A Frolic of His
| 203.26 (228.38)
Poetics: Aristotle’s famous treatise on art; his discussion of three levels of characters—superior to audience members, on the same level, and inferior to the audience--occurs in section 1448a.
203.31 (229.5) Nicochares, who
wrote the Iliad: see 370.1.
204.6 (229.22) the Crito:
in this Platonic dialogue, Socrates, presented with a plan to bribe
his jailor and escape execution, questions whether wrongdoing is justified
to defend oneself against wrong. He concludes it is not, especially
if breaking the State’s law is the result.
208.33 (234.27) Thrasymachus:
see 214.35 above.
209.1 (235.1) ‘Every dog is
entitled to one bite’: from Prosser, who calls it “the often
repeated statement” (501).
209.11 (235.11) Piranesi: Giovanni
Battista Piranesi (1720-78), Italian architect, best known for his numerous
209.14 (235.15) Écrasez l’infame:
Fr. “Crush the
abomination” (originally from Voltaire).
215.10 (242.10) John Ruskin
[...] going for ten year old girls: Ruskin’s marriage to Effie
Gray was annulled, allegedly because the inexperienced art critic, misled
by Greek statues, was horrified to discover his bride had pubic hair;
in later life Ruskin was attracted to a number of young girls, most
obsessively an Irish girl named Rose La Touche, whom he met when she
Ruskin’s marriage to Effie Gray was annulled, allegedly because the inexperienced art critic, misled by Greek statues, was horrified to discover his bride had pubic hair; in later life Ruskin was attracted to a number of young girls, most obsessively an Irish girl named Rose La Touche, whom he met when she was nine.
215.18 (242.17) Freud [...] essay about Medusa’s head: in his 1922 essay "Medusa's Head," Freud write: "If Medusa's head take the place of the representation of the female genitals, or rather if it isolates their horrifying effects from the pleasure-giving ones, it may be recalled that displaying the genitals is familiar in other connections as an apotropaic act. What arouses horror in oneself will produce the same effect upon the enemy against whom one is seeking to defend oneself. We read in Rabelais of how the Devil took to flight when the woman showed him her vulva."
215.24 (242.27) Anna: while
Anna Freud (1895-1982) followed her father's teachings, it was Sigmund
Freud who introduced the concept of penis envy in his essay "Femininity"
223.11 (251.31) mere anarchy:
l. 4 of Yeats’s
“Second Coming” (see [304.23], [321.14]).
225.2 (253.35) the unexamined lives: Socrates believed “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Plato, Apology 38a.
227.18 (256.30) milking her
into the morning tea, where might he have read that?: Oscar read that in the concluding
chapter (“Penelope”) of Joyce’s Ulysses, where Molly remembers
her husband Leopold making that request. (Gaddis has stated that he
read that particular chapter during his undergraduate days, but no
more of Ulysses.)
227.30 (257.3) What is worse than treason to one’s king: nothing, according to Macbeth after he has murdered Duncan: “Treason has done his worst; nor steel, nor poison / Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing, / Can touch him further” (3.2.24-26).
229.16 (258.38) Beaumont and Fletcher, Ford, Webster: all Jacobean dramatists of the early 17th century.
229.17 (259.1) Marlowe’s Tamburlaine:
Marlowe’s first play (1587) contains
spectacular battle scenes and even more spectacular language (hence
230.14 (260.3) Coriolanus: Shakespeare’s
play (1608?), set in Rome.
232.40 (263.5) Railswort? Afhadi?
Probidetz?: perhaps of no special significance,
but the ridiculous-sounding names make clear Gaddis’s opinion of screenplay
writers, if nothing else.
235.12 (265.36) piece in the
paper on your hairy Ainu: an article on the Ainu appeared
in the 19 August 1992 issue of the New York Times (the only
such article between 1986-94), but since it doesn't mention the samurai,
Basie's reference is either to another newspaper or is fictitious.
235.20 (266.5) Fayette County:
name of counties
in Alabama, Georgia, and West Virginia.
236.35 (267.29) By the shores
of Gitche Gumme? —Stood the wigwam of Nokomis: the first of many references to Longfellow’s
narrative poem The Song of Hiawatha (1855). (Given FHO’s
theme of literary borrowings, it is worth noting that Longfellow’s
poem resembles the Finnish epic Kalevala in spirit as well
as in numerous particular passages.) Gaddis first quotes from canto
3: “By the shores of Gitche Gumme, / By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
/ Stood the wigwam of Nokomis” (Gitche Gumme is Lake Superior,
and Nokomis is Hiawatha’s grandmother, who raises him). Then
he quotes from the account in canto 7 of Hiawatha’s construction
of his birch canoe called Cheemaun; here and elsewhere, Gaddis both
weaves lines from Longfellow into his prose and imitates his eight-syllabled
237.11 (268.10) ravished like
the Sabine women: an incident in legendary Roman history,
and the subject of many paintings.
237.13 (268.11) the beautiful Wenonah: Hiawatha’s mother, who dies shortly after giving birth (canto 3).
237.30 (268.31) from Londonderry
to Chandigarh: that is, from Ireland (Protestants
vs. Catholics) to India (Moslems vs. Hindus). Cf. CG 186.5.
Repeated at 447.2.
238.2 (269.7) Bishop Sheed:
238.3 (269.9) Clare Luce: née
Clare Booth (1903-?), American playwright, author, and politician;
married Henry R. Luce of Time-Life.
238.42 (270.11) Soweto: an urban area of Johannesburg, South Africa, and the scene of frequent protests and riots before apartheid ended in 1994.
240.10 (271.28) Neanderthal
senator of theirs:
Jesse Helms, R-North Carolina, parodied here as Senator Orney Bilk
(see 294-96 for his political beliefs and details of his career).
240.21 (272.2) art today is
spelled with an f: so said Recktall Brown (R 143.9).
245.24 (278.3) The Emperor Jones: see 86.37 (96.14).
246.1 (278.23) one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence: Button Gwinnett (1735-77).
247.25 (280.16) veteran colleague from Iowa’s Twenty Fourth Congressional District:
248.10 (281.6) The confusion
of tongues: said
to be the legacy of the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1-9).
248.13 (281.10) swarm of flies:
248.39 (281.38) parti pris: Fr.: “preconceived opinion, bias.”
| Abbreviated References
A. Gaddis’ Books
CG: Carpenter’s Gothic. 1985. New York: Penguin, 1999.
FHO: A Frolic of His Own. New York: Poseidon, 1994.
JR: J R. 1975. New York: Penguin, 1993.
R: The Recognitions. 1955. New York: Penguin, 1993.
B. Gaddis’s Sources
Catton: Bruce Catton, The Army of the Potomac: Mr Lincoln's Army. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1962.
EB: Encyclopædia Britannica. 14th ed., 1929.
ODQ: The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, 1st ed., 6th impression, (London: Oxford University Press, 1949). Gaddis owned this particular impression, given to him by Ormande de Kay in Paris in 1950.
Plato: The Dialogues of Plato. Translated by Benjamin Jowett. New York: Random House, 1937. 2 vols.
Prosser: William L. Prosser, Handbook of the Law of Torts, 4th edition (St. Paul: West Publishing Co., 1971).