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.
98.16 Young Rauhandel
A former friend of Blicero, probably a lover willing to indulge his sado-masochistic tastes. The name literally means "Rough Trade."
98.24 the Ufa-Theatre
Weisenburger’s information on Ufa is essentially correct, but he misgives Georg Wilhelm Pabst’s first name as "Rudolf." One curiosity in Pynchon's German film references is the lack of any mention of F.W. Murnau, perhaps the greatest director of that era. His films Nosferatu (the first film version of Dracula) and Faust would seem to be natural allusions for Pynchon to use.
101.1-2 In Hoc Signo Vinces
Latin, "in this sign you will conquer.". According to legend Constantine the Great adopted this Greek phrase, "εν τούτω νίκα", after his vision of a chi and rho on the sky just before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge (312 CE). He had his men paint the chi rho on their sheilds and led them all to victory. Thus did he become the Emperor of Rome and subsequently moved the capital of the empire to Constantinople (formerly Byzas, now Istanbul) and most important for the history of the west -- proclaimed Christianity the official religion of the empire.
In context in GR there are various possible meanings: - The swastika, the broken cross at the mandala's center on the launch pad, the symbol of the Reich, shall win the war and proclaim a new empire -- the Third Reich which was to last a 1000 years -- which, come to think of it, was about as long as Constantinople was the center of the Roman, then Eastern Roman, then Byzantine (but always Christian) Empire (Constantinople falling to the Ottoman Turks in 1459). Common to both Nazi and Constantine rendering is the interplay of the Cross/Swastika over the face of the sun.
- Subsequently, the phrase became the motto of the Sobieski line -- Jan III Sobieski having defeated the Ottomans in 1683 at the Battle of Vienna just outside the city's gates. The phrase has also been used by Irish nobility, the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George, the Portuguese, the Knights Templars, Freemasons, and the Sigma Chi fraternity.
Which leads to the most amusing reading of the passage: whoever carved the words into the tree did so as a fraternity prank.
Despite the connections with other forms of death-in-life that are referred to throughout Gravity’s Rainbow, White Zombie is the only direct reference to
This contributor would bet a first edition hardcover of Gravity's Rainbow that Pynchon was aware of the "Dumbo". Even I knew it and I know next to nothing about WW II factually.MKOHUT 13:40, 8 July 2007 (PDT)
109.9-11 freak saffrons, streaming indigos
The isolated Dutchman going slowly mad under the southern sun, whose "very perceptions" are changed (and who writes numerous letters to his brother) seems to be a reference to Vincent Van Gogh; the kind of tacit anachronism that Pynchon likes to use in Mason & Dixon.
111.07-09 For as much as they are creatures of God and have the gift of rational discourse, acknowledging that only in his Word is eternal life to be found...
Weisenburger suggests that this is a prayer for new colonial subjects, but the context Frans van der Groov’s hopes for a Conversion of the Dodos suggests that it comes from a discourse on the possibility of salvation or conversion for Jews or others. Given Katje’s problematic relationship to the Holocaust, the passage becomes even more suggestively sinister. The sentence does suggest the views of James (or Jacob) Arminius, the Dutch theologian who broke with the Dutch Reformed Church over issues of predestination and election. Arminius argued that Christ’s salvation was available to all in contrast to the official church's staunch belief in predestination. Frans would extend that grace to dodos as well. Also see note at 555.29.
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