This page-by-page annotation is organized by sections, as delineated by the seven squares (sprockets) which separate each section. The page numbers for this page-by-page annotation are for the original Viking edition (760 pages). Editions by other publishers vary in pagination the newer Penguin editions are 776 pages; the Bantam edition is 886 pages.
Contributors: Please use a 760-page edition (either the original Viking edition with the orange cover or the Penguin USA edition with the blue cover and rocket diagram there are plenty on Ebay for around $10) or search the Google edition for the correct page number. Readers: To calculate the Bantam edition use this formula: Bantam page # x 1.165. Before p.50 it's about a page earlier; as you get later in the book, add a page.
Finally, profound thanks to Prof. Don Larsson for providing the foundation for this page-by-page annotation.
337:17 stvyehs and znyis
These are suffixes but both of the examples which Weisenburger quotes from Terrill Shepard Soules miss the point. There is no such word as sdravstuyeh; the Russian word for 'hello' is zdravstvuy or zdravstvuyte, second person imperative forms of the verb zdravstvovat', literally 'to be healthy". There is no such word as nebreznieh either; nebrezhnyi (masculine, singular) means 'careless, neglectful'. The suffix -stviye produces nouns, as in udovol'stviye, 'pleasure'. The suffix -nyi (where y is for the central close vowel "yery", and i is for the half-vowel y) is an adjective ending (masculine, singular, nominative); when it is attached to a noun stem with z, it becomes -znyi, as in groznyi, 'terrible".
338:21 Seven Rivers Country
In Russian, Semirechye; the relatively fertile easternmost region of Kazakhstan, near the present-day Chinese border. The western and norther parts of Kazakhstan (then an Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic within the Russian Federation) was the target of intensive Russification at that time but Slavic resettlement did not affect the Semirechye.
the local Likbez center
Likbez was a campaign of eradication of illiteracy in Soviet Russia in the 1920s and 1930s. It was started on December 26, 1919, when Lenin signed the decree "On eradication of illiteracy among the population of RSFSR." According to this decree, all people from 8 to 50 years old were required to become literate in their native language.
A unit of land measurement used in tsarist Russia, equal to 2400 square sazhens, approximately equal to 2.702 English acres or 10,925 square meters.
339.17-18 naked Leningrad encounters with the certainty of his death
The 872-day Siege of Leningrad by German forces in World War II was one of the longest battles in the history of warfare and one of the costliest in human lives.
341.18-19 O, wie spurlos zerträte ein Engel (ihnen) den Trostmarkt
'Oh, how an angel would trample--and leave no trace--their marketplace of solace'. As Weisenberger points out, Pynchon misses out the bracketed word from the Rilke quote, but he gets the word wrong; 'inhem' is not a German preposition.
The art of making elaborate trimmings or edgings (in French, passements) of applied braid, gold or silver cord, embroidery, colored silk, or beads for clothing or furnishings.
346.3 Parabellum rounds A cartridge made by German arms maker Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken; derived from the Latin saying si vis pacem, para bellum, meaning 'If you wish for peace, prepare for war'.
347.2-5 an enormous closed sleigh, big as a ferryboat, bedizened all over with Victorian gingerbread - inside are decks and levels for each class of passenger, velvet saloons, well-stocked galleys...
Echoes here of the opening passage of the book, with its 'carriage, which is built on several levels', the 'velveteen darkness', and the class theme - 'ruinous secret cities of the poor'. Then there are the girders 'old as an iron queen', perhaps a reference to Queen Victoria and/or Victoria Station, echoed here by the Victorian gingerbread. That passage has a lot of metal(s) in it, and it turns out to be a dream from which wakes Captain Prentice, feeling metallic. Here, we have 'Captain' Tchitcherine, a man who is 'more metal than anything else'.
Certainly the multi-leveled carriages are deliberate mirrorings. Is there a connection between Prentice and Tchitcherine?
351.06 Jablochkov candles
Paul Jablochkov (or Pavel Yablochkov, 1847-1894) was a Russian engineer. His "candles" were the first practical electric carbon-arc lamps, hence the connection here with Tchitcherine’s vision of the carbonized faces of the war dead.
354:33-36 Dutch Shell... the Nobels
Both Royal Dutch Shell and the Nobel brothers had interests in the Baku oil industry until it was taken over by the bolshevik régime. As the foreign engineers "went all home", the nationalized industry was rebuilt using American know-how in the 1920s.
355:38-39 Samarkand and Pishpek, Verney and Tashkent
Samarkand and Tashkent are cities in Uzbekistan; Pishpek (now Bishkek) in Kyrgyzstan, and Vernyi (correct transcription of the original Russian name; now Almaty) in Kazakhstan. [link title]
Beyond the Zero
Un Perm' au Casino Herman Goering
In the Zone
279-295, 295-314, 314-329, 329-336, 336-359, 359-371, 371-383, 383-390, 390-392, 392-397, 397-433, 433-447, 448-456, 457-468, 468-472, 473-482, 482-488, 488-491, 492-505, 505-518, 518-525, 525-532, 532-536, 537-548, 549-557, 557-563, 563-566, 567-577, 577-580, 580-591, 591-610, 610-616