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xml:lang="en" lang="en" dir="ltr"> Pages 295-314 - Thomas Pynchon Wiki | Gravity's Rainbow

Pages 295-314

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.

Page 297

297.36 Articles of Immachination
As opposed to Articles of Incorporation

Page 298

298.24 Etzel Ölsch
Etzel, or Attila the Hun, is first featured as the agent of destruction in the Nibelungen movie during which Franz Pökler falls asleep (159.19). According to the Duden dictionary of family names, Oelsch is a variant of Oelschner, which refers to various east German placenames of Slavic origin.

Page 299

298.10 how long, how long you sfacim-a dis country
The question "how long" addressed to a "You" echoes Psalm 13 ("How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?"). While sfacimento (related to disfacimento, ultimately from disfare, 'undo') means decay in literary Italian, in Neapolitan slang sfacim stands for semen (or a mean person). See the exchange in V., 140/146 .

299.38 Picture the letters SS stretched lengthwise
In the 2007 biography Von Braun:Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War, Michael Neufeld writes that after the August 1943 attack on Peenemunde, the rocket works were moved to an abandoned underground storage facility. The tunnels were, in historical fact, just as described here: like the letter "s" stretched lengthwise connected by cross tunnels. Each "s" was large enough to accommodate a long train. The prison labor from Dora -- mostly Poles, Russians, French and German leftist/communists and few if any Jews -- lived and died in wretched conditions in the cross-tunnels.

The tunnels are arranged like a two-dimensional parody of the DNA molecule. The 44 cross-tunnels might suggest the 22 pairs of chromosomes possessed by each individual. Correspondent Debby Katz adds the following comment:

"Cross tunnels suggest often -illustrated base pairings in DNA (adenine-thymine A-T, or cytosine-guanine, C-G) the order of which defines the "sense" of the coded message within the molecule. We human-types possess 23 pairs of chromosomes, not 22. One pair, the X-X or X-Y is, of course, not an identical pairing in the male of the species. But the Y is without a doubt information-holding, as an X-O female (45 chromosomes, missing the second X chromosome) is not a male, but a female with a lot of problems."
Not sure where the idea of the DNA double helix comes from, but it is not supported by the text. If the tunnels resembled a helix, a better metaphor would be a spiral staircase, not a ladder with a slight s-curve. Also, the tunnels are designed with Rocket imagery in mind (DNA is not rocket imagery). No, as the book says, the tunnels are suggestive of the double integral, translating rocket acceleration into a point -- the Brennschluss point. And as noted above, humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, not 22.

Page 300

300.03 Hupla
Or "hoopla," a big fuss. Hoppla is also a German expression meaning 'oops'

Page 301

301.38 1000 yards east of Waterloo Station
Coincidence?: About 1000 yards east (actually east-southeast) of Waterloo Station, off Southwark Bridge Road, near its intersection with Southwark Street, is a little cul-de-sac where the rocket might impact. Its name is America Street.

Page 302

302.20-21 a constellation...a 13th sign of the Zodiac named for it
Though probably not intended as such by TRP, there is in fact a 13th Zodiacal constellation named Ophiuchus, formerly Serpentarius, both meaning "the serpent holder," found between Scorpio and Sagittarius. "Of the 13 zodiacal constellations (constellations that contain the Sun during the course of the year), Ophiuchus is the only one not counted as an astrological sign." It is passed over.

Going way off on a limb, Ophiuchus may map to Tchitcherine in that they both handle Snakes and see the lightning of God...

" but they [Ophiuchus and Tchitcherine?] lie so close to Earth that from many places they can't be seen at all, and from different places inside the zone where they can be seen, they fall into completely different patterns..."

Also ties in with the later discussion of the Serpent and Kekule's dream.


302.32-33 the gentlemanly reflex that made him edit, switch names, insert fantasies into the yarns
The habit of switching names and inserting fantasies might explain why the project SEZ WHO (270-271, Speed and Perdoo trying to locate Slothrop's girls) fails completely.

Page 303

303.20 Marie-Celeste
The Mary Celeste (incorrectly referred to as Marie Celeste) was a brigantine merchant ship discovered in December 1872 in the Atlantic Ocean unmanned and apparently abandoned, despite the fact that the weather was fine and her crew had been experienced and able seamen;

Page 306

306.19 hanging by the foot
Note how Slothrop, as he hangs upside down by one foot, momentarily turns into a version of the Tarot card The Hanged Man, which also turns up in his Tarot reading on p. 738.

This rope actually existed in historical fact. The Mittelwerke tunnels had a large crane with rope to lift the rocket to an upright position for testing.

The soldier was a practical joker, but just up to a few weeks earlier Dora-Mittelwerk cranes were used for real slow-hanging executions of prisoners.

Page 308

308.8-10 "There he is," in a great roar..."go git him boys!"
Major Marvy at this point and forward resembles the Queen of Hearts in the Alice stories as he chases after Slothrop boisterously yelling, in essence, "Off with his head!"

Page 310

310.06 "Gruss Gott"
Glimpf's greeting to Slothrop makes more sense as explained by Igor Zabel: "'Gruss Gott!' is not 'Great God!' but 'Greet (you) God!' — a very common greeting in Austria, Bavaria and southern Germany, more common, in fact, than 'Good morning'. It should be written with an umlaut (grüss)."

310.17-24 Ev'ry little Nazi's shootin' pool...Mittel-werk Ex-press!
Reminiscent of the popular 1969 Crosby, Stills and Nash tune, "Marrakesh Express." [1]

Page 311

311.32 "Icy Noctiluca"
The original name for white Phosphorus, given by its discoverer, Hennig Brand in 1669. ('New Experiments and Observations made upon the Icy Noctiluca' — title of booklet by Robert Boyle, 1681)."

Page 312

312.17 white Stetson

Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove
Both Marvy’s dress and speech echo the character of Major Stanley "King" Kong, the bomber pilot played by Slim Pickens in Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964).


1
Beyond the Zero

3-7, 7-16, 17-19, 20-29, 29-37, 37-42, 42-47, 47-53, 53-60, 60-71, 71-72, 72-83, 83-92, 92-113, 114-120, 120-136, 136-144, 145-154, 154-167, 167-174, 174-177

2
Un Perm' au Casino Herman Goering

181-189, 189-205, 205-226, 226-236, 236-244, 244-249, 249-269, 269-278

3
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

4
The Counterforce

617-626, 626-640, 640-655, 656-663, 663-673, 674-700, 700-706, 706-717, 717-724, 724-733, 733-735, 735-760

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