Saturday, December 6, 2008

Notes from The Jest: pages 1 - 17

Here is a web site that just might help with the words DFW used in the Jest

Page 3: 2nd paragraph: “I am in here.” A number of ways to take this sentence; in this room, in this body, in this body in this room… Almost like Hal has just come to some conscious realization of the reality he is in, like he is waking up or something.
Here is the layout of the room and the characters in it as I picture it.

Page 4: wen skin cyst: a cyst containing material secreted by a sebaceous gland of the skin, usually on the scalp or genitals. It may grow to an appreciable size and become infected.

Page 5: Kekulean knot: I couldn’t find any definition on this, but check out this link: other people have had the same question I had. Worth a search on Google, but not much to be found.

Page 7: lapidary
1. engraved on stone: engraved in stone or on a gemstone
2. of engraving gemstones: relating to the art of engraving gemstones
3. dignified and elegant: careful, elegant, and dignified in style (formal)

1. decadent: characterized by decadence, overrefinement, or overindulgence
2. weak: lacking or having lost the strength or ability to get things done (archaic)
3. barren: no longer able to reproduce

Montague Grammar: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Semantics of Physical Modality: Again, I couldn’t find much about this topic, at least, specifically about this topic as worded. But check out: Here there is this note: "Richard Taylor's 'Fatalism' and the Semantics of Physical Modality". Department of Philosophy of Amherst College; March 22, 1985. [NOTE: This is DFW's Philosophy Thesis, decidedly not written for laymen.]

Page 8: “The familiar panic of being misperceived.” Who among us hasn’t experienced that?

Page 9: Oxford Quadrivium-Trivium: a curricular model. Here’s what I’ve found.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
About the quadrivium, Proclus Diadochus said in In primum Euclidis elementorum librum commentarii:
Arithmetic is the Discrete At Rest
Astronomy is the Discrete In Motion
Geometry is the Continuous At Rest
Music is the Continuous In Motion
DFW explains this a little later in the book.

Page 10: posit
1. put something forward: to put something forward for consideration, for example, a suggestion, assumption, or fact
2. position something: to place something firmly in position

Page 12 line 9: Dennis Gabor invented holography (for real). Holography seems to have something to do with the TP cartridges of recorded video that will appear later in the book.

Page 13: “I’m in here.” Echo of the statement on page 3. But the p. 3 statement was something Hal thought. This is spoken, although from what it seems is going on it probably didn’t come out that way.

pase, matador’s movement with cape: a movement a matador makes with a cape to attract the bull’s attention and make it charge.

1. vulnerable position: a position in which troops are exposed to gunfire along the length of their formation
2. raking fire: gunfire that strikes a body of troops along its whole length

Page 16: “At the only other emergency room I have ever been in, almost exactly one year back, …” I’m hoping to find out what made that previous emergency room visit necessary.
“…a T-shirted woman with barnwood skin and a trucker’s cap and a bad starboard list…had almost a parodic Quebecois accent…” I found it interesting that Hal picked up on the Quebecois accent.

hypophalangial: I couldn’t find a flat-out definition, but can piece together what this probably means.

hypo- prefix
1. under, below • hypodermis
2. abnormally low • hypotonia
3. in a lower state of oxidation

relating to phalanx: relating to a phalanx or the phalanges
1. tight group: a group of people, animals, or objects that are moving or standing closely together
2. ARMY HISTORY body of troops: especially in ancient Greece, a group of soldiers that attacks in close formation, protected by their overlapping shields and projecting spears
3. (plural phalanges) ANATOMY finger and toe bone: a finger or toe bone of a human being or vertebrate animal

So, from hypo- (2) and phalanges (3), it must be abnormally low or abnormally small fingers.

1. study of causes: the philosophical investigation of causes and origins
2. medical specialty: the branch of medicine that investigates the causes and origins of disease
3. cause of a disease: the set of factors that contributes to the occurrence of a disease

Page 16-17: The opening scene of Hamlet, played out by Hal, Don Gately, and John (N.R.) Wayne. This seems to connect the three of them. I was aware of the connection (in the book) of Hal and Don Gately in my first reading, but at that time John Wayne seemed almost incidental.

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