingredient in Swiss cheese fondue recipes. Such spirits (clear alcoholic beverages made from distilled fruit juices) are also distilled in France and French-speaking Switzerland, where they are known as eau de vie ("water of life", the same term that is the root of the words akvavit and whisky). The mention of "kirsch" in the first sentence begins a considerable sequence of references to Germany, German words or German history through Chapter 1. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirsch Wikipedia]
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a clear cherry brandy from Germany. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirsch Wikipedia]
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*many references to Germany, German words or German history run through Chapter 1, and indeed the entire novel. Pynchon scholar David Cowart posits that "Pynchon seems to have had a German period, a post-German period, and a neo-Continental or global period. During his German phase he produced his first three novels... His next work, the long-awaited ''Vineland'', represents a new phase in which the almost obsessive attention to German more seems to have faded." ''Thomas Pynchon and the Dark Passages of History'' (2012), at p. 59.
  
 
a: 9, b: 1 - '''Pierce Inverarity'''<br>
 
a: 9, b: 1 - '''Pierce Inverarity'''<br>
Pynchon & Company (an East Coast Brokerage house) fell apart in 1931, E.A. Pierce (a larger financial institution) picked up that company's holdings. Thus 'Pierce'. See [http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F50910FE3E5F11738DDDAC0A94DC405B818FF1D3 "EXCHANGE SUSPENDS PYNCHON & COMPANY, New York Times April 25, 1931] and note that the details for this article are buried behind the 'pay' wall. [RL]
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Inverarity is a village in Scotland.
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*The name sounds a bit like a portmanteau of "inverse polarity" (electronic terminology appears in Pynchon's short stories and later in CoL49).
 +
*Perhaps worth noting that when Pynchon & Company (an actual East Coast Brokerage house owned in part by Pynchon's relations) fell apart in 1931, E.A. Pierce (a larger financial institution) picked up that company's holdings. See [http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F50910FE3E5F11738DDDAC0A94DC405B818FF1D3 New York Times April 25, 1931].
  
 
a: 9, b: 1 - '''California real estate mogul'''<br>
 
a: 9, b: 1 - '''California real estate mogul'''<br>
Many of the terms and concepts in 'The Crying of Lot 49' are derived from laws concerning property and investment. The ancestors of Thomas Ruggles Pynchon [apparentlty the fifth Pynchon to be so named] had much involvement in real estate and property laws. See [http://books.google.com/books?id=asAOAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA51&dq=Stearns+pynchon+springfield&as_brr=1#PPP1,M1 A Statement of Facts in Connection with the Petition of the Springfield Aquaduct By William Gelston Bates], pages 44 - 53. Also see [http://tinyurl.com/2gb8aa Popular Law Library, Albert Hutchinson Putney] and go to page 95. [RL]
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Many of the terms and concepts in ''The Crying of Lot 49'' are derived from laws concerning property and investment.  
 
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*The ancestors of Thomas Ruggles Pynchon [apparentlty the fifth Pynchon to be so named] had much involvement in real estate and property laws. See "the Petition of the Springfield Aquaduct" ([http://books.google.com/books?id=asAOAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA51&dq=Stearns+pynchon+springfield&as_brr=1#PPP1,M1 Link]), pages 44 - 53. Also see "Popular Law Library" [http://tinyurl.com/2gb8aa at page 95].
a: 9, b: 1 - '''greenish dead eye of the TV tube, spoke the name of God. . . .'''<br>
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The New York investment and banking firm of Pynchon & company helped develop Electrical networks and the 'Entertainment Industry'. Pynchon & Company collapsed when a consortium of investors including Western Electric forced William Fox out of movies in order to controll patents for the talkies. See "Upton Sinclair Presents William Fox", self published. 1933, and "The Talkies: American Cinema's Transition to Sound 1926 - 1931", Donald Crafton ISBN 0 - 520 - 22128 - 1.
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Note also the TV/God connection, and the notion that Television has supplanted God by the mid-sixties. [RL]
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a: 10, b: 1 - '''Mazatlán'''<br>
 
a: 10, b: 1 - '''Mazatlán'''<br>
City in the mexican state of Sinaloa, located on the Pacific coast of Mexico, east from the southernmost tip of the Baja California peninsula. It is worth mentioning that a large wave of German immigrants arrived in the mid 1800s, developing Mazatlán into a thriving commercial seaport. Additionally, Mazatlán played a role in the California gold rush, with people traveling by boat from Mazatlán to San Francisco. Pynchon is placed in Mexico (at least, Mexico City) throughout the 1960s. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mazatlan Wikipedia]
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City in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, located on the Pacific coast of Mexico, east from the southernmost tip of the Baja California peninsula.  
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*Perhaps worth mentioning that a large wave of German immigrants arrived in the mid 1800s, developing Mazatlán into a thriving commercial seaport. Additionally, Mazatlán played a role in the California gold rush, with people traveling by boat from Mazatlán to San Francisco.  
 +
*Pynchon apparently lived in Mexico off and on in the 1960s and 70s.
  
 
a: 10, b: 1 - '''Cornell University'''<br>
 
a: 10, b: 1 - '''Cornell University'''<br>
Ivy league university located in Ithaca, New York. Pynchon began studies in engineering physics in 1953, but left after two years to serve in the U.S. Navy. In 1957, Pynchon returned with a focus in English, a BA he received in 1959. "The Small Rain", Pynchon's first published story, was printed in the ''Cornell Writer'' in May, 1959. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pynchon#Childhood_and_education Wikipedia: Pynchon][http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornell_University Wikipedia: Cornell]
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Pynchon attended Cornell, where he studied engineering physics, but left after two years to serve in the U.S. Navy. In 1957, Pynchon returned with a focus in English, a BA he received in 1959. "The Small Rain", Pynchon's first published story, was printed in the ''Cornell Writer'' in May, 1959.
  
 
a: 10, b: 1 - '''Bartók Concerto for Orchestra''' <br>
 
a: 10, b: 1 - '''Bartók Concerto for Orchestra''' <br>
Five-movement musical work finished in 1943 by Hungarian composer Béla Bartók (1881 - 1945), after his native exile to the United States in response to the rise of the Nazi party--Bartók is one of a number of references to the theme of "exile" in this first chapter. Interestingly enough, the fourth movement (''Intermezzo interrotto'') is alleged to be neither "dry" nor "disconsolate", the theory suggested by Charles Hollander that Pynchon deliberatly reversed the facts to bring attention to Bartók's status as a political exile. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bartok Wikipedia Bartók][http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concerto_for_Orchestra_(Bart%C3%B3k)#Fourth_movement Wikipedia: Concerto][http://www.vheissu.info/art/art_eng_49_hollander.htm Hollander Essay]
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Five-movement musical work finished in 1943 by Hungarian composer Béla Bartók (1881 - 1945), after his native exile to the United States in response to the rise of the Nazi party. Bartók is one of a number of references to the theme of "exile" in this first chapter.
  
Well, "dry and disconsolate" are not facts but opinions, although the consensus opinion might be "facts". I think Pynchon described this work as
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*The critic Charles Hollander suggests that the fourth movement is neither "dry" nor "disconsolate," and that Pynchon deliberately reversed the facts to bring attention to Bartók's status as a political exile. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concerto_for_Orchestra_(Bart%C3%B3k)#Fourth_movement Wikipedia: Bartok Concerto] [http://www.ottosell.de/pynchon/magiceye.htm Hollander Essay]  Hollander writes, "The concerto’s frantic fourth movement has no "dry, disconsolate tune" (CL 10). Maybe the ailing Bartók was disconsolate, but the music is not. This inversion is Pynchon’s way of flagging Bartók..."
it sounded to him (or his character).
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*"Dry and disconsolate" are not facts but opinions, although the consensus opinion might be "facts". Pynchon may have described the movement as it sounded to him (or his character).
 
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*For more, see the [[Talk:Chapter_1|Discussion page]].
Hollander's reference to Bartók seems somewhat superficial. Most Hungarian listeners can identify the "serenade theme" in Movement Four as the chorus of a popular irredentist song, nostalgic enough as it was written after Hungary's dismemberment in the Treaty of Trianon (1920), when Transylvania was attached to Romania (see the reference to the "Transylvanian Consulate" on the following page). So even if not "dry", it definitely sounds "disconsolate", an expression of desperate homesickness. Musicologists cannot quite pin down why Bartók chose to paraphrase such a trivial song; the most recent theory is that by giving it a Romanian rhythmic twist, he expressed his nostalgia for the multicultural Greater Hungary thad had been lost forever. (Sorry but I can only give a Hungarian link; the excerpt from the musical sheet is at the bottom of the page: [http://www.muzsika.net/cikknezo.php3?cikk_id=2089 Bartók's Strange Nostalgia]. It was published by Rózsavölgyi & Co., ''not'' coincidentally.) I think the main theme here is intrusion rather than exile as the serenade tune is disrupted by the Shostakovichian "drunken gang".
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a: 10, b: 1 - '''Jay Gould'''<br>
 
a: 10, b: 1 - '''Jay Gould'''<br>
(1836 – 1892) Infamous American financier (known as the "Mephistopheles of Wall Street"), who became a leading American railroad builder and speculator in the mid 19th century. In 1869, the Fisk-Gould Scandal (also known as Black Friday) spread financial panic as a result of Gould and fellow financier James Fisk's efforts to corner the gold market. Further political scandals and unfair dealings have cemented his reputation (both throughout his life and during the century after his death) as one of the most unethical of the 19th century American robber barons. It is worth note that the bust of Jay Gould is the "only ikon in the house" of Pierce Inverarity, and that Oedipa expressed the fear that it (on a shelf over the bed) would "someday topple on them". [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay_Gould Wikipedia: Gould][http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Friday_%281869%29 Wikipedia: Black Friday]
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(1836 – 1892) Infamous American financier (known as the "Mephistopheles of Wall Street"), who became a leading American railroad builder and speculator in the mid 19th century. In 1869, the Fisk-Gould Scandal (also known as Black Friday) spread financial panic as a result of Gould and fellow financier James Fisk's efforts to corner the gold market. Further political scandals and unfair dealings have cemented his reputation (both throughout his life and during the century after his death) as one of the most unethical of the 19th century American robber barons. It is worth note that the bust of Jay Gould is the "only ikon in the house" of Pierce Inverarity, and that Oedipa expressed the fear that it (on a shelf over the bed) would "someday topple on them". [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay_Gould Wikipedia: Gould] [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Friday_%281869%29 Wikipedia: Black Friday]
  
 
<div id="warpe">a: 10, b: 2 - '''Warpe, Wistfull, Kubitschek and McMingus'''</div>
 
<div id="warpe">a: 10, b: 2 - '''Warpe, Wistfull, Kubitschek and McMingus'''</div>
 
Law firm representing Pierce Inverarity.  
 
Law firm representing Pierce Inverarity.  
  
:"Warpe" could be a potential reference to the municipality of Warpe located in the district of Nienburg, in Lower Saxony, Germany (Germany and Nazism being referenced thoroughly in Chapter 1). [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warpe Wikipedia]
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*"Warpe," possible reference to the municipality of Warpe located in the district of Nienburg, in Lower Saxony, Germany (Germany and Nazism being referenced thoroughly in Chapter 1). --[[User:Dezama125|Dezama125]] ([[User talk:Dezama125|talk]]) 10:39, 1 January 2013 (PST) Please see my addition to ''Kubitschek'' below. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warpe Wikipedia]
  
:"Wistfull" may be taken, at the very least, to be a play on the word "Wistful", defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "Expectantly or yearningly eager, watchful, or intent; mournfully expectant or longing. (Chiefly in reference to the look.)". Among other instances, Oedipa is described later in this chapter as "pensive", granting credibility to this interpretation.
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*"Kubitschek" is possibly drawn from Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira (1902 - 1976), a Brazilian social reformer and 24th President of Brazil (1956 - 1961) who went into a self-imposed exile after a military coup d'état, which had later been claimed to have been taking as a preemptive measure to deter an "inevitable communist revolution" (the coup having been tacitly (and directly) assisted and supported by the United States government and the CIA). Further possible references to "exile" as well as United States foreign policy. --[[User:Dezama125|Dezama125]] ([[User talk:Dezama125|talk]]) 10:39, 1 January 2013 (PST)Also, in some pictures, Kubitschek bears a strong resemblance to Bela Lugosi, so the first two dialects Pierce does in his phone call, Transylvanian and Negro, relate to the last two names of the partners of the lawfirm representing him. The phone call may have started from the comic idea of pretending to be calling from the office of the lawfirm: "I'll pretend to be Kubitschek, then McMingus will get on the phone." Of course, this exemplifies Pierce's ''warped'' sense of humor (which Oedipa shares---see her comment immediately preceding the reference to the lawfirm, "You're so sick, Oedipa.") ''Wistful'' well describes her mood during the day after receiving the letter. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juscelino_Kubitschek Wikipedia: Kubitschek][http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazilian_1964_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat Wikipedia: 1964 Brazilian Coup]
  
:"Kubitschek" is likely drawn from Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira (1902 - 1976), a Brazilian social reformer and 24th President of Brazil (1956 - 1961) who went into a self-imposed exile after a military coup d'état, which had later been claimed to have been taking as a preemptive measure to deter an "inevitable communist revolution" (the coup having been tacitly (and directly) assisted and supported by the United States government and the CIA)--this is another in a series of anecdotal references to "exile" as well as a potential comment on United States foreign policy. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juscelino_Kubitschek Wikipedia: Kubitschek][http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazilian_1964_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat Wikipedia: 1964 Brazilian Coup]
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*"McMingus" is a probable nod toward Jazz legend Charles Mingus (1922 - 1979). Pynchon is a lifelong Jazz fan, and references Jazz in most (all?) of his works. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Mingus Wikipedia]
  
:"McMingus" is a probable nod toward Jazz legend Charles Mingus (1922 - 1979), a highly acclaimed bassist, composer, bandleader, and occasional pianist, known as well for his racial activism, temper and bouts of depression--Pynchon is a lifelong Jazz fan, making this unlikely to be a coincidence. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Mingus Wikipedia]
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*Pynchon's penchant for absurd, punning law firm names is continued in [http://gravitys-rainbow.pynchonwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=S#salitieri ''Gravity's Rainbow''] with Salitieri, Poore, Nash, De Brutus and Short.
  
Pynchon's penchant for absurd, punning law firm names is continued in [http://gravitys-rainbow.pynchonwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=S#salitieri ''Gravity's Rainbow''] with Salitieri, Poore, Nash, De Brutus and Short...
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a: 10, b: 2 - '''Metzger'''<br>
 +
Co-executor of Inverarity's will and signatory of the letter Oedipa receives in Chapter 1. Metzger is German for "butcher".
 +
*Could also be a reference to Wolfgang Metzger (1899 - 1979), a German psychologist who served as one of the main representatives of Gestalt psychology, a theory that proposes that the operational principle of the brain is holistic, parallel, and analog, with self-organizing tendencies; or, that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This concept will recur later in the chapter, under the term "Triptych". Additionally, the introduction of Dr Hilarius, a German psychologist, will strengthen this association. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfgang_Metzger Wikipedia: Metzger][http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gestalt_psychology Wikipedia: Gestalt].
  
RL notes that by 1964 E.A. Pierce consolidated forces with Merrill Lynch thus creating Merrill, Lynch, Fenner, Pierce and Smith, an investment house that deployed Television Advertisement by the mid-sixties.
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*[http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metzgerpost Metzgerpost] ("butcher post") was an early type of mail service in the western regions of the Holy Roman Empire, superseded by the Thurn und Taxis-dominated imperial system.<br>
 
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a: 10, b: 2 - '''Metzger'''<br>
+
Co-executor of Inverarity's will and signatory of the letter Oedipa receives in Chapter 1. Metzger is German for "butcher", and could also be a reference to Wolfgang Metzger (1899 - 1979), a german psychologist who served as one of the main representatives of Gestalt psychology, a theory that proposes that the operational principle of the brain is holistic, parallel, and analog, with self-organizing tendencies; or, that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This concept will recur later in the chapter, under the term "Triptych". Additionally, the introduction of Dr Hilarius, a German psychologist, will strengthen this association. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfgang_Metzger Wikipedia: Metzger][http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gestalt_psychology Wikipedia: Gestalt]<br>. One might add, in the Gestalt mode, that "Metzger" can evoke "regrets", wistfully if you like: how would it feel to find yourself called on, as Oedipa is, by the ghost of an old lover?
+
  
[http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metzgerpost Metzgerpost] ("butcher post") was an early type of mail service in the western regions of the Holy Roman Empire, superseded by the Thurn und Taxis-dominated imperial system. They  had the privilege to sound the horn...
+
*Compare '''Meztger''' to [http://www.csp.org/chrestomathy/unfolding_self.html '''Ralph Metzner'''], co-author with [http://www.timothyleary.us/ '''Timothy Leary'''] and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ram_Dass '''Richard Alpert'''], also known as [http://www.ramdass.org/ '''Ram Dass'''], of [http://tinyurl.com/337xqe '''The Psychedelic Experience''']. <br>
  
 
a: 10, b: 2 - '''Kinneret-Among-The-Pines'''<br>
 
a: 10, b: 2 - '''Kinneret-Among-The-Pines'''<br>
Fictional California town that Oedipa Maas resides in. Yam Kinneret (Sea of Kinnereth) is the modern Hebrew name for the Sea of Galilee, Israel's largest freshwater lake. Upon the shores of Galilee, much of the ministry of Christ was said to have occurred, among which include His Sermon on the Mount, as well as the miracles of His walking on water, calming a storm, and feeding the  
+
Fictional California town that Oedipa Maas resides in.  
multitude with five loaves of bread and two fish. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_of_Galilee Wikipedia] During the years Pynchon was working on 'The Crying of Lot 49, his College buddy Richard Farina lived in Carmel by the Sea [RL, 11/30/07].
+
*Yam Kinneret (Sea of Kinnereth) is the modern Hebrew name for the Sea of Galilee, Israel's largest freshwater lake. Upon the shores of Galilee, much of the ministry of Christ was said to have occurred, among which include His Sermon on the Mount, as well as the miracles of His walking on water, calming a storm, and feeding the multitude with five loaves of bread and two fish. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_of_Galilee Wikipedia]. During the years Pynchon was working on 'The Crying of Lot 49, College buddy [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Fariña '''Richard Farina'''] lived in [http://ci.carmel.ca.us/ '''Carmel by the Sea''']. However, the clue that Mucho Maas worked “further along the Peninsula” points more to the regions near Palo Alto & Stanford, such as San Mateo.
  
 
a: 10, b: 2 - '''settecento'''<br>
 
a: 10, b: 2 - '''settecento'''<br>
Settecento is the Italian word for seven hundred, and is the standard Italian term for the 18th century (not the 17th century, but the years beginning with 17). It is used in English mostly to refer to art-historical and architectural movements and styles of that period. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Settecento Wikipedia]
+
Italian: seven hundred. It is the standard Italian term for the 18th century (the 1700s). It is used in English mostly to refer to art-historical and architectural movements and styles of that period. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Settecento Wikipedia]
  
 
a: 10, b: 2 - '''variorum'''<br>
 
a: 10, b: 2 - '''variorum'''<br>
Line 120: Line 82:
  
 
a: 10, b: 2 - '''Vivaldi Kazoo Concerto'''<br>
 
a: 10, b: 2 - '''Vivaldi Kazoo Concerto'''<br>
Kazoos appear in [http://gravitys-rainbow.pynchonwiki.com/wiki/ ''Gravity's Rainbow'']. The title isn't as outlandish as it may seem; Vivaldi's concerti are often performed on instruments they were not written for. Example: [http://idrs.colorado.edu/Publications/DR/DR7.1/vivaldi.html concerto for two cellos] recast for bassoon trio. Cross referenced search of kazoos in the Gravity's Rainbow Wiki: [http://gravitys-rainbow.pynchonwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=B ][http://gravitys-rainbow.pynchonwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=Songs/Compositions ][http://gravitys-rainbow.pynchonwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=H ][http://gravitys-rainbow.pynchonwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=O ][http://gravitys-rainbow.pynchonwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=Dope_in_Gravity%27s_Rainbow]
+
Kazoos are mentioned many time in Pynchon's novels. ''Gravity's Rainbow'' similarly references "Haydn's "Kazoo" Quartet in G-Flat Minor, Op. 76". [http://gravitys-rainbow.pynchonwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=Pages_706-717 GR, 711].
 +
 
 +
Explaining the obvious joke, Vivaldi wrote over 500 concertos for a large variety of instruments in a wide range of configurations. These instruments include: bassoon, cello, clarinet, oboe, flautino, flute, oboe, horns, lute, mandolin, recorder, trumpet, viola d'amore, viola, violin, chalumeau, organ, timpani, and theorbo. (Perhaps the only reason the kazoo isn't on that list is that Vivaldi never heard of it.)
 +
 
 +
Likewise, Haydn wrote approximately 80 string quartets. It could be argued that Pynchon is making, among other possible interpretations, a recurring, disparaging joke about the dangers of over/hyper-production by having Haydn and Vivaldi, classical composers (in)famous for their prodigious output, write for the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kazoo kazoo.]  
  
 
a: 10, b: 2 - '''Boyd Beaver'''<br>
 
a: 10, b: 2 - '''Boyd Beaver'''<br>
Soloist for the Vivaldi Kazoo Concerto. "Boyd" stems from the Gaelic word for "blond", while "Beaver" is a chiefly American slang term for female genitalia, prompting the image of a blonde vagina playing a kazoo. Titter. One might also take "Boy", evoked by "Boyd", combined with the "female" beaver, and find the same gender-bending implied in Oedipa's name itself (or in a male author writing a female protagonist, or the Muse inspiring the poet). The name also bears an obvious resemblance to Zoyd Wheeler, the protagonist of ''Vineland'', though he played the keyboard.
+
A typical Pynchonesque name that appears just this once.  
 +
*The name bears a resemblance to Zoyd Wheeler, the protagonist of ''Vineland'', though he played the keyboard.
 +
 
 +
<div id="maas"></div>a: 11, b: 2 - '''Wendell ("Mucho") Maas'''<br />
 +
"Mucho más" is common Spanish phrase, meaning "much more." Mucho Maas reappears in [http://vineland.pynchonwiki.com/wiki ''Vineland''].
 +
 
 +
:''Maas'' is also Dutch for ''mesh'' and ''loophole'' (in the architectural and the figurative sense as well), which may be related to the book's treatement of webs or networks.
  
a: 11, b: 2 - '''Wendell ("Mucho") Maas'''<br>
+
:The near-likeness "mass" becomes an important word/concept in ''Gravity's Rainbow'' and, especially, ''Against The Day'', although the associative meanings do not seem to mesh!
"Mucho más" is common Spanish phrase, meaning "much more." Mucho Maas reappears in ''Vineland''.
+
  
 
a: 11, b: 2 - '''Pachuco dialect'''<br>
 
a: 11, b: 2 - '''Pachuco dialect'''<br>
Line 135: Line 106:
  
 
a: 11, b: 3 - '''Lamont Cranston'''<br>
 
a: 11, b: 3 - '''Lamont Cranston'''<br>
One identity adopted by The Shadow, a character of pulp fiction, radio shows, and comic books. Cranston was a wealthy young man about town. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shadow Wikipedia]
+
[[image:The-Shadow_1939.jpg|right|thumb|150px|The Shadow comic]]One identity adopted by The Shadow, a character of pulp fiction, radio shows, and comic books. Cranston was a wealthy young man about town. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shadow Wikipedia]
  
 
a: 11, b: 3 - '''Commissioner Weston... Professor Quackenbush'''<br>
 
a: 11, b: 3 - '''Commissioner Weston... Professor Quackenbush'''<br>
?
+
Police Commissioner Weston was the Shadow's friend and running mate.  There is a Professor Quackenbush in two Three Stooges shorts "Half-Wits Holiday" and "Pies and Guys", as well as a Dr. Hackenbush in the Marx Bros. film, ''A Day at the Races''.
  
b: 4 - '''Mucho shaved his ... throw them further off'''<br>
+
a: 13 b: 4 -'''I don't believe in any of it, Oed'''<br />
 +
The short form of Oedipa &#151; "Oed" &#151; means "boring" in German.
 +
 
 +
a: 13, b: 4 - '''Mucho shaved his ... throw them further off'''<br>
 
All of the references in this section refer to the stereotypical (often Italian) used car salesman with greased back hair, a very short mustache, and huge lapels on his suit.  
 
All of the references in this section refer to the stereotypical (often Italian) used car salesman with greased back hair, a very short mustache, and huge lapels on his suit.  
  
[[Image:jacklemmon.jpg|90px|thumb|left|Jack Lemmon and his hair in the 60s]]a: 13, b: 4 - '''used only water, combing it like Jack Lemmon'''<br />
+
[[Image:jacklemmon.jpg|120px|thumb|left|Jack Lemmon and his hair in the 60s]]a: 13, b: 4 - '''used only water, combing it like Jack Lemmon'''<br />
American actor (1925-2001). He became a favorite actor of director Billy Wilder, starring in his films ''Some Like It Hot'', ''The Apartment'' and others. Wilder felt Lemmon had a natural tendency toward overacting that had to be tempered; the Wilder biography ''Nobody's Perfect'' quotes the director as saying: "Lemmon, I would describe him as a ham, a fine ham, and with ham you have to trim a little fat." [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_lemmon Wikipedia]
+
American comedic actor (1925-2001).
  
a: ?, b: 4 - '''creampuff'''<br>
+
a: 13, b: 4 - '''creampuff'''<br>
A very well maintained used car.
+
A very well maintained used car.<br>
  
a: 16, b: ? - '''Dr. Hilarius, her shrink or psychotherapist'''<br>
+
a: 16, b: 7 - '''Dr. Hilarius, her shrink or psychotherapist''' <br />
Shrink is a shortened form of headshrinker, which is 50s slang. The OED cites 'shrink' in this text of 1966, as the first recorded written use of it as a slang term. Which must be why Pynchon defined it in the text.  
+
[[Image:Hilarius.jpg|right|thumb|St. Hilarius|150px]]Pope Saint Hilarius was Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from 461 to 468. He was canonized as a saint after his death. As archdeacon under Pope Leo I, he fought vigorously for the rights of the Roman See and vigorously opposed the condemnation of Flavian of Constantinople at the Second Council of Ephesus in 449 to settle the question of Eutyches. According to a letter to the Empress Pulcheria, collected among the letter of Leo I, Hilarus apologizes for not delivering to her the pope's letter after the synod.
 +
 
 +
Shrink is a shortened form of headshrinker, which is '50s slang. The OED cites 'shrink' in this text of 1966, as the first recorded written use of it as a slang term. Which must be why Pynchon defined it in the text.  
  
 
a: 17, b: 8 - '''LSD-25, mescaline, psilocybin'''<br />
 
a: 17, b: 8 - '''LSD-25, mescaline, psilocybin'''<br />
These hallucinogenic drugs are also mentioned in [http://gravitys-rainbow.pynchonwiki.com/wiki/ ''Gravity's Rainbow'']. It remains an open question as to whether and to what extent Pynchon took or was influenced by them. ([http://web.clas.ufl.edu/users/agordon/pynchon.htm "whether"?])  
+
These hallucinogenic drugs are also mentioned in ''Gravity's Rainbow'', while LSD gets a special mention as an agent of spiritual awareness in ''Vineland''. See notes for [http://cl49.pynchonwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=Chapter_6 ''She Loves You''] on page a: 143, b: 117 of CoL49 wiki, where Mucho Maas is expressing ideas about psychedelics concordant with the writings of [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldous_Huxley '''Aldous Huxley'''.]  Peyote's magical potential is rendered on pages 392-394 of Against the Day, in wholy favorable terms, with the connection of divinatory powers and envisioning agents such as [http://www.britannica.com/eb/topic-405965/Native-American-Church '''Hikuli'''] displayed in a very favorable light.  
 +
 
 +
It remains an open question as to whether and to what extent Pynchon took or was influenced by them. ''See also'' "Smoking Dope with Thomas Pynchon: A Sixties Memoir" ([http://gravitys-rainbow.pynchonwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=Smoking_Dope_with_Thomas_Pynchon link]).
  
a: ?, b:8 - '''lapses from orthodoxy'''<br>
+
a: 18, b:8 - '''lapses from orthodoxy'''<br>
Orthodox Freudian psychotherapy involved the therapist literally trying not to impose himself at all on the patient. That's why the therapist is often shown sitting behind the patient. The goal is to be a blank canvas and have the patient paint his problems on the therapist, thereby bringing them into consciousness.
+
Orthodox Freudian psychotherapy involved the therapist literally trying not to impose himself at all on the patient. That's why the therapist is often shown sitting behind the patient. The goal is to be a blank canvas and have the patient paint his problems on the therapist, thereby bringing them into consciousness.
  
 
[[Image:rorschach1.jpg|150px|thumb|right|The first of the ten cards in the Rorschach inkblot test]]
 
[[Image:rorschach1.jpg|150px|thumb|right|The first of the ten cards in the Rorschach inkblot test]]
 
a: 18, b: 8 - '''Rorschach blot'''<br>
 
a: 18, b: 8 - '''Rorschach blot'''<br>
The Rorschach inkblot test (Pronounced roar-shock) is a method of psychological evaluation. Psychologists use this test to try to examine the personality characteristics and emotional functioning of their patients. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rorschach_inkblot_test Wikipedia]
+
The Rorschach inkblot test is a method of psychological evaluation. Psychologists use this test to try to examine the personality characteristics and emotional functioning of their patients. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rorschach_inkblot_test Wikipedia]
  
 
[[Image:rorschachcomic1.png|thumb|150px|right|Rorschach, a comic book character in ''Watchmen'']]
 
[[Image:rorschachcomic1.png|thumb|150px|right|Rorschach, a comic book character in ''Watchmen'']]
 
a: 18, b: 8 - '''a face is symmetrical like a Rorschach blot'''<br>
 
a: 18, b: 8 - '''a face is symmetrical like a Rorschach blot'''<br>
In the graphic novel, ''Watchmen'', written by Alan Moore, there is a character named Rorschach who wears a mask with a Rorscach blot on the front. Moore is a self-professed Pynchon fan: he referenced [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V. ''V.''] in ''V for Vendetta'' and has mentioned [http://gravitys-rainbow.pynchonwiki.com/wiki/ ''Gravity's Rainbow''] in interview. It is possible, not to say probable, that Moore was inspired by this line.  
+
In the graphic novel, ''Watchmen'', written by Alan Moore, there is a character named Rorschach who wears a mask with a Rorscach blot on the front. Moore is a self-professed Pynchon fan: he referenced ''V.'' in ''V for Vendetta'' and has mentioned ''Gravity's Rainbow'' in interviews. It is possible, not to say probable, that Moore was inspired by this line.  
  
 
a: 18, b: 8 - '''TAT picture'''<br>
 
a: 18, b: 8 - '''TAT picture'''<br>
Line 170: Line 148:
  
 
a: 18, b: 9 - '''Fu-Manchu'''<br>
 
a: 18, b: 9 - '''Fu-Manchu'''<br>
Dr. Fu Manchu is a fictional character, an evil genius of Chinese origin, first featured in a series of novels by Birmingham author Sax Rohmer during the first half of the 20th century. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fu_Manchu Wikipedia]
+
Dr. Fu Manchu is a fictional character, an evil genius of Chinese origin, who first featured in a series of novels by Birmingham author Sax Rohmer during the first half of the 20th century. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fu_Manchu Wikipedia]
  
 
a: 18, b: 9 - '''Perry Mason'''<br>
 
a: 18, b: 9 - '''Perry Mason'''<br>
Perry Mason is a fictional defense attorney who originally appeared in detective fiction by Erle Stanley Gardner. Mason was portrayed by Raymond Burr in a television series which ran on CBS from 1957 to 1966. The typical plot involves Perry Mason unmasking the actual murderer in a final dramatic courtroom showdown. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perry_Mason Wikipedia]
+
a fictional defense attorney who originally appeared in detective fiction by Erle Stanley Gardner. Mason was portrayed by Raymond Burr in a television series which ran on CBS from 1957 to 1966. The typical plot involves Perry Mason unmasking the actual murderer in a final dramatic courtroom showdown. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perry_Mason Wikipedia]
  
 
a: 19, b: 9 - '''''The Profession v. Perry Mason...'''''<br>
 
a: 19, b: 9 - '''''The Profession v. Perry Mason...'''''<br>
Line 180: Line 158:
 
[[Image:remediosvaro.jpg|thumb|175px|''Bornando el manto terrestre'', 1961|left]]
 
[[Image:remediosvaro.jpg|thumb|175px|''Bornando el manto terrestre'', 1961|left]]
 
a: 21, b: 11 - '''Bornando el Manto Terrestre'''<br>
 
a: 21, b: 11 - '''Bornando el Manto Terrestre'''<br>
Remedios Varo (1908 - 1963) was a surrealist painter. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remedios_Varo Wikipedia]
+
Remedios Varo (1908 - 1963) was a surrealist painter. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remedios_Varo Wikipedia] Pynchon probably saw Bordando el Manto Terrestre when, as part of the first full retrospective of the painter's work, it was displayed at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City in 1964. [https://artsy.net/artist/remedios-varo Another great Remedios Varos website...]
  
Bill Brown [http://www.notbored.org/crying.html notes] that "Pynchon saw Bordando el Manto Terrestre when, as part of the first full retrospective of the painter's work, it was displayed at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City in 1964, a year after her death at the age of 55. Painted in 1961, el Manto (oil on masonite, roughly 40 by 48 inches) is the central panel in an autobiographical triptych. It is possible that Pynchon, writing ''Lot 49'' in 1965, recalled the painting from memory or incomplete notes, and not with a reproduction of it set in front of him. He gets a lot wrong."
+
For extended discussion on what Pynchon did or did not get wrong re: the painting, see [[Talk:Chapter_1|the Talk page]].
  
 
[[image:bubble-shades.jpg|thumb|Bubble Shades|120px|right]]
 
[[image:bubble-shades.jpg|thumb|Bubble Shades|120px|right]]

Latest revision as of 10:45, 8 January 2015

Please keep these annotations SPOILER-FREE by not revealing information from later pages in the novel.
If your edition has 183 pages, follow the pages marked a: 49a.jpg 49b.jpg If your edition has 152 pages,
follow b:
49c.jpg


Title Page: The Crying of Lot 49
In property auctions, numbered "lots" of property or tangible objects are "cried" by an auctioneer.

  • There's a line in Ulysses that bears an odd coincidence to the title: "The lacquey by the door of Dillon's auctionrooms shook his handbell twice again and viewed himself in the chalked mirror of the cabinet. Dilly Dedalus, loitering by the curbstone, heard the beats of the bell, the cries of the auctioneer within. Four and nine. Those lovely curtains." (Ulysses, 304) Given that Gravity's Rainbow, written at the same time as CoL49, contains numerous Joyce references (mainly in the character of Sir Stephen Dodson-Truck), it's possible that this is a nod.
  • For a discussion of some other things the title may or may not allude to, see the article 7 x 7.

a: 9, b: 1 - Oedipa
Oedipus was the mythical king of Thebes who unknowingly killed his father and married his mother. Wikipedia Oedipus the King, aka Oedipus Rex, is a Greek tragedy written by Sophocles and first performed in 428 BC. Many critics, including Aristotle, consider it the greatest tragedy ever written. Wikipedia

  • Whether Oedipa has anything to do with Oedipus is an open question. Some critics find zero connection and note that the name indicates that names are only words, and not necessarily full of meaning (mysteries without answers being a theme in CoL49). Others have teased various interpretations from Sophocles' play to connect its protagonist to Pynchon's. So far, no single explanation is remotely concrete or thoroughly convincing. Bleakhaus
  • See also Emma Miller, "The Naming of Oedipa Maas: Feminizing the Divine Pursuit of Knowledge in Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49" (Link)
  • A number of fragments further discussing Oedipa's name are in the Discussion page.

a: 9, b: 1 - Maas
For more discussion of the name, see below.

a: 9, b: 1 - kirsch
a clear cherry brandy from Germany. Wikipedia

  • many references to Germany, German words or German history run through Chapter 1, and indeed the entire novel. Pynchon scholar David Cowart posits that "Pynchon seems to have had a German period, a post-German period, and a neo-Continental or global period. During his German phase he produced his first three novels... His next work, the long-awaited Vineland, represents a new phase in which the almost obsessive attention to German more seems to have faded." Thomas Pynchon and the Dark Passages of History (2012), at p. 59.

a: 9, b: 1 - Pierce Inverarity
Inverarity is a village in Scotland.

  • The name sounds a bit like a portmanteau of "inverse polarity" (electronic terminology appears in Pynchon's short stories and later in CoL49).
  • Perhaps worth noting that when Pynchon & Company (an actual East Coast Brokerage house owned in part by Pynchon's relations) fell apart in 1931, E.A. Pierce (a larger financial institution) picked up that company's holdings. See New York Times April 25, 1931.

a: 9, b: 1 - California real estate mogul
Many of the terms and concepts in The Crying of Lot 49 are derived from laws concerning property and investment.

  • The ancestors of Thomas Ruggles Pynchon [apparentlty the fifth Pynchon to be so named] had much involvement in real estate and property laws. See "the Petition of the Springfield Aquaduct" (Link), pages 44 - 53. Also see "Popular Law Library" at page 95.

a: 10, b: 1 - Mazatlán
City in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, located on the Pacific coast of Mexico, east from the southernmost tip of the Baja California peninsula.

  • Perhaps worth mentioning that a large wave of German immigrants arrived in the mid 1800s, developing Mazatlán into a thriving commercial seaport. Additionally, Mazatlán played a role in the California gold rush, with people traveling by boat from Mazatlán to San Francisco.
  • Pynchon apparently lived in Mexico off and on in the 1960s and 70s.

a: 10, b: 1 - Cornell University
Pynchon attended Cornell, where he studied engineering physics, but left after two years to serve in the U.S. Navy. In 1957, Pynchon returned with a focus in English, a BA he received in 1959. "The Small Rain", Pynchon's first published story, was printed in the Cornell Writer in May, 1959.

a: 10, b: 1 - Bartók Concerto for Orchestra
Five-movement musical work finished in 1943 by Hungarian composer Béla Bartók (1881 - 1945), after his native exile to the United States in response to the rise of the Nazi party. Bartók is one of a number of references to the theme of "exile" in this first chapter.

  • The critic Charles Hollander suggests that the fourth movement is neither "dry" nor "disconsolate," and that Pynchon deliberately reversed the facts to bring attention to Bartók's status as a political exile. Wikipedia: Bartok Concerto Hollander Essay Hollander writes, "The concerto’s frantic fourth movement has no "dry, disconsolate tune" (CL 10). Maybe the ailing Bartók was disconsolate, but the music is not. This inversion is Pynchon’s way of flagging Bartók..."
  • "Dry and disconsolate" are not facts but opinions, although the consensus opinion might be "facts". Pynchon may have described the movement as it sounded to him (or his character).
  • For more, see the Discussion page.

a: 10, b: 1 - Jay Gould
(1836 – 1892) Infamous American financier (known as the "Mephistopheles of Wall Street"), who became a leading American railroad builder and speculator in the mid 19th century. In 1869, the Fisk-Gould Scandal (also known as Black Friday) spread financial panic as a result of Gould and fellow financier James Fisk's efforts to corner the gold market. Further political scandals and unfair dealings have cemented his reputation (both throughout his life and during the century after his death) as one of the most unethical of the 19th century American robber barons. It is worth note that the bust of Jay Gould is the "only ikon in the house" of Pierce Inverarity, and that Oedipa expressed the fear that it (on a shelf over the bed) would "someday topple on them". Wikipedia: Gould Wikipedia: Black Friday

a: 10, b: 2 - Warpe, Wistfull, Kubitschek and McMingus

Law firm representing Pierce Inverarity.

  • "Warpe," possible reference to the municipality of Warpe located in the district of Nienburg, in Lower Saxony, Germany (Germany and Nazism being referenced thoroughly in Chapter 1). --Dezama125 (talk) 10:39, 1 January 2013 (PST) Please see my addition to Kubitschek below. Wikipedia
  • "Kubitschek" is possibly drawn from Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira (1902 - 1976), a Brazilian social reformer and 24th President of Brazil (1956 - 1961) who went into a self-imposed exile after a military coup d'état, which had later been claimed to have been taking as a preemptive measure to deter an "inevitable communist revolution" (the coup having been tacitly (and directly) assisted and supported by the United States government and the CIA). Further possible references to "exile" as well as United States foreign policy. --Dezama125 (talk) 10:39, 1 January 2013 (PST)Also, in some pictures, Kubitschek bears a strong resemblance to Bela Lugosi, so the first two dialects Pierce does in his phone call, Transylvanian and Negro, relate to the last two names of the partners of the lawfirm representing him. The phone call may have started from the comic idea of pretending to be calling from the office of the lawfirm: "I'll pretend to be Kubitschek, then McMingus will get on the phone." Of course, this exemplifies Pierce's warped sense of humor (which Oedipa shares---see her comment immediately preceding the reference to the lawfirm, "You're so sick, Oedipa.") Wistful well describes her mood during the day after receiving the letter. Wikipedia: KubitschekWikipedia: 1964 Brazilian Coup
  • "McMingus" is a probable nod toward Jazz legend Charles Mingus (1922 - 1979). Pynchon is a lifelong Jazz fan, and references Jazz in most (all?) of his works. Wikipedia
  • Pynchon's penchant for absurd, punning law firm names is continued in Gravity's Rainbow with Salitieri, Poore, Nash, De Brutus and Short.

a: 10, b: 2 - Metzger
Co-executor of Inverarity's will and signatory of the letter Oedipa receives in Chapter 1. Metzger is German for "butcher".

  • Could also be a reference to Wolfgang Metzger (1899 - 1979), a German psychologist who served as one of the main representatives of Gestalt psychology, a theory that proposes that the operational principle of the brain is holistic, parallel, and analog, with self-organizing tendencies; or, that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This concept will recur later in the chapter, under the term "Triptych". Additionally, the introduction of Dr Hilarius, a German psychologist, will strengthen this association. Wikipedia: MetzgerWikipedia: Gestalt.
  • Metzgerpost ("butcher post") was an early type of mail service in the western regions of the Holy Roman Empire, superseded by the Thurn und Taxis-dominated imperial system.

a: 10, b: 2 - Kinneret-Among-The-Pines
Fictional California town that Oedipa Maas resides in.

  • Yam Kinneret (Sea of Kinnereth) is the modern Hebrew name for the Sea of Galilee, Israel's largest freshwater lake. Upon the shores of Galilee, much of the ministry of Christ was said to have occurred, among which include His Sermon on the Mount, as well as the miracles of His walking on water, calming a storm, and feeding the multitude with five loaves of bread and two fish. Wikipedia. During the years Pynchon was working on 'The Crying of Lot 49, College buddy Richard Farina lived in Carmel by the Sea. However, the clue that Mucho Maas worked “further along the Peninsula” points more to the regions near Palo Alto & Stanford, such as San Mateo.

a: 10, b: 2 - settecento
Italian: seven hundred. It is the standard Italian term for the 18th century (the 1700s). It is used in English mostly to refer to art-historical and architectural movements and styles of that period. Wikipedia

a: 10, b: 2 - variorum
A work containing all known varients of a text whereby all variations and emendations are set side-by-side to track textual decisions. Wikipedia

a: 10, b: 2 - Vivaldi Kazoo Concerto
Kazoos are mentioned many time in Pynchon's novels. Gravity's Rainbow similarly references "Haydn's "Kazoo" Quartet in G-Flat Minor, Op. 76". GR, 711.

Explaining the obvious joke, Vivaldi wrote over 500 concertos for a large variety of instruments in a wide range of configurations. These instruments include: bassoon, cello, clarinet, oboe, flautino, flute, oboe, horns, lute, mandolin, recorder, trumpet, viola d'amore, viola, violin, chalumeau, organ, timpani, and theorbo. (Perhaps the only reason the kazoo isn't on that list is that Vivaldi never heard of it.)

Likewise, Haydn wrote approximately 80 string quartets. It could be argued that Pynchon is making, among other possible interpretations, a recurring, disparaging joke about the dangers of over/hyper-production by having Haydn and Vivaldi, classical composers (in)famous for their prodigious output, write for the kazoo.

a: 10, b: 2 - Boyd Beaver
A typical Pynchonesque name that appears just this once.

  • The name bears a resemblance to Zoyd Wheeler, the protagonist of Vineland, though he played the keyboard.
a: 11, b: 2 - Wendell ("Mucho") Maas

"Mucho más" is common Spanish phrase, meaning "much more." Mucho Maas reappears in Vineland.

Maas is also Dutch for mesh and loophole (in the architectural and the figurative sense as well), which may be related to the book's treatement of webs or networks.
The near-likeness "mass" becomes an important word/concept in Gravity's Rainbow and, especially, Against The Day, although the associative meanings do not seem to mesh!

a: 11, b: 2 - Pachuco dialect
Pachucos were Mexican American youth who developed their own subculture during the 1930s and 1940s in the Southwestern United States. They wore distinctive clothes (such as Zoot Suits) and spoke their own dialect (Caló). Wikipedia Zoot suits appear a few times in Gravity's Rainbow.

a: 11, b: 2 - chingas and maricones
Spanish slang words. "Chingas" is a conjugation of the word "chingar" (slang for "to fuck"), translating "chingas" as "[you] fuck" (or, better, just a plural of "chinga"). "Maricones" refers to the term "maricón" (based on the word "marica" or "male homosexual") which is equivalent to the English insult "faggot".

a: 11, b: 3 - Lamont Cranston

The Shadow comic
One identity adopted by The Shadow, a character of pulp fiction, radio shows, and comic books. Cranston was a wealthy young man about town. Wikipedia

a: 11, b: 3 - Commissioner Weston... Professor Quackenbush
Police Commissioner Weston was the Shadow's friend and running mate. There is a Professor Quackenbush in two Three Stooges shorts "Half-Wits Holiday" and "Pies and Guys", as well as a Dr. Hackenbush in the Marx Bros. film, A Day at the Races.

a: 13 b: 4 -I don't believe in any of it, Oed
The short form of Oedipa — "Oed" — means "boring" in German.

a: 13, b: 4 - Mucho shaved his ... throw them further off
All of the references in this section refer to the stereotypical (often Italian) used car salesman with greased back hair, a very short mustache, and huge lapels on his suit.

Jack Lemmon and his hair in the 60s
a: 13, b: 4 - used only water, combing it like Jack Lemmon

American comedic actor (1925-2001).

a: 13, b: 4 - creampuff
A very well maintained used car.

a: 16, b: 7 - Dr. Hilarius, her shrink or psychotherapist

St. Hilarius
Pope Saint Hilarius was Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from 461 to 468. He was canonized as a saint after his death. As archdeacon under Pope Leo I, he fought vigorously for the rights of the Roman See and vigorously opposed the condemnation of Flavian of Constantinople at the Second Council of Ephesus in 449 to settle the question of Eutyches. According to a letter to the Empress Pulcheria, collected among the letter of Leo I, Hilarus apologizes for not delivering to her the pope's letter after the synod.

Shrink is a shortened form of headshrinker, which is '50s slang. The OED cites 'shrink' in this text of 1966, as the first recorded written use of it as a slang term. Which must be why Pynchon defined it in the text.

a: 17, b: 8 - LSD-25, mescaline, psilocybin
These hallucinogenic drugs are also mentioned in Gravity's Rainbow, while LSD gets a special mention as an agent of spiritual awareness in Vineland. See notes for She Loves You on page a: 143, b: 117 of CoL49 wiki, where Mucho Maas is expressing ideas about psychedelics concordant with the writings of Aldous Huxley. Peyote's magical potential is rendered on pages 392-394 of Against the Day, in wholy favorable terms, with the connection of divinatory powers and envisioning agents such as Hikuli displayed in a very favorable light.

It remains an open question as to whether and to what extent Pynchon took or was influenced by them. See also "Smoking Dope with Thomas Pynchon: A Sixties Memoir" (link).

a: 18, b:8 - lapses from orthodoxy
Orthodox Freudian psychotherapy involved the therapist literally trying not to impose himself at all on the patient. That's why the therapist is often shown sitting behind the patient. The goal is to be a blank canvas and have the patient paint his problems on the therapist, thereby bringing them into consciousness.

The first of the ten cards in the Rorschach inkblot test

a: 18, b: 8 - Rorschach blot
The Rorschach inkblot test is a method of psychological evaluation. Psychologists use this test to try to examine the personality characteristics and emotional functioning of their patients. Wikipedia

Rorschach, a comic book character in Watchmen

a: 18, b: 8 - a face is symmetrical like a Rorschach blot
In the graphic novel, Watchmen, written by Alan Moore, there is a character named Rorschach who wears a mask with a Rorscach blot on the front. Moore is a self-professed Pynchon fan: he referenced V. in V for Vendetta and has mentioned Gravity's Rainbow in interviews. It is possible, not to say probable, that Moore was inspired by this line.

a: 18, b: 8 - TAT picture
The TAT is popularly known as the picture interpretation technique because it uses a standard series of 31 provocative yet ambiguous pictures about which the subject must tell a story. It was developed by American psychologists in the 1930s. Wikipedia

a: 18, b: 9 - Fu-Manchu
Dr. Fu Manchu is a fictional character, an evil genius of Chinese origin, who first featured in a series of novels by Birmingham author Sax Rohmer during the first half of the 20th century. Wikipedia

a: 18, b: 9 - Perry Mason
a fictional defense attorney who originally appeared in detective fiction by Erle Stanley Gardner. Mason was portrayed by Raymond Burr in a television series which ran on CBS from 1957 to 1966. The typical plot involves Perry Mason unmasking the actual murderer in a final dramatic courtroom showdown. Wikipedia

a: 19, b: 9 - The Profession v. Perry Mason...
Roseman may be trying to undermine Perry Mason by arguing that the dramatic courtroom twists in the TV show are actually uncommon in the American legal system.

Bornando el manto terrestre, 1961

a: 21, b: 11 - Bornando el Manto Terrestre
Remedios Varo (1908 - 1963) was a surrealist painter. Wikipedia Pynchon probably saw Bordando el Manto Terrestre when, as part of the first full retrospective of the painter's work, it was displayed at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City in 1964. Another great Remedios Varos website...

For extended discussion on what Pynchon did or did not get wrong re: the painting, see the Talk page.

Bubble Shades

a:21, b:11 - she wore dark green bubble shades
This is the sixties, after all...



Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6
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