Part 1: Chapters 1-9

Chapter 1

128, Revocation of the Edict of Nantes

129, L’Astree:

  • Honore d’Urfe was a French novelist of the 16th and 17th century. He is most famous for his novel, L’Astree, which is a romance. I don’t think there’s any special significance aside from an attempt to assign a modest literary/artistic pedigree to the family.

130, Thomas D’Urfey

132, atavism

  • The return of a trait or recurrence of previous behavior after a period of absence.

170, Redbrick

  • refers to 6 universities founded in major industrial English cities near the beginning of the 20th century (University of Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds, etc.) It is meant to have a derogatory connotation relative to “ancient” universities such as Oxford.
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_brick_university

182, Vous l’avez voulou, Georges Danton, vous l’avez voulu.

  • You wanted it, Georges Danton, you wanted it.
  • This is a misquotation of Moliere, from his play: Georges Dandin. However, there was an actual historical figure named Georges Danton.

Chapter 3

225, Chesterfieldian

  • Someone who acts in a sophisticated, aristocratic manner
  • although this doesn’t exactly fit the context

Chapter 4

366, affaire de peau

  • literally case of skin, but probably means “skin deep.” She is accusing Nick of being superficial and non-serious.

401, Sous les toits

  • under the roofs
  • could refer to staying indoors
  • Or could be a reference to “Sous Les Toits de Paris” a film/musical which is about a woman who is romantically pursued by a few different men.

424, pom/pommy

  • australian, derogatory slang for a British person.

450, Carne’s old film Quai des Brumes

Chapter 5

548, Byron’s death at Missolonghi

550, the new Medes, the tourists

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medes
  • a people associated with Iran and the Middle East. Probably not much of interest to note here.
  • some association with Greek mythology (Medea)

584, Hogarth, love a la mode

613, condottieri

  • mercenary soldiers

613, triune

  • being three in one. Often used with re: holy trinity, although not here

613, philhellene

  • admirer of greeks or greece

614, clipped, sparse prep-schoolisms of a Viscount Montgomery

642, O.O.B.

  • probably ‘out of bounds’

Chapter 7

723, Constitution Square, the central meeting-place of Athens

771, chevaux de frise of the high-walled school grounds

  • frisian horses: originally an anti-calvary device but generally refers to any crudely designed obstacle used to block a breach.

Chapter 8

840, Sciron, a mid-air man

  • A thief who used to trick people into washing his feet and would then throw them off a cliff. Theseus killed him in the same way.
  • In the tradition of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the earth as well as the sea refused to receive his bones, so they remained for some time suspended in mid-air.

848 Arnold

856, Emily Dickinson’s great definition: Publication is not the business of poets.

868, acroterion

  • an architectural statue or ornament placed on a pedestal and mounted at the top of the pediment of a greek temple.

870, He has opted out of both being mindlessly engaged by society nor controlling it. Thus, he only has his ability to express his disengagement between his existence and nothingness. Not Cogito, ergo sum, but scribo, pingo, ergo sum

  • I think therefore I am
  • scribo: I write
  • pingo: I paint

879, “On va voir ça a Athènes. Je vous donnerai une adresse. C’est bien a Athènes que vous l’avez attrapé, oui?” I nodded. “Les poules là-bas. Infectes. Seulement les fous qui s’y laissent prendre.”

  • FR: “We will see that in Athens. I will give you an address. It’s good in Athens that you caught it, right? The women there. Infected. Only the fools who get caught”

887, “Je suis maudit.”

  • FR: I am damned/cursed.

892, kyrios

  • GR: lord, master

898, a Catullus without talent forced to inhabit a land that was Lesbia without mercy.

  • Catullus: Roman poet
  • Lesbia: pseudonym for his lover, who was the subject of many of his poems

904, neant

  • FR: nothingness

934, It was a Mercutio death I was looking for, not a real one. A death to be remembered, not the true death of a true suicide, the death obliterate.

  • Mercutio is a close friend of Romeo in Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. He fights a duel on Romeo’s behalf, and is fatally stabbed when Romeo tries to intervene. He is a likable, witty character, but at his death he says, “a plague on both your houses,” three times! His death is a turning point in the play as it foreshadows and actually causes death and tragedy for many of the other characters. Nicholas seems to be referring to Mercutio’s dramatic last words as well as his taking people down with him.

Chapter 9

943, Gabbia at Piacenza

949, Third Man Network

  • Reference to Orson Welles’ movie: The Third Man in which a character stole penicillin from military hospitals and sold it on the black market.
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