Against the Day Weblog

March 4, 2007

Against the Day, the cover

Filed under: Notes — basileios @ 8:29 am

After reading the whole book, the cover, finally makes sense. When I first had the pleasure of holding the book in my hands I thought that the choice of cover was below my expectations. However, now I feel that it captures the essence of the book in the best possible way.

The letters that drop a series of shadows, against the day, in different fonts implies the ‘different history’ multiverse idea that plays such a central part in the book. The broken (Tibetan) seal is another apocalyptic reference.

But is this the first seal?


March 3, 2007

‘There, but Invisible’

Filed under: Uncategorized — basileios @ 8:33 am

…on page 1083.

Reminds me of the ‘Keep cool, but care’ motto in V.

February 22, 2007

What It Means To Be An American

Filed under: Notes — basileios @ 7:56 am

‘Jesse brought home an assignment from school “write an essay on What It Means To Be An American”‘

page 1076

This was a theme earlier on in the book and it comes back now with the closing. This is not surprising as Pynchon is searching in more or less all his books the essence of the American psyche. The time period in Against the Day is ideal for dealing with the birth and generation of this so I am not surprised that this is another crucial element in the whole structure of the book.

It was all political

Filed under: Uncategorized — basileios @ 7:49 am

“Kit risked a look over at Renzo, demented even when at rest, and saw that here, approaching the speed of sound he was metamorphosed into something else… a case of posession. Kit had a velocity-given illumination then. It was all political.”

page 1071

This is one of the most beautiful sentences in the book. It is also so Gravity’s Rainbow like…

February 3, 2007

Is Start Trek there as well?

Filed under: Uncategorized — basileios @ 9:01 am

‘in a peculiar corner of a planet that might or might not be their own’

page 1033

It just occurred to me really that there is an essence of Star Trek in the Chums of Chance which is revealing itself more and more as the book progresses. It may start as a 19th century boys adventure story but it develops into something more modern and even scifi. Star Trek is the obvious choice for influence (but probably many others as well).

January 30, 2007

He’s an optimist after all…

Filed under: General — basileios @ 2:20 pm

‘Somebody will get that Deuce Kindred someday, and Mr. Vibe too, it wouldn’t surprise me. People that bad have a way of bringing it to themselves sooner or later.”

page 980

Like chickens coming home to roost maybe?

I talked about what appears to me the most important aspect of Against the Day, the power of history over human society but it appears that Pynchon is more of an optimist than I thought. Or naive?

January 29, 2007

Sons and daughters

Filed under: General — basileios @ 12:34 pm

‘Her love for Ljubica being impenetrable and indivisible as a prime number, other loves must be accordingly re-evaluated’

page 973

Would this sentence be possibly written by Pynchon if he did not have a son? There are quite a few personal (i would call them) feelings in Against the Day and not surprisingly some parts of Pynchon were changed by family life.

FN motorcycles

Filed under: Notes — basileios @ 12:30 pm

(on page 951).

I had an FN rifle when I was in the Greek army, but had no idea the company used to do motorcycles as well. These are beauties…

January 24, 2007

Anarchism and WWI

Filed under: Notes — basileios @ 8:41 am

‘”Well?” Yashmeen said, “why not let them have their war? Why would any self respecting Anarchist care about any of these governments, with their miserable incestuous stew of kings and Caesars?”‘

page 938

This is, unfortunately, a rather ironic statement. World War I seems to be the catalyst that basically destroyed the Anarchist mode of thinking and turn the tide towards the competing ideas of Communism. Another play on history by Pynchon maybe?


Filed under: Notes — basileios @ 8:33 am

“Frank respected this – who at some point hadn’t come to hate the railroad? It penetrated, itr broke apart cities and wild herds and watersheds, it created economic panics and armies of jobless men and women, and generations of hard, bleak city-dwellers with no principles who ruled with unchecked power, it took away everything indiscriminately, to be sold, to be slaughtered, to be led beyond the reach of love.”

page 930

Railroads appear in quite a few instances in Against the Day as symbols of modernity, as elements of evil. The railway network appears similar to the border in Mason & Dixon as an unnatural violation of nature which has an impact in all human society.

Too bad that I like traveling by train….

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