Preface

Abbreviated Sources
and References


Annotations: title,
epigraph and
dedication


Part I

Part II
II.1 Synopsis
pp. 281-306
pp. 311-342
II.2 Synopsis
pp. 343-373
pp. 374-381
pp. 382-385
pp. 386-389
II.3 Synopsis
pp. 390-392
pp. 393-403
pp. 404-420
pp. 421-442
II.4 Synopsis
pp. 446-468
pp. 470-486
II.5 Synopsis
pp. 487-495
pp. 496-511
pp. 512-540
II.6 Synopsis
pp. 542-564
II.7 Synopsis
pp. 568-605
pp. 606-645
II.8 Synopsis
pp. 647-678
pp. 679-699
II.9 Synopsis
pp. 700-719


Part III

A Reader's Guide to William Gaddis's The Recognitions

      Index    

II.3 pp. pages 404-420

404.13] O pirate ships [...] of wicked gain!: from the poem "The Soul-Pirates" by American minister and poet Charles W. Denison (1809-81), reprinted in temperance anthologies such as Lizzie Penney's Readings and Recitations (1878). {Mark Hale}

404.35] Al-Shira-al-jamânija [...] Dog Star: see 27.19.

404.36] death? or Islam: the choice offered Shabbetai Zebi (see 546.3).

405.8] Zoroaster [...] Ahriman, and the hosts of evil: more properly Zarathustra, semi-legendary founder of the religion of the ancient Persians. Conybeare parallels his career with that of Jesus (MMM 177-78). See EB 23:988-89 for the conflict between Ormazd and Ahriman.

405.31] hero came forth from the desert to call "the hesitating retinue of finer shades": in his introduction to Doughty's Travels (43.13), T. E. Lawrence (see 581.20) described the Arabs as follows: "They are a certain people, despising doubt, our modern crown of thorns. They do not understand our metaphysical difficulties, our self-questionings. They know only truth and untruth, belief and unbelief, without our hesitating retinue of finer shades" ([New York: Random House, 1947] 21-22). Lawrence repeated this passage in chap. 3 of his Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1926).

406.7] Songs of innocence and experience: Songs of Innocence (1789) and Songs of Experience (1794) are two series of poems (subtitled Showing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul) by English poet and artist William Blake (1757-1827).

406.10] Pleasant and Unpleasant Thoughts in Handel's Almira: his first opera, libretto by F. C. Feustking, produced in 1705.

406.13] he took away the horses [...] host of heaven: 2 Kings 23:11 ff. describes King Josiah's sweeping religious reforms after discovering the forgotten "book of the covenant" (i.e., Deuteronomy). Cf. 418.35.

406.42] Rabboni: a variant of rabbi (Heb.: "master"): Mary Magdalene thus addresses Jesus upon his resurrection (John 20:26).

407.28] Lapland lay, waiting for the Gospel: see 30.18.

407.37] good King Wenceslaus [...] papal interdict [...] pale thin man in mean attire: see 32.20 ff.; in March 1411 Pope Alexander V renewed his ban against Huss's preaching at Prague. Huss ignored the ban, and the pope laid the entire city of Prague under interdict (cf. 316.1-2). The interdict was later extended to all places that might give Huss shelter. (The Town Carpenter was first associated with Wenceslaus by Wyatt at 37.12, and will be again at 545.25-26.) Wenceslaus is called "the vacillating" in EB (23:512).

408.14] from Ethiopia and the three Indies: the details both here and on 417 are from the article on Prester John in vol. 18 of EB, which the Town Carpenter has borrowed from Rev. Gwyon (420.14; 442.31). The relevant portion reads:

About 1165, a letter was circulated purporting to be addressed by Prester John to the [Byzantine] emperor Manuel. This letter, professing to come from "Presbyter Joannes, by the power and virtue of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, Lord of Lords," claimed that he was the greatest monarch under heaven, as well as a devout Christian. The letter dealt at length with the wonders of his empire. It was his desire to visit the Holy Sepulchre with a great host, and to subdue the enemies of the Cross. Seventy-two kings, reigning over as many kingdoms, were his tributaries. His empire extended over the three Indies, including that Farther India where lay the body of St. Thomas, to the sun-rising, and back again down the slope to the ruins of Babylon and the tower of Babel. In war thirteen great crosses made of gold and jewels were carried in wagons before him as his standards, and each was followed by 10,000 knights and 100,000 footmen. There were no poor in his dominions, no thief or robber, no flatterer or miser, no dissensions, no lies, and no vices. His palace was built after the plan of that which St. Thomas erected for the Indian king Gondopharus. Before it was a marvellous mirror erected on a many-storeyed pedestal; in this speculum he could discern everything that went on throughout his dominions, and detect conspiracies. He was waited on by 7 kings at a time, by 60 dukes and 365 counts; 12 archbishops sat on his right hand, and 20 bishops on his left, besides the patriarch of St. Thomas's the protopope of the Sarmagantians (Samarcand?), and the archprotopope of Susa, where the royal residence was. Should it be asked why, with all this power and splendour, he calls himself merely "presbyter," this is because of his humility, and because it was not fitting for one whose chamberlain was a bishop and king, and whose chief cook was an abbot and king, to be called by such titles as these.

409.3] his balloon ascension stand: the juxtaposition of references to balloons and Prester John recalls the first stanza of Eliot's "Conversation Galante":

I observe: "Our sentimental friend the moon!
Or possibly (fantastic, I confess)

It may be Prester John's balloon
Or an old battered lantern hung aloft
To light poor travellers to their distress."
She then: "How you digress!"

409.44] camel [...] Bactrian: cf. 48.41-42. Hamlet, with whom Wyatt has much in common (indecision, ambivalence toward parents, feigned [?] madness; cf. Esme as Ophelia), also notices a cloud in the shape of a camel (3.2.393-94).

410.23] Aldebaran [...] keeping watch on the Pleiades: the Arab name for the principal star of the constellation Taurus, meaning "'leader,' or the attendant or follower, i.e., of the Pleiades" (SL 340).

411.9] We must simplify: the major theme of Thoreau's Walden, chap. 2 ("Where I Lived, and What I Lived For"); cf. 441.41.

412.1] John Huss [...] seeking tangible evidence of Christ's presence instead of in His enduring word: quoted from EB's summary of Huss's De Omni Sanguine Christi Glorificato (see 651.7).

412.15] That day is a day of wrath [...] saith the Lord: Zeph. 1:15; 1:17; 2:1; 2:11; 3:20 (final verse).

412.39] a Figure Who brooked no nonsense, lurking, "ravin in tooth and claw": quoting from Harnack's History of Dogma, Conybeare finds that "in the history of Jahveh, as it is pictured in the Old Testament, and in nature, 'red in tooth and claw with ravine,' we have all shades of conduct, ranging from bare justice and resentment to arbitrary malice, from tenacious obstinacy to crass stupidity, but all alike falling short of real goodness" (MMM 330). Harnack/Conybeare/Gaddis quote Tennyson's In Memorium (56:15).

412.41] His seventy-two-letter masquerade in the Old: "The Name [of God secretly] taught in the Academies is likely to have been a complicated one of either 42 or 72 letters" (WG 240); cf. 499.16.

412.41] Haggai anticipates Him shaking the earth [...] the nations: Hag. 2:6-7.

414.22] Osservatore Romano [...] Cardinal Tedeschini [...] eloquent messages to the Vicar of Christ": at the thirty-fourth anniversary of the miracle of Fátima (see 917.1), "the big news about the Pope [Pius XII] was delivered by Cardinal Tedeschini who reported that the Pope himself had had the same kind of vision as the Portuguese children. He had looked directly into the sun and it was 'quivering with life, all movement, transmitting mute but eloquent messages to the Vicar of Christ'" ("A Million Faithful at Fátima," Life, 5 November 1951, 53; Gaddis is quoting from a similar article, as 917.1 ff. indicates, but I have not traced it or the Osservatore Romano original).

414.32] Scientific American for 11 April 1891 [...] worms of the grave": in an article entitled "Electroplating the Dead," M. Edant describes the efforts of French physician Dr. Variot to promote "the use of electro-metallurgic processes for obtaining indestructible mummies." The gruesome details of the process are accompanied by an equally gruesome engraving of a child's body undergoing electroplating. The article concludes: "The inventor of the process just described, however, accords to the total metallization of the body but slight importance. The object of his researches has been more especially to give the museums and laboratories of our faculties of medicine very faithful, very exact specimens, rather than to rescue our cadavers from the worms of the grave" (227).

415.6] Drink, drink! [...] Devil's Chain: from a song included in Edward Jenkin's popular temperance tract  The Devil's Chain (London: Strahan, 1876), pp. 199-202. {Mark Hale}

415.29] Otium cum dignitate: Lat.: "Leisure with dignity," Cicero's famous description of retirement (ODQ gives its more correct form: "cum dignitate otium").

416.1] Resurrectionists [...] grave-robbers: Resurrectionists are members of the Congregation of the Resurrection, which began in 1842 as a Catholic lay apostolate movement and continues today with missionary activities. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, grave-robbers who sold corpses to surgeons for dissection were called "resurrection men" (e.g., in Stevenson's "The Body-Snatchers"). See DDD 149, 154-55.

416.4] medicine made from mummies: the medicinal use of mummy is discussed in both EB (15:955) and DDD (324); Haggard points out "most of the mummy used was adulterated or counterfeited."

416.11] Swiss rooster is condemned [...] Fourteen seventy-four: "One of the most comical witch-persecutions took place in 1474 against a diabolical rooster who had been so presumptuous as to lay an egg. The poor creature was solemnly tried, whereupon he was condemned to die at the stake and publicly burned by order of the authorities of the good city of Basel" - Paul Carus, The History of the Devil and the Idea of Evil (Chicago: Open Court, 1900), 337.

416.17] hic, et ubique: Lat: "here, and everywhere."

417.3] after the Great Deluge [...] above their empty heads: as every student of Finnegans Wake knows, a paraphrase of the origin of religion and civilization according to Italian historian Giambattista Vico (1668-1744) as set forth in his La Scienza nuova (The New Science, 1725-30).

418.35] he burnt the throne of the sun with fire: "when Josiah cleared the Temple of Jerusalem of the idolatrous objects and symbols that had been set up there by his apostate predecessor, it was from the eastern gate that the symbolic chariot of the sun was removed. 'And he took away the horses that the kings of Judah had given to the sun at the entering in of the house of the Lord [...] and burned the chariots of the sun with fire.' It was, doubtless, a throne for the sun like that at Mabog" (AMM 198, quoting 2 Kings 23:11).

419.1] Letters of the Emperor Flavius Claudius Julianus: Julian the Apostate, emperor of Rome from 361 to 363 and a devotee of Mithraism. He was the author of a number of letters as well as a "Hymn to Helios." Himerius's tribute to him is quoted at 719.24 ff.

419.3] Nineteen . . . four [...] the heat thereof: Ps. 19:4b-6.

419.8] Seven . . . eleven . . . and by it there is profit to them that see the sun: Eccles. 7:11b.

419.10] eleven . . . seven . . . Truly the light is sweet [...] behold the sun: Eccles. 11:7.

419.27] make full proof of his ministry: 2 Tim. 4:5 (cf. 49.18).

419.39] Sor Patrocinio: see 50.12.

420.12] Origen's Contra Celsum: a defense of Christianity by Origen (see 103.3) against the attacks made by the Platonist philosopher Celsus in his True Word (or True Account), the first notable attack on the new religion (see 384.20). It is cited by Graves (WG 382) in a discussion of the guarding of religious mysteries, and by Geden (SPIM 45-47) for its remarks on Mithraism.

420.14] Volume eighteen [...] PLANTS to RAYM: of EB, which the Town Carpenter has borrowed to read up on Prester John.

420.15] Tertullian's De Coronâ: The Chaplet (204?) is a tract discussing the participation of Christians in military service;it is cited twice in M and once in SPIM.

420.17] Cathemerinon [...] Kindly Guide [...] faithful followers: a devotional guide by Aurelius Clemens Prudentius (348-410?), a Latin Christian poet. The book features twelve long hymns for devotional use; Rev. Gwyon translates the first four lines of the fifth hymn (SPIM 63).

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