Chapter 16 - The Wind Is Whistling
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my whole life at the Oratorio
This is the equivalent of a Catholic Boys' Club, one of the system of Salesian Oratories that was founded by Don Bosco. It offered, as we find out, sports, friendship, news, and mind-bending sermons enforcing the idea of masculine purity. Yambo does not mention whether Solara's Oratorio is still standing, but in Foucault's Pendulum it turns out that the one near the country house to which Jacopo Belbo was evacuated during the war is in fact functional in the late 1970s or early 1980s:
From the terrace we could see the Bricco [hill surmounted by a chapel], and below it a large plain building with a yard and a soccer field--all inhabited by multi-colored little figures, children, it seemed to me. "It's the Salesian parish hall," Belbo explained. "That's where Don Tico taught me to play. In the band."
(Tr. Weaver, ch. 55). In chapter 56, Belbo tells the story of the band concerts at the Salesian parish hall/oratory, which gave him an opportunity to hope he could show off to Cecilia, his 13-year-old beloved.
Radio London. It began with a series of kettledrum beats, almost like Beethoven's Fifth....
this is the V for Victory Campaign. The opening bars of Beethoven's Fifth resemble the letter V in Morse Code. The BBC began broadcasting this interval sign in the European Service and it became popular in England and in the occupied countries. Churchill often flashed the V sign with his fingers. See: History of the BBC.
Up there at Capocabana ...I picture a languid diva...
this is Wanda Osiris, who sang that song and was famous for her staircase stage-sets. Fabulous picture of her at Osiris. She is named on p. 413. This scene clarifies the associations Yambo could not quite catch at the end of ch. 8 and 11.
In the scene between Gragnola and a young Yambo, we see many of Eco's lifelong themes reappear.
a central theme in Name of the Rose
I am a coward
said numerous times by Jacopo Belbo in Foucault's Pendulum. More?
If they torture me, I'll talk
In Name of the Rose, one of the monks asserts that he will not be able to resist torture.
fog and the Gorge
the re-introduction of fog this late in the novel suggests a thematic link with memory. But what? How? Is the Gorge a metaphor for memory or reclaiming memory? Perhaps the fog of the Gorge is the source of Yambo's obsession with fog, his desire to amass literary descriptions of it, since this is the moment when he encounters war and death, and loses Gragnola. What happens in the fog in the Gorge is the memory he wanted to evade and suppress, the memory from which idealized love was supposed to rescue him, the reason he avoided Solara as an adult.
Feldmarschall Albert Kesselring
(1885-1960), German Commander-in-Chief in the West, and formerly Commander-in-Chief in Italy during WWII. 
eight Mamelukes or Kalmyks or Mongols or whatever
evokes the naked Kalmyk women in the ethnographical book in someone's father's study, p. 317. The exotic has come to Solara.
Gino, who had been in the Black Brigades
Gino's story is told in more detail in chapter 96 of Foucault's Pendulum, where Belbo remembers him as "some guy named Remo--or something like that."
Rien ne va plus
""Nothing works any more" (French) but also "No more bets," the phrase of the croupier when the roulette wheel is spinning, the ball is in play, and no more bets can be placed. It is spoken by the croupier (Marcel Dalio) in "Casablanca," in the scene where Rick engineers a winning streak for the young couple, Jan and Annina; obviously this would not have been Gragnola's source. His "learning" must have to do with experiences of gambling. The force of the phrase is similar to the Latin sentence associated with Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon, "Alea jacta est," the die is cast, I can't change my bet, whatever happens now will happen.
Drôle de guerre
"Peculiar war" (French). The phrase, usually translated "phony war", was used to refer to the Sitzkreig/Twilight War of 1939-40, seven months when the Germans "sat" on the border along France's Maginot line and neither army shot at the other article. However, here the phrase does not seem to refer to a type of war but to the strangeness of World War in general. A Brazilian Infantry Division and a Fighter Squadron actually saw action in NW Italy, and young Eco may have met some Brazilian soldiers.