Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Notes from The Jest: pages 32 - 64

Page 32: 9 MAY – YEAR OF THE DEPEND ADULT UNDERGARMENT (one year before the first episode) Introducing Mario and Orin.

Page 34: Sufism, from Sufi, a Muslim mystic.

kif, marijuana, especially in North Africa.

Page 39: anfractuous, twisty: with much twisting and turning.

Page 39: Introducing Bruce Green, Mildred Bonk, Tommy Doocey, and Harriet Bonk-Green. These guys live in a trailer. Tommy Doocey deals pot and other sundries and keeps snakes. Are these the people in the trailer, ref. p. 17-24 by Erdedy?

Page 42: Introducing Orin Incandenza.

Page 45: Orin is overdeveloped on his left side. I noticed the asymmetric physical development of Orin and the tennis prodigies. Hal’s right arm is overdeveloped (I think; need to check this out).

Page 44: Hobbesian: from Hobbes, Thomas (1588–1679)
English philosopher and political theorist. In Leviathan ( 1651 ) he advocated absolute monarchy as the only means of controlling clashing human interests and desires and guaranteeing their rights of self-preservation and happiness.

Page 45: First occurrence of “howling fantods”.

Note to self: Need two bookmarks for this book: one to mark your place in the book and one to mark your place in the end notes.

Page 47: phylacterish, as in "phylacterish bird”, variation of (?) phylacteric, magical or talismanic.

1. JUDAISM Jewish aid to prayer: either of two small leather boxes containing slips of paper with scriptures written on them, traditionally worn by Jewish men during morning weekday prayers as reminders of their religious duties (often used in the plural)
2. reminder: a reminder of something important
3. amulet: something worn because it is believed to have special powers, for example, the power to keep away evil spirits (archaic)

Orin’s dream of his mother’s head bound to his own: a memory of incest? See pages 1061-1062, the Cult of the Endless Kiss.

Page 51: pargeted, from parget
1. plaster for walls or chimneys: plaster, whitewash, roughcast, or any similar material used to coat walls or line chimneys
2. plasterwork: ornamental plasterwork on a wall

Page 55: Introducing Don Gately.

Page 57: chiffonier, chest of drawers: a relatively tall narrow chest of drawers that often has a mirror attached to the back

apocope, omission of end of word: the loss or omission of one or more syllables from the end of a word, for example, the shortening of “kind of” to “kinda”.

Page 59: comm-il-faut, variation of comme il faut, being in accord with conventions or accepted standards; proper.

Page 61: prolix, wordy: tiresomely wordy.

Page 62: reglet
1. ARCHITECTURE flat molding: a flat narrow architectural molding, or a narrow strip separating moldings or panels
2. PRINTING piece of wood for spacing type: a piece of wood used to separate lines of type in traditional hot metal printing

The face in the floor, and the nightmare about it. Not clear from the writing who the dreamer is; DFW writes this in the first person about the reader in the second person, but this second person could be any character in the book.

Page 63: dipsomaniacal, variation of dipsomania, alcoholism: a habitual and uncontrollable craving for alcohol.

James O. Incandenza invented cold annular fusion. It was called annular for a reason. A side note: I just read on Slashdot that researchers have discovered how to make a light wave travel in a circle without decaying or dying out, using some sort of newly discovered optics. See and
The researchers foresee this as a means of making fusion possible.

Page 64: optative
1. of choice-making: relating to the making of choices (formal)
2. GRAMMAR containing a verb expressing a wish: containing a verb in the subjunctive mood that expresses a wish or desire, as does the independent clause “God save the queen”

Since there is a reference on this page to end note 24, this would make this the first reference to “The Cage” in the book, in the form of James O. Incandenza’s title of his film/entertainment cartridge works. Beginning on page 986, this filmography lists five films titled, “Cage”, “Cage II”, “Cage III”, “Cage IV”, and “Cage V”.
Check out Sidney Peterson’s 1947 classic, “The Cage”:

Page 986: incunabular, from incunabulum, PRINTING early printed book: a book printed from movable type before 1501.

The J.O.I. filmography also lists five makes of “Infinite Jest”, with possibly a sixth.

Page 988: Just a thought: how small can a flame be and still be a flame?

Also in the J.O.I. filmography, DFW brings up the concepts of the antinarrative and the antidocumentary, which one can only imagine.

“Found Drama VI”, the ultimate concept film, being conceptually unfilmable. Doesn’t this just hint at Goedel?

In “Mobius Strips”, a theoretical physicist who can only achieve mathematical creativity during an act of creation (sex).

This end note is also the first reference to “Madame Psychosis”, if you refer to the end notes in the order encountered in the body of the book.

Page 991: The J.O.I. film, “Baby Pictures of Famous Dictators”, makes perhaps the first reference to Eschaton: “Children and adolescents play a nearly incomprehensible nuclear strategy game with tennis equipment.”

Page 991: propitiate, win somebody’s favor: to appease or conciliate somebody or something (formal)

Page 985: In the James O. Incandenza filmography, Pam heath seems to play the role of Death in all of J.O.I.’s films.

Page 993: According to this James O. Incandenza filmography, Infinite Jest (V?) was the last film he made, and it was apparently lost. I suspect this one was The Entertainment.

Page 993: sui testator, as near as I can tell, this is Latin for “in its own creator of a valid will”.


Doktorfunk said...

"Page 985: In the James O. Incandenza filmography, Pam heath seems to play the role of Death in all of J.O.I.’s films."

Except for "The Film Adaptation of Peter Weiss' 'The Persecution and Assasination of Marat as Performed by the Inmades of the Asylum at Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade', in which the extra-dramatic figure of death is played by Madame Psychosis.

Mark said...

for p. 993, 'sui testator', a better definition might be, 'of its [original] viewer'

'testator' does mean 'one who makes a will,' but also 'one who bears witness,' which I suppose DFW wanted to connote the burden of this particular cartridge.