photo by Miriam Berkley
Annotations to
Carpenter's Gothic
Chapter 1 
by Steven Moore except as [noted]

Carpenter's Gothic
annotations for chapter
1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . 6 . 7

title] Carpenter’s Gothic: an architectural style (sometimes “carpenter gothic,” as at 123.36) popular in New England from the mid-19th to mid-20th century. See McCandless’s description on pp. 227-28 below.

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
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.

Chapter 1

 1.1] dove: traditional symbol for innocence, and in Christian iconography a representation of the Holy Ghost.

 1.12] that time of day: CG was originally entitled “That Time of Year,” after the opening line of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73, which will be alluded to throughout the novel.

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou seest the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consumed with that which it was nourish'd by.
This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

 2.10] McCandless: referent, if any, unknown. (There is an Angus McCandless in Malcolm Lowry’s posthumous novel October Ferry to Gabriola, but it is highly unlikely the name came from there.) Gaddis told me that McCandless was basically himself.

 2.12] Rio? Isn’t that Argentina?: Rio de Janeiro is in Brazil, of course, but it’s worth noting early that mis-/disinformation is a major theme in CG and consequently the novel is filled with mistakes like this one.

 2.28] 9W: Manhattan’s Broadway becomes highway 9 after the Washington Bridge and runs north along the Hudson River to Croton-on-Hudson (the novel’s setting) and beyond.

3.18] Plattsburgh: in the upper NE corner of New York State.

 6.24] Longview: also the hometown of the Gablers: see 184.8.

 10.11] Mister Ude: a name first used in J R for a judge of the Surrogate Court on whom Governor Cates relies for favors (101, 211) and who dies near the end of the novel (691). Amy Joubert went to school with Judge Ude’s daughter (213).

 13.10] Payne Whitney: a psychiatric clinic on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, which largely catered to those from well-to-do families. (Cf. FHO 43.9)

 13.13] folded up all your clothes and put them in the refrig... [...] something you read someplace: Liz read this in The Recognitions, where Arnie Munk is described as having once done this (175).

 15.4] Doctor Kissinger: after Henry Kissinger (1923-  ) the former Secretary of State and author (whom Gaddis despised).

 15.14] Kitzbühel: resort town in the Tirol (west Austria).

 15.14] Deauville: town in NW France on the Bay of the Seine.

 16.18] Eleuthera: island in the Bahamas.

 17.7] VCR: later identified as Vorakers Consolidated Reserve.

 24.5] in the paper? these gooks adopting dogs and eating them?: like most references to newspaper stories in CG, based on an actual article in the New York Times: see [check under ASPCA in Times index]

Carpenter's Gothic
annotations for chapter
1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . 6 . 7