|A Reader's Guide
to William Gaddis's The Recognitions|
I.6 pp. pages 202-221
202.epigraph] "Father," he asked [...] Brothers Karamazov: from part 4, chap. 7 (Constance Garnett translation). Captain Snegiryov is relating an anecdote to Alyosha Karamazov concerning his son Ilusha, who is tormented by his fellow students.
202.1] "Why has not [...] a fly": from Pope's Essay on Man, 1:193-94.
202.11] distracted from distraction by distraction: from Eliot's "Burnt Norton," part 3.
202.15] Diptera: the order of insects to which the fly belongs.
202.22] O God, what have I done? [...] Rhadames: this and the following references are to Verdi's opera Aïda (1871). Rhadames, an Egyptian captain, has unwittingly betrayed the Egyptian army while planning to flee with the Ethiopian slave girl Aïda.
203.13] Baal-zebub [...] Beelzeboul:
this etymological sequence is correct, though source unknown.
William of Malmesbury relates, that the famous St. Wulstan [ca. 1009-95], Bishop of Worcester, was peculiarly indignant whenever he saw a man with long hair. He declaimed against the practice as one highly immoral, criminal, and beastly. He continually carried a small knife in his pocket, and whenever any body offending in this respect knelt before him to receive his blessing, he would whip it out slily, and cut off a handful, and then, throwing it in his face, tell him to cut off all the rest, or he would go to hell. (EPD 347)
205.10] Gluck's Orfeoadoiradeechay: Christoph Gluck's (1714-87) opera Orfeo ed Euridice (1762), treating the famous Orpheus myth.
208.30] Chaby: although the name suggests "shabby," Gaddis said "No referent" (WG/SM).
209.4] Aubusson: French carpets of supreme quality.
209.24] In Dreams I Kiss Your Hand Madam: also the title of a song popular first in Germany, then in America in the early part of the century.
209.36] Baganda woman [...] plantain trees: from GB 137 ("rearing" is simply "genital" in Frazer).
210.8] Maupassant story [...] Bed Number 29: the story of a vain soldier named Captain Epivent, a dandy and ladies' man who, after having an affair with a woman named Irma, returns from the Franco-Prussian War to find her in bed number 29 of the local hospital with syphilis, contracted from the invading Prussians. Once infected, she had deliberately infected many of the invading soldiers, and when Epivent rebukes her for consorting with the enemy, she boasts that she has killed more Prussians in her way than he in his. He leaves confused and humiliated; she dies the next day. Needless to say, this is hardly the kind of story to be included in "An Anthology of Romantic Stories."
212.38] Cronus: after emasculating his father Uranus and setting himself up as lord of the earth, Cronus (Roman Saturn), having been warned his son would kill him, devoured his children until his wife Rhea substituted a stone for Zeus, who grew up to kill his father and become lord of the universe.
213.12] particles swirling round him [...] eructations of slate-colored lungs: this passage and a later one also using "eructation" (664.6) echo Eliot's "Burnt Norton":
bits of paper, whirled by the cold wind
218.1] Effluvium: "a faintly noxious emanation" (356.32); for the text of the poem, see 349-51.
219.2] "Baby and I [...] out of the pot": first collected in Halliwell's Nursery Rhymes (1842); #319 in The Annotated Mother Goose.
220.26] pale thin man: see 32.20.
221.40] Palinurus [...] murdered by natives ashore: from the end of book 5 of Vergil's Aeneid.