A Frolic of His Own

pp. 351--400
Annotations by Steven Moore except as [noted].

Page references are to the current Scribner softcover edition. References in parentheses are to first US edition (Poseidon) and to U.K. editions.

A Frolic of His Own
annotations for
softcover (hardcover & UK)
         1-50 (1-54) §
51-100 (56-112) §
101--150 (119--164) §
151-200 (174-224) §
201-250 (228-281) §
251-300 (285-341) §
301-350 (344-394) §
  351--400 (402-449) §
401--450 (465-516) §
  451--end (517-end) §

351.37(402.11) Albert Camus on total justice: from The Rebel: "In one sense, Christianity's bitter intuition and legitimate pessimism concerning human behavior is based on the assumption that over-all injustice is as satisfying to man as total justice" (trans. Anthony Bower [NY: Vintage, 1959], p. 34. In Oscar's play, Thomas exemplifies what Camus calls the metaphysical rebel, who "protests against the condition in which he finds himself as a man [. . . and] declares that he is frustrated by the universe" (23).

352.13 (402.29) Plato on justice [...] Book II at 359): see 176.8--that is, the reference should be to 361, not 358.

352.26 (403.3) the last days of Socrates [...] the Crito: see 229.22.

352.33 (403.9) C M Bowra (Attic Tragedy at 101) [...] nonetheless defeated’: Bowra’s assessment of the title character of Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, from the “Attic Tragedy” chapter of his Ancient Greek Literature (NY: Oxford University Press, 1960). Another sloppy citation (whether Judge Bone’s or Gaddis’s): the quotation appears on p. 100, not 101, and should have been cited by book title, not chapter.

359.8 (410.4) Joycean literary pedigree, ‘making a man of him’: in a letter
to his brother, Joyce recalled his wife Nora "making a man of him" on 16 June 1904, the day he commemorated in Ulysses. The anecdote is noted in Ellmann's biography (156), Brenda Maddox's Nora (27), and in volume 2 of Joyce's Letters. {Kevin Gilroy}

359.18 (410.14) Nutt […] alteration’:

360.19 (411.18) pro tanto: Lat.: "to that extent, so far."

360.26 (411.25) de minimis: from the Latin legal maxim "De minimis non curat lex"—"The law does not concern itself with trifles"—the punch-line to a limerick in R (523.1).

360.35 (411.33) ‘Incident springs [...] E M Forster [...] cause surprise’: from Aspects of the Novel (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1927), 136-37—in a discussion of George Meredith’s plots.

361.4 (412.6) Keats’s Ode on a Grecian Urn: see 35.12.

361.20 (412.20) Pratt […] concerned’:

362.6 (413.10) Western North Carolina Sketches: a short book by Clarence W. Griffin, published by the Forest City Courier in 1941. 

363.28 (414.33) Fred Fisher […] others’:

365.5 (416.17) Hamlet [...] the play’s the thing to catch the conscience of the king: Hamlet 2.2.641.

366.13 (417.34) Karamazovs: from Dostoevski’s novel The Brothers Karamazov (1879-80).

372.20 (425.7) Minjekahwun [...] the mighty Mudjekeewis: see 324.24; “the fatal black rock Wawbeek” is from canto 4: Hiawatha uses his magic mittens to tear the rock apart and fling it at his father Mudjekeewis.

373.9 (426.7) October 25, 1985: a puzzling date: internal references in CG place its action in October-November 1983, and the novel itself was published in July 1985.

376.3 (429.6) ‘The law,’ wrote Justice Holmes [...] sufficient reason’: from Lecture III of The Common Law (86); also quoted by Prosser (152), who describes it as "a much quoted passage.

376.25 (429.27) ‘the opening salvo … and elsewhere: Judge Crease is quoting the newspaper article in CG (78).  The phrase “throughout the world and elsewhere” is from a contract Gaddis once negotiated, which he found particularly amusing and mentioned in a few interviews and letters.

376.33 (429.34) the words of a later English jurist, ‘going on a frolic of his own’: see note to title.

377.9 (430.13) an earlier case before a district court in Pennsylvania, in which the plaintiff accused Satan of ruining his prospects:  see the memorandum order issued by Judge Weber in United States ex rel. Gerald Mayo v. Satan and His Staff, United States District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania, 1971, 54 F.R.D. 282 (W.D. Pa. 1971). It can be found at http://www.duke.edu/~nas3/Satan.htm. and in other collections of legal humor. [MR]

378.2 (431.9) Babbitt: the protagonist of Sinclair Lewis’s novel of the same name (1922).

378.27 (431.34) those in the Lords’ service who are currently in jail: probably a reference to Jim Bakker (1940-  ), a televangelist who was sentenced to prison in 1989 for fraud and conspiracy (released in 1994).

378.29 (431.36) the elder John D Rockefeller: ? (1874-1960)

379.13 (432.24) Laying up treasures in heaven! [...] right out of my prologue: see 76.17.

379.23 (432.34) master and man: see 366.3.

384.31 (438.35) ride off in all directions: from Stephen Leacock’s Nonsense Novels (1911): "Lord Ronald [...] flung himself upon his horse and rode madly off in all directions" (ODQ).

388.10 (442.37) the hesitating retinue of finer shades: see 376.24.

389.6 (443.39) echoing Justice Holmes [...] how he got there was his own affair:

392.8 (447.23) O’Neill [...] Mourning Becomes Electra: see 87.4 (96.23).

394.6 (449.33) droit morale: moral rights, which insists permission must be sought and granted by the creator of a work of art before any alterations can be made to it, even if copyright has been reassigned. [Greg Werge]

396.6 (452.11)] sua sponte: Lat. “on its own will or motion”—a term used to describe a decision or act that a judge decides upon without having been asked by either party. [MR]
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).
A Frolic of His Own
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