- Please keep these annotations SPOILER-FREE by not revealing information from later pages in the novel.
229/247 - Kalkfontein South
Site of present day Karasburg, Namibia, which still hosts a Kalkfontein Hotel.
229/247 - Windhoek
Capital of Namibia, seat of German control during colonial period.
230/247 - Karl Baedeker
Too late to be the publisher of the once Baedeker travel guides, a household name in the 19th century, upon which Pynchon relied heavily for names & details about colonial Africa in his short story "Under the Rose" as well as V.
230/248 - spherics. . .H. Barkhausen
Technically, a spheric is one descriptor for the sounds created by natural radio emisions from the earth or the atmosphere -- "whistlers" and "tweaks" being two other forms. The effect, as noted, was discovered by Heinrich Barkhausen (1881-1956), a German physicist who taught at Technische Hochschule in Dresden.
230/248 - . . . what had once been a German colony
Namibia was formerly called South West Africa, and was originally a German colony. The territory was lost after WWI, and placed by the League of Nations under the authority of South Africa.
231/249 - Warmbad District
An area roughly 50km south of Karasburg (in which resides our speaker) around the modern city of Warmbad. Considered to be the site of the beginning of the Great Resistance War when, in 1903, Jacobus Christian was shot resisting arrest by a German Military Detachment. The region was also the site of the 1922 uprising, sparked by locals refusal to turn over resistance leader Abraham Morris.
231/249 - Bondelswaartz
The Bondelswarts Nama (sp?) were the first known settlers of the Warmbad area.
231/249 - Abraham Morris has crossed the Orange
Abraham Morris was cocommander to Jacob Marengo during the Great Resistance War of 1903-1909. He fled to South Africa during the war but returned to further the cause of resistance to the German colonial authorities. He crossed the Orange river into German territory on April 16, 1922
232/250 - Veldschoendragers and Witboois
Rebelious tribes from Southwest Africa. The Witboois were some of the first to refuse to sign treaties w/ the German colonial authorities or allow encroachment on their land, resulting in ongoing skirmishes w/ German forces from 1893-1894.
Hendrik Witbooi (c. 1830 – 29 October 1905) was a king of the Namaqua people, a sub-tribe of the Khoikhoi. He is regarded as one of the national heroes of Namibia. After his death, General Lothar von Trotha (see below) felt his duty was done and asked for permission to return to Germany.
In V. the letters "V" and "W" often appear in proximity to each other: Veldschoendragers and Witboois, Van Wijk, Victoria Wren, Vergeltungswaffe, Volkswagen. Does anyone else see a pattern here?
233/251 - . . . the days of Von Trotha
General Lothar von Trotha, veteran of actions in East Africa and China, arrived in South West Africa in 1904 to put down the Herero resistance. After defeating the Herero forces, he drove (and accompanying women & children) into the Kalahari, where most died of starvation. The tactics he used to break the spirit of the remaining Herero--hangings, mass-extermination and detention in concentration camps--resemble those of the "Final Solution" of the 3rd Reich.
236/255 - Weissmann
The same Lieutenant Weissmann appears in Gravity's Rainbow. See more here: http://gravitys-rainbow.pynchonwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=Pages_145-154
The sjambok or litupa is the official heavy leather whip of South Africa, sometimes seen as synonymous with apartheid but actually much older and still used outside the official judiciary. It is traditionally made from an adult hippopotamus (or rhinoceros) hide, but is also commonly made out of plastic.
A Bohemian folk dance.
J. Kerry Grant in his Companion to V. correctly points out that a planetarium operating in 1922 would show only eight planets, as Pluto was not discovered until 1930, but he misses the point that the story "had become, as Eigenvalue put it, Stencilized." (p. 228)
242/261 - Schwabing Quarter
Artistic district in Munich, stomping grounds for a young Hitler.
242/261 - Brennessel cabaret
A nightclub in the Schwabing Quarter popular w/ early National Socialist figures.
242/261 - D'Annunzio . . . Kautsky's Independents
A collection of German and Italian political buzzwords. Hitler, Mussolini and the National Socialists require no comment. D'Annuzio (1863-1938) was an artistic and political figure in Italy, influential in the rise of the Italian Fascist Movement. Fiume was an eastern European city/state, which gained its autonomy from Austria in 1779 and maintained this status until Fascists came to power in 1922 and agreed to annexation by Italy in 1924. Italia irredentia was a philosphical movement which advocated the expansion of Italy to its "natural borders" (in which Italian was spoken) including Malta as well as territory from France, Greece, Switzerland, as well as various eastern European nations. Kautsky's Independents were followers of German socialist leader (and marxist critic) Karl Joseph Kautsky (1854-1938).
242/262 - Someday we'll need you . . .
Prefiguring the fate of Mondaugen as well as Franz Pokler in Gravity's Rainbow.
245/264 - Vernichtungs Befehl
Ordinarily spelled Vernichtungsbefehl, German: extermination order.
247/266 - the Japanese . . .bottled us up in Port Arthur
Port Arthur was a deep water port and Russian naval base in Manchuria, at the time, one of the most heavilty fortified positions in the world. The Japanese laid seige to the port from August 1904 - January 1905, during the Ruso-Japanese War. The seige resulted in the almost complete destruction of the Russian fleet and the surrender of the Russian forces there.
"I am past forty and I am in love" was reportedly Duse's response when told about D'Annunzio's novel, Il Fuoco, in which she is portrayed unflatteringly.
249/270 - heterodont configuration
Heterodont describes animals with more than one kind of tooth--humans, for instance have incisors as well as molars. Given the conversation, is Eigenvalue using this as a psychodontic description of Stencil's character?
According to Molly Hite in Ideas of Order in the Novels of Thomas Pynchon (p.162, fn.12), one of the Third Reich's V-weapons was called "Feuerlily" (citing von Braun and Ordway's A History of Rocketry and Space Travel at page 112).
269/292 - B.O.Q.
Bachelor Officers' Quarters
269/292 - The Southern Cross
A constellation visible in the southern hemisphere, formerly much valued by sailors.
278/302 - Die Welt ist alles, was der Fall ist.
The first proposition in Ludwig Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921). Another reference to Wittgenstein is on p. 380.
In which Benny Profane, a schlemihl and human yo-yo, gets to an apocheir
The Whole Sick Crew
In which Stencil, a quick-change artist, does eight impersonations
In which Esther gets a nose job
In which Stencil nearly goes West with an alligator
In which Profane returns to street level
She hangs on the western wall
In which Rachel gets her yo-yo back, Roony sings a song, and Stencil calls on Bloody Chiclitz
In which various sets of young people get together
Confessions of Fausto Maijstral
In which things are not so amusing
In which the yo-yo string is revealed as a state of mind
V. in love