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.
ancient Abbey... its roof long ago taken at the manic whim of Henry VIII
The Dissolution of the Monasteries, sometimes referred to as the Suppression of the Monasteries, was the set of administrative and legal processes between 1536 and 1541 by which Henry VIII disbanded monasteries, priories, convents and friaries in England, Wales and Ireland; appropriated their income, disposed of their assets, and provided for their former members. He was given the authority to do this in England and Wales by the Act of Supremacy, passed by Parliament in 1534, which made him Supreme Head of the Church in England, thus separating England from Papal authority; and by the First Suppression Act (1536) and the Second Suppression Act (1539). Although some monastic foundations dated back to Anglo-Saxon England, the overwhelming majority of the 825 religious communities dissolved by Henry VIII owed their existence to the wave of monastic enthusiasm that had swept England and Wales in the 11th and 12th centuries; in consequence of which religious houses in the 16th century controlled appointment to about a third of all parish benefices, and disposed of about half of all ecclesiastical income. The dissolution still represents the largest legally enforced transfer of property in English history since the Norman Conquest. 
73.8 Palladian house
Palladian architecture is a European style derived from the designs of the Venetian architect Andrea Palladio (1508–1580). His work was strongly based on the symmetry, perspective and values of the formal classical temple architecture of the Ancient Greeks and Romans.
Bouclé is a kind of novelty yarn. It is a yarn with a length of loops of similar size which can range from tiny circlets to large curls. To make bouclé, at least two strands are combined, with the tension on one strand being much looser than the other as it is being plied, with the loose strand forming the loops and the other strand as the anchor. 
The Dawes Plan (as proposed by the Dawes Committee, chaired by Charles G. Dawes) was an attempt in 1924, following World War I for the Triple Entente to collect war reparations debt from Germany. When after five years the plan proved to be unsuccessful, the Young Plan was adopted in 1929 to replace it. 
Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force was the headquarters of the Commander of Allied forces in north west Europe, from late 1943 until the end of World War II. U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was in command of SHAEF throughout its existence. The position itself shares a common lineage with Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Atlantic, but they are different titles. 
"strategy of truth"
Due to the public skepticism of propaganda due to the heavy handed efforts of the Committee on Public Information in the US during World War I, and the fascist regimes propaganda machinery, the US had adopted a "strategy of truth" whereby they would disseminate information but not try to influence the public directly through propaganda. However, seeing the value and need of propaganda, ways were found to circumvent official policy. 
Hereros, ex-colonials from South-West Africa
During the late 19th century, the first Europeans began entering to permanently settle the land. Primarily in Damaraland, German settlers acquired land from the Herero in order to establish farms. In 1883, the merchant Franz Adolf Eduard Lüderitz entered into a contract with the native elders. The exchange later became the basis of German colonial rule. The territory became a German colony under the name of German South-West Africa. Soon after, conflicts between the German colonists and the Herero herdsmen began. Controversies frequently arose because of disputes about access to land and water, but also the legal discrimination against the native population by the white immigrants. 
to root out the truffles of truth created, as ancients surmised, during storm, in the instant of lightning blast
The first mention of truffles appears in the inscriptions of the neo-Sumerians regarding their Amorite enemy's eating habits (Third Dynasty of Ur, 20th century) and later in writings of Theophrastus in the fourth century BC. In classical times, their origins were a mystery that challenged many; Plutarch and others thought them to be the result of lightning, warmth and water in the soil, while Juvenal thought thunder and rain to be instrumental in their origin. Cicero deemed them children of the earth, while Dioscorides thought they were tuberous roots. 
The Psychological Warfare Division of SHAEF (PWD/SHAEF) was a joint Anglo-American organisation set-up in World War II tasked with conducting principally 'white' tactical psychological warfare against German troops in North-west Europe during and after D-Day. It was headed by US Brigadier-General Robert A. McClure who had previously commanded the Psychological Warfare Branch (PWB/AFHQ) of U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower's staff for Operation Torch. 
German: literally 'black command'; in this case meaning both 'unit composed of blacks' and 'secret unit'; an alternate meaning of schwartz is 'secret' or 'illicit' as in 'Secret Service' or 'black market'
75.13 "Wütende Heer"
German: 'furious' or 'raging' army; see note at 72.27
75.30 Dr. Porkyevitch
Another suggestion of one of Pynchon’s favorite motifs, the little cartoon hero Porky Pig. See note at V545.04-05
before the purge trials
The Great Purge was a series of campaigns of political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin from 1936 to 1938. It involved a large-scale purge of the Communist Party and government officials, repression of peasants, Red Army leadership, and the persecution of unaffiliated persons, characterized by widespread police surveillance, widespread suspicion of "saboteurs", imprisonment, and arbitrary executions. In Russian historiography the period of the most intense purge, 1937–1938, is called Yezhovshchina (Russian: ежовщина; literally, the Yezhov regime), after Nikolai Yezhov, the head of the Soviet secret police, NKVD. 
During World War II, the Political Warfare Executive (PWE) was a British clandestine body created to produce and disseminate both white and black propaganda, with the aim of damaging enemy morale and sustaining the morale of the Occupied countries. 
The Battle of Polygon Wood took place during the 'second phase' of the Battle of Passchendaele/Third Battle of Ypres in World War I. The battle was fought near Ypres, Belgium, in an area named the Polygon Wood after the layout of the area. However, much of the woodland had been under intense shelling during the Battle of Passchendaele, and the area changed hands several times before this battle. 
F.O. Political Intelligence Department at Fitzmaurice House
The Political Intelligence Department was a department of the British Foreign Office during World War II. Established in 1939, its main function was the production of weekly intelligence summaries. It was headed by Foreign Office diplomatist Rex Leeper. In April 1943, the department was merged with the Royal Institute of International Affairs' Foreign Research and Press Service in Oxford, creating the new Foreign Office Research Department. The 'Political Intelligence Department' name continued to exist until 1946 as a cover for the Political Warfare Executive. 
The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was a United States intelligence agency formed during World War II. It was the wartime intelligence agency, and it was a predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The OSS was formed in order to coordinate espionage activities behind enemy lines for the branches of the United States Armed Forces. 
The United States Office of War Information (OWI) was a U.S. government agency created during World War II to consolidate government information services. It operated from June 1942 until September 1945. It coordinated the release of war news for domestic use, and, using posters and radio broadcasts, worked to promote patriotism, warned about foreign spies and attempted to recruit women into war work. The office also established an overseas branch which launched a large scale information and propaganda campaign abroad. 
Chain of Being
The great chain of being (Latin: scala naturae, literally "ladder or stair-way of nature"), is a Christian concept detailing a strict, religious hierarchical structure of all matter and life, believed to have been decreed by the Christian God. 
Chain of Being is a major motif in Mason & Dixon.
77.10 ... Ypres salient...wastage of only 70% of his unit.
The Ypres Salient is the area around Ypres in Belgium which was the scene of some of the most protracted and grueling trench warfare during World War I. Success was measured in feet and yards as tiny bits of land were captured, lost and recaptured throughout the war. Unit casualty rates were often extremely high. 70% wastage for 40 yards is, at most, only a slight exaggeration. 
Flanders Fields is the generic name of the World War I battlefields in the medieval County of Flanders. At the time of World War I, the county no longer existed but corresponded approximately to the Belgian provinces East Flanders and West Flanders and the French Nord-Pas-de-Calais region. The name is particularly associated with the battles of Ypres, Passchendaele, and the Somme. 
entitled Things That Can Happen In European Politics
Here, surprisingly, Pynchon makes a common grammar error. Should be titled. A book is titled something; someone is entitled to their opinion.
Bereshith, as it were...
Bereishit is a Hebrew word, which is the first word of the Torah (the first five books of the Tanach, or Hebrew Bible). It may be translated as the phrase "In the beginning of". 
James Ramsay MacDonald, PC, FRS (12 October 1866 – 9 November 1937) was a British Labour politician who rose from humble origins to serve two separate terms as the first ever British Labour Prime Minister. 
Émile Coué de la Châtaigneraie (February 26, 1857 – July 2, 1926) was a French psychologist and pharmacist who introduced a method of psychotherapy and self-improvement based on optimistic autosuggestion. 
See page 30.
Burrhus Frederic Skinner (March 20, 1904 – August 18, 1990) was an American behaviorist, author, inventor, social philosopher and poet. He was the Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology at Harvard University from 1958 until his retirement in 1974. 
Dale Carnegie zealots
Dale Breckenridge Carnegie (November 24, 1888 – November 1, 1955) was an American writer, lecturer, and the developer of famous courses in self-improvement, salesmanship, corporate training, public speaking, and interpersonal skills. Born in poverty on a farm in Missouri, he was the author of How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936), a massive bestseller that remains popular today. He also wrote How to Stop Worrying and Start Living (1948), Lincoln the Unknown (1932), and several other books. 
A subaltern is a chiefly British military term for a junior officer. Literally meaning "subordinate," subaltern is used to describe commissioned officers below the rank of captain and generally comprises the various grades of lieutenant. In the British Army the senior subaltern rank was captain-lieutenant, obsolete since the 18th century. 
Pearly Kings and Queens, known as pearlies, are an organised charitable tradition of working class culture in London, England. The practice of wearing clothes decorated with pearl buttons originated in the 19th century. It is first associated with Henry Croft, an orphan street sweeper who collected money for charity. 
Another example of the Turning Head motif.
The Bethlem Royal Hospital is a psychiatric hospital located in London, United Kingdom and part of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. Although no longer based at its original location, it is recognised as the world's first and oldest institution to specialise in mental illnesses. It has been variously known as St. Mary Bethlehem, Bethlem Hospital, Bethlehem Hospital and Bedlam... The word bedlam, meaning uproar and confusion, is derived from its name. Although the hospital is now at the forefront of humane psychiatric treatment, for much of its history it was notorious for cruelty and inhumane treatment – the epitome of what the term "madhouse" or "insane asylum" might connote to the modern reader. 
79.13 Webley Silvernail
Webley is the name of the British gun manufacturer. The Berkshire Hills cites Silvernail House in West Stockbridge as one of the oldest houses in that town (TBH 99).
79.18 Geza Rozsavolgyi
The family name means neither "evil valley" as it stands in Weisenburger's Companion, nor "of the pink valley" as it is in the Alphabetical Index but "of the Valley of Roses". In fact, this is a Jewish name, the literal Magyarization of the German name Rosenthal. Geza’s first name also suggests the Hungarian-American psychologist Geza Roheim, who was one of the first to employ psychoanalytic critiques of culture. Rozsavolgyi is the name of a famous Budapest music store founded in 1850, which also published works by Liszt, Bartok and Kodaly, among others.
80.21-22 "Would You Rather Be a Colonel with an Eagle on Your Shoulder, or a Private with a Chicken on Your Knee?"
The World War I song was composed by the team of Sidney Mitchell and Archie Gottlieb in 1918. (Note: This is a correction of my earlier error in attributing the song to the team of Harold Arlen and "Yip" Harburg, who also composed the songs for The Wizard of Oz.)
81.08 terrible disease like charisma
The term charisma, derived from Ancient Greek was introduced in scholarly [and popular MKOHUT] usage by German sociologist Max Weber, in a book first published in 1922. He defined charismatic authority to be one of three forms of authority, the other two being traditional (feudal) authority and legal or rational authority. According to Weber, charisma is defined thus:
"a certain quality of an individual personality, by virtue of which s/he is "set apart" from ordinary people and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities. These as such are not accessible to the ordinary person, but are regarded as divine in origin or as exemplary, and on the basis of them the individual concerned is treated as a leader." adapted from Wikipedia
Rationalization is a key sociological concept [from online Dictionary of Social Science]:RATIONALIZATION This term has two specific meanings in sociology. (1) The concept was developed by German sociologist Max Weber (1864-1920) who used it in two ways. First, it was the process through which magical, supernatural and religious ideas lose cultural importance in a society and ideas based on science and practical calculation become dominant. For example, in modern societies science has rationalized our understanding of weather patterns. Science explains weather patterns as a result of interaction between physical elements like wind-speed and direction, air and water temperatures, humidity, etc. In some other cultures, weather is thought to express the pleasure or displeasure of gods, or spirits of ancestors. One explanation is rationalized and scientific, the other mysterious and magical. Rationalization also involves the development of forms of social organization devoted to the achievement of precise goals by efficient means. It is this type of rationalization that we see in the development of modern business corporations and of bureaucracy. These are organizations dedicated to the pursuit of defined goals by calculated, systematically administered means. (2) Within symbolic interactionism, rationalization is used more in the everyday sense of the word to refer to providing justifications or excuses for one's actions.
See use in Against the Day, page 10 Against the Day
81.17 The Reverend Paul de la Nuit
A double pun: "Pall [dark and gloomy covering] of the night"; also "Pall de l’ennui [of boredom]."
82.01 his most famous compatriot
Rozsavolgyi’s fellow countryman would be, of course, Bela Lugosi in his role as Dracula, whose speech patterns are suggested by Pynchon’s punctuation of Rozsavolgyi’s dialogue.
82.11 Dr. Aaron Thowster
Aaron was the brother of and spokesperson for Moses. A throwster is one who makes threads out of silk. The name is fairly common in Britain.
82.36 ...Clive and his elephants stomping the French at Plassy...
The Battle of Plassey (Plassy in text), 23 June 1757, was a decisive victory for the British East India Company, lead by Baron Robert Clive, over the Nawab of Bengal and his French allies. Elephants were used to help move infantry pieces.
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