The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana Chapter 11

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a secret library
the chapel in Queen Loana recalls the hidden chambers of the library in The Name of the Rose.


Page 228

a furious Orlando Paladino
character from Ludovico Ariosto's (1474-1533) most famous work, the narrative poem, Orlando furioso (Roland in Madness), one of the books on the adult Yambo's bookshelves. It was adapted by Haydn as the opera Orlando Paladino in 1782. The character is originally Charlemagne's nephew and peer or paladin Roland (of the medieval French Song of Roland) and he survived in popular 19th and 20th century Italian puppet theater, as well as, it seems, comic books. (Well, the Corriere dei Piccoli are not exactly books.)


Page 230

risorgimento mustaches
the Risorgimento refers to the unification of Italy in the nineteenth century. Still looking for a good mustache picture. (The picture of the Corriere dei Piccoli shows three officers studying plans wear such moustaches, as does the unpeasantly surprised colonel.)


Page 236

Mongo
Apparently Flash Gordon was also popular among the anti-Fascist partisans in the area (apparently identical to the Solara area) where Belbo's Uncle Carlo lived during the war; "There was talk about a Badoglian leader known as Mongo.... many said he had taken [the nicknaame] from Flash Gordon." (Foucault's Pendulum, ch. 49).


Page 237

flatus vocis
See note for p. 113. In this case, the word seems to stand for the onomatopoeic "sound effects" which are part of the drawings in comic books, letters which signify a sound (flatus vocis) which however does not signify anything except itself. In Foucault's Pendulum, chapter 35, Casaubon announces to Lia that he is falling in love with her by pointing a finger "gun" and saying "Pow," which she immediately understands (and thereafter calls him "Pow").

(In this connection fv might express the sheer abundance of 'expressions', the very flood of them, not that they are meaningless, 'cause they're not. Whoever sung "You won't stop talking!"?)

See also: Mysterious conspiracy, a power freakish game with patterns of reality, inventive escapades and artistic scandals, terrorism for sublimation, Indo-European hieroglyphics and cyber-reincarnation. Written in the most sophisticated Russian that would be a challenge to translate to any other language. This book goes with the soundtrack that was specially mastered for it by the Rusty Fusion cyberpunk band [www.rustyfusion.com]. Inspiring and mind hacking. www.flatusvocis.net


Page 240

a faithful Dubat
The Dubat were Maghrebine soldiers from Italian Somalia.

( maghrebine... The Arabic word maghreb means occident, Abendland, where the sun goes down, the west, the complement of levant, where the sun comes up. It is mostly used to mean Tunesie, Algeria, and Morocco together, whereas the first two reserve it for the last one. It is as with dutch, duits, deutsch: the dutch started being called so by the english, but they in turn call the germans duits, i.e. they pass it on, eastward in this case, till the last ones call theselves deutsch just as most moroccans call themselves maghrebi. Given these dynamics in 'calling names', it is conceivable that from the arab paeninsula and farther east, even East-Africa can be called maghreb, but that's not generally accepted.)


Page 242

"That's the press, baby..."
Humphrey Bogart's last line in "Deadline USA" (1952). [1]


Page 243

unistache
the English translation of a word invented by Eco? or a moustache combined with a unibrow on one's face. "he'd be good looking if not for that unistache!"

Dictionary ???? (Eco clearly thinks of Hitler's moustache as a sub-species of the unistache. So, a unistache lacks the partition into two 'horns' of the 'martial' stache. Eco calls it a monobaffo, which sounds also neo-logistic to me.)


Page 245-47

"the story of the last ras... the most erotic image I had ever seen"
Jacopo Belbo in Foucault's Pendulum seems to have a very similar idea of the perfect erotic experience, though his fantasy is more politically correct. In ch. 56, he declares, recalling his thirteen-year-old fantasies about a girl in a Solara-like setting, "I believe all sin, love, glory are this: when you slide down the knotted sheets, escaping from Gestapo hadquarters, and she hugs you, there, suspended, and she whispers that she's always dreamed of you." Mario is a Fascist swinging from a tree with the lady hugging him, but there is the same underlying need that the erotic incorporate heroic rescue, and the same fantasy of being suspended in the air with a woman clinging to one's back..


Page 251

the most insipid tale ever conceived by the human brain.
The story of Queen Loana as summarized by Eco is clearly derived from H. Rider Haggard's novel She, possibly with plot elements mixed in from his Allan Quatermain. The two-thousand-year-old woman ruling a lost African people, the plan to replace a dead lover with his reincarnation, etc., are all in She; the jealous sisters are in the other novel (though the "back story" of She, in which the heroine and an Egyptian priestess compete for the love of a Greek priest in an era before Christ, might have been enough to inspire the authors of Tim Tyler's Luck). Some of the plot elements Yambo dislikes make sense only in Haggard's world of privileged souls who defy death, either by reincarnation or by achieving physical immortality, and re-enact their loves and relationships again and again.

In She, the title character, Ayesha, awaits the return of her 2000-year-old love interest, Kallikrates, who desired not her but his own mistress Amenartes (much like the story of Loana who was waiting for a reincarnated lover who loved her sister). Additionally, Ayesha, like Loana, has the secret to immortality through the use of a mysterious fire, and she too dies (after trying to extend her life even more by a second bath in the fire) in a chasm. Eco criticizes the story of Loana because men fall unreasonably in love, and that's true of the novel She, as well, in which two men, Leo Vincey and Horace Holly, both desire and fear Ayesha.

(But there seems to be an important different aspect to this fragment: the Loana story, so promising in antecipation, comes out most insipid, as if it were an unbreakable glass going to pieces. The broken glass as a metaphore of the whole complex story of the book itself, a jubilating disappointment, a magnificent disaster! And still two fifths more to go... He has done it again!)


Page 253

a bayadère
a Hindu dancing girl, in particular one at a Southern Indian temple.


Page 256

wondered where Saargebiet was
also known as Saarland-- currently a German state.

Fiji, I had a fixation
Eco set his third novel, The Island of the Day Before in Fiji, and he travelled there to research the book. (And he even consulted Dutch sources.)


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