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.
674.10 a City of the Future
Evokes, again, the opening images of Lang’s Metropolis. See 482.25.
Travel here gets complicated -- a system of buildings that move, by right angles, along the grooves of the Raketen-Stadt's street-grid. You can also raise or lower the building itself, a dozen floors per second, to desired heights or levels underground, like a submarine skipper with his periscope...
This imagery was appropriated for the set designs and special effects of the 1998 film Dark City.http://gravitys-rainbow.pynchonwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=Pages_674-700&action=edit§ion=1 Editing Pages 674-700 (section) - Thomas Pynchon Wiki | Gravity's Rainbow
It's possible that Marcel signifies the great French novelist Marcel Proust in some way:
- "Am I positive that Marcel indicates Proust? No. But there's a lot of circumstantial evidence: he's named "Marcel," he's French, he's a genius. These three facts alone in a vacuum would point strongly to Marcel Proust. But Pynchon also gives Marcel shiny black hair, links him with the 19th century, and portrays him as extremely long-winded." - Erik Ketzan, Pynchon Nods: Proust in Gravity’s Rainbow
Since Marcel gets into a "long discourse on the concept of 'give'" and "Man," it could also be a nod to sociologist and anthropologist Marcel Mauss (1872-1950) whose most famous work is entitled The Gift.
The 3 Ms in this Fantastic 4 could allude to the Minnesota-based, multinational conglomerate 3M. Founded in the early 1900s, the company (formerly known as the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company) was run by one William L. McKNIGHT from 1929 to 1949 and expanded worldwide in the 1950s (to the UK, Germany and others). In the late '60s and early '70s, 3M published a line of board games that were marketed to adults. These games with simple rules but complex game play were ancestors of the German "Eurogames," and included Ploy, a space-age strategy game, which is considered to be one of the better chess variations.
675.33 at best they manage to emerge...
The description of decisions emerging from a chaos of competing forces echoes Pynchon's letter to Jules Siegel in 1965, The World is at Fault, in which Pynchon describes the journey of our souls through "whatever obsolescenses, bigotries, theories of education workable and un, parental wisdom or lack of it, happen to get in its more or less (random) pilgrimage..."
Nalline’s transliteration: "Giuseppe," for Joseph.
Another of Nalline’s transliterations: "Jose," for Joseph.
An appropriate supporting role for Bendix would be his part in Hitchcock’s Lifeboat (1944), in which he plays a lindy-hopping sailor whose leg has to be amputated.
685.7 his finest sacramental kif
Webster's Third International Dictionary defines kif, which is a variant of kef, a "smoking material (as hashish) that produces a state of dreamy tranquility."
685.21-22 "My Prelude to a Kiss," "Tenement Symphony"
The former song (actually titled just "Prelude to a Kiss") is a 1945 composition by Duke Ellington with Irving Gordon and Irving Mills; the latter was composed by Hal Borne, with words by Sid Kullen and Roy Golden, and sung by Tony Martin in the 1941 Marx Brothers movie The Big Store.
685.26 sexcrime fantasy
The term "sexcrime" was invented as a Newspeak word by George Orwell in 1984. It refers to sex used for pleasure instead of simple procreation, an offense in the totalitarian state of the book.
685.28 MY DOPER’S CADENZA
The New World Dictionary defines "cadenza" as "an elaborate, often improvised musical passage by played by an unaccompanied instrument in a concerto, usually near the end of the first movement."
Ann Darrow’s (Fay Wray) screentest is only peripherally "erotic mugging." She is instructed by Carl Denham (played by Armstrong) to look up and react in fear (in anticipation of her first actual view of King Kong, of whom she knows nothing yet). She is so caught up in her performance that she actually faints. It is this scene that Jessica mimics with Roger earlier in the novel.
689.26 a round black iron anarchist bomb
Another reference to the Porky Pig cartoon "The Blow-Out." The Mad Bomber puts such a device, along with a lot of other explosives, into an alarm clock rigged to explode.
691.34-35 Paranoid . . . For The Day!
The TV game show Queen for a Day debuted as a radio show in 1945 with host Jack Bailey.
MB DRO ROSHI
When discussing GR, the writer Alan Moore recalled this sequence as "the whole point of the novel... It’s just this bit of burnt paper that, if you put it together, talks about America dropping the atom bomb on Hiroshima. Which is of course, the end of the V bomb, which has been made obsolete. Gravity’s got a new rainbow." source.
Note also that 'roshi' is Japanese for 'teacher': Rōshi (老師?) (Chinese pinyin: Lǎoshī; Sanskrit: ṛṣi) is a Japanese honorific title used in Zen Buddhism that literally means "old teacher" or "elder master" and sometimes denotes a person who gives spiritual guidance to a Zen sangha or congregation.(Wikipedia)
695.25-28 Dungannon, Virginia . . . or Ellis, Kansas.
Weisenburger’s usual attention to geographical detail fails here. He does not find these towns on the borders of time zones in 1988 because the zones had been changed, shifting to the west, in the previous decades. All of the towns Pynchon names were on the borders of time zones in 1945 (and Murdo and Apalachicola still are). Kenosha itself borders Lake Michigan through which the Eastern-Central Time Zone border runs.
American Hotchkisses are the guns that raked through the unarmed Indians at Wounded Knee. Wounded Knee massacre was the last major armed conflict between the Dakota Sioux and the United States, subsequently described as a "massacre" by General Nelson A. Miles in a letter to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs.
On December 29, 1890, five hundred troops of the U.S. 7th Cavalry, supported by four Hotchkiss guns (a lightweight artillery piece capable of rapid fire), surrounded an encampment of Miniconjou Sioux (Lakota) and Hunkpapa Sioux (Lakota) with orders to escort them to the railroad for transport to Omaha, Nebraska. The commander of the 7th had been ordered to disarm the Lakota before proceeding and placed his men in too close proximity to the Dakota, alarming them. Shooting broke out near the end of the disarmament, and accounts differ regarding who fired first and why.
By the time it was over, 25 troopers and 300 Dakota Sioux lay dead, including men, women, and children.
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