Read-a-long post 2

Part One – Keter

Chapter Two – “Wee haue divers curious Clocks”

Otherwise known as Trains, Planes, and Automobiles, oh my!

So many brand and trademark names.None meant any to me, nor did they bring up any images in my head.  Except for the bicycles (velocipedes) that were described as having “huge art-nouveau wheels.”  Those brought the familiar pennyfarthing to mind.

So I quickly whipped up a slideshow of 7 slides that illustrate the six cars mentioned in our protagonist’s search for a hiding place.  (Does he have a name yet? I don’t think we know it yet.)

Words/terms looked up:

  • Gramme – not 100% positive, but I believe this passage, “your back protected by a great stone statue of Gramme,” refers to Zénobe Gramme, electrical engineer.
  • Madurodam – I picked up from context that this was an amusement park, but looking this up was fun:  Anyone want to go to the Netherlands?
  • Empedocles – (“A vulcanologist does not burn like Empedocles.”) Wikipedia tells me that Diogenes Laërtius records the legend that Empedocles died by throwing himself into Mount Etna in Sicily
  • “Frazer did not flee, hounded, into the wood of Nemi.” – Refers to James George Frazer and his study of ancient myths, especially the legend of the rex Nemorensis – recorded in The Golden Bough.
  • Lavoisier’s mirrors – Antoine Lavoisier was an interesting guy to read about. His work with the Law of Mass Conservation was so poetic: “Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed.”
  • catoptric – of or relating to a mirror, a reflector, or reflection.
  • alembic – an alchemical still consisting of two vessels connected by a tube, used for distilling chemicals.
  • eolopile – A device containing a usually spherical chamber or container, in which steam is heated and ejected through one or more narrow tubes to create propulsion or torque.
  • demiurge – an artisan-like figure responsible for the fashioning and maintenance of the physical universe.
  • balneum mariae – also known as a bain-marie, or double boiler (like how we melt chocolate!) records the alchemic link
  • acajou – mahogany

1 thought on “Read-a-long post 2

  1. wiskeyjac

    My notes on the first chapter, particularly the Hebrew-text epigraph.

    Translation: “When the Light of the Endless was drawn in the form of a straight line in the Void…it was not drawn and extended immediately downwards, indeed it extended slowly-that is to say, at first the Line of Light began to extend and at the very start of its extension in the secret of the Line it was draw and shaped into a wheel, perfectly circular all around.”

    By starting with the Lurianic(1) myth of creation, Eco actually continued in his novel a long hermetic tradition combining the perception of an occult reality with kabbalistic fiction. Both Kabbalah and Hermetism share the view that every element of the sublunar world is linked to the superior world. In a similar way Renaissance thinkers did not hesitate to include Jewish traditions in their concept of prisca theologia, stating that Kabbalah is the most ancient truth that reaches its climax in the Christian gospel.
    -Circle, Point and Line: A Lurianic Myth in the Puerta del Cielo by Gerold Necker in Creation and Re-Creation in Jewish Thought: Festschrift in Honor of Joseph Dan on the Occasion of his Seventieth Birthday. Edited by Rachel Elior and Peter Schafer.

    1 – Lurianic Kabbalah is a school of Kabbalah named after Isaac Luria (ARI’zal, Ha’ARI, or Ha’ARI Hakadosh). New account of creation. Creation and Rectification. Recasting of previous static hierarchy of divine levels into dynamic spiritual drama of exile and redemption.


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