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.
German: student residence or dorm
156.18 the Judenschnautze
As Weisenburger notes, Pynchon probably means "Judenschnauze" here, but the term is more likely to mean "Jewish snout" (or nose) than "Jewish jaw." The term reflects Leni’s antisemitic stereotyping. See note at 159.38. Schnauze is a word for a canine face, so it might mean "Jewish mug" as well. It also denotes a manner of speech, as in "Er hat eine berliner Schnauze" ("He speaks the Berlin dialect").
A type of school in the German secondary education system, typically running grades 6-13. There is a heavy focus on academic study. Graduates take the Abitur exam and many go on to university.
Weisenburger takes his description of the film from Siegfried Kracauer’s From Caligari to Hitler, but overlooks a key point. It is no wonder that Pokler "missed Attila the Hun roaring in from the East to wipe out the Burgundians"; Attila never did roar in from the East! As Kracauer correctly describes the film’s ending, Attila does massacre the Burgundians, but only after inviting them to dinner and setting a hall on fire (prompted by the urgings of his wife, the wronged Kriemhild). Is the textual error Pokler’s, Leni’s, or Pynchon’s? Given that all the explicit German film references are to films by Fritz Lang and that few of those films were widely available (with the notable exception of Metropolis), we could suspect that Pynchon was working from secondary sources or his own memory of a Lang festival at which he, like Pokler, fell asleep. (Lang did appear at such a festival at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1969, when Pynchon may have been living in the area.) Lang is a useful touchstone for Pynchon in this novel since almost all of his films (including such American movies as You Only Live Once and Scarlet Street) deal with characters trapped by an inexorable destiny. See note at 578.31. nibeldin.jpg (74051 bytes)
159.33 Die Frau im Mond
German: 'woman in the moon'; A science fiction silent film that premiered October 15, 1929. It is often considered to be one of the first "serious" science fiction films.It was written and directed by Fritz Lang, based on the novel Die Frau im Mond (1928, translated as The Rocket to the Moon during 1930) by his then-wife and collaborator Thea von Harbou. It was released in the USA as By Rocket to the Moon, and in the UK as Woman in the Moon.
159.38 the Jewish wolf Pflaumbaum
At this stage, for all her professed radicalism, Leni allows herself to be deluded by ethnic stereotyping. Notice her attraction to Rebecca because of her Otherness. Soon, though, Leni will be "Judaized" (219.41), even more so when she is sent to the Dora concentration camp. Of Pflaumbaum’s fate, see note at 582.05. Also see note at 474.39.
German: Technische Hochschule literally 'technical highschool', but actually at university level.
160.18 It may have been a quota film.
With the great influx of films from the United States to Europe between the wars, several film-producing countries, including Germany, enacted decrees that a certain number of films shown had to be of national origin. These "quota" films were often quick and shoddy productions made only to satisfy government demands so that the more profitable American films could still be shown.
Mondaugen was introduced as a character in the South-West Africa episodes of V., especially as the focal point of the chapter "Mondaugen’s Story." See note at 152.21.
161.34-35 true succession, Liebig to [ . . . ] Jamf
Picture of Justus Liebig (right)
German youth movement promoting a love of nature and the outdoors; see note here
German: the lower middle class, translated from the French term petit bourgeoise, literally 'little citizen', noted for their small-minded conservative values.
Refers to the historical period between the years 1815 and 1848, particularly in Germany and Central Europe. It is often used to denote the artistic styles that flourished then and that marked a contrast with the Romantic era which preceded it; mainly in the fields of literature, music, the visual arts and interior design. However, it can also be used, as it is here, to imply a petit-bourgeois conformity.
German: the quality of being bourgeois
163.20-21 Leni sang with the other children the charming anti-semitic street refrain of the time
The source of Leni’s initially racist attitudes lies here, in her youth.
German: gentlemen's club
166.1-9 All right. Mauve [ . . . ]
For more on the history of this breakthrough in dye-making and organic chemistry, see Simon Garfield's Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color That Changed the World (New York: Norton, 2001).
167.29-30 Heinz Rippenstoss
The name of the would-be Nazi wag is literally "poke in the ribs."
Seemingly a riff on "von Ribbentrop", Hitler's foreign minister, found guilty at Nuremberg and hung.
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