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.
537.16-17 big as pantechnicons
That is, big as furniture vans. See 19.30.
"Grossout" is 60s slang for "disgusting," "repulsive." Louis Antoine Leon de Saint-Just was the French radical leader known as the "Conscience of the Revolution" for his egalitarian principles but he was also one of the harshest advocates of the Reign of Terror. Also see note at 713.10.
541.21-22 a discredit to his people
A play on the racistly condescending phrase "a credit to his people," usually indicating someone who meets official standards of behavior. In this case, a Welshman who can't sing.
542.40 Lucifer Amp
An electrical sort of person. "Lucifer" was the original name of the bright angel who rebelled and was expelled from Heaven to become Satan, but it has also been a name for a kind of match and a brand name for lightbulbs. "Amps" (after French physicist Andre Marie Ampere) are the units that measure the rate of flow of the charge in an electrical circuit. AMP, though, can also stand for adenosine monophosphate, a substance found in all animal cells and that controls the cell’s electrical activity.
Might be a variant on the name of Gyöngy Laky, a textile sculptor and arts professor, who was active in San Francisco when Gravity's Rainbow was written.
sufficient unto the day
From The Gospel According to Saint Matthew: 6:34. "Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." (The New Testament of the King James Bible) In Against the Day, Webb Traverse quotes it. Here, "They" update daily a list of those who will soon get 'hit' the evil thereof [the day].
Weisenburger’s cartoon history is more than a bit off in his note here. Porky Pig and Bugs Bunny would not have been featured in Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories because they were Warner Brothers characters. (Woody Woodpecker came from Walter Lantz’s studio.) Porky and Bugs were featured in Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies Comics, starting with the first issue in 1941. Porky had been one of Warner Brothers’ most popular cartoon characters since his first appearance in "I Haven’t Got a Hat" in 1935 (made in 2-strip Technicolor; 3-color Technicolor cartoons with the pig did not appear until the early 1940s). The cartoon alluded to here is quite specific: "The Blow-Out" (1936), directed by Fred "Tex" Avery and animated by Sid Sutherland and Charles "Chuck" Jones. Porky’s voice is by Joe Dougherty, who dubbed the pig until he was replaced by the familiar voice of Mel Blanc in the late 1930s. In the cartoon, young Porky is earning money for ice-cream sodas by doing favors for people. Thinking that the shadowy "Mad Bomber" has lost his bomb, Porky keeps returning it until the inevitable explosion. This cartoon, a favorite of Pynchon’s, was originally mentioned to Oedipa by Mr. Thoth in The Crying of Lot 49 and reoccurs as an image in the "Incident in the Transvestites Toilet" later in Gravity’s Rainbow. See note at 586.38-39.
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