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Saturday, March 19, 2011


  1. I know this seems fairly obvious, and maybe it is so entirely.  Regardless, there are levels and levels of connection and metaphor here, and it's all just so well done and so deep that it's good to see it in words: describe the parallels--from the obvious to the obscure to the speculative--between the central wing (and more than just its contents--also its nature) and Yambo's locked-up brain.
  2. Yambo's grandfather was a "curious collector," according to Amalia.  Yambo is having a hard time recognizing the man's style and taste, and is appalled by some brown, blobby landscapes, which "he could not have loved...," yet he collected them.  If we assume, at least for the moment, that the old man didn't necessarily love what he collected but the act of collecting itself, then (or regardless) what is the comparison between the two men?
  3. This whole chapter is like a giant Rorschach blot--or a million of them.  (I wrote this point out before I got to the joke about the inkblots.  Of course, after the joke, the comment makes more sense anyway, though I meant it initially to allude to the fact that we see what we want to see, even if we don't know it's what we want, in an inkblot: what is Yambo seeing?)
  4. I love Amalia's description of Il Duce.  It makes him sound like Sauron or Voldemort!
  5. Maybe Eco's a fan of Tennessee Williams.  Whatever, right?  Is there something more, however, to the word "desire" ascribed as label to the associatively misread streetcar?
  6. We already talked about Yambo's reversion to childhood.  More than that now, and all the more so echoing his amnesia, he thinks about infancy, as he sees the room which he's deduced to be his parents' and even his birthplace.  All children have amnesia, its onset falling somewhere between the ages of two and four.  Some call it a veil, and it's one that can never be lifted, at least not in this life.  Is there any further connection here between Yambo's situation and the veil over infancy?
  7. To draw another perhaps uncalled-for connection to Harry Potter, this central wing, and especially the attic, becomes a sort of Room of Requirement (a sort of metaphysical Rorschach blot all by itself) --it becomes what we need it to be.
  8. If there's a visual similarity between the fashion illustrations and Sibilla--even possibly in exactitude--would Yambo's draw to her be stronger pre- or post-amnesia?
  9. Flatus Vocis -- do you think this is referring to its literal translation of "breath of voice," and therefor potentially indicating that everything that he experiences in the central wing has deep and specific significance to his life, past, and spirit; or do you think it might translate, at least by application, to the essentially Latin and more vulgar "fart's worth of words" --that is just a whole bunch of stuff--words and words and words and worthless?
  10. A hatchet to the head, or squeezing the skull until the brain bursts from the seams might be an effective way to release what's trapped there.


  1. 1. The rooms represent different compartments of memories. However, all of what he really needs is locked up in an attic where the mice are gnawing away at it.
    2. Well, it's interesting. Do we actually KNOW at this point that Yambo liked his job? Unless I'm not remembering something, all we know is that he was good at it and has a huge collection.
    4. Well, he and especially his friend may have been an inspiration for those guys.
    5. Could you explain what you're thinking on this one?
    6. Well I think that he's hoping that it's not like infancy, but it may well be.
    7. Good analogy.
    8. Probably even stronger now if she somehow jogs his memory.
    9. Possibly both. I think that the biggest thing is just that he's very frustrated that he remembers nothing other than the voice. In a way, it's just like remembering a quote from literature because he doesn't remember the context or the experience.
    10. Eww, but possibly.

  2. 2. Well, love isn't necessarily the operative word, but the import of the quality or condition or "value" of a book over what the actual words inside say.
    5. I don't know exactly. I get the "sense" that there's something going on there, as he's obviously referencing "A Streetcar Named Desire," and he has obvious physical desire for Sibilla, and then there's the entire childhood misreading of the title of that prayer book. I don't know, though.
    6. Indeed.
    8. I agree. Whatever it may have been before, it must be stronger now.
    9. Agreed.

  3. 5. Right. Unfortunately "Streetcar" is another work that I've never read. :(

  4. It's not my favorite of his. However, "The Glass Menagerie" is one of the greatest works ever.


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