The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana Chapter 4

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Alone through City Streets I Go

Page 65

La Pasionaria
Dolores Ibárruri Gómez (1895-1989) became famous during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) as an eloquent propagandist for the Republican (Loyalist) cause. Ibárruri was known to most of the world as "La Pasionaria" (the Passion Flower), a nom de plume which became identified with her indomitable will and gift as a fiery orator.

"Nothing can shake my belief that this world is the fruit of a dark god whose shadow I extend."
Emil Michel Cioran (1911-1995), The New Gods

flood in Florence
1966. "The water stormed the building invading the rooms of the Bibioteca Nazionale where the precious manuscripts and collections of etchings unique in the world along with all sorts of books were kept. From here the Arno river overflew towards Santa Croce and the historical centre. From every where arrived young people to help Florence, afterwards named the "Angels of the mud". Long chains of people were formed to pass them from hand to hand. About 500 were the volunteers who worked at the Biblioteca Nazionale and their enthusiasm was contagious." [1] (A fine impression of this contagious enthusiasm is to be seen in Marco Tullio Giordana's film La meglio gioventù - The best of youth.)

Page 66

Gragnola
A character to show up later in the novel, foreshadowing.

Roma non far la stupida stasera
"Rome, don't be silly tonight," a song by Armando Trovajoli. MP3, performed by Claudio Villa

Fly, dove
Vola colomba, the winning song (sung by Nilla Pizzi, written by Bixio Cherubini, music by Carlo Concina) of the 1952 Sanremo festival (second was Papaveri e papapere, also sung by Nilla Pizzi.) There is some nationalist connotation to Colomba, as it stood for the 'coming home' of Trieste, a post-war territorial hang-up.

Papaveri e papere
"and Geese", a popular song at the time. Even if it may seem a childish song, about geese, it's a critic to the society and the economic and politic power; infact in italian "tall poppies" can be translated with bigwigs, bigshots. In the song these can't be eaten by the little goose, that rappresent common people, who can't change the situation.

Sola me ne vo per la citta
download sample, performed by Gianni Morandi

Casta Diva
MP3, performed by Maria Callas "Chaste goddess," from Vicenzo Bellini's 1831 opera, Norma.

Eleanor Rigby
The Beatles, Revolver.

Que será, será
Doris Day performed this song in 1956.

Sono una donna non sono una santa
"I'm a woman, I'm not a saint." This has a proverbial force but is also the title of a 1971 song written by Eros Sciorilli, who wrote "Solo me ne va per la citta" in 1946, and Alberto Testa.


Page 67

pylorus
the opening from the stomach into the small intestine.

incunabula
early printed books.


Page 68

philately
the collection and study of postage stamps.

Yves Tanguy
(1900-1955) - Surrealist painter; for a picture that represents the style Eco probably means to evoke here, see the first one, untitled watercolor, at Gallery.


Page 69

"Do you know you're the only man in the world [...] who when his wife sends him out to buy roses comes home with a pair of dog balls?"
Apparently, actually has this jar. (Near end of the third paragraph.) Yambo paid 40,000 Lira, or about $25.


Page 71

File:Plpete.gif

Mickey Mouse .... the treacherous Peg-Leg Pete
Casaubon also read comics of this vintage, since in Foucault's Pendulum chapter 112 he imagines that the 18th- and 19th-century machines he is passing in the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers might include "the torture racks on which Big Pete bound Mickey Mouse." Pete, a gigantic black cat who is Mickey's inexorable enemy, is the disguise worn by Long John Silver in Yambo's vision in the last chapter of Queen Loana.


Page 72

"Rosebud"
The "madeleine" or key to memory of Charles Foster Kane... Kane

"Proust at least remembered three [trees]."
Names: The Place, Within a Budding Grove, Proust

"My memory is made of paper"
"WE HAVE THREE TYPES OF MEMORY. The first one is organic, which is the memory made of flesh and blood and the one administrated by our brain. The second is mineral, and in this sense mankind has known two kinds of mineral memory: millennia ago, this was the memory represented by clay tablets and obelisks, pretty well known in this country, on which people carved their texts. However, this second type is also the electronic memory of today's computers, based upon silicon. We have also known another kind of memory, the vegetal one, the one represented by the first papyruses, again well known in this country, and then on books, made of paper." Eco, [Future of Books]

"What name, fair lady?"
Iago in Othello, Act IV, Scene II, Shakespeare

The Man with a Shattered World
The Russian neuropsychologist Alexander Luria wrote Poteriannyi i vozvrashchennyi mir, translated by Lynn Solotaroff as The Man with a Shattered World: The History of a Brain Wound (New York: Basic Books, 1972).


Page 75

Open sesame, I want to get out
aphorism by Stanislaw Jerzy Lec (1906-1966). Eco used another Lec quotation at the beginning of Chapter 7, Foucault's Pendulum: "Do not expect too much of the end of the world."

Eco holds Lec in some regard. "Open sesame" appears also in "Wilde: Paradox and Aphorism" in On Literature, which references Lec as the only person he can think of who has come up with paradoxes and aphorisms that are almost never "transposable"("[..]a maxim that is untroubled by the fact that the opposite of what it says is equally true so long as it appears to be funny"). "Open sesame" is of course the magic phrase in the Arabian Nights tale of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves; saying it opens the door of the Thieves' cave. When Ali Baba's brother goes to the cave, he forgets the magic words once he is inside and is trapped; when the robbers return they kill him. However, it has become associated with the idea of wanting to get in, not out.

In your blood, which spreads its flames across your face, the cosmos makes its laughter
Another quotation from Cardarelli's "Adolescente":
Nel sangue, che ha diffusioni
di fiamma sulla tua faccia,
il cosmo fa le sue risa

The Trial
Kafka. The quotation is the first sentence of the last paragraph.


Page 76

Flounder, flounder, in the sea
from Fisherman and his Wife, by the Brothers Grimm. A story about a very nasty wife.


Page 78

Que me font maintenant tes ombrages et tes lacs?
("What good are your shady places and your lakes now?") From the last page or two of Sylvie by Gerard de Nerval (1805-55). Sylvie was referred to by Umberto Eco as “one the of the greatest books ever written.” Eco devoted much of Six Walks in the Fictional Woods to exploring Sylvie: “Every time I pick up Sylvie, even though I know it in such an anatomical way – perhaps because I know it so well – I fall in love with it again, as if I were reading it for the first time.”