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11.

44] a time before death entered the world, before


accident: as Koenig points out ("'Splinters,'" 77), this is from
Lang's Magic and Religion (85): "Early men, contrary to Mr. Frazer's
account, suppose themselves to be naturally immortal. The myths
of perhaps all races tell of a time when death had not yet entered
the world. Man was born deathless. Death came in by an accident,
or in consequence of an error, or an infraction of a divine
command."
12.1] before magic despaired, to become religion: Lang
summarizes Frazer's thesis of the evolution of religion thus: "But as
men advanced from almost the lowest savagery, they gradually
attained to higher material culture, developing the hitherto
unknown arts of agriculture, developing also religion, in the despair
of magic, developing gods, and evolving social and political rank,
with kings at the head of society. [...] But though it was in the
despair of magic that men invented gods and religion, yet, as men
will, they continue to exercise the magic of which they despaired"
(M&R83). Lang, however, disagrees and cautions: "This question
cannot be historically determined. If we find a race which has magic
but no religion, we cannot be certain that it did not once possess a
religion of which it has despaired" (M&R 47).
47.33] a wren [...] around Christmas: Frazer identifies the
British custom of killing a wren on Saint Stephen's Day (December
26) as a throwback to pagan scapegoat ceremonies. He points out
that by many European peoples "the wren has been designated the
king, the little king, the king of birds, the hedge king, and so forth,
and has been reckoned amongst those birds which it is extremely
unlucky to kill" (GB 536). Graves too notes the custom (WG 76, 153-
55). Commenting on a nursery rhyme that reflects this custom, the
editors of The Annotated Mother Goose note: "There is an old
tradition that the first Christian missionaries to Britain were
offended because the pagan druids showed great respect for the
wren, 'the king of all birds.' The missionaries ordered that the wren
be hunted and killed on the morning of Christmas Day. The custom
was later transferred to the morning of the following day, December
26th" (42 n.64).

50.27] cover a large mirror with a tablecloth: it was once


believed that one's reflection in a mirror (or water) was the soul: "in
time of sickness, when the soul might take flight so easily, it is
particularly dangerous to project it out of the body by means of the
reflection in a mirror" - hence the custom of covering up mirrors in
time of sickness or after death, when the soul of a bystander,
"projected out of the person in the shape of his reflection in the
mirror, may be carried off by the ghost of the departed" (GB 192).
57.43] Pelagianism: the British monk Pelagius (360?-420?)
rejected the doctrine of original sin and insisted that one is free to
do good or evil and is personally responsible for his or her own
salvation, as opposed to the Augustinian doctrine (which became
dogma) that mankind, as a result of Adam's fall, suffers from
"innate depravity" and can attain salvation only by the grace of God
(and his church). One of the great heresiarchs, Pelagius is the
author of On the Trinity, On Free Will, and other tracts.
58.7] Free will: the existence and necessity of free will is a major
theme in the Clementine Recognitions.
58.16] the doctrine, which he called Aristotelian [...] shock
His worshipers: from Conybeare's discussion of the development
of the Eucharist (MMM 266-67):
The Aristotelian distinction of substance and accident was also called in to explain its nature.
The substance of the bread, it was argued, becomes the substance of the flesh, even though
the accidents of the bread - e.g., colour, size, hardness, taste, weight, smell, etc. - remain; as if,
forsooth, a bit of bread had any substance apart from the entire complex of its attributes.
However, the substance of the body and blood having, on this view, replaced in the act of
consecration that of the bread and wine, the recipient is declared to masticate, with teeth and
tongue, the real flesh and blood. It is only by the merciful providence of a God unwilling to
shock and stupefy his worshippers, that the attributes or accidents are allowed to remain, and
the holy bread or victim, as it is called, prevented from appearing on the altar as a bleeding
mass of raw human flesh.

64.31] "A mon très aimé [...] M. Chasles [...] collection of


autographs: as an example of "how a man can be great in his own
specialty, yet likely to be taken in under peculiar and rather
astonishing circumstances," Nobili (GAF 200-201) instances a
collection of autographs sold to French mathematician Michel
Chasles (1793-1880) by a forger named Vrain-Lucas:
Among other things there was included: a private letter of Alexander the Great addressed to
Aristotle; a letter of Cleopatra to Julius Cæsar, informing the Roman Dictator that their son
"Cesarion" was getting on very well; a missive of Lazarus to St. Peter; also a lengthy epistle
addressed to Lazarus by Mary Magdalen. It should be added that the letters were written in
French and in what might be styled an eighteenth-century jargon, that Alexander addressed
Aristotle as Mon Ami and Cleopatra scribbled to Cæsar: Notre fils Cesarion va bien. Lazarus, no
less a scholar in the Gallic idiom, and to whom, maybe, a miraculous resurrection had
prompted a new personality, writes to St. Peter in the spirit of a rhetorician and a prig, speaking
of Cicero's oratory and Cæsar's writings, getting excited and anathematic on Druidic rites and
their cruel habit de sacrifier des hommes saulxvaiges.
Mary Magdalen, who begins her letter with a mon très aimé frère Lazarus, ce que me mandez
de Petrus l'apostre de notre doux Jesus, is supposed to be writing from Marseilles and thus
would appear to be the only one out of the many who can logically indulge in French,
the jargon-bouillabaisse that Vrain-Lucas lent to the gallant array of his personages.
After such a practical joke played on the excellent good faith of M. Chasles, some of the other
autographs seem tame. The package, however, also contained scraps jotted down by
Alcibiades and Pericles, a full confession of Judas Iscariot's crime written by himself to Mary
Magdalen before passing the rope round his neck; a letter of Pontius Pilate addressed to
Tiberius expressing his sorrow for the death of Christ. Other astounding pieces of this now
famous collection were: a passport signed by Vercingetorix, a poem of Abelard and some love-
letters addressed by Laura to Petrarch, as well as many other historical documents down to a
manuscript of Pascal and an exchange of letters between the French scientist and Newton on
the laws of gravitation, the Frenchman claiming the discovery as his own. [...] Among other
historical blunders is the supposition that Newton could have exchanged letters with Pascal on
the laws of gravitation. The former being but nine years old when Pascal died, he had certainly
not yet given his mind to the observations bringing about his marvellous discovery.

71.11] Degas [...] his remark [...] criminal commits his


deed: Edgar Degas (18341917), French painter. In Thomas Mann's preface to The
Short Novels of Dostoevsky, he writes that Nietzsche felt "all intellectual isolation
and alienation from the civil norm, all mental autonomy and ruthlessness, are related
to the criminal's mode of life and afford an experiential insight into it. It seems to me
that we can go even farther and say that all creative originality, all artistry in the
widest sense of the word, does just that. The French painter and sculptor Degas once
made the remark that the artist must approach his work in the same frame of mind in
which the criminal commits his deed." (NY: Dial Press, 1945, p. xii). [Keith
McMullen]
71.34] I could guarantee you excellent reviews: a similar offer
was made to Han Van Meegeren (1889-1947), a forger much in the
news when R was being written, and whose career Gaddis used as a
model for Wyatt's. Frustrated at the critical neglect of his own work,
Van Meegeren over a period of ten years in the 1930s and 1940s
forged several Vermeers (supposedly dating from a gap in
Vermeer's life) that completely fooled the critics and were sold at
prices befitting rediscovered old masters. When for political reasons
Van Meegeren finally confessed, the red-faced critics denied he had
the talent to forge such works; materials were brought to his prison
cell, and there he forged another for the benefit of these critics. Van
Meegeren died in jail shortly thereafter. Both his technical
accomplishments - especially reproducing chemically the aging
process a seventeenth-century painting would have undergone -
and his "spiritual" identification with Vermeer were adapted by
Gaddis as components in Wyatt's approach to his own forgeries. For
a fuller discussion, see Tom Sawyer's "False Gold to Forge: The
Forger behind Wyatt Gwyon," Review of Contemporary Fiction 2.2
(Summer 1982): 50-54.

73.3] "Un client [...] Fabriquons-en": "A customer wants


Corots? There's a shortage on the market? Make some." The
hypothetical remark is made in Eudel's Trucs et truqueurs (451),
where greed for unobtainable art objects is held responsible for the
practice of forgery. (Both Eudel and Nobili censure avaricious, ill-
educated art collectors; but for them, there would be no market for
fakes.) Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796-1875): French landscape
painter.
73.35] a German envoy [...] shot in Paris: Ernst vom {sic, not
von} Rath, third secretary of the German Embassy in Paris, was
shot and killed on 7 November 1938 by a young Polish Jew named
Herschel Grynszpan in retaliation for the mistreatment of Jews in
Nazi Germany. The assassination led to the notorious Kristallnacht a
few days later. (In J R, Gibbs and Eigen use "Grynszpan" as a cover
name at their 96th Street apartment.)

74.40] Valerian [...] Sapor: from Foxe (BM 21-22):


It is here proper to take notice of the singular but miserable fate of the [Roman] emperor
Valerian, who had so long and so terribly persecuted the Christians. This tyrant, by a
stratagem, was taken prisoner by Sapor, emperor of Persia, who carried him into his own
country, and there treated him with the most unexampled indignity, making him kneel down as
the meanest slave, and treading upon him as a footstool when he mounted his horse. After
having kept him for the space of seven years in this abject state of slavery, he caused his eyes
to be put out, though he was then eighty-three years of age. This not satiating his desire of
revenge, he soon after ordered his body to be flayed alive, and rubbed with salt, under which
torments he expired [A.D. 267]; and thus fell one of the most tyrannical emperors of Rome, and
one of the greatest persecutors of the Christians.

Wyatt associates Valerian with his father (405.6-10, 421.18); Brown


later acquires this painting - thinking it genuine (231.32) - from
which Wyatt will cut out the figure of Valerian when he leaves for
Spain; Valerian is later associated by Ludy (and perhaps by Wyatt as
well) with the porter at the Real Monasterio (896.1 ff.). The
description of Wyatt's Memling closely matches David's painting
(see 70.37), even to the red cloak in the foreground.

92.5] all of a sudden everything was freed into one


recognition: cf. Berenson's A&H (84-85):
In visual art the aesthetic moment is that flitting instant, so brief as to be almost timeless,
when the spectator is at one with the work of art he is looking at, or with actuality of any kind
that the spectator himself sees in terms of art, as form and colour. He ceases to be his ordinary
self, and the picture or building, statue, landscape, or aesthetic actuality is no longer outside
himself. The two become one entity; time and space are abolished and the spectator is
possessed by one awareness. When he recovers workaday consciousness it is as if he had been
initiated into illuminating, exalting, formative mysteries. In short, the aesthetic moment is a
moment of mystic vision.

96.44] Arab saying, "The arch never sleeps": in J. R.


Ackerley's Hindoo Holiday (see 733.epigraph), Gaddis read:
The Hindoo never builds an arch; he prefers the rectangular form, the straight stone beam
resting on uprights; for then there is pressure in only one direction, downwards.
The Mohammedan builds arches, but the Hindoo despises them. There is pressure in two
directions, downwards and outwards, and the Hindoo considers this self-destructive.
"The arch never sleeps," he says. (184)

Wyatt interprets the proverb as a favorable remark by the Arab,


though it seems obvious it is a disparaging remark by the Hindu.
102.37] gods, superseded, become the devils: "It is a well-
known fact that when a new religion is established in any country,
the god or gods of the old religion becomes the devil of the new" -
from the article on witchcraft in EB (23:686) by the eminent
authority Margaret A. Murray. Cf. 536.2-12.

124.6] Cicero's Paradoxa [...] Praxiteles: see 57.20 for


Praxiteles, where Rev. Gwyon alludes to the same anecdote
(from GAF 41):
In Paradoxa, a collection of philosophical thoughts called Socratic in style by Cicero [106-
43 B.C.], [...] Cicero has the courage to write the following paragraph in defense of Carneades,
who maintained that a head of a Faun had been found in the raw marble of a quarry at Chios:
"One calls the thing imaginary, a freak of chance, just as if marble could not contain the forms
of all kinds of heads, even those of Praxiteles. It is a fact that these heads are made by taking
away the superfluous marble, and in modelling them even a Praxiteles does not add anything
of his own, because when much marble has been taken away one reaches the real form, and
we see the accomplished work which was there before. This is what may have happened in the
quarry of Chios."

Nobili ridicules such an attitude, but Wyatt approves and adds


Cicero's questionable aesthetics to his own concept of "recognition."

124.11] The disciple [...] his master [...] Saint Luke: Luke
6:40. Berenson quotes this verse in his discussion of the "originality
of incompetence" (A&H 170); his views are consonant with (if not
the source of) Herr Koppel's opinion of originality quoted by Wyatt
earlier (89.23-22). Hughes notes that Luke was "the patron of
painters" (W 37).

131.43] Michael Majer [...] the image of God: Majer (or Mayer,
Maier; 1568-1622) was a German physician, composer, and
voluminous writer on alchemy. Gaddis paraphrases Jung's
paraphrase of a passage in Majer's De Circulo physico
quadrato (1616):
The sun has spun the gold in the earth by many millions of rotations around it. The sun has
gradually imprinted in the earth its image, which is the gold. The sun is the image of God, and
the heart is the image of the sun in man. Gold is the sun's image in the earth, and is also
called deus terrenus; God can be recognized in the gold. This image of God appearing in gold is
no doubt the anima aurea, which, instilled into ordinary quicksilver, changes it into gold.
(IP 246)
137.43] I A O, I A E: variants of the Hebrew tetragrammaton
(YHWH), used in a variety of magic formulas. See next note.
139.1] I A O, I A E, in the name of the father [...] opsakion
aklana thalila i a o, i a e: "Matthew vii.22 indicates that it was
not long before many outside the pale of the Church used Jesus's
name in their exorcisms: [...] In some of the magical papyri lately
discovered in Egypt we find the name of Jesus so invoked. I adduce
one such incantation from an ancient source, wherein also the
demon is addressed in his own tongue: -
Here is a goodly gift of Apsyrtus, a saving remedy, wonderfully
effective for cattle. IAO, IAE, in the name of the father and of our
Lord Jesus Christ and holy spirit, iriterli estather, nochthai brasax
salolam nakarzeo masa areons daron charael aklanathal aketh
thruth tou malath poumedoin chthon litiotan mazabates maner
opsakion aklana thalila iao, iae. . . . And write the same with a brass
pencil on a clean, smooth plate of tin." (MMM 239)

139.15] Emperor [...] by the power of the grand ADONAY [...]


P. M. S.: a conjuration of Emperor Lucifer (or "thy Messenger
Astarôt") from the Grand Grimoire, as recorded in Arthur Edward
Waite's The Book of Ceremonial Magic(London: Rider, 1911), 248-
49. (The initials, it will be noticed, are those of the individual
names.) Part 2 of Waite's study, in which this invocation appears, is
entitled "The Complete Grimoire," based on the Grimorium
Verum (see 83.24), the Key of Solomon (Goethe's source for Faust's
conjuration [ll. 1271 ff.]), and similar works. This particular spell is
entitled "Grand Conjuration: Extracted from the Veritable Clavicle,"
supposedly one of the most potent invocations.

141.11-12] You’d think I was wicked as hell, even if what I do for


them turns out good: Mephistopheles to Faust in Goethe‘s Faust.
Der Tragödie erster Teil (Faust I), Faust's Study 1335 - 1336.
Mephistopheles. Ein Teil von jener Kraft,
Die stets das Böse will und stets das Gute
schafft.
(Mephistopheles: A part of that force
That always desires evil but always fashions
goodness.) -- trans. John Soutter [JS]

144.28] Saint Paul tells us to redeem time: see Eph. 5:15-16


("See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
redeeming the time, because the days are evil") and/or Col. 4:5
("Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the
time"). Both letters were traditionally ascribed to Paul, but their
authenticity is now in doubt. Eliot too tells us to redeem the time in
part 4 of "Ash Wednesday."