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xml:lang="en" lang="en" dir="ltr"> Chapter 37: 371-381 - Thomas Pynchon Wiki | Mason & Dixon

Chapter 37: 371-381

Page 371

Amphibia
"plural of amphibian" – Wiktionary

Blanquette de Veau
Blanquette de veau is a French veal dish. The term 'blanquette' comes from the French word for "white" (blanc), being a ragout (stew) with a white sauce... In a typical recipe, pieces of veal meat (shoulder, breast) and aromatic vegetables (onion, celery, carrot etc) are simmered at length in water or stock. The vegetables may then be discarded and the cooking liquid is thickened and enriched with flour, butter, cream and egg yolks. Mushrooms, rice, pasta and potatoes are common accompaniments to this dish, which is served hot. From WIKI

Page 372

Herve du T.
Heavy duty, en englais

un Accés de Cuisinier
"an attack from the chef" -– HyperArts entry: French

or morely "the Approach of the Chef"? In other words, someone that shouldnt be in the kitchen, one would "deploy" this to get them out quickly (ie. stopped in their tracks)? Or on the otherhand, they may be sneaky with whomever it is to avoid the Chef, to keep them there.

Jacques de Vaucanson
Jacques de Vaucanson (February 24, 1709 – November 21, 1782) was a French inventor and artist with a mechanical background who is credited with creating the world's first true robots, as well as for creating the first completely automated loom. From WIKI

"He actually did make a mechanical Duck that could eat and excrete. Perhaps his most significant automata were his automatic looms, because years later, Jacquard would invent the punched card so as to program Vaucanson's looms" -- HyperArts entry: Vaucanson, Jacques de (1709-82)

See also, Bruce Mazlish’s the man-machine and artificial intelligence and Pynchon’s Is it O.K. to be a Luddite?.

the mechanickal Duck
Mistaken representation of how the Digesting Duck worked
The Canard Digérateur, or Digesting Duck, was an automaton in the form of a duck, created by Jacques de Vaucanson in 1739. The mechanical duck appeared to have the ability to eat kernels of grain, and to metabolize and defecate them. While the duck did not actually have the ability to do this - the food was collected in one inner container, and the pre-stored feces was 'produced' from a second, so that no actual digestion took place - Vaucanson hoped that a truly digesting automaton could one day be designed. Voltaire wrote that "without [...] the duck of Vaucanson, you have nothing to remind you of the glory of France." ("Sans...le canard de Vaucanson vous n'auriez rien qui fit ressouvenir de la gloire de la France.") From WIKI

"an actual historickal figure; ‘account of the mechanism of an automaton, or image playing on the German-flute: as it was presented in a memoire, to the gentlemen of the Royal academy of sciences at Paris, by Vaucanson, inventor and maker of the said machine. Together with a description of an artificial duck, eating, drinking, macerating the food, and voiding excrements, pluming her wings, picking her feathers, and performing several operations in imitation of a living duck’ (Translated out of the French original, by J.T. Desaguliers. London, Printed by T. Parker, and sold by S. Varillon, 1742)" -- HyperArts entry: Duck, Vaucanson's mechanickal

Prometheus
In Greek mythology, Prometheus (Ancient Greek: Προμηθεύς, "forethought") is a Titan, the son of Iapetus and Themis, and brother to Atlas, Epimetheus and Menoetius. He was a champion of human-kind known for his wily intelligence, who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to mortals. Zeus then punished him for his crime by having him bound to a rock while a great eagle ate his liver every day only to have it grow back to be eaten again the next day. His myth has been treated by a number of ancient sources, in which Prometheus is credited with – or blamed for – playing a pivotal role in the early history of humankind. From WIKI

Page 373

Man in the Iron Mask
The Man in the Iron Mask was a prisoner held in a number of prisons, including the Bastille and the Chateau d'If, during the reign of Louis XIV of France. The identity of this man has been thoroughly discussed, mainly because no one ever saw his face as it was hidden by a mask of black velvet cloth, which later re-tellings of the story have said to have been an iron mask -- From Wikipedia

Atelier
An atelier is an artist's studio or workroom. From WIKI

It is simply French for workshop.

Madame la Marquise de Pompadour
Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour, also known as Madame de Pompadour (29 December 1721 – 15 April 1764), was a member of the French court, and was the official maîtresse-en-titre of Louis XV from 1745 to 1750. See WIKI

faisons le Déjeuner
Do lunch

Not idiomatic at all. A French speaker would simply conjugate the verb déjeuner ("we have lunch" : nous déjeunons), and would probably understand nous faisons le déjeuner as a broken way of saying "we cook lunch".

the Gallic miniature
The diminutive Armand.

Hubris
Hubris (/hjuːbrɪs/) (ancient Greek ὕβρις) is a term used in modern English to indicate overweening pride, haughtiness, or arrogance, often resulting in fatal retribution or Nemesis. In ancient Greece, hubris referred to actions which, intentionally or not, shamed and humiliated the victim, and frequently the perpetrator as well. The word was also used to describe actions of those who challenged the gods or their laws, especially in Greek tragedy, resulting in the protagonist's downfall. From WIKI

the Academy of Sciences
The French Academy of Sciences is a learned society, founded in 1666 by Louis XIV at the suggestion of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, to encourage and protect the spirit of French scientific research. It was at the forefront of scientific developments in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. It is one of the earliest academies of sciences. From WIKI

Thousand Toises per Minute
Noun: toise, f. = a former French unit of length, corresponding to about 1.949 metres
Etymology: Old French teise (cognate with Italian tesa), from Latin tesa (brachia) ‘outstretched (arms)’, from tendere ‘stretch’.
Pronunciation: /twaz/

  1. a toise.
  2. a height gauge.

Retrieved from "Wiktionary"

This translates to approximately 72 miles per hour.

Page 374

cher Maitre
Dear Master

Canard au Pamplemousse Flambé
Grapefruit Duck Flambé

Flambé (also spelled flambe; pronounced /flɒmˈbeɪ/) is a cooking procedure in which alcohol (ethanol) is added to a hot pan to create a burst of flames. The word means flamed in French (thus, in French, flambé is a past participle; the verb is flamber). It is typically done to create an impressive visual presentation at a dramatic point in the preparation of a meal. The flames result from the partial combustion of the flammable alcohol, which is quickly consumed, subsequently extinguishing the flames (some alcohol content remains). From WIKI

Canard avec Aubergines en Casserole
Duck and Eggplant Casserole

Fantaisie des Canettes...
Fantasia of Ducklings

"Oh, those old Canards"
A French pun - "canard" also means 'fabricated, sensational story or rumour; a newspaper hoax' in English. So, "Oh, those old rumours".

There is a French satirical publication, "Le Canard enchaîné" which means "The chained-up duck", but as "canard" is also French slang for "newspaper", the title also means 'the chained-up newspaper', and even conveys a third meaning, "canard" being a salicious rumour or whisper (from the folk saying "vendre un canard à moitié", to sell half a duck, or swindle) and "enchaîné" which also means 'linked', hence "the inside whisper" (from Wiki).

Page 375

…began to speak, in a curious Accent, inflected heavily with linguo-beccal Fricatives…
Seems to describe the way Daffy Duck (the cartoon duck from Looney Tunes) speaks, including his spit-spraying S's ("a fine Mist of some digestive Liquid"). 'Linguo-beccal' or tongue-beak, riffs on technical terms from elocution such as 'linguodental - relating to the tongue and teeth, such as the speech sound 'th' which is produced with the aid of the tongue and teeth.' In this parlance, a fricative is a sound produced by forcing air through a narrow space.

Bluebeard
"Bluebeard" (French: "La Barbe bleue") is a French literary fairy tale written by Charles Perrault and is one of eight tales by the author first published by Barbin in Paris in January 1697 in Histoires ou Contes du temps passé. The tale tells the story of a violent nobleman in the habit of murdering his wives and the attempts of one wife to avoid the fate of her predecessors. Gilles de Rais, a 15th-century artistocrat and prolific serial killer, has been suggested as the source for the character of Bluebeard as has Conomor the Accursed, an early Breton king. "The White Dove" and "Fitcher's Bird" are tales similar to "Bluebeard". From WIKI

"I am provided with extensive Alarms... but 'twill trigger Consequences disagreeable."
Similar to Emerson's perpetual watch, which would fly apart in pieces if someone tried to take it apart.

Page 376

Attend, Flatteur
Listen, Flatterer

Cocks of Strasbourg and Lyon
The Strasbourg astronomical clock is located in the Strasbourg Cathedral, in the city of Strasbourg, Alsace, which was annexed by France in the late 17th century... A popular feature of the new clock was the golden cockerel, a relic of the first clock, which perched on the top of the cupola and entertained the onlookers at noon every day until 1640, when it was struck by lightning. From WIKI

Lyon Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Lyon) is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Lyon, France, the seat of the Archbishop of Lyon... The cathedral also has an astronomical clock from the 14th century. From WIKI

bien entendu
Naturally

Page 377

Galuppi
Baldassare Galuppi (18 October 1706 – 3 January 1785) was an Italian composer from Venice, noted for his operas, and particularly opera buffa... He was born on the island of Burano in the Venetian Lagoon, and as a result, he became known as Il Buranello. His first attempt at opera, La fede nell'incostanza ossia gli amici rivali (1722), was a spectacular failure, having been hissed off the stage. He subsequently studied music with Antonio Lotti, and after a brief period in Florence working as a harpsichordist, returned to Venice for another attempt at opera. This time, his opera seria Dorinda (1729) was a success and launched his theatrical career. From WIKI

Duck seems to have made up the name of the opera, as well as the restaurant, etc, all a part of his "plot"

L'Appeau
The Decoy

Insectes d'Etang a i'Etouffee
Braised Pond Bugs

Étouffée or etouffee is a Creole and Cajun dish typically served with shellfish or chicken over rice and is similar to gumbo. It is most popular in New Orleans and in the bayou country of the southernmost half of Louisiana. From WIKI

"Calmati, Mio Don Aldo irascibile"
"Calm down, my irascible Don Aldo"

Mme. la Marquise de Pompadour
See page 373.

Jansenists
See page 227.

Prussian Military
The Prussian Army (German: Preußische Armee) was the army of the Kingdom of Prussia. It was vital to the development of Brandenburg-Prussia as a European power. The Prussian Army had its roots in the meager mercenary forces of Brandenburg during the Thirty Years' War. Elector Frederick William developed it into a viable standing army, while King Frederick William I of Prussia drastically increased its size. King Frederick the Great led the disciplined Prussian troops to victory during the 18th century Silesian Wars and increased the prestige of the Kingdom of Prussia. From WIKI

missions Bourbon and Orleanist
The Orléanists were a French right-wing/center-right political faction or party which arose out of the French Revolution, and ceased to have a separate existence shortly after the establishment of the Third Republic in 1870. It took its name from the Orléans branch of the House of Bourbon, who were its leaders. From WIKI

Corsican Adventurers
The Age of Enlightenment overthrew signorial and colonial rule and brought some measure of self-rule to the island. Corsica is distinguished by having staged the first enlightenment revolution, being upstaged only by the English Revolution of the preceding century. It was the first of a trio: Corsican, American, French, and as such had some influence on the American Revolution. From WIKI

Martinist Illuminati
Martinism is a form of mystical or esoteric Christianity, which envisions the figure of Christ as "The Repairer" who enables individuals to attain an idealised state such as that in the Garden of Eden before the Fall. As an informal practice, Martinism dates back to late 18th Century France. In the late 19th Century it was established in France and elsewhere as a formal order meeting in lodges. From WIKI - Related to the Elect Cohens mentioned previously in the novel, see page 358.

Page 378

Grand Melange of Motive
Grand Conglomeration (or Mixture) of Motive

Hepatomachy
Closest to Hepatomancy (Hepatomachy could be the hierachy practicing many different strange divinations): In Roman practice, inherited from the Etruscans, a haruspex (plural haruspices) was a man trained to practise a form of divination called haruspicy, hepatoscopy or hepatomancy. Haruspicy is the inspection of the entrails of sacrificed animals, especially the livers of sacrificed sheep and poultry. The rites were paralleled by other rites of divination such as the interpretation of lightning strikes, of the flight of birds (augury), and of other natural omens. From WIKI

wayward Barouches
A barouche, developed from the calash of the 18th century, was a fashionable type of horse-drawn carriage in the 19th century. It was a four-wheeled, shallow vehicle with two double seats inside, arranged so that the sitters on the front seat faced those on the back seat. It had a collapsible half-hood folding like a bellows over the back seat and an outside box seat high in front for the driver. The entire carriage was suspended on C springs. It was drawn by a pair of high-quality horses and was used principally for leisure driving in the summer. A light barouche was a barouchet or barouchette. The word barouche is an anglicisation of the German word barutsche, via the Italian baroccio or biroccio and ultimately from the Latin birotus, "two-wheeled". The name thus became a misnomer, as the later form of the carriage had four wheels. From WIKI

Soupçon de Trop
'A bit too much'
In French, "de trop" means too much or too many, and a "soupçon" is literally 'a suspicion' but idiomatically meaning 'a touch' or 'a little bit'. So a "soupçon de trop" is just 'a bit too much', a typical chef's verdict on overuse of an ingredient.

Repaire
Lair

announced only by that distressing Hum
The arrival of the duck resonates with the sound before the V1 rockets in Gravity's Rainbow

"Duress? Duress is not an Issue,- for Life is Duress."
Wonderful aphorism by the duck

"the Lotus"
The lotus position is a cross-legged sitting posture originating in meditative practices of ancient India, in which the feet are placed on the opposing thighs. It is an established posture of the Hindu Yoga tradition. The position is said to resemble a lotus, to encourage breathing proper to associated meditative practice, and to foster physical stability. Famous depictions of the lotus position include Shiva, the meditating ascetic god of Hinduism, and Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism. From WIKI

Page 379

Time, however, had acquir'd additional Properties.
Brings to mind Emerson's quote from pg. 326, "Time is the Space that may not be seen."

Anatine
Of the family of duck, swan, and geese

sub-scullion
A scullion is one that does menial jobs around a kitchen, so a sub-scullion would be even lower in rank than that, a substitute for a kitchen lackey

Page 381

Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle
Aachen (French, and, historically, English: Aix-la-Chapelle, Ripuarian: Oche, Dutch: Aken) is a historic spa city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It was a favoured residence of Charlemagne, and the place of coronation of the medieval Kings of Germany. It is the westernmost city of Germany, located along its borders with Belgium and the Netherlands, 65 km (40 mi) west of Cologne. From WIKI

Martinique
Martinique is an island in the eastern Caribbean Sea, with a land area of 1,128 km2 (436 sq mi). It is an overseas department of France. To the northwest lies Dominica, to the south St Lucia. As with the other overseas departments, Martinique is also one of the twenty-six regions of France (being an overseas region) and an integral part of the Republic. From WIKI

New Castle
See page 258.

Hachoir
A mezzaluna (or hachoir) is a chopping instrument consisting of a single or double curved blade with a handle on each end. It is often used for chopping herbs or very large single blade versions are sometimes used for pizza or pesto. See WIKI

Annotation Index

One:
Latitudes and Departures

1: 5-11, 2: 12-13, 3: 14-29, 4: 30-41, 5: 42-46, 6: 47-57, 7: 58-76, 8: 77-86, 9: 87-93, 10: 94-104, 11: 105-115, 12: 116-124, 13: 125-145, 14: 146-157, 15: 158-166, 16: 167-174, 17: 175-182, 18: 183-189, 19: 190-198, 20: 199-206, 21: 207-214, 22: 215-227, 23: 228-237, 24: 238-245, 25: 245-253


Two:
America

26: 257-265, 27: 266-274, 28: 275-288, 29: 289-295, 30: 296-301, 31: 302-314, 32: 315-326, 33: 327-340, 34: 341-348, 35: 349-361, 36: 362-370, 37: 371-381, 38: 382-390, 39: 391-398, 40: 399-409, 41: 410-421, 42: 422-435, 43: 436-439, 44: 440-447, 45: 448-451, 46: 452-459, 47: 460-465, 48: 466-475, 49: 476-483, 50: 484-490, 51: 491-498, 52: 499-510, 53: 511-524, 54: 525-541, 55: 542-553, 56: 554-561, 57: 562-569, 58: 570-574, 59: 575-584, 60: 585-596, 61: 597-607, 62: 608-617, 63: 618-622, 64: 623-628, 65: 629-632, 66: 633-645, 67: 646-657, 68: 658-664, 69: 665-677, 70: 678-686, 71: 687-693, 72: 694-705, 73: 706-713

Three:
Last Transit

74: 717-732, 75: 733-743, 76: 744-748, 77: 749-757, 78: 758-773

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