A Frolic of His Own

pp. 401--450
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) §

407.23 (465.29) without fear of favor: Senator Bilk is mangling Kipling’s phrase "by fear or favor of the crowd" (ODQ, though used a century earlier in Fielding’s Shamela).

409.30 (468.14) bread and circuses: the satirist Juvenal assumed the Roman rabble was interested in two things only: "panem et circenses" (Satires 10/ODQ).

411.20 (470.20) Stephen Foster: American songwriter (1826-64).

411.31 (470.32) Hunting Musique! With Horns and with Hounds [...] Venus comes not ev’ry Day: from Dryden’s "Secular Masque" (1700). The movie’s soundtrack may be William Boyce’s 1750 musical setting.

411.37 (471.1) he rais’d a mortal to the skies; She drew an angel down: the concluding lines of Dryden’s poem "Alexander’s Feast" (ODQ), used by Gaddis earlier to conclude chap. I.5 of The Recognitions.

411.38 (471.2) Flush’d with a purple grace [...] he comes: also from Dryden’s "Alexander’s Feast": "Sound the trumpets; beat the drums; / Flush’d with a purple grace / He shows his honest face: / Now give the hautboys breath; he comes, he comes" (ODQ).

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).

412.19 (471.24) Merry, Dancing [...] Sound, Sound […] the secular masque: more from Dryden.

412.26 (471.32) Union Commander and Lover of Poetry...prospect of a battle: in his description of the battle of Ball's Bluff (see 23.11), Catton says Colonel Edward D. Baker "loved the swing of poetry" shortly before the battle, he addressed the quoted words to Colonel William R. Lee (74, 75).

412.33 (472.1) echoing Sir Walter Scott with a bugle blast worth a thousand men: Catton (76) notes that Baker sang "out an adaptation of a couple of lines from Scott's Lady of the Lake--

"One blast upon your bugle horn
Is worth a thousand men"

before being killed by a Rebel bullet. Scott's original reads: "Where, where was Roderick then? / One blast upon his bugle-horn / Were worth a thousand men!" (ODQ).

413.2 (472.12) that late October day ... at Ball's Bluff:  all these details come from Catton (73-77).

413.10 (472.21) Oliver Wendell Holmes ... left behind on the beach: Catton 77.

414.12 (473.31) none but the brave deserve the fair: from Dryden’s "Alexander’s Feast."

415.33 (475.20) battle at Antietam: the account that follows is condensed from chapter 6 of Catton (263 ff.) This battle on 17 September 1862 at a tiny village in Maryland is considered the bloodiest battle of the Civil War.

417.3 (477.1) A P Hill […] I mean D H: both Confederate generals were at Antietam.

419.38 (480.16) Swing Low, Sweet Chariot: a famous gospel hymn.

424.23 (486.1) dialectical materialism supposed to be Marxist theory:
observing the conflict between owners and workers -- resulting in what Harry
here calls "an adversary culture" -- Karl Marx adapted Hegel's dialectics
and Feuerbach's materialism to create dialectic materialism, a philosophical
doctrine concerning the development of society.
For further information see these links researched by Anja Zeidler::
"the world outlook of the Marxist-Leninist party" by J.V. Stalin:
Friedrich Engels in "Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy:"
Marx in German Ideology:
Engels in his preface to "Anti-Dühring" on how "it is the merit of Marx that [.] he was the first to direct attention to the forgotten dialectical method:"
and Hegel's view of dialectical materialism:

425.19 (487.4) to simply roll up all these confused feelings in a ball: cf. T.S. Eliot's "Prufrock": "To have squeezed the universe into a ball / To roll it toward some overwhelming question." Also Andrew Marvell 'To His Coy Mistress': "Let us roll all our strength and all/Our sweetness up into one ball." [JS/SM]

425.35 (487.21) would suffice [...] desire? or hate?: from Robert Frost’s poem "Fire and Ice" (1923), which concludes: "I think I know enough of hate / To say that for destruction ice / Is also great / And would suffice." Cf. 583.27-34.

426.12 (488.1) autocrat [...] at the breakfast table: Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., contributed a series of essays and poems to the Atlantic Monthly (which he cofounded with James Russell Lowell) entitled The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table, published in book form in 1858. "My Hunt after ‘The Captain’" is a self-serving account of his search for his son after learning Captain Holmes was wounded at Antietam (Atlantic Monthly, December 1862).

430.35 (493.18) apparition of Christmas past [...] one yet to come: from Dickens’s A Christmas Carol (1843).

430.37 (493.19) ranging across the starry heavens:

431.1 (493.26) the cup that cheers but not inebriates: from William Cowper’s long narrative poem The Task (ODQ).

431.17 (494.5) when a great man dies it was like a whole library burning down: an African proverb, delivered by the Malian writer Amadou Hampâté Bâ (1901-1991) at a UNESCO conference in 1960 (“En Afrique, quand un vieillard meurt, c’est une bibliothèque qui brûle”). WG’s source unknown.

432.17 (495.14)  I don’t like ham, I never liked ham … reciting poetry: the protagonist of Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham (1960) asserts: "I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-Am."

433.8 (496.7) making the night hideous: Hamlet addresses his father’s ghost: 
What may this mean,
That thou, dead corse, again in complete steel
Revisit'st thus the glimpses of the moon,
Making night hideous; and we fools of nature
So horridly to shake our disposition
With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls?

(1.4.32-35). [MR]

434.38 (498.8) cast those devils into a herd of swine: see Matt. 8:32:  "And He said unto them [the devils] , Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters."   [MR]

437.1 (500.26) you're not waving you're drowning: paraphrase of a line from a poem by Stevie Smith, "Not Waving but Drowning," published 1972. [JS]

Not Waving but Drowning
Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out that you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

437.12 (500.38) the tired waves vainly breaking, where hopes were dupes fears might be liars:
from Arthur Hugh Clough’s poem "Say Not the Struggle Naught Availeth" (ODQ):
If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
It may be, in yon smoke concealed,
Your comrades chase e’en now the fliers,
And, but for you, possess the field.
For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back through creeks and inlets making
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

438.29 (502.25) red in tooth and claw: see 317.36 (362.15).

440.4 (504.12) flooding in, the main: from Clough’s poem; see above.

441.18 (505.32) reminded of a case ... green tomato preserves: apparently based on a 1945 case of an illiterate Philippine worker. [MR]

441.40 (506.15) What breed of African antelope is named after an American car? The impala—a malapropism first used in J R (174).

442.35 (507.16) old men pouring off the last of the wine:

443.14 (506.38) A heavy mist pierced by sporadic gunfire...the attack repulsed: a reprise of the battle of Antietam.

443.29 (508.15): We are speaking of General Jackson … admire him?: lines from Oscar’s play (84 [93]).

443.37 (508.25) General Ewell [...] ate birdseed: Confederate general Richard Ewell (1817-1872).

440.40 (509.35) Gorgon [...] vagina dentata: in Greek mythology, a hideous woman with snakes for hair (like Medusa) and often huge teeth; in Freudian psychology, the the Gorgon is a component of castration anxiety, as is the vagina dentata.

450.38 (516.29) Hard Times: Dickens’s 1854 novel attacking the philosophy behind nineteenth-century industrialism in England. Harry was reading this novel: see 526-27 below.

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) §

A Frolic of His Own
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§ 451--end >

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