Pages 3-27

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Page 3


Hal is referring to the fact that the office he's in is decorated with art by Frederic Remington (1861-1909), an American painter who work can be seen online here.


A type of knot used to tie a necktie

Harold Incandenza

Hal's full first name is given for the first time.


A fictional town just west of Boston, which exists where parts of the real town of Brighton and the Boston neighborhood of Allston exist in reality. There used to be a real Enfield in western Massachusetts but it was disincorporated in 1938.

Page 4


Organization of North American Nations Collegiate Atheltic Assocation -- presumably the future complement of the NCAA.


"A benign encysted tumor of the skin, esp. on the scalp, containing sebaceous matter; a sebaceous cyst" (Random House Unabridged Dictionary

Randolph Tennis Center

The Randolph Tennis Center is a real place, near Tuscon, Ariz., where the main campus of the University of Arizona is also located.

El Con Marriott

"El Con" is short for "El Conquistador," and while there is a Hilton El Conquidistdor Hotel in Tuscon, the Marriot has a different name.

Page 5

"...the fat women in the Viking hat having sung..."

Another way of saying, "It ain't over till the fat lady sings." This expression refers to opera, particularly those by Richard Wagner.


Out of eight people in the room (including himself, three deans, the Director of Composition, deLint, and C.T.), five are looking at Hal. Hal not being able to look at himself, two people are not looking at Hal, presumably deLint and C.T.


A circumflex is a diacritical mark, as seen in the French verb être (to be). Presumably, the dean's eyebrows have taken on this shape.

Pac 10

The Pacific 10 athletic conference, the other members of which are: Arizona State Univ., Univ. of California at Berkeley, Univ. of Oregon, Oregon State Univ., Stanford Univ., UCLA, USC, Univ. of Washington, and Washington State Univ.


Referring to Friedrich August Kekule von Stradonitz (a.k.a. August Kekulé), a German organic chemist (1829-1896). Chemicals are said to be formed by knots of elements. The exact shape to which Hal is referring is unclear.

Page 6


This word, not found in dictionaries, would seem to mean "of or pertaining to an aviary," an aviary being where birds are kept.

Page 7


A jewel-cutter


Degenerate or decadent

Prescriptive Grammar

This terms describes a school of thought that there are rules of grammar that should be obeyed and taught. Wallace is firmly in this school.

Post-Fourier Transformations

Named for Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier (1768-1830), a French mathematician, a Fourier transformation is "a certain linear operator that maps functions to other functions" (Wikipedia). Post-Fourier would refer to those transformations that came after Fourier.

Holographically Mimetic

Approximating reality using holograms

Montague Grammar

Named for Richard Merett Montague (1930-1971), an American logician, this is an approach to semantics that suggests that the semantics of natural languages is essentially the same as those of formal languages, such as logic or computer programming.

Physical Modality

Modality, in linguistics, refers to sign theory. Physical modality would, therefore, be either how a physical thing is represented by a sign or how any idea is represented by something physical.




The era of the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I (reigned 527-565)


Italian for "below," it means the dean is speaking in a low voice.

Page 8

Oxbridge Quadrivium-Trivium

Oxbridge refers to the two oldest colleges in the U.K., Oxford and Cambridge. The Quadrivium are the four academic subjects of arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy. The Trivium are three disciplines, i.e., grammar, logic, and rhetoric.

Page 9


North American Associaton of University Professors, the presumed followed to the American Assocation of University Professors.

de moi

French: from me

"...who use whomsoever as a subject..."

"Whosoever" would be the proper subjective form of this word.

capillary webs

The smallest networks of blood vessels, where arteries turn into veins


As if eliminating solid bodily waste


An acronym for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a statute used primarily to charge organized crime figures in criminal conspiracies.

Page 10

Brewster's-Angle light

Name for Sir David Brewster (1781-1868), a Scottish scientist, the angle is the angle which non-polarized light striking a surface at will reflect polarized light. Presumably a desk lamp is position at such an angle. This is explained in better detail here.

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