Preface

Abbreviated Sources
and References


Annotations: title,
epigraph and
dedication


Part I
I.1 Synopsis
pp. 3-21
pp. 23-28
pp. 29-46
pp. 47-62
I.2 Synopsis
pp. 63-68
pp. 69-77
I.3 Synopsis
pp. 78-93
pp. 94-123
pp. 124-153
I.4 Synopsis
pp. 154-168
I.5 Synopsis
pp. 169-187
pp. 188-201
I.6 Synopsis
pp. 202-221
I.7 Synopsis
pp. 222-256
pp. 257-277

Part II

Part III

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

      Index    

I.7 pp. pages 222-256

222.epigraph] And as Jesus Christ [...] Codicillus: for Lully, see 77.21 and 131.11; this passage is quoted by Jung (IP 253) as the earliest example in alchemy of the identification of Christ with the philosopher's stone. The quotation itself is from chapter 9 of Lully's book.

223.42] Littel girl [...] my bachelor room: "Was a calypso sort of song I heard down there & back then, no idea of title &c, went something like Little girl, please leave my bachelor room &c as is" - WG/SM.

226.1] Basil Valentine: named after the alchemist (see 131.11 and 383.41 ff.).

227.5] Avaritia and Invidia: Avarice and Envy, from Bosch's Seven Deadly Sins.

227.22] Collectors Quarterly: cf. Print Collectors Quarterly, an art journal of the time.

228.6] Patinir: Joachim de Patinir (?-1524), early Netherlandish landscape painter; most of his landscapes have a religious setting. See chapter 24 of VEF.

228.20] other voices in other rooms: see 56.23.

229.12] He's about thirty-three: traditionally Christ's age at the time of his crucifixion; cf. 876.43.

230.1] van der Goes: Hugo van der Goes (1440-82), with van Eyck, van der Weyden, and Bosch one of the four great masters of fifteenth-century painting in Flanders. He entered the Convent of the Rouge-Cloître at the height of his career and finally lapsed into madness. See chapter 13 of VEF, especially pp. 184-85, where his convent life is described. Like Wyatt, van der Goes "suffered under the dread that he was a son of damnation" (185).

231.17] di Credi: see 128.30.

231.32] Memling. An original: see 74.30.

231.38] Pinakothek: see 74.38.

232.19] That suit of armor up there [...] That's my favorite thing here: cf. Mephistopheles' reference to suits of armor in Faust  (act 4, "On the Headland"), which Cyrus Hamlin (in his Norton Critical Edition of Faust) annotates: "An anachronistic allusion to the early-nineteenth-century fad, especially among wealthy aristocrats, of collecting medieval armor."

234.12] three-legged man of Velasquez: unidentified. "I don't recall either; but believe it was a case of the artist overpainting a leg which later faintly showed through" - WG/SM.

234.37] Dominus providebit: "God will provide" (Vulgate, Gen. 22.8).

235.23] one comes to grips with reality only through the commission of evil: basically a French literary tradition (Camus, Genet, Gide, et al.) that can be traced back to Sade.

236.19] Carmina vel caelo: see 28.26.

238.10] Soberia, Ira, Lujuria, Pereza: Pride, Wrath, Lust, Sloth (in Spanish), again from the Seven Deadly Sins.

238.27] "Here hath been dawning [...] slip useless away?": from English writer Thomas Carlyle's (1795-1881) "Today," his only popular poem, frequently anthologized in the nineteenth century.

239.25] "If the public believes [...] then it is a Raphael": the quoted remarks are what an art dealer told forgery expert A. P. Laurie, as reported in his Technique of the Great Painters (see 88.42), p. 184. {Mark Hale} Raphael Sanzio (1483-1520) was an architect as well as a painter.

241.42] the death of the Virgin [...] in Brussels: van der Goes's Death of the Virgin is one of his later works and contains irrational elements indicative of his impending madness. See VEF 180-81 for an evaluation of the painting (where its location is identified as Bruges, not Brussels).

242.31] Fra Angelico: (1387-1455), Dominican friar noted for his reverent paintings of angels, childlike saints, and madonnas. Contrasting Jan van Eyck's intellectual approach to painting with that of Fra Angelico's, Conway writes: "Fra Angelico is recorded to have gone down on his knees, his eyes streaming with tears, when he painted Christ on the Cross, and we can well believe it. John's eyes under like circumstances would have remained very dry" (VEF 103-4).

242.36] "That vice may merit [...] What then? Is . . .": from Pope's An Essay on Man (4:149-51):

"But sometimes Virtue starves while Vice is fed."
What then? is the reward of Virtue, Bread?
That, Vice may merit; 'tis the price of Toil.

245.2] Vulgus vult decipi [...] let them be deceived: "It is curious to hear the various opinions entertained by collectors and art lovers concerning faking and its alarming and increasing success," Nobili writes. "An old collector who had, no doubt like so many of his colleagues, learned his lesson through being duped, unhesitatingly declared that faking is a grand art with a reason for existence as it seems to meet a real need of society, the need of being, as it were, deluded and cheated by elegance. Queer ethics answering to the Latin saying: Vulgus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur (The crowd likes to be deceived, let it be deceived!)" (GAF 198).

245.6] ". . . ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head": from Shakespeare's As You Like It: "Sweet are the uses of adversity, / Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, / Wears yet a precious jewel in his head" (2.1.12-14).

245.10] Lucius Mummius: "A type of the early ignorant Roman art collector is given by Lucius Mummius, the general who destroyed Corinth [146 B.C.], and of whom Vellius Paterculus tells (I, 13) that in sending to Rome what might be styled the artistic booty of the destroyed city he consigned the statues and paintings to those in charge of the transport with the warning that should the goods be lost they would be held responsible and would have to reproduce them at their own expense" (GAF 19). Valentine's comparison of modern art collectors to those of Rome (and that art collecting started in Rome rather than Greece) derives from Nobili's opening chapters.

245.23] the point Rome reached when a court could award a painting to the man who owned the board: by Roman Emperor Justinian's time (sixth century), says Nobili, "judges had so lost all sense of art appreciation that in a dispute between a painter and the man who had furnished the board on which the work was painted, they decided that the painting belonged to the one who owned the board. Justinian was forced to do justice by stating that if a quarrel arose between the artist and the one who furnished the board the owner of the work was the artist, as the value of the board could not be compared with the artistic one" (GAF 64).

247.25] A novel without a hero: the subtitle, Craig Werner notes, of Vanity Fair by Thackeray, "whose satirical touch resembles Gaddis's" (Paradoxical Resolutions: American Fiction since James Joyce [Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1982], 172).

248.7] I tried mixing my colors on blotting paper, to absorb the oil: this and some of the following details are from GAF 227 ff.

249.27] Hubert van Eyck: Gaddis found the details of the tradition of Hubert's life in EB (9:3) and especially VEF (51 n, 52-63). Although some critics have doubted Hubert's existence, most now believe he began the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb (also known as the Ghent Altarpiece), which was finished by Jan after Hubert's death in 1426. [JSc/SM]

250.14] Dürer: Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), generally considered the greatest artist of the German Renaissance.

250.28] the Guild: this passage is based on Conway's chapter "The Guild System" (VEF 85-100), especially p. 93: "He had to take solemn oaths of honesty, and to promise that his work should be done as in the sight of God. [...] He was not allowed to use any except recognized materials and tools. If bad materials were found by the guild inspectors in his possession, they were destroyed and he was fined." Earlier in the chapter Conway points out: "The student in the old days had to know how to make whatever he required. Certain colours, indeed, like ultramarine which came from Venice and brick-red made in Flanders, could be bought; but artists had to know exactly what they wanted, and to be able to discriminate between good and bad materials" (91).

251.17] conscious of being looked at: cf. "the roses / Had the look of flowers that are looked at" - Eliot, "Burnt Norton."

254.22] Mansit odor [...] a goddess had appeared": commenting on the distribution of the gift of tongues at the first Pentecost (Acts 2), Conybeare notes: "In the oldest Syriac versions of the passage it is added that a sweet odour pervaded the house, and this feature was, perhaps, eliminated by the Greek editors of Luke's text; it was, however, a familiar idea among the ancient pagans that the epiphany of a god was attended with a sweet smell, and that he left behind an odour of sanctity. Hence the line of Ovid: 'Mansit odor. Posses scire fuisse deam' ('An odour remained. You could tell that a goddess had appeared')" (MMM 100). The quoted line is from part 5 (May) of the Fasti, Ovid's poetic commentary on the Roman calendar, and describes Flora (Roman goddess of flowers and spring) at the conclusion of the poet's imaginary interview with her concerning her annual festival (Floralia).

254.34] Steenken Madonna: Conway's 1921 study attributes this painting to Hubert (VEF 59), but a 1938 archival study by H. J. J. Scholtens established that the donor was not Herman Steenken (d. 1428), as generally believed. The painting is now known as The Madonna and Child with Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Saint Barbara and Jan Vos (also known as the Jan Vos Madonna and/or the Rothschild Madonna) and is believed to have been begun by Jan van Eyck and completed by Flemish painter Peter Chistus (ca. 1400-1473).

255.24] Varé tava [...] come hither": this quotation heads a list of short Hungarian-Gypsy sentences in a section at the end of George Borrow's The Zincali: An Account of the Gypsies of Spain (1841) entitled "Specimens of Gypsy Dialects" (London: Everyman's Library, 1914), 237.

255.34] Virgin and Child and Donor: also known as Chancellor Rolin Adoring the Madonna and Child, reproduced in WMA facing p. 144.

256.2] Jean de Visch: "grand bailli" of Flanders; the will is dated 1413 and bequeathed a painting by Hubert (VEF 59).

256.11] Jodoc Vyt: 256.11] Jodoc Vyt: see VEF 53 and note for his connection with the van Eycks. The house torn down in Ghent that Valentine refers to was believed to be Vyt's (VEF 57). Vyt was the patron of the Ghent Altarpiece. [JSc/SM]

256.41] color of the sixth heaven, jacinth: see 257.32-35.

      Index    

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