Pages 157-181

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157* · Winter B.S. 1960

Page 158

most swinish, i.e., most pig-like

a pejorative intensifier, chiefly British in usage

something very small

the Beats
members of the Beat generation

Page 159


1956 Mercury Montclair
See right, though Incandenza's father's car is "bit-lip red."

full of small protuberances

another word for tendon

According to the OED, a parp is a honking sound; parping is defined as causing something (as a car horn) to parp.

Head is body.
Incandenza's father is expressing a non-Cartesian point of view. René Descartes (1596-1650), the French polymath, separated the mind (res cogitans) from the body (res extensa).

bright red

Page 160

putting into action

German: No?

what turns the rudder to steer a boat

Page 161

pronator teres
a muscle of the forearm

Page 162

having whorls, i.e., coiled and spiral shapes

Page 163

flying sod
He's referring to divots, i.e., bits of the fairway that get torn up when a golf ball is hit.

anal rage
He's probably referring to anal-retentive rage, rather than rage specifically located in the anus.

Page 164

a brand of automobile, examples of which can be seen here

past tense of heave

smoked salmon

in a sociable manner

Page 165

Note that Incandenza's father calls his own father by the same nickname as Incandenza's children call him.

senza errori
Italian: Without errors

From Afrikaans, this is a word for an open field with grass, bushes, etc.

quick and skillful

here referring to Franklin Roosevelt

This is "a structure of crossed wooden or metal strips usually arranged to form a diagonal pattern of open spaces between the strips" (Random House Unabridged Dictionary).

Page 166

Page 167

a city of Arizona, 82 miles south of Tucson

probably referring to James Dean

Page 168

absence of motion

having a rough surface because of minute points or projections

having undergone mortification of the flesh, i.e., abuse of the body by one's self as a form of penance

the University of Southern California

probably Frankie Avalon

Page 169

169 · Pemulis Scores DMZ

Page 169

Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment

suggestive in style of the ancient Romans

Inman Square
a square in Cambridge named for colonial merchant Ralph Inman

a high-fashion clothes company

Mr. Howell
Gilligan's Island character Thurston J. Howell, III

jaunty or dashing

Page 170

formal shoes with laces

the enclosed part of an airplane, where the engine is housed

Most commonly, this acronym stands for "demilitarized zone," as in the area between North and South Korea. Here it is a made-up drug name.

not a real Web site

Mescaline is the active ingredient in peyote.

an acronym for trimethoxyamphetamine

STP stands for "serenity, tranquity, and peace," and it's a pseudonym for DOM, which stands for dimethoxy-4-methylamphetamine.

acronym for [ dimethyltryptamine

Ololiuqui or datura's scopolamine, or Fluothane, or Bufotenine (a.k.a. 'Jackie-O.'), or Ebene
Ololiuqui is a type of morning glory plants, the seeds of which are known to be hallucinogenic. Datura's scopolamine is another name for hyoscine. Fluothane is an inhaled general anesthetic. Bufotenine is an alternate spelling of bufotenin and is the active ingredient in the skin of toads that cause hallucinations when licked. (I have no idea why it's called "Jackie-O.") Ebene is a South American tree that yields a hallucinogen used in rituals.

Endnote 56

acronym for [paramethoxyamphetamine paramethoxyamphetamine]

Found in nutmeg, it does not have hallucinogenic properties.

Also called LSA, it's found in morning glory seeds

Found in varieties of dogbane, it is a drug used to ease heroin withdrawal.

yagé's harmaline
Yagé is the native name for banisteria. Harmaline is the active ingredient.

apparently a coined word

Page 170 (cont'd)

Endnote 57

better known as the Tibetan Book of the Dead

referring to Italian Futurism, an art movement on the early 20th century

Page 170 (cont'd)

chemist at Sandoz Pharm.
This would be Albert Hoffman (born 1906), a Swiss scientist best known for first synthesizing LSD.

Alan Watts
Alan Wilson Watts (1915-1973) was a British-born philosopher and writer in the field of comparative religion.

T. Leary
Timothy Francis Leary (1920-1996) was an American writer and psychologist best known as an advocate for regular LSD use.

Millbrook NY
a town in New York state, about 90 miles north of New York City

actually a radio station in Syracuse, New York

Page 171

Riverside Hamlet
The Riverside Shakespeare is one of the better-known editions of Shakespeare's work. Note that Hal, who is based on the character Hamlet, is reading Hamlet.

the minor and soft-core Alexandrian mosaic
i.e. Byzantine erotica (cf. 29, 36)

Consummation of the Levirates
A levirate is a man called up to marry his elder brother's childless widow, in accordance with Jewish Law. In the Bible, Onan was punished for not consummating his Levirate marriage (he pulled out and spilled his seed).[1]

a (probably deliberate) misspelling of Barron's

Tilden on Spin
The book by William Tatem "Big Bill" Tilden II (1893-1953), American tennis giant, is actually entitled Match Play and the Spin of the Ball.


Page 172

Year of the Yushityu...

Page 173

a person who loads and unloads cargo from boats

40 km.
almost 25 miles

German: Quickly

Page 174

formants and fricatives, trochaically stressed
A format is, according to Wikipedia, "a peak in an acoustic frequency spectrum which results from the resonant frequencies of any acoustic system." A fricative is a phoneme produced by forcing air through tight lips. In English, fricatives are /s/, /z/, /th/, and /zh/. Trochaically means spoken in trochees, or a metrical foot on two syllables with the stress on the first (the word "trochee" is a trochee).

An aperture is an opening; here it is probably referring to the anus.

Page 175

8 1/2
a film by Federico Fellini

incapable of being stretched

Page 176

a skin cleaner marketed by Procter & Gamble

not a drug currently marketed in the U.S.

Epsom salts
Magnesium sulfate, used to relieve pain, among other uses.

176 · Selected Transcripts

Page 176

Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment

Page 177

Higher Power
Most twelve-step drug or alcohol recovery programs teach a belief in God or a "Higher Power" (the latter to soften the blow to atheists).

Kemp and Limbaugh
Jack French Kemp, Jr. (1935-2009), was a conservative American politician, former member of the House of Representative, former Secretary for Housing and Urban Development, and 1996 Republican candidate for Vice President.

Rush Hudson Limbaugh III (born 1951) is a conservative radio talk-show host.

to crawl like ants

Page 178

a (probably deliberate) misspelling of "magnanimously," i.e., generously

the Fenway
the Fenway-Kenmore section of Boston

Page 179

more specifically, the nasal septum

also known as cleft lip or cleft palate

As in the same Tommy Doocey already introduced; the harelipped pot dealer in the trailer park with the smelly snakes.

Page 180

2% proof
Redundant because "proof" is an expression of alcohol content. Doubling the alcohol percentage gives you proof, i.e., 2% alcohol is 4 proof.

Page 181

181* · Madame Psychosis on the Radio

Page 181

Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment

Madame Psychosis
not just a byname for DMZ, but also a radio show host

Page 182

having a tendency to kill one's father

a person who studies insects scientifically

a misspelling for sphenoid, "a winged bone at the base of the cranium." Merriam-Webster Online. 25 May 2009

having the form of a funnel

having to do with the epiglottis

a nationwide (worldwide?) Jewish student union present on several campuses

corpus callosum
the part of the brain connecting the left and right hemispheres

larygeally fissured
having ridges like the human larynx

receiving funding from the university in exchange for work rendered to the university

Page 183

a lightweight, balanced, plain-woven fabric

To limn means to describe

referring to the parietal lobe of the brain, responsible for sensory memory and response

Midwesterners in the U.S. use this word to denote what others call "soda," i.e., Coca-Cola, 7-Up, etc.

a pun on the Chinese word tao, ("the way") and the Dow Jones Industrial Average


Eastern Standard Time

literally that part of the brain responsible for autonomic functions like heartbeat, organ activity, etc.

Page 184

I. M. Pei
Ieoh Ming Pei (born 1917) is a Chinese-born American architect who designed, among other famous buildings, MIT's Green Building.

Endnote 60

J. A. Stratton
Julius Adams Stratton (1901-1994) was an American educator and president of MIT between 1959 and 1965.

Page 184 (cont'd)

cerebral cortex
that part of the brain responsible for higher-order thinking

"...what she's said for three years of midnights..."
Up until 'Look at that fucker Dance,' the rest of her introduction is from Genesis 1.

Largest Whole Prime On The FM Band
109 is a prime number, i.e., divisible only by itself and by 1. Actually the highest number you can get on FM is 108, and there are no whole numbers in FM radio in the U.S.

probably denoting "electromagnetic"

that force in a spinning object that tends to push away objects from the angle of rotation

Hundt Act
Reed E. Hundt (born 1948) was chairman of the Federal Communications Committee in 1996, when the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was passed. Wallace may be riffing on that, as it appears there was no equivalent legislation in 1966.

spatter's center
The spatter referred to here is probably the small amount of FM bands that can be sent out.

When used with regard to demand, this term means tending not to change.

3-km. cannon
The range is about 1.86 miles.

Physical Education

The love of language, the term is also used to describe the study of literature.

Page 185

lack of function of the ovaries or testicles

Nodular leprosy with leonine facies
a form of leprosy that generates lesions made of nodes and that produces lion-like facial expressions (i.e., "leonine facies")

The acromegalic and hyperkeratosistic. The enuretic.
Arcomegaly is a disorder of the pituitary gland whereby it produces too much human growth hormone, resulting in giantism. Hyperkeratosistic means that one is suffering from hyperkeratosis. Enuresis is the inability to urinate.

The spasmodically torticollic.
having a head tilted to one side (torticollis) involving convulsions (spasmodic)

Guaranteed Student Loan


between nerves

semitic ideograms
Semitic languages actually tend to be written uses alphabets, where a symbol denotes a phoneme, rather than in ideograms, like Chinese and Korean are. The oldest alphabet is the Phoenician, which was Semitic.0

rostral lamina
in biology, a beaklike or snoutlike (rostral) layer of tissue (lamina)

Neuroform is actually the brand-name of a type of stent.

Standard Operating Procedure

adhering to Italian neorealism

Peterson/Broughton and Dali/Buñuel
Sidney Peterson and James Broughton collaborated on The Potted Psalm (1946), an experimental film.

Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, 1st Marquis of Púbol (1904-1989) and Luis Buñuel Portolés (1900-1983) were both Spanish artists. They collaborated on Un chien andalou (An Andalusian Dog, 1929), another experimental film.

Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid codirected Meshes of the Afternoon

Michelangelo Antonioni (1912-2007) was an Italian filmmaker probably most famous for Blowup.

Andrei Arsenyevich Tarkovsky (1932-1986) was a Soviet-Russian filmmaker.

Sometimes Ozu and Bresson
Yasujirō Ozu (1903-1963) was a Japanese filmmaker. Robert Bresson (1901-1999) was a French filmmaker.

hoary dramaturgy
According to Wikipedia, dramaturgy is "the art of dramatic composition and the representation of the main elements of drama on the stage." To call it "hoary" would be to imply it's old.

Sir Herbert Tree
Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree (1852-1917) was a British actor and manager. You can hear his performances of Hamlet here.

In the style of Pauline Kael (1919-2001), an American film critic for New Yorker magazine.

De Palma, Tarantino
Brian De Palma and Quentin Tarantino

Endnote 61

dissociative formalism
presumably formalism that focuses too much on form and not enough on character and other aspects of filmmaking

Stan Brakhage and Hollis Frampton
Stan Brakhage (1933-2003) and Hollis Frampton (1936-1984) were American avant-garde filmmakers.

Beth B.
You can read about here here.

the Snow brothers, Vigdis Simpson
One of the Snow brothers would have to be Michael Snow (born 1929), a Canadian-American filmmaker, principally known for Wavelength. Vigdis Simpson seems created.

Page 185 (cont'd)

Brutalism, Found Drama
Brutalism may refer to brutalist architecture. Found Drama is the cinematic extension of Found Art.

inharmonious with other things (here, aspects of Madame Psychosis's taste)

Page 186

Imamu Amiri Baraka (born Everett LeRoi Jones, 1934) is an African-American poet, playwright, author, and political activist.

actually two words: Pia mater. Latin: tender mother.

plural of "sulcus," a furrow or groove, particularly between sections of the brain

A.Y. ('V.F.') Rickey's summum opus
V. Frederick Rickey is a prominent mathematician. I don't know who A.Y. Rickey is/was, but it is notable that there is, in fact, no Student Union building at MIT.

Summum opus would be a "great work" while magnum opus would be the "best work."

referring to both the parietal lobe of the brain, as well as the occipital lobe, which is where vision is processed

Pons and abducent
The Pons is a structure on the brain stem, while the abducens nerve is a nerve in the muscles of the eye.

basilar-stem artery
a stem of an artery that carries blood to the brain

the second half of the full name of the medulla

Page 187

acronym for "fluorohydrocarbon," this is a type of fluroplastic, known to give off poisonous fumes

The company's Web site is here.

fifty degrees Fahrenheit

five m.
almost 16.5 feet

vascularly hued
colored like a blood vessel

employing the element mercury

lacking the larger speaker (i.e., the "woofer") found in multi-speaker systems

noses having a collapsed nasal bridge

shrinking in size

Scleredema adultorum
a disease characterized by non-pitting induration of the skin

suffering from serodermatosis, a skin disease with serous effusion into the skin

having water on the brain

tabescent and chachetic
Tabescent refers to a person with tabes dorsalis, and chachetic (probably misspelled) apparently refers to a person with cachexia.

This would seem to be a type of glioma, though it is mentioned almost nowhere.

carbuncular or steatocryptotic
Carbuncular means "pimply," while steatocryptotic refers to a person suffering from steatocryptosis, which is derangement of the sebaceous glands.

Marin-Amat Syndrome
This is involuntary closure on one eye, named for Manuel Marin Amat, an early 20th century Spanish ophthalmologist.

suffering from cutaneous tuberculosis

Bell-shaped steatopygiacs
A steatopygiac is a person suffering from steatopygia; if you're bell-shaped, it just means the fat is closer to the bottom than the top

Pityriasis Rosea
a skin disease marked by patches of pink, oval rash

"Blessed are the poor in body, for they."
This is not one of the Beatitudes.

This is a bona fide acronym for "Universal Health Identifier," though it's doubtful this is what Wallace means. A HID is a "Human Interface Device"; U could stand for "university" or "universal" or something else entirely. Ah, what he means: Union of Hideous and Improbably Deformed

probability waves for subhadronics
Probability waves are a concept in quantum physics that expresses the probability that "a particle or particles in a particular state will be measured to have a given position and momentum" (Wikipedia). Subhadronic refers to a particle smaller than a hadron.

Page 188

Radcliffe's Bunting Institute
Radcliffe is the women's college at Harvard University. According to the Harvard Web site, "The Bunting Institute is a mutidisciplinary center for women scholars, writers, artists, and activists of demonstrated achievement and promise. Each year, approximately 40 women pursue projects that make significant contributions to their fields, working in a community that fosters interdisciplinary discourse, and creative and intellectual leadership. Some describe their experience as "the Bunting transformation."

L.A.S. tradition
Liberal Arts and Sciences

Endnote 64

Samuel Johnson
Samuel Johnson, LL.D. (1709-1784), was a British poet, essayist, novelist, literary critic, and lexicographer.

Patricia Beesley, an early 20th century American educator who did author the book named.

There is no such Web site.

mens-sana pedagogy
"healthy-mind" teaching

ad valorem
Latin: by value

corpore potis
Latin: able of body

Thorp's Trigonometry of Cubes
Edward Oakley Thorp (born 1932) is an American mathematician, but he seems not to have created a "trigonometry of cubes," which would be, frankly, impossible.

aphotic to apochromatic
Aphotic means without light, while apochromatic means developing color.

Best Boy
a member of a film crew, assistant to either the gaffer or key grip

an area of Cambridge, Mass.

Page 189


misspelling of xanthodontic, which means yellow-toothed

basilisk-breathed and pyorrheic
A basilisk is a type of dragon, and pyorrhea is the condition of having gum disease.

Page 190

peronic or teratoidal
Peronic means having a bent penis, while teratoidal means malformed.

prenologically malformed
malformed in the shape of the skull

supuratively lesioned
having lesions that ooze pus

having blisters on the nose

radically -ectomied
-having to do with body-part removal (think radical mastectomy)


having masses of ulcerated infections of the skin

lazarettes and oubliettes
A lazarette is a hospital that treats infectious diseases, while an oubliette is a dungeon accessible only by trapdoor.

kyphotic and lordotic
Kyphotic means having abnormal rear curvature of the spine (i.e., hunchbacked), while lordotic having abnormal forward curvature of the spine.


fatally pulchritudinous
deadly good-looking

turning into a deer; growing horns

looking like a gorgon

papuled, the macular, the albinic
Papules are inflammatory elevations of the skin. Macular means having opaque spots on the cornea. Albinic is having no melanin.

a concubine or slave in a harem

italics, used for emphasis

a crosier is a type of French roll

a type of beer, medium in darkness

vin blanc
French: white wine

Page 191


Good Morning, Midnight and Maggie: A Girl of the Streets and Giovanni's Room and Under the Volcano
Good Morning, Midnight is a novel by Jean Rhys (1890-1979), born Ella Gwendolen Rees Williams, a Caribbean novelist, on the topic of a woman forced to confront her own loneliness and despair. Maggie: A Girl of the Streets is a novel by Stephen Crane (1871-1900), an American novelist, on the topic of a child prostitute. Giovanni's Room by African-American expatriate author James Arthur Baldwin (1924-1987) is a novel on the topic of a young man coming to terms with his homosexuality. Under the Volcano is a novel by Malcolm Lowry (1909-1957), a British writer, on the topic of alcoholism.

Bret Ellis
Bret Easton Ellis (born 1965) is an American novelist probably best known for Less Than Zero (1985), about a drug addict who turns to prostitution, and American Psycho (1991), about a serial killer.

van der Rohe
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969) was a German-born American architect.

Endnote 66

R.E.M. and Pearl Jam
R.E.M.'s lead singer, Michael Stipe, was famous for his unintelligible lyrics until around 1987's Document. Pearl Jam's vocalist, Eddie Vedder, is as cryptic now as he was fifteen years ago, when they released their first record.

Page 191 (cont'd)

wall- and cross-eyed
To be wall-eyed is to suffer from exotropia, which is a form of ocular paralysis in which one or both eyes turn outward.

ergotic of St. Anthony
An old name for ergot poisoning is "St. Anthony's fire," which is ergot poisoning. However, given the context, Wallace may be referring here to shingles.

varicelliformally eruptive
a type of eczema due to herpes.

sarcoma'd of Kaposi
Karposi's sarcoma is a usually benign skin cancer common in elderly Mediterranean men that has become the most easily identifiable visible symptom of AIDS.

M. Hamilton as Oz's West Witch
Referring to The Wizard of Oz, the Wicked Witch of the West (and East) was played by Margaret Hamilton.

Page 192


The image can be seen to the right.

having a broken or projecting tooth

having flesh hanging from one's chin, like a turkey

in a way suggesting a werewolf

suffering from Tourette's syndrome

resembling a monster

having bad breath

saurian- and equine-looking
looking like a lizard or horse, respectively


Cushing's Disease
Named for Harvey Williams Cushing (1869-1939), an American neurologist, this disease is an endocrine disorder resulting in rapid weight gain, sweating, thinning of skin, and other negative side effects.

nose job

below the dura mater in the skull

Page 193

les bâtiments sanctifíes
French: the holy buildings

a 1927 film directed by Fritz Lang

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