The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana Chapter 5

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Page 80

Solara
seems to be a fictional town name, like Combray in Proust (although the actual town of Proust's youth, Illiers, was later renamed Illiers-Combray, in his honor). Combray was a small town full of relatives which the little boy visited every year in the spring and summer; Solara is similar but is a refuge in time of war as well. Jacopo Belbo spent the war years as a child in a similar house, which in chapter 55 of Foucault's Pendulum is referred to as "his Combray." Umberto Eco's summer house is actually near Rimini. The name "Solara" suggests a sunny, happy childhood (p. 398).


Page 84

moscato
a sweet Italian dessert wine.


Page 85

"Strange, I have read in some novel that between the rows - but you have to walk barefoot among them, your heels calloused since childhood - are yellow peaches that grow only in vineyards and split in half at the pressure of your thumb, the pit popping out almost by itself, as clean as if it had been chemically treated, except for the occasional fat little worm of white pulp left hanging by an atom. You can eat them almost without noticing the velvet of their skin, which makes you shiver from tongue to groin. For an instance, I felt that shiver down my groin."
Eco is recalling his own words from an earlier novel: Foucault's Pendulum, 640.

"Silly season. He read on, seated calm above his own rising smell."
James Joyce, Ulysses, 67. Once Yambo decided to poop outdoors, I knew he would quote this, one of the few descriptions of defecation in the literary canon. To give a bit more information, the reference is to Leopold Bloom, at the end of episode 4, as he sits in his outhouse while reading a bit of a newspaper.


Page 86

Francesco Borromini
(1599-1667), Baroque architect. The Borromini staircase in Rome's Palazzo Barberini ascends like a snail shell. [[1]]

Page 87

recherche, ashthma, lost time, cork-lined rooms
all references to Proust.

Asthma is pneumatic, it is the breath (however labored) of the spirit
In chapter 34 of Foucault's Pendulum, the divine act of creation, as conceived by the Cabalistic notion of simsum or zimzum, is described as breathing, "God's asthma" ; at the climax of the book, the same idea is expressed in a way that oddly covers both diarrhea and asthma.


Page 88

"Return to the interiorem hominem and you will find Larousse"
Larousse is the French publisher of dictionaries and encyclopedias of all kinds, including The Larousse guide to Astronomy [[2]] which is particularly relevant here. But the point is that all Yambo can find in himself (his "inner man") at this point is dictionary definitions and encyclopedia entries.