Scenes 61 - 70 | pages 449 - 580
Annotations by Steven Moore except as [noted].

< scenes 51--60 | pp. 352 -- 449   $   scenes 71--83 | pp. 580 -- 726 >

annotations with scene outline
scenes 1 - 10 | pp. 3 - 59    
 scenes 11 - 20 | pp. 59 - 149   
scenes 21 - 30 | pp. 149 - 194
scenes 31--40 | pp. 194 - 251
scenes 41--50 | pp. 251--352
scenes 51 - 60 | pp. 352 - 449
scenes 61 - 70 | pp. 449 - 580
scenes 71 - 83 | pp. 580 - 726
scene outline only

Scene 61 (449.21-463.17)
Whiteback, Vern, Dan, Amy (briefly), then Hyde discuss school matters.  

Eisenhower’s “cheaply framed” portrait; twenty seconds pass.

Scene 62 (463.27-475.27)
Vogel kids Dan in boys’ room, then admires Amy’s “cheek”; she waits to use the phone while J R talks with Bast, then with Davidoff and his lawyer Piscator. Amy tries to reach her father in Washington, then talks with J R on her way to the train station.

463.37] a man’s mind can turn loose and soar: possibly a quotation; repeated a few more times in the novel.

463.41] He that loves a rosy cheek: from Thomas Carew’s (1595?-1640) poem “Disdain Returned”: “He that loves a rosy cheek, / Or a coral lip admires, / Or, from star-like eyes, doth seek / Fuel to maintain his fires; / As old Time makes these decay, / So his flames must waste away” (ODQ).

463.41]The cheek that doth not fade too much gazed at: from Keats’s “Fancy”: “Where’s the cheek that doth not fade, / Too much gaz’d at? Where’s the maid / Whose lip mature is ever new?” (ODQ).

464.3] resting on one white hand a warm wet cheek: from Walter Savage Landor’s (1775-1864) “Proud Word You Never Spoke”: 

Proud word you never spoke, but you will speak
Four not exempt from pride some day.
Resting on one white hand a warm wet cheek
   Over my open volume you will say,
   "This man loved me!" then rise and trip away.          (ODQ

464.13] bracelet of bright hair about the bone: from Donne’s “The Relic,” first stanza (ODQ).

464.15] hide myself not hide my face in thee: from “Rock of Ages” (see 318-19).

464.16] what never was can have no end: source unknown.

464.17] How her pure and eloquent blood spoke in her cheeks and so distinctly wrought: “[...] That one might almost say, her body thought”—from Donne’s “Of the Progress of the Soul, Second Anniversary,” ll. 244-46 (ODQ).

464.19] One moment of happiness, the Russian said? [...] enough to last the whole of a man’s life: the concluding lines of Dostoyevsky’s novella White Nights (1848).

464.20] blow winds and crack your cheeks: from King Lear (3.2.1).

471.9] Erebus: personification of darkness; in Greek mythology, the son of Chaos and brother of Night; also, a ship mentioned near the beginning of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

Scene 63 (475.27-483.31)
Massapequa to New York

Amy runs into Gibbs at train station, and ride together to her Manhattan apartment; unsuccessful attempt at sex.

476.5] Pope says to get away: in a 1993 letter to his Italian translator, Vincenzo Mantovani, Gaddis wrote: "There was a Pope early this century I forget which (he was Italian) who kept on his bedside table a picture of [a] railway station & would repeat 'to get away' wistfully wishing himself back home."

476.43] chance favors the prepared mind: French chemist Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) once said, “In the fields of observation, chance favors only the mind that is prepared.”

477.9] went to the woods to live deliberately Thoreau says: Walden, chap. 2.

477.31] Lin Yutang:Chinese writer and philologist (1895-1976). Gaddis is quoting from Cyril Connolly's essay "Blueprint for a Silver Age: Notes on a Visit to America" (Harper's, December 1947, pp. 537-44); noting the insecurity in New Yorkers, the British essayist notes that "books on how to be happy, how to attain peace of mind, how to win friends and influece people, how to breathe, how to achieve a cheap sentimental humanism at other people's expense, how to become a Chinaman like Lin Yutang and make a lot of money, how to be a B'hai or breed chickens (The Ego and I) all sell in millions" (541). Gaddis quotes most of this sentence in "The Rush for Second Place" (RSP 41).

479.1] I see crowds of people [...] pockets full of currants: from Eliot’s The Waste Land.

479.9] We won’t worry what to do [...] won’t go home when it: from the song by Klipstein and Krumpacker in Eliot’s “Fragment of an Agon” (Sweeney Agonistes), p. 82 in The Complete Poems and Plays. {Joseph Tabbi}

480.26] déjeuner sur l’herbe: title of a famous painting by Edouard Manet (1832-83) depicting a nude woman having lunch on the grass with several clothed men; caused a scandal when first shown and still still considered to have multiple and controversial meanings as this recent critical work attests. A large image of the painting is here.

Scene 64 (483.32-491.9)
Amy’s apartment (East 70s)
Gibbs awakes alone, but Amy returns later that day; they go out for a walk; have dinner at apartment; successful attempt at sex (490); fall asleep.  

484.9] Butterfield eight: a Manhattan telephone exchange, used by John O’Hara as the title of a novel (1935).

485.20] B F Skinner: American psychologist and writer (1904-1990), a behaviorist who advocated “operant conditioning” to control human behavior (see his novel Walden Two [1948]). His “mechanization” of education outraged most humanists.

485.23] nature’s symmetry [...] Physical Review Letters: later identified as an article entitled “Flaw in Nature’s Symmetry?” and similar to a front-page New York Times article by Walter Sullivan entitled “Physicists Uphold Change in Theory” (27 June 1966, 1, 70). The article in Physical Review Letters appeared the same day.

486.1] The unswerving punctuality of chance: a phrase appearing near the end of Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward, Angel (1929)

"Then I of yours the seeming, Ben? Your flesh is dead and buried in these hills: my unimprisoned soul haunts through the million streets of life, living its spectral nightmare of hunger and desire. Where, Ben? Where is the world?"

"Nowhere,' Ben said. "You are your world."

Inevitable catharsis by the threads of chaos. Unswerving punctuality of chance. Apexical summation, from the billion deaths of possibility, of things done.
(Scribner softcover edition, p. 520)

Gaddis told Steven Moore he heard the phrase used by a fellow Harvard classmate in the 1940s; it appears in all five of his novels: R 9.5, JR 486.1, CG 233.3, FHO 50.34, 258.4, AA 63.1. – Travis Dunn

486.2] A bat as a mouse’s idea of an angel: source unknown.

486.3] How less like anyone we can be than unlike ourselves: identified below as a quotation from Pascal, but actually from Montaigne’s “On the Inconstancy of Our Actions” (book 2, chap. 1 of the Essays). Also quoted in R (553.21) and FHO (545.4).

486.4] A friendliness, as of dwarfs shaking hands, was in the air: from E. M. Forster’s Passage to India (1924), chap. 29. The phrase describes the final meeting in India of Cyril Fielding and Adela Quested, at which a superficial reconciliation is reached.

486.5] The total depravity of inanimate things - E. M. Forster: in fact though this has been attributed to various hands, it seems to be the title of a well-known essay in the Atlantic Monthly magazine of September 1864 by Katharine Kent Child Walker, the fuller quotation being:

I believe in the total depravity of inanimate things... the elusiveness of soap, the knottiness of strings, the transitory nature of buttons, the inclination of suspenders to twist and of hooks to forsake their lawful eyes, and cleave only unto the hairs of their hapless owner's head.

It appears in various collections of quotations. The full text is on line is here, and a brief biography of the author is here. [VH]

486.6]Taine's "le con d’une femme” as the axis round which everything turns: Hippolyte Adolphe Taine (1828-93), French philosopher and critic.In Frank Harris's My Life and Loves (1922-27), the American journalist's sexually explicit memoirs reprinted by Grove Press in 1963, Harris recalls an occasion when someone asked "what Taine thought of the idea that all the worlds and planets and solar systems were turning round one axis and moving to some divine fulfillment (accomplishment) . Taine, who always disliked windy rhetoric, remarked quietly, 'The only axis in my knowledge round which everything moves to some accomplishment is a woman's cunt (le con d'une femme)" (197).

486.8] Who uses whom? (LENIN?): Bertram Wolfe records Russian politician Vladimir Lenin's observation "that in every alliance or agreement of disparate groups the ultimate political question is Kto kogo? (pronounced kto kovó--who whom? Since Russian is a highly inflected language no verb is needed, but Lenin's implied verb was: Who beats whom? or Who uses whom?)"-- Khrushchev and Stalin's Ghost (NY: Praeger, 1957), 49.

486.9] Of the soul being set before its maker [...] (K. MANSFIELD): a passage from Mansfield’s review of E. V. Lucas’s novel Verena in the Midst in the Atheneum for 10 September 1920, reprinted in her Novels and Novelists, ed. J. Middleton Murray (1930). Quoted three times in The Recognitions; see my Reader’s Guide, p. 156, for the full quotation.

486.11] To see clearly and be able to do nothing (HERACLITUS): the Greek philosopher flourished in the 6th-5th centuries B.C.; quotation untraced.

486.12] As if the roots of the earth [...] Keats, from a letter to J. H. Reynolds dated 9 April 1818, commenting on the rainy weather in Devonshire (ODQ).

486.13] Lady Brute: that may be an error in the translation: in Sir John Vanburgh’s (1664-1726) play The Provok’d Wife, Belinda remarks, “Ay, but you know we must return good for evil,” to which Lady Brute replies, “That may be a mistake in the translation” (ODQ).

486.14] Growing up as a difficult thing which few survive (HEMINGWAY?): untraced.

486.17] The melancholia of things completed: from section 277 of Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil; quoted twice in The Recognitions.

486.18]His heart yearning [...] (T. E. LAWRENCE): chap. 57 of Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1926) ends: “The crowd wanted book-heroes, and would not understand how more human old Auda was because, after battle and murder, his heart yearned towards the defeated enemy now subject, at his free choice, to be spared or killed: and therefore never so lovely.” Auda abu Tayi, one of the most celebrated warriors of his time, worked closely with Lawrence to mount the Arab Revolt.

486.23]Beware women who blow on knots: the sign of a witch; the advice is given in the Koran (sura 113) and is noted in Frazer’s Golden Bough (chap. 21 in the abridged edition).

486.24] That a work of art has a beginning, middle and end, life is all middle: Aristotle writes: “A whole is that which has beginning, middle, and end” (Poetics, chap. 7); the riposte is untraced.

486.26] There is a saying [...] (C. M. DOUGHTY, TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA): Charles M. Doughty’s (1843-1926) famous Travels (1888) recounts his travels in a baroque, unique style; the present quotation is from chap. 2, which gives this description of the inhabitants of Maan (a small town in Jordan, a rest station Doughty stayed at on the Haj—the annual pilgrimage from Damascus to Mecca):

There is a saying, if any stranger enquire of the first met of Maan, were it even a child, “Who is here the sheykh?” he would answer him “I am he.” They are very factious light heads, their minds are divided betwixt supine recklessness and a squalid avarice. When I formerly lodged here I heard with discomfort of mind their hourly squabbling, as it were rats in a tub, with loud wrangling over every trifle as of fiends in the end of the world.” (New York: Random House, 1947, p. 73)

The quotation was originally intended as the epigraph to J R.

486.30] It is true [...] cheated into some fine passages, but: assessing himself in a letter to B. R. Haydon (dated 8 March 1819), Keats wrote: “I am three and twenty with little knowledge and middling intellect. It is true that in the height of enthusiasm I have been cheated into some fine passages; but that is not the thing” (so reads ODQ, Gaddis’s source; other editors read the last three words as “nothing”).

486.32] Gogol’s character [...] gaping hole in humanity: Nikolai Gogol thus describes the miser Plyushkin in chap. 6 of his novel Dead Souls (1842).

490.17] all her eloquent blood spoke in her cheeks: see 464.17.

490.34] Lawrence’s old warrior Auda [...] yearning toward the defeated enemy: see 486.18.

Scene 65 (491.10-501.11)
Amy’s apartment
Amy and Gibbs’s lovemaking interrupted by a call from Beaton; Gibbs phones Eigen; Amy and Gibbs go out shopping (where Gibbs imitates a halfwit); make love and fall asleep.

492.24] Türschluss generation: see 393.42.

493.4] what immortal hand or eye: from Blake’s “The Tyger,” first stanza.

494.8] love means being able to say you’re sorry: a take-off on Erich Segal’s line in Love Story (1970), “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

494.29]cleaner greener maiden [...] neater sweeter land: the British soldier in Kipling’s poem “Mandalay,” disappointed after returning to England, boasts: “I’ve a neater, sweeter maiden in a cleaner, greener land!” (ODQ).

495.8] one hand resting white on a warm cheek wet: see 464.3.

496.20] Tripler’s: an exclusive men’s haberdashery on 44th and Vanderbilt in Manhattan. {Peter Wolfe}

498.5] sending people by telegraph [...] recreated somewhere else: a notion advanced at the end of chap. 5 of Wiener’s The Human Use of Human Beings.

498.39]Minuet in G: a popular piece from Bach's "Notenbüchlein für Anna Magdalena Bach" (BWV Anh. 114). [AZ]

501.5] too much gazed at: see 463.41.

502.1] the English suicide left the note too many buttons to button and unbutton: probably from Jean Cocteau's novel The Grand Écart (trans. Lewis Galantière [NY: Putnam's, 1925]). Near the beginning, as the protagonist unbuttons his jacket, "He is still thinking of that Englishman who committed suicide after having written: 'Too many buttons to button and unbutton: I'm through'" (p. 9). [Alex Van Heest]

504.25] sculptor [...] who called beauty the promise of function: American sculptor Horatio Greenough (1805-52) announced his manifesto as “By Beauty I mean the promise of function. / By action I mean the presence of function. / By character I mean the record of function” (The Travels, Observations, and Experiences of a Yankee Stonecutter [1852]).

504.31] bracelet of dark hair: see 464.13.

Scene 66 (501.11-508.31)
Amy’s apartment
Gibbs phones ex-wife; Moncrieff phones Amy as Gibbs and she are making love (504); Amy decides to leave for Geneva to recover her son.  

In front of Tripler’s, Gibbs avoids Beamish with Mrs. Schramm and Duncan.  

508.36] Ay Beamis sí! [...] Esperame!: Span.: “Yes, Beamish! It’s not me but that’s not important, right? Because I’m in agreement with you, yes sir, and the blonde? your wife? Cunt . . . What a terrific ass, look how she has the ass and the [ ? ] . . . And the bosom as nice as well but lacks sympathy [see 489.1], permit me to feel inside, madam? . . . Wait for me! Wait for me!” 

Scene 67 (509.13-543.38)
Waldorf-Astoria Hotel
Park Avenue between 49th & 50th Streets
Beamish and Duncan visit J R’s new headquarters, where Davidoff now works (he confuses Duncan’s wallpaper firm with Duncan & Co. publishers), as does former textbook-salesman Skinner (who has recently married Gibbs’ ex), Dan diCephalis (whom Davidoff calls “Mr Ten-forty”), Miss Flesch, and Hyde. Davidoff in fine fettle, on deck stamping out brush fires. Frigicom introduced.  

515.19] I CHOSE ROTTEN GIN [...] —D O’Lobeer: the titles are approximate anagrams of The Recognitions, and most of the quotations are from its original reviews: see In Recognition of William Gaddis, p. 18, n.28 for details.

516.8] Ethan Frome: title of a short novel by Edith Wharton (1911).

516.16] The Blood in the Red White and Blue: the title of the Civil War film in FHO.  

518.39] bringing the world into the classroom [...] educator Thomas Dewey: American philosopher and educator (1859-1952), whose scientific realism springs from William James’s pragmatism; source of quotation untraced; perhaps from his Democracy and Education (1916).

521.10] middle of winter: sounds plagiarized from Cheyenne Winter by Mari Sandoz (1953), made into a popular movie in 1964.

524.42] the Blue Danube: the well-known Strauss waltz.

526.9] Bradley and Ike: Omar Nelson Bradley (1893-1981) served under Eisenhower in World War II.  

527.10] Frigicom: the notion of sounds frozen and then allowed to thaw out at sea is anticipated in Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagruel; in book 4, chaps. 55-56, the voyaging Pantagruel reaches the Frozen Sea, where the clamor of a battle, frozen into sound shards during the previous winter, thaws out with noisy results similar to those reported later in J R (673).

527.36] Pater's line [...] Venice as frozen music: untraced; ODQ records F.W.J. Schelling's observation “Architecture in general is frozen music.”

529.19] clean well lighted place: title of a famous short story by Hemingway.

536.24] all’s right with the world: from part 1 of Browning’s drama Pippa Passes (ODQ).

Scene 68 (543.39-548.14)
En route uptown
Brisboy and Bast share a cab and discuss Wagner Funeral Homes.

545.3] Cosima: Wagner’s second wife (1837-1930), daughter of Franz Liszt, and director of the Bayreuth festivals until 1908.

545.7] Tristan: Wagner’s opera Tristan und Isolde (1859, first performed 1865).

545.7] Charon: in Greek mythology, the ferryman who transported the spirit across the river Styx into Elysium.

545.36] Crabbed age and youth: “Crabbed age and youth cannot live together: / Youth is full of pleasance, age is full of care”—Shakespeare, The Passionate Pilgrim (ODQ). Crabbed Age and Youth is also the title of a book by Robert Louis Stevenson (ODQ).

545.37] South Wind [...] Nepenthe: Norman Douglas’s 1917 novel South Wind is set on the island of Nepenthe (modeled after Capri).

547.5] Rameau [...] The Gnat: Jean Philippe Rameau (1683-1764), French composer. “The Gnat” (Le Moucheron) is actually by Rameau’s contemporary, François Couperin (1668-1733), from his Pièces de Clavecin, book 2.

547.35] Beethoven [...] heartrending will [...] Second Symphony: the will is translated in Thayer’s Life (304-5) and is indeed heartrending; at one point the composer writes: “But what a humiliation for me when someone standing next to me heard a flute in the distance and I heard nothing, or someone heard a shepherd singing and again I heard nothing. Such incidents drove me almost to despair, a little more of that and I would have ended my life—it was only my art that held me back. Ah, it seemed to me impossible to leave the world until I had brought forth all that I felt was within me.”

Scene 69 (548.14-565.16)
96th Street apartment
Bast and Rhoda (after getting rid of Al) catch up on business, make love; Bast writes music, then gets call from J R (562-64); continues working through the night.

560.5] big sea water [...] Minnehaha, in, in Hia: in Longfellow’s long poem The Song of Hiawatha (1855), Minnehaha is Hiawatha’s wife. Big-Sea-Water = Lake Superior.

Scene 70 (565.17-580.21)
96th Street apartment
Gibbs arrives early next morning as Bast prepares to leave for funeral in Union Falls; Rhoda leaves shortly after; Gibbs works on his book between business calls; goes to sleep.

571.5] Le commissionaire du, du mal oui? . . . plus tard bon pas de quoi:  Good God . . .:  The commissioner of, of evil -- what? It's a country?  Yes all right good no offense damn it what do you . . . who me? Me I'm ahm, I'm his assistant, yes, Mr. Bast isn't here, but I . . . Urgent yes but I . . . from what catalogue . . . ? Red and green, for what? Ray X? Don't see one here no I don't . . . I'll certainly tell Mr. [Bast] that you are rushed when he re . . . [returns] yes well look listen God damn it what do you want me to what do you . . .  What? A good bargain yes but you mean buy everything . . . ? Agree an exact price but the inventory for the whole . . .? All at once fine see what I can . . . who me? My name's ahm, yes my name's Grynszpan, yes Mr. Grynszpan . . . good, if you ... much later good about what good God . . .  [trans. John Soutter].

571.38] Hull House:
famous social settlement established in Chicago in 1899 by Jane Addams (1860-1935).  

571.40] Jack London: American writer (1876-1916), greatly influenced by Spencer, Darwin, and Marx.

571.40] Spencer’s immutable law: survival of the fittest—from Herbert Spencer’s (1820-1903) Principles of Biology. Spencer’s popularity in nineteenth-century America is discussed throughout Hofstadter’s Social Darwinism in American Thought (see 393.23).

571.40 "Give me the fact, man!  The irrefragable fact!":  from Jack London, The Iron Heel, chapter 1: 


I shall not describe the whole evening, though it is a joy to me to recall every moment, every detail, of those first hours of my coming to know Ernest Everhard.

Battle royal raged, and the ministers grew red-faced and excited, especially at the moments when Ernest called them romantic philosophers, shadow-projectors, and similar things. And always he checked them back to facts. `The fact, man, the irrefragable fact!' he would proclaim triumphantly, when he had brought one of them a cropper. He bristled with facts. He tripped them up with facts, ambuscaded them with facts, bombarded them with broadsides of  facts.

571.42] Maggie the Girl of the Streets: Stephen Crane’s 1893 novella about Bowery slum life (but A rather than the).  

571.43] John Dewey [...] close and intimate acquaintance got with nature at first: in chapter 1 of  The School and Society (1899), Dewey writes: “Again, we cannot overlook the importance for educational purposes of the close and intimate acquaintance got with nature at first hand, with real things and materials, with the actual processes of their manipulation, and the knowledge of their social necessities and uses”—from Dewey on Education, edited by Gaddis’s close friend Martin S. Dworkin (NY: Teachers College Press, 1959), 37.

573.16] Madame Bernhardt [...] photographed in a yellow mackintosh as ungainly as his [...] Wilde: more from “Impressions of America” (see 288.45).

573.40] thing of Granados: Enrique Granados Campina (1867-1916), Spanish pianist and composer.

575.29] Horatio Alger [...] Ragged Dicks: see 21.41; Ragged Dick was the boy-hero of a number of Alger’s novels.

575.42] a century labeled one of the most fascinating chapters [...] by [...] Reverend Newell Dwight Millis: actually Hillis: American clergyman and activist (1858-1929), author of over two dozen books; source of quotation unknown (cf. AA 83.18, where his surname is spelled correctly, as it is in RSP 11). .

576.7] Mark Twain saw them through a glass eye, darkly: apparently a reference (via 1 Cor. 13:12) to the misanthropy that darkens Twain’s later writings.

577.19] the first book he took: Broch’s Sleepwalkers: see 629.40.

578.9] place is like Kafka’s: in The Castle (see 418.6), the official Sordini works in a similar chaotic room (chap. 5).

579.9] tripods of Hephaestus: see 585.22.

annotations with scene outline
scenes 1 - 10 | pp. 3 - 59    
 scenes 11 - 20 | pp. 59 - 149   
scenes 21 - 30 | pp. 149 - 194
scenes 31--40 | pp. 194 - 251
scenes 41--50 | pp. 251--352
scenes 51 - 60 | pp. 352 - 449
scenes 61 - 70 | pp. 449 - 580
scenes 71 - 83 | pp. 580 - 726
scene outline only