Chapter 7 - Eight Days in an Attic

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Page 117

like those Japanese flowers that open in water
An image from Proust for the unfolding of the memories of Combray. The flowers were a novelty item (they sometimes turn up on ebay) made of paper and looked like nothing much until placed in water, when they would unfold. This is the passage from the Project Gutenberg transcription of Scott Moncrief's translation:

"And just as the Japanese amuse themselves by filling a porcelain bowl with water and steeping in it little crumbs of paper which until then are without character or form, but, the moment they become wet, stretch themselves and bend, take on colour and distinctive shape, become flowers or houses or people, permanent and recognisable, so in that moment all the flowers in our garden and in M. Swann's park, and the water-lilies on the Vivonne and the good folk of the village and their little dwellings and the parish church and the whole of Combray and of its surroundings, taking their proper shapes and growing solid, sprang into being, town and gardens alike, from my cup of tea."

Page 119

protagonist of The Monk, a 1796 Gothic novel by Matthew Lewis. The story concerns Ambrosio, a monk in Spain and a famous preacher, who is undone by the love of Matilda, his pupil (i.e. like Yambo and Sibilla). In order to carnally possess her, Ambrosio sells his soul to Satan. info full text

Page 121

Vichy water
Naturally effervescent mineral water from the springs at Vichy, France. Also famously appeared at the end of Casablanca, where it has a political meaning since the puppet governement of France under the Nazis was located at Vichy.

Page 122

Fixed Point
The notion of a "fixed point" was a central theme in Foucault's Pendulum, where it was used, primarily, to describe "the only fixed point in the universe" around which the universe rotates and from which the true pendulum would hang, thus providing an explanation of the apparent rotation of the back-and-forth axis of Foucault's Pendulum. In this quote from Queen Loana, Eco seems to be describing a nascent point of the printed text.

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King George V beard
(1865-1936) Georgev.jpg

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Jack London's Martin Eden
Martin Eden, Jack London’s semiautobiographical novel about a struggling young writer, is considered by many to be the author’s most mature work. text Yambo returns to this work in ch. 15, when the problem of sinking into darkness after having a final revelation becomes pressing.

Page 133

And together there with Fantômas were the tales of Rocambole , another crime lord
The Rocambole novels were written by Pierre Alexis Ponson du Terrail, beginning in 1857; the Fantômas novels were written by Pierre Souvestre and Marcel Allain in 1911-13. In chapter 84 of Foucault's Pendulum, Belbo speaks of Fantomas and Rocambole, two 19th-c. pulp anti-heros, along with Victor Hugo's and Jules Verne's heros. In his fantasy "The Return of St. Germain", Belbo's narrator, a murderous thief holed up somewhere in Paris, refers to himself as a Rocambole; his pastiche seems to draw on these pulp novels and also, probably, those of Salgari.

Wellclose Square .... an alley ... a theater where ... the prostitutes who frequent the boxes are barefoot
In Foucault's Pendulum, chapter 64, Belbo describes a dream in which he is wandering in a Paris which becomes Barcelona, and then London: "it's on this avenue ...that I see, to the right, at the end of a blind alley, the Theater. I'm not sure what happens in that place of pleasure ... but I know enough to want to return, full of excitement." It seems as though the passage from Woes of London has the same pull on Yambo as the dream-theater does on Belbo.

Arsene Lupin
thief and detective protagonist of numerous novels by Maurice Leblanc (1864-1941). The character Lupin was later revived by an anime series of the same name, including the anime film Castle of Cagliostro directed by the great Hayao Miyazaki. The Lupin character is mentioned twice in Foucault's Pendulum, where he is crucial to deceiphering a heavily coded "secret message" (ch. 107). Interestingly, Casaubon's girlfriend Lia has read the novels and is aware of "Lupinology," whereas Belbo's woman Lorenza has no clue about Salgari references.

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is a company Eco has written on extensively:

  • "we learned what liberty and democracy are by reading the comics of Walt Disney." 2005 interview with ZDF
  • Disney is mentioned in passing [[1]] in Foucault's Pendulum
  • Travles in Hyperreality - essay on Disneyworld

pen name of Enrico Novelli (1876-1943). of Ciuffettino by Yambo showing Ciuffettino's outrageous hairdo (the word "ciuffetino" in Italian means "quiff, tuft of hair, forelock, cowlick"). (Italian). It makes sense that if the little boy has heard people talking about "Giambattista's cowlick" and then heard about "Yambo's 'Cowlick'" he would make a connection. Eco has created another child who defined his unruly hair in terms of book illustrations. In Foucault's Pendulum, Belbo, who is the same age as Yambo, recalls that at the age of 11 "My hair was very thick at the time, and it tended to stand up on my head a bit like Struwwelpeter's." [2] is like Ciuffettino a character from illustrated children's literature, a little boy who never cut his hair or fingernails. The original text and illustrations were by Heinrich Hoffmann, written in German in 1844.

Illustrated Journal of Voyages and Adventures on Land and on Sea-
This is the weekly paper that Jacopo Belbo, as a child, read to pieces; forty years later, he wishes his mother had not thrown them away, so that he could find a complete set in the big counrtry house of his dreams (Foucault's Pendulum ch. 64; the typeface of that book implies that these are two different titles). Here Yambo fulfill's Belbo's dream.

Page 147-49

Sandokan.jpg Sandokanan.jpg Corsaronero.jpg
Above: images from the TV series and a cartoon series on Sandokan; collectible Corsaro Nero doll

Salgari, Sandokan
Emilio Salgari (1862-1911) was the author of dozens of high-adventure novels, often featuring pirate heroes such as Sandokan, "the Tiger of Malaysia" (battling the European colonial/imperial forces in 11 novels), the Black Corsair, etc. He also wrote tales of the American West, and other parts of the world that still seemed to have room for bad guys to be good guys. There is a substantial filmography based on these, including the TV series and an animated series, one of which apparently Yambo's grandchildren have seen. Although the works were important in the boy's-book mentality of Italy and Spain, they were not translated into English and only recently has someone undertaken to start translating them.

Salgari is also significant for the protagonists of Foucault's Pendulum. In chapter 56, when Belbo is telling the story of his efforts to play the trumpet in the Salesian Oratory band, at one point he says "Asterisk: Historical Fact." Lorenza Pellegrini, a young woman, is confused, so Casaubon explains "smugly" that Salgari would use an asterisk and a footnote to identify particularly spectacular facts in his otherwise highly inventive novels. In Belbo's wordprocessed romance, "The Return of Saint Germain" (chapter 99), his protagonist confronts the wily Jesuit declaring, "Look at me. I, too, am a Tiger" --presumably a quotation from a Sandokan novel (and who knows how much more of this pastiched chapter is drawn from Salgari). Then, at a crucial moment in chapter 111, Casaubon decides to go to Paris to rescue Belbo from whoever has captured him with this line of reasoning:

Maybe he was counting on me to slip, under cover of night, into the cave of the Thugs, and, as Suyodhana was about to plunge the sacrificial knife into his heart, to burst into the underground temple with my sepoys, their muskets loaded with grapeshot, and carry him to safety. (Trans. Weaver)

Suyodhana is the "Tiger of India" and leader of the Thugs in Salgari's book The Two Tigers, and although I didn't find either Belbo's or Casaubon's exact formulations in the last chapter of that book (in which Sandokan kills Suyodhana, rescuing a little girl), they probably refer to that book. Of course, Belbo ends up never playing the trumpet in front of Cecelia, his St. Germain is confounded, and he is not rescued at all by Casaubon, who hides while both Lorenza and Belbo are literally made into human sacrifices.

Page 150

Sherlock Holmes
the protagonist of Eco's Name of the Rose, William of Baskerville (an allusion to the Sherlock Holmes story, Hound of the Baskervilles), incorporates much of the Holmes character and mystery genre conventions.

Page 152

de te fabula narratur
"Quid rides? mutato nomine de te fabula narratur". Horace, Satires, I,i, v.69. Why do you laugh? If you change the name the story applies to you.

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Funes the Memorious
title of a story by Borges. text (English). The titular character is a boy who, as a result of an accident, acquires a prodigious capacity to remember information and recall memories.

Lenin in his white armchair
there are a few paintings of Lenin in [3] in a room with "white armchairs". Here is one particularly famous, by Isaac Brodsky. [4]


What is to be done?
1863 novel by Chernyshevsky which postulates the attainment by mankind of perfect virtue and happiness by the pusuit of enlightened self-interest. This novel prompted Dostoevsky to write 'Notes from Underground' in 1864 (whose opening words are "I am a sick man..."), which in turn led to his masterpiece, 'Crime and Punishment'.

Also the name of a political text by Lenin, who drew some inspiration from the Chernyshevsky work.

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The Magic Mountain
1924 novel by Thomas Mann, set (partially?) in a sanatorium. Often named as one of the century's greatest novels. Naphta and Settembrini are two characters.

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