Chapter 6 - Il Nuovissimo Melzi

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Page 90

strong French brand of cigarettes.

Page 92

Eco jokingly refers to his own summer house as Alcatraz. [|source] (Maybe also because of the number of keys.)

Gorky seems to have him 'described' in an armchair, but also those so called armchair generals/socialists/politicians/aso come to mind.)

Page 94

this may be a stretch, but Ada was a long novel by Nabokov that is not often read. Ada's room in Queen Loana is decorated with butterflies, which may be a clue-- Nabokov was a lepidopterist, someone who studies butterflies.

Page 95

"...and a hairy vulva came to mind. Why?"
Yambo, exploring 'the polychromatic multiplicity of the races and peoples of the earth,' has probably brought to mind Courbet's "[|L'Origin du monde]" (Allthough this hardly relates to peoples and races or the exotic. In this context, a hunch of ethnographic images could have done the trick.)

Savonarola chairs
15th century Scissor chair was named after the charismatic Dominican monk Girolamo Savonarola (1452-1498).


The Jester's Supper
La cena delle beffe (1909) by Sem Benelli

Page 96

Il Duce
Benito Mussolini

a heartbeat outside the normal rhythm (arrhythmia).

Page 99

pseudonym of Gaspard-FĂ©lix Tournachon (1820-1910), French photographer who famously photographed [|Dumas], [|Sarah Bernhardt], and many other 19th century luminaries. [|Photo collection]

Page 101

It's in the Air
1935 American film.

George Formby
(1904-1961) was the "archetype "cheeky chappie" Northern British comedian. Trained originally as a jockey, he often appeared on horseback in his films. Best known for his buck-toothed grin and his ukelele." [|from IMDB]

Speaking of Formby, the combination of buck-toothed grin and ukelele calls to mind Thomas Pynchon, a buck-toothed kid with an affinity for ukeleles. Sure enough, Formby is mentioned on page [|17] of Gravity's Rainbow, describing Tyrone Slothrop: "He does have some rather snappy arrangement," Tantivy reports, "he's a sort of American George Formby, if you can imagine such a thing," but Bloat's decided he'd rather not. Our information about Pynchon comes from a 1977 article by Jules Siegal: Pynchon "could carry a tune well and made up ribald parodies of popular songs, which I seem to remember-- surely I am imagining this-- were accompanied on a ukulele."

Page 102

the great poet
Eco does not seem to talking about anyone specific here. Chopin wrote a "water drop" prelude and fits some of the description, but died at the age of 39. (At least from the original text it seems clear that Eco is expressing Yambo's irritation, and therefore uses exaggeration.)

Page 107

78 RPM
Record players designed in Europe in the fyfties should already have had 33 and even 45 rpm. In the Netherlands we had them, then! And Italy never seemed that slow. So either it was an earlier design, - or Yambo's grandfather was being frugal, which does not seem consistent with his 'casting'.)

Page 108

a subject [|mentioned] in The Name of the Rose

Page 112

Qualis artifex pereo?
Nero's last words, "I die, but what an artist!" (more or less). Jacopo Belbo attributes the phrase, along with Goethe's last words, to the dying John Dee in Foucault's Pendulum chapter 73. (Still, how would he have said shit when hitting his thumb? Maybe Peter Jones' Learn Latin and dictionary? can answer this.)

Page 113

Flatus Vocis
the breath of the voice seems to be a term indicating the name of things without any of the meaning, as here, Yambo recalls impressions without their emotional resonance or associations.

The term was important in medieval philosophy, in Nominalist discussions. I think (corrections welcome) that it rejects the idea that universals or categories (e.g. rose or whore/putana) have a real existence (the ideal rose or whore) to which the individuals refer, and on the other hand that they do not exist at all. They exist, rather, only insofar as they are spoken words, useful but purely subjective human constructions. So Yambo feels he is still working in the world of categories and encyclopedia definitions, feeling that he is constructing a lost world out of phrases without being able to perceive it, without its being real. (Please revise this if I am off base). (Flatus vocis can also mean a farting of words. Words, words, words... but no connection. Bullshit, in a way.)

the complete works of Verne
In Foucault's Pendulum, chapter 84, it is suggested that "all of Verne is an occult revelation of the mysteries of the underground." Presumably Yambo's question about whether there are color movies of Verne's works is rhetorical, since he must at least have heard of Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Mike Todd's Around the World in 80 Days, if not of the dozens of other color films and TV series based on Verne's works.

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