Updated 25 October 2002. Updates in blue.
On sale now, MonkeyBrain Press: A Blazing
the Unofficial Companion to League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol II.
Warning for the overly sensitive: these annotations include two curse words.
(The image above is © copyright 2002 Alan Moore & Kevin O'Neill. The text here, except where otherwise credited, is © copyright 2002 Jess Nevins, and may not be duplicated, in part or in whole, without my permission.)
(Additions and corrections are of course appreciated.)
Page 1. The individual on the carpet here is Gullivar Jones (he’s named on Page 6, Panel 3). Gullivar Jones was created by the British author Edwin L. Arnold and appeared in Lieutenant Gullivar Jones: His Vacation (1905). (Jones is referred to as “Gullivar” in League; varying editions of the book had his name as “Gulliver” or “Gullivar.”) Lieutenant Gullivar is about an American Naval officer who is transported to Mars via a flying carpet; once on Mars he has adventures with a group of friendly Martians and finds love with the Martian woman Heru before returning to Earth. Lieutenant Gullivar predates the first John Carter of Mars story by seven years; no one knows for sure whether Edgar Rice Burroughs read Lieutenant Gullivar before writing “Under the Moons of Mars,” but the similarities are striking. Jean-Marc Lofficier added:
For Mars buffs, note that the very first accounts of a US Officer traveling to Mars and marrying an alien princess was actually in Gustavus Pope's Journey to Mars, which being published in 1894, predated Arnold's Gullivar Jones by 11 years, and Burroughs' John Carter by 18 years! The similarities are even more striking there.And the idea of travel via astral projection to Mars dates at least back to 1875, when the Argentinian writer Eduardo Ladislao Holmberg used it in his Viaje Maravilloso Del Senor Nic-Nac (The Marvelous Travels of Mr. Nic-Nac). I have some information on Viaje Maravilloso on my Fantastic Victoriana site.
The carpet, in Lieutenant Gullivar, is described this way:
...the strangest thing about that carpet was its pattern. It was threadbare enough to all conscience in places, yet the design still lived in solemn, age-wasted hues, and, as I dragged it to my stove-front and spread it out, it seemed to me that it was as much like a star map done by a scribe who had lately recovered from delirium tremens as anything else. In the centre appeared a round such as might be taken for the sun, while here and there, "in the field," as heralds say, were lesser orbs which from their size and position could represent smaller worlds circling about it. Between these orbs were dotted lines and arrow-heads of the oldest form pointing in all directions, while all the intervening spaces were filled up with woven characters half-way in appearance between Runes and Cryptic-Sanskrit. Round the borders these characters ran into a wild maze, a perfect jungle of an alphabet through which none but a wizard could have forced a way in search of meaning.Jack Fletcher notes something I should have pointed out, that Gulliver Jones' carpet, in Lieutenant Gullivar, does not work like an Arabian Nights flying carpet, but rather by wrapping him up.
Steve Higgins, Tim Serpas and Ralph Snart, among others, see the zoom out on this page, starting on the carpet and pulling back into the sky, and the layout of this page as being reminiscent of the first page of Watchmen. Jim Pipik disagrees and sees this as Gullivar descending and the point-of-view's position remaining static.
Panel 3. Geoffrey Tolle contributes the following:
On the design of the carpet (panel 3), the line of text that runs vertically up from the bottom of the panel is (at least partially) in Katakana (a japanese script). It is written backwards.Charles Martin says that the script on the carpet "does indeed look vaguely Japanese. However, it bears only a passing resemblance, and isn't
The script on the outer brown border appears to be related to the martian script used through the story. The script in the reddish circle surrounding Gullivar may be a "cursive" form of Hebrew (I'm not really sure on that but it looks familiar).
I'd hazard a guess that each section of the carpet contains a different script although it seems possible that the brown border and the greenish circle surrounding Gullivar may be the Martian script.
Page 2. Deimos, of the story title, is one of the moons of Mars. There’s some nice information on and images of Deimos on this page. Jean Rogers adds that "yes, Deimos is a moon of Mars, but the word also has a meaning. Given the mythology behind the naming of the Solar System, the attendants of Mars (War) are Phobos and Deimos (Fear and, I think, Panic): which works pretty well in the context."
This is one of the many canyons of Mars, and is perhaps part of the Valles Marineris, for more information go to this page.
Page 3. Panel 5. Jim Pipik wonders if the buckle visible here is a stylized question mark, which might mean that Gullivar is a member of the League.
Panel 7. What is being spoken here, and through most of this issue, is Martian. A great deal of discussion has gone into analysing the language(s) spoken by the Martians, and its transcription here. Is it from the Voynich Manuscript or the Codex Seraphinianus? Did Moore create a whole new language for the Martians? Is he just having us on? Cliff Schexnayder suggested that the dialogue might be comprehensible if viewed in a mirror, and provided some quotes, which I've supplied below. Cliff's suggestion makes the most sense of anything I've read so far. Jim Pipik sees the word "Hither" in the second line of dialogue. This makes sense in light of Gullivar's associates; see the note to Page 7, Panel 1 below.
Page 4. Panel 1. In Lieutenant Gullivar Gullivar Jones learns Martian by telepathic transferral from one of the friendly Martians.
That giant four-armed thing who spoke to Jones on Page 3, Panel 7, and who Jones is speaking to here, is one of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Martians. Burroughs wrote eleven novels about the adventures of John Carter on Mars; the first Carter story, “Under the Moons of Mars,” appeared in All-Story Magazine from February to July 1912. Burroughs’ Martians, as adults, are fifteen feet tall, carry long spears (some forty feet long), and their faces...well, I’ll let Burroughs tell it:
There was no hair on their bodies, which were of a very light yellowish-green color. In the adults, as I was to learn quite soon, this color deepens to an olive green and is darker in the male than in the female. Further, the heads of the adults are not so out of proportion to their bodies as in the case of the young.Moore’s stated goal with this series is to bring together various fictional Mars and portray them as all co-existing. Arnold’s Mars and Burroughs’ Mars are the first two.
The iris of the eyes is blood red, as in Albinos, while the pupil is dark. The eyeball itself is very white, as are the teeth. These latter add a most ferocious appearance to an otherwise fearsome and terrible countenance, as the lower tusks curve upward to sharp points which end about where the eyes of earthly human beings are located. The whiteness of the teeth is not that of ivory, but of the snowiest and most gleaming of china. Against the dark background of their olive skins their tusks stand out in a most striking manner, making these weapons present a singularly formidable appearance.”
Page 5. Panel 2. Jack Fletcher says, "The scene of Gulliver approaching the Green Martian encampment and seeing hundreds of tents spread out across the valley floor, is, I believe, an homage to the Wadi Rum scene in Lawrence of Arabia."
Panel 4. Gabriel Neeb points out that the seated Martian is smoking a hookah/water pipe.
Page 6. Panel 3. Gulliver Jones is greeting John Carter. Carter, as mentioned, was created by Edgar Rice Burroughs and debuted in “Under the Moons of Mars” in 1912. Carter was a Virginian (note his manner of speaking here) and a Civil War Veteran who was transported to Mars in 1866 through a zeta beam. (Well, okay, through astral projection.) Once on Mars John Carter had various adventures, rising to become a Prince of Mars and marrying Dejah Thoris, a Martian Princess. Henry Spencer corrects me: " Not just a prince (jed), nor even a king (jeddak), but "Jeddak of Jeddaks, Warlord of Barsoom", at the end of the third book, The Warlord of Mars."
Geoffrey Tolle notes that the tapestry in Panel 1 is "adorned with symbols that appear to be quite dissimilar from the Green Man speech symbols. Could this be a reference to John's princess's people who are conspicuous by their absence?" Of the map in this panel, Geoffrey says,
The map tapestry can now be seen to bear circular markers which one may presume identify troops. Although I do not recognize the "circle with three-toothed comb" symbol, the "double-barred cross" symbol is very similar to the one used in choo-hong-ki (or chinese chess). It signifies a "queen". In this setting, I would suggest a tribal chieftan.John_Dee writes, "The symbol on the Martian tapestry/map that Geoffrey Tolle refers to as a 'circle with a three-toothed comb.' I would assume this is meant to symbolize the tripods. This seems fairly obvious, as the symbol has three legs."
Jack Fletcher says,
Firstly, JC is always depicted clean shaven. The metal attachments coming out of LoEG's JC head are an invention of Mr. Moore and O'Neill. Common Thoats of the literary Barsoom have flat nailess feet, not have pointed appendages - those depicted in LoEG may be a special breed for canyons. JC's transparent mask and costume also vary from ERB's usual description of Barsoomians - they are usually described as virtually naked except for harness and jewelry. I would have to say the Green Martians (doubtless JC's loyal friends from the Thark Horde) are depicted as well as I have ever seen them done in comics.Hisa Rania responds that
While they are usually described as naked, it may be a 1912 view of naked as opposed to being truly devoid of clothing, as Fighting Man of Mars had Tan Hadron wondering at the gender of Tavia for a time, and unless he was far more naive than he was portrayed, it should not have been that difficult to judge at a glance...About Carter's clean shavenness, and lack thereof, Jim Pipik says,
Carter takes a wig off his head (hair, metal cap, extensions and all) in order to put on his battle helmet. He appears to be bald beneath. I'm not familiar with the Burroughs novels, but if Carter was an adult when he first came to Mars in 1866, he would be about 60 by the time LoEG takes place, an age when it's not unusual for men to have lost their hair.Page 7. Panel 1. The “Hither People” are the friendly Martians who Gulliver Jones joins in Lieutenant Gullivar. They are human-looking, as can be seen on Page 17, Panel 2, among other places.
“Varnal, the Green City” comes from the Michael Moorcock’s Mars series; see Panel 2 below.
Panel 2. Michael Moorcock, under the pseudonym of Edward P. Bradbury, published Warriors of Mars (1965), Blades of Mars (1965), and Barbarians of Mars (1965), a trilogy of stories about Michael Kane, a physics professor at the Chicago Special Research Institute who transports himself to Mars, or “Vashu,” during the Cretaceous Period on Earth, somewhere between 65 and 110 million years ago. Loki Carbis notes that Kane traveled from Carter's and Jones' future to their past.
“Varnal, the Green City,” mentioned in Panel 1 above, is the capital of Vashu, and the home of Shizala, Kane’s lady love. The trilogy is Moorcock’s homage to Edgar Rice Burroughs, and the similarities between Kane and John Carter and Shizala and Dejah Thoris are deliberate.
In the Kane series Kane was from “Negalu, the third planet of the solar system.”
Panel 3. Cliff Schexnayder writes,
It seems that Gullivar Jones' eyes are are blue on blue (you see this on Page 6 Panel 2 and more clearly on Page 7 Panel 3. It becomes very clear when you compare his eyes to Carter's on these pages).Timothy Hatton wonders if Gullivar's eyes being blue is a further reference to Lawrence of Arabia, specifically Peter O'Toole's eyes.
This is reminiscent of the Freedmen of Arrakis. Perhaps Moore is fashioning his hero in the mould of Paul Atreides/Maud'dib from the Frank Herbert's Dune series?
Panel 4. The “Sorns” are from from C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy; see my notes on Page 16, Panel 1 below.
Carter, using the word “molluscs,” is presumably describing the Martians of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds (1898). For more on this, see Page 14 below.
Panel 5. The use of the term “alien leeches” implies that Wells’ Martians are not really native to Mars; see Page 21, Panel 3 below.
Geoffrey Tolle says, about the leeches reference, "I believe that Moore is being literal with the 'leeches' terminology. The War of the Worlds describes...the Martians withdrawing blood from a human with a syringe and injecting it into itself." Geoffrey is right (Tim Kreider made this same point); the relevant passage in The War of the Worlds is this:
Strange as it may seem to a human being, all the complex apparatus of digestion, which makes up the bulk of our bodies, did not exist in the Martians. They were heads--merely heads. Entrails they had none. They did not eat, much less digest. Instead, they took the fresh, living blood of other creatures, and INJECTED it into their own veins. I have myself seen this being done, as I shall mention in its place. But, squeamish as I may seem, I cannot bring myself to describe what I could not endure even to continue watching. Let it suffice to say, blood obtained from a still living animal, in most cases from a human being, was run directly by means of a little pipette into the recipient canal. . . .In the original Burroughs novels nothing really bad ever happened to Dejah Thoris, John Carter's wife and the "princess" referred to here. Gulliver Jones’ words imply that something did, though. The internal chronology of the Burroughs novels was never completely resolved, but as best can be figured, Thuvia, Maid of Mars (1916) took place between 1888 and 1898, and The Chessmen of Mars (1922) took place between 1898 and 1917. (I’m indebted to Win Eckert’s ERBurroughs Chronology for this information.) Dejah Thoris does not appear in Thuvia, which is about Carthoris, the son of Dejah Thoris and John Carter, and Thuvia, a Martian Princess. Dejah Thoris does appear in Chessmen, but seems in perfect health. This is a case where Moore is deviating from the original texts. Hisa Rania adds,
If one was willing to fudge on dates again, one might ascribe Dejah Thoris' absence to her year long imprisonment in the Temple of the Sun between the events of Gods of Mars and Warlord of Mars. Imprisoned with the thern Phaidor as she was, it might be assumed that she would not come out alive or at the very least unharmed.Nick Perks elaborates
The Gods Of Mars finishes on something of a cliff-hanger. Deja Thoris has been trapped with two other Martian women in a room which will not be accessible for another Martian year - approximately two Earth years. The last thing John Carter sees is one of the women, Phaidor, attempting to murder Deja Thoris while the other, Thuvia, attempts to save her. John Carter suffers a period of prolonged torment fearing his wife is dead. This period would very plausibly correspond to the time when the H.G.Wells Martians made their attack on Earth.Gary Herring notes,
It occurs to me that A Princess of Mars mentions an interval of 10 years after his marriage to Dejah Thoris and Carter's unintentional return to Earth at the end of the book. Burroughs doesn't say much about those years except that their son was, er, born (Martians are oviparous). Also, the Atmosphere Plant was on the blink shortly before the end of the novel. Since the chronology of the Barsoom stories is so sketchy, could these events in LoEG be occurring near the end of the 10-year-interval in Princess, just before Carter figured out a way to open the Atmosphere Plant so it could be restarted (the Red Martians might be trying to break into the plant while the Tharks are dealing with the molluscs)?Loki Carbis says, "The absence of Dejah Thoris may be due to her abduction, assuming that Moore is incorporating parts of "Mars: The Home Front" from the WOTW: Global Dispatches anthology."
Panel 6. Carter is a self-proclaimed worshiper of Mars/Ares, the Greek war god, which is why he bids farewell to Gullivar in this manner.
Page 8. Panel 3. Several people, Kurt Wilcken among them, wondered about the need for breathing apparatuses on the part of Gullivar and John; Kurt suggests that the Barsoomian oxygen factory, which in the Burroughs novels supplied the dying planet of Mars with oxygen, was on the blink again. Henry Spencer said
But note that Gullivar at one point takes his off in the open air, inside the outer wall of the molluscs' fortress. Moreover, there's no indication of Gullivar and the green man passing through any sort of airtight door on their way to John. This is rather puzzling.I responded that it reminded me of Fritz Leiber's "A Pail of Air," in which humans survive on an air-weak world by trapping air in multiple layers of cloth. Henry replied
Mmmm, you might be able to make it work. Leiber's setup required a lot of layers because his characters were trying to hold air in against vacuum. Suppose the problem is not that Mars's air pressure is down, but that the oxygen content is down. Martians can still handle it. But Earthmen need an oxygen-enriched environment, at least for comfort and/or heavy exertion. If there's no *pressure* difference, one or two layers of cloth will suffice to largely prevent mixing of inside air and outside air, so if you've got an oxygen generator running inside, the inside air will be considerably enriched in oxygen compared to the outside.Rob Beattie suggests that the breathing devices "they may have been used to allow the Martian forces to survive the Black Smoke and be one of the reasons they were able to fight against the Molluscs."
If pushed, that can even explain Gullivar's taking off his mask: he takes it off briefly for a closer look at the pictures etc., accepting some discomfort and shortage of breath. It's a strain -- he should put it back on when they'rre called outside -- but marginally workable.
Robert McCord says,
I believe that there is another, simple explaination for the need for oxygen masks and warm clothing seen in v2#1 page 8 panel 3. I believe Mr Moore has something close to the geography of C.S. Lewis' Silent Planet, that is that only canyon and lowlands can be inhabited by humans and lewis' other races, higher elevations by sorns and the highland by nobody, this would explain the clothing and oxygen masks, why the sorns are unfamilar (nobody ever goes that high) and a deserted highland would be a swell place for an alien invader to set up camp - nobody to bother them. .Jim Pipik says,
Given that the human characters occasionally appear outside without the masks and that they do not pass through any kind of airlock when going inside (not to mention that the masks don't seem to be attached to any kind of oxygen tanks), it seems to me Mars has an oxygen atmosphere and the masks are merely filters to keep out the sand and dust being kicked up by the ongoing sandstorms. As suggested by one of your "divers hands," the green Martians, being adapted to this environment, do not appear to need them but the humans and the Hithers (assuming that's them with Gullivar on the cover) need masks or at least cloth over the face, not unlike Earth's desert dwellers. The Gullivar/Hither masks look decidedly low-tech with their clumsy bladders, especially compared to Carter's sleek glass mask.Page 9. Panels 2-4. The monsters that Carter and the other Martians are riding are thoats, part of the Burroughs Mars books. Burroughs describes them this way:
It towered ten feet at the shoulder; had four legs on either side; a broad flat tail, larger at the tip than at the root, and which it held straight out behind while running; a gaping mouth which split its head from its snout to its long, massive neck.Pages 10-11. The canyons on Mars can be miles deep, which is why the Martians and the thoats are climbing up them, rather than around them.
Like its master, it was entirely devoid of hair, but was of a dark slate color and exceeding smooth and glossy. Its belly was white, and its legs shaded from the slate of its shoulders and hips to a vivid yellow at the feet. The feet themselves were heavily padded and nailless, which fact had also contributed to the noiselessness of their approach, and, in common with a multiplicity of legs, is a characteristic feature of the fauna of Mars. The highest type of man and one other animal, the only mammal existing on Mars, alone have well-formed nails, and there are absolutely no hoofed animals in existence there.
Ronald Byrd and Finn Smith pointed out that John Carter and the Martians have Roman- and Greek-style helmets and spears, and that the iconography of Ares/Mars was the spear and the helmet.
Geoffrey Tolle adds, "It should also be noted that climbing the valley walls like this is probably only possible because of Mars' lower gravity."
Page 13. Panel 4. Cliff Schexnayder, using his mirror image dialogue theory, translates the Martians' dialogue as (moving left to right), "Shit!" "Look out!" "Oh, fuck!"
Geoffrey Tolle notes,
There seems to be an attempt to show the Green Men as culturally similar to pre-islamic arab nomads (one sees statues of Green Men which would be forbidden under Islam) while the Hithers are shown as similar to the "civilized" Arabs - especially of the Ottoman Empire. Note too, that Gullivar looks a lot like Lawrence of Arabia in some panels. Although Burroughs did not pursue this effect in the Barsoom books (he seems to have prefered scantily clab men and women - for some reason), given the level of orientalism found in the literature of the time, it is quite reasonable that Moore picked up on the idea.Michael Meyer and Sean van der Meulen also noted the Lawrence of Arabia similarity, with Sean sending along this picture of Lawrence. Ian McDowell adds,
Since Gullivar here is clearly modeled on T. E. Lawrence, might the depiction of his ex-Confederate colleague be somewhat inspired by Prince Feisal? "John's" features look vaguely Middle-Eastern, at least to me. Of course the prominent nose (complete with mole) may, along with the goatee and the rather Ruritanian costume (as opposed to the loincloth ensemble familiar with J. Allen St. John illustrations and Krenkel covers), be an attempt to keep the Burroughs estate from getting angry.Page 14. The thing rising from the ground is one of H.G. Wells’ Martians, from The War of the Worlds. John Carter, on Page 7 Panel 4, described them as molluscs. This is how Wells describes the Martians:
But, looking, I presently saw something stirring within the shadow: greyish billowy movements, one above another, and then two luminous disks--like eyes. Then something resembling a little grey snake, about the thickness of a walking stick, coiled up out of the writhing middle, and wriggled in the air towards me--and then another.Carter’s use of the term mollusc seems apposite. (For some delightfully creepy illustrations of molluscs, go to this page.)
A sudden chill came over me. There was a loud shriek from a woman behind. I half turned, keeping my eyes fixed upon the cylinder still, from which other tentacles were now projecting, and began pushing my way back from the edge of the pit. I saw astonishment giving place to horror on the faces of the people about me. I heard inarticulate exclamations on all sides. There was a general movement backwards. I saw the shopman struggling still on the edge of the pit. I found myself alone, and saw the people on the other side of the pit running off, Stent among them. I looked again at the cylinder, and ungovernable terror gripped me. I stood petrified and staring.
A big greyish rounded bulk, the size, perhaps, of a bear, was rising slowly and painfully out of the cylinder. As it bulged up and caught the light, it glistened like wet leather.
Two large dark-coloured eyes were regarding me steadfastly. The mass that framed them, the head of the thing, was rounded, and had, one might say, a face. There was a mouth under the eyes, the lipless brim of which quivered and panted, and dropped saliva. The whole creature heaved and pulsated convulsively. A lank tentacular appendage gripped the edge of the cylinder, another swayed in the air.
Those who have never seen a living Martian can scarcely imagine the strange horror of its appearance. The peculiar V-shaped mouth with its pointed upper lip, the absence of brow ridges, the absence of a chin beneath the wedgelike lower lip, the incessant quivering of this mouth, the Gorgon groups of tentacles, the tumultuous breathing of the lungs in a strange atmosphere, the evident heaviness and painfulness of movement due to the greater gravitational energy of the earth--above all, the extraordinary intensity of the immense eyes--were at once vital, intense, inhuman, crippled and monstrous. There was something fungoid in the oily brown skin, something in the clumsy deliberation of the tedious movements unspeakably nasty.
The Martian walker itself is described by Wells in this way:
And this Thing I saw! How can I describe it? A monstrous tripod, higher than many houses, striding over the young pine trees, and smashing them aside in its career; a walking engine of glittering metal, striding now across the heather; articulate ropes of steel dangling from it, and the clattering tumult of its passage mingling with the riot of the thunder. A flash, and it came out vividly, heeling over one way with two feet in the air, to vanish and reappear almost instantly as it seemed, with the next flash, a hundred yards nearer. Can you imagine a milking stool tilted and bowled violently along the ground? That was the impression those instant flashes gave. But instead of a milking stool imagine it a great body of machinery on a tripod stand....Several people, Leandro Antolini among them, wrote in to dispute my statement that what we're looking at here is a Martian. These correspondents feel that what we're looking at is simply a Martian tripod, rather than the Martians themselves. As we see in issue #2, the correspondents were right and I was wrong; what we're seeing here is a tripod, not a Martian.
Seen nearer, the Thing was incredibly strange, for it was no mere insensate machine driving on its way. Machine it was, with a ringing metallic pace, and long, flexible, glittering tentacles (one of which gripped a young pine tree) swinging and rattling about its strange body. It picked its road as it went striding along, and the brazen hood that surmounted it moved to and fro with the inevitable suggestion of a head looking about. Behind the main body was a huge mass of white metal like a gigantic fisherman's basket, and puffs of green smoke squirted out from the joints of the limbs as the monster swept by me.
Page 15. Panels 1-4. In The War of the Worlds the Martians used the “black smoke” Carter refers to in Panel 4 to wipe out great numbers of humans.
Panel 4. Julian Fattorini usefully notes,
Following Cliff Schexnayder's 'mirror-reading' of the Martian dialogue, the pointing Martian on the left-hand side of page 15, panel 5 appears to be saying: "By the Gods, we're saved!" The one on the right might be saying something including the word 'look'...Panel 5. Jim Pipik says, "Although I can't match it up letter for letter, the Martian on the right seems to be saying something like, 'It actually hurts to look at them.' (More literally, "Actually to hurts I look at them." but that can't be right.)"
Page 16. Panel 1. The tall, spindly creatures are the Sorns. The Sorns were created by C.S. Lewis and appeared in Out of the Silent Planet (1939), the first book in Lewis’ Space Trilogy; the other two were Perelandra (1943) and That Hideous Strength (1945). The Space Trilogy is about Dr. Elwin Ransom, a human who is kidnaped by an evil scientist and taken to Malacandra, aka Mars. On Mars Ransom befriends the Malacandrans and helps capture the evil scientist. In Perelandra Ransom goes to Perelandra, or Venus, and helps prevent a second Fall of Eve. In the third book evil is fought on Earth.
The Sorns are one of three species of Malacandrans. There are the Hrossa, poet-farmers; the Pfiltriggi, the artisans; and the Sorns, the scholar-philosophers. Lewis describes the Sorns as “spindly and flimsy things, twice or three times the height of a man...so crazily thin and elongated in the leg, so top-heavily pouted in the chest, such stalky, flexible-looking distortions of earthly bipeds.”
Jonathan Carter, Steven Costa, and Alasdair Richmond, among others, interestingly note that
HG Wells describes another Martian race that the others used as food. Those of this race "were bipeds with flimsy, silicious skeletons (almost like those of the silicious sponges) and feeble musculature, standing about six feet high and having round, erect heads, and large eyes in flinty sockets. Two or three of these seem to have been brought in each cylinder, and all were killed before earth was reached. It was just as well for them, for the mere attempt to stand upright upon our planet would have broken every bone in their bodies." That sounds like a Sorn, and remember, in the comic, the characters find a Sorn being held inside the fortress of the "Molluscs."Page 17. Panel 2. Jack Fletcher notes that in Lieutenant Gullivar the Hither People are "a thin, slight, fair race, not unlike Wells' Eloi - quite different than the broad, swarthy,, weapon toting, Turkish-Harem-Guard-looking types seen in LoEG."
Panel 5. Geoffrey Tolle says, "On the inside of the outer walls, one can see giant shells littering the ground. Were these somehow used by the Molluscs? If so, then the Molluscs (at least some of them) are enormous."
Page 18. Panel 3. Ed Love wonders if the Sorn which had "flesh-mechanics performed on it is the same Martian that appeared in Ritson & Stanley Stewart's The Professor's Last Experiment. Quoting from my Fantastic Victoriana site,
The novel is about a scientifically superior "Marsman" (obviously not from the real Mars) who, trying to contact humanity, falls into the hands of the Professor of the book's title. Despite the Marsman's superiority--he has wings, can read thoughts, and comes from a society whose technology and science is far superior to Earth's--he is taken prisoner by the Professor, who is, as it happens, a fanatical vivisectionist. The Professor cuts the wings off of the Marsman; the Marsman responds by killing the Professor and then fleeing his laboratory.Page 19. Panel 2. The image of Gullivar Jones is, I think, from that moment in Lieutenant Gullivar Jones when he first wishes to go to Mars. The image of John Carter and Dejah Thoris is not from one specific moment in any of the Burroughs books.
Panel 3. Many people wrote in to point out that the oval "glass egg" which Gullivar is examining is actually the Crystal Egg from H.G. Wells' 1897 story of the same name. In that story C. Cave, a dealer in antiquities, looks through the egg and sees another planet. Yes, many people indeed wrote me to point that out, including Cap'n Ben Hilton, John Snead, Kurt Wilcken (who noted that Manly Wade Wellman, in Sherlock Holmes' War of the Worlds, suggested that it was a reconnaisance device for the invading Martians), Daniel Smith, Steven Costa, Alasdair Richmond, Michael Meyer, Giles Woodrow, Pete, and Sean Blair.
Cap'n Ben Hilton wonders, "Re-reading the story, I also note that amongst the wonders seen in the egg are flying creatures, which seem quite smaller, winged like Wells' Martians. Perhaps they can give themselves wings through 'flesh-mechanics' as they did to the caged Sorn on page 13?"
John Snead says, "The interesting point [about "The Crystal Egg"--Jess] is that the Mars described is inhabited by strange winged & tentacled martians, and not the 'molluscs' of Wells' War of the Worlds."
Daniel Smith says, of "The Crystal Egg" and the winged Sorn on Page 18, Panel 3,
In "The Crystal Egg", an earthman viewing Mars from this two-way egg in England describes the Martians as having "broad, silvery wings, not feathered, but glistening almost as brilliantly as new-killed fish and with the same subtle play of colour, and these wings were not built on the plan of a bird-wing or bat." Since this description doesn't match any other Martian Moore is dealing with, we must assume that the British witness was observing a victim of a barbaric experiment.Daniel followed this up with "D'oh! Here's another quote from "The Crystal Egg": "Moreover, on the causeways and terraces, large-headed creatures similar to the greater winged flies, but wingless, were visible, hopping busily upon their hand-like tangle of tentacles." Apparently, the Earth-observer in Wells' story DID see the tentacled invaders!"
Alasdair Richmond says, "There's some hints in "The Crystal Egg" that the Mars glimpsed therein is coextensive with the Mars of War of the Worlds - the odd glimpse of apparently tripedal machines and so on."
Jonathan Carter says,
In your recent update, several readers point out that the HG Wells story "The Crystal Egg" has similarities to his War of the Worlds. They mention the "mollusc" Martians' appearance in the story, but I've found another connection. The person viewing the Egg at one point sees "clumsy bipeds...white and partially translucent, feeding among certain of the lichenous trees, and once some of these fled before one of the hopping, round-headed Martians." These sound like the other Martians beiefly mentioned in WotW, the ones used as food by the invaders.Geoffrey Tolle says,
The scene in the moving picture glass egg may, very well, have been Holmes's flat on Baker Street. He kept a bust of someone near the window (which saved his life in one story). Since it is a recording, this would not violate any chronology difficulties on when this takes place in Holmes's life. Also, a number of Holmes pastiches have concerned Holmes's role during the Martian invasion. As such, it is interesting that Moore's Molluscs should have been monitoring him.John Trumbull responds,
While Geoffrey Tolle is correct in noting that Holmes kept a bust near his window that saved his life in one story, it was a bust of Holmes himself. He used it as a diversion when Moriarty's henchman, Col. Sebastian Moran (seen in LoEG v1#5) attempted to shoot him with an air rifle.Cliff Schexnayder translates the Martian's dialogue as "Thunder. Outside." Jim Pipik disagrees, saying, "I hate to disagree with the founder of the method, but I translate the Martian's dialogue not as, 'Thunder. Outside.' but, "Outside. Quick.'"
Here's an excerpt from the story in question, "The Empty House," in which Holmes returned to London three years after his presumed death at Reichenbach Falls:I crept forward and looked across the familiar window. As my eyes fell upon it I gave a gasp and a cry of amazement. The blind was shown, and a strong light was burning in the room. The shadow of a man who was seated in a chair within was thrown in hard, black outline upon the luminous screen of the window. There was no mistaking the poise of the head, the squareness of the shoulders, the sharpness of the features. The face was turned half-round, and the effect was one of those black silhouettes which our grandparents loved to frame. It was a perfect representation of Holmes. So amazed was I that I threw out my hand to make sure that the man himself was standing beside me. He was quivering with silent laughter.Since the bust seen in Panel 2 does not look much like the Sherlock Holmes Kevin O'Neill drew in v1 #5's flashback sequence, I don't believe this to be Holmes' flat, tempting as it may be from a plot standpoint. The bust does look a bit like Mycroft to me, however!
"Well?" said he.
"Good heavens!" I cried. "It's marvelous."
" I trust that age doth not wither nor custom stale my infinite variety," said he, and I recognized in his stale voice the joy and pride which the artist takes in his own creation. "It really is rather like me, is it not?"
"I should be prepared to swear it was you."
"The credit of the execution is due to Monsieur Oscar Meunier, of Grenoble, who spent some days in doing the moulding. It is a bust in wax. The rest I arranged myself during a visit to Baker Street this afternoon."
Panel 4. Cliff Schexnayder translates the Martian's dialogue as "Look!"
Page 20. Geoffrey Tolle says,
The implication in War of the Worlds is that Martians used Vernes' Gun Club method of projecting the Martians from Mars to Earth - i.e., one huge cannon - although I believe that there is also mention of lights that would imply manuevering rockets. Here, the implication would seem to be that Moore's Martians are using the same method except that there is a distinct plume and column of radiance beneath the projectile. Assuming that this is deliberate and not simply artistic license, I believe that they are actually using an enormous laser to propel the projectiles. There has been considerable work done on this lately in our version of reality and Moore would know of this.Page 21. Panel 3. In League Wells’ Martians are not native to Mars; they are actually invaders. Moore said, in an interview, that “H.G. Wells' Martians, they are not from Mars. They are from some other galaxy. And they tried to take over Mars but have been driven out by the combined Martian resistance. You know, And that's when they come to Earth.”
Win Eckert says that there's precedence for this view, in Manly Wellman's pastiche Sherlock Holmes' War of the Worlds (1975) and in George Alec Effinger's "Mars: The Home Front," in War of the Worlds: Global Dispatches (1996). Alasdair Richmond says,
I think there's a hint that the "mollusc" Martians may not be Mars-native in Christopher Priest's 1976 novel, "The Space Machine". (Priest cunningly cross-fertilises the two narrative strands of The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds, by having his protagonist stumble on an early phase of the time-machine's development and accidentally winding up on Mars just as the invasion fleet is preparing to leave.)Page 22. Panels 1-3. Gabriel McCann says, "Could the first 3 panels on pg 22 be take as a visual equivalent of Oscar Wilde's quote 'We are all of us in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars'?"
Panel 5. A number of people wondered what the "V.R." on the side of the carriage stands for. It's short for "Victoria Regina," "Queen Victoria," and was a kind of official emblem for the British government. It is sometimes seen as "V.R.I.," or "Victoria Regina Imperatrix" (Victoria Queen and Empress).
Page 23. Panel 4. Geoffrey Tolle says, "There is a small white dog with a circle around its right eye in the street behind the LoEG. Could this be Buster Brown's dog?" Gabriel McCann adds that "It looks like the small white dog with the circle around his right eye pointed out by Geoffrey Tolle also appears in Miss Beever's sketch of the Bellman expedition partly covered up by the hole in the ground pg. 28." "Mistress Malevolent" says, "This sounds far more likely to be Bill Sikes' dog "Bullseye" from Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist." An interesting thought, though the events of Oliver Twist took place decades before the events of LoEG.
Page 24. What we see here is the moment, in War of the Worlds, when the Martians have first landed but not emerged from their impact crater.
Gabriel Neeb points out that "'...smug Frenchman,
licentious Spainard, and the blustering Hun...' would refer to Britain's
military history dealing with Napoleon, the Spanish Armada, and the Germans
in WW1 and WW2."
"The New Traveller's Alamanac"
aka Alan Moore's attempt to kill me
Page 25. “About the earliest such gathering
of unique individuals in service to the Crown, little is known save that
they were reputedly convened during the seventeenth century and were referred
to unofficially as ‘Prospero’s Men.’”
This of course refers to the earlier Leagues which were hinted at in League v1 #2, Page 23, Panel 2. “Prospero” refers to Prospero, the Duke of Milan, from Shakespeare’s The Tempest (1611). In The Tempest Prospero is set adrift by his brother and washes ashore on an island of various exotic animals and spirits. At the end of the story Prospero promises to return to Milan and rule it as is his right. Apparently he later left Milan and entered the service of the Crown.
“...a Duke of Milan with interests in the occult sciences...”
Prospero has various sorcerous powers, including the ability to conjure up storms.
“Two of the group were rumored to be conjurings of sorcery rather than
My guess is that this is a reference to the sprite Ariel and the brute Caliban, both from The Tempest. Kieran Cowan objects that Caliban is "the natural-born child of the witch Sycorax," and therefore not a magic-conjured being.
“...the wide-eyed traveller called only ‘Christian,’ claimed that he
had wandered into our world from some neighbouring etheric territory....”
Christian is from John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim's Progress from this World to that Which is to Come (1678-1684). In Progress Christian, an Everyman, travels from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City, visiting the Slough of Despond, the House of the Interpreter, and various other locales on the way.
“...the marvellous archipelago known as The Blazing World...”
The Blazing World is from Observations upon Experimental Philosophy. To which is added the Description of a New Blazing World. Written by the Thrice Noble, Illustrious and Excellent Princess, The Duchess of Newcastle (1666), by Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle. The Blazing World is an archipelago of island which extends from the North Pole through the Greenland and Norwegian Seas almost to the British Islands. On the islands of The Blazing World are men of various colors and races, from blue to orange and from bear-men to parrot-men, with each type of person belonging to a different profession.
“...the fated and disastrous Bellman Expedition into the interior of
a puzzling well or pit near Oxford in the 1870s.”
The Bellman Expedition is from Lewis Carroll’s “The Hunting of the Snark” (1876). In the poem the Bellman Expedition goes hunting for snarks, only to find that the gentle snark is in fact the dreaded boojum. The “puzzling well or pit near Oxford” is a reference to the hole down which Alice L. fell in Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland; the Expedition is gone into more detail on Page 28.
“Other members of this new fraternity would seem to have eventually
included a mild-mannered clergyman from Kent, a Mr. Bumppo from America,
a married English couple called the Blakeneys and a Mistress Hill....”
This is a reference to the 18th century League, seen in a portrait in League v1 #2, Page 23, Panel 2: The Reverend Dr. Syn, from Russell Thorndike’s Doctor Syn (1915); Natty Bumppo, from James Fennimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking novels; Sir Percy and Marguerite Blakeney, from Baroness Emmuska Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernel (1905); and Fanny Hill from John Cleland’s Fanny Hill (1749).
Bill Svitavsky amusingly notes, "While the reference to Dr. Syn here is pretty clear, I suspect there's also a little wordplay going on. The "mild-mannered clergyman from Kent" would be a "clark" - that is a clerk = cleric = clergyman. Thus, we have the mild-mannered Clark of Kent."
"...those notes accumulated by Miss Wilhelmina
Murray in the period from 1899 to 1912..."
Lang Thompson notes that Bram Stoker, Mina Murray's creator, died in 1912.
Page 26. “The Streaming Kingdom...”
The Streaming Kingdom is from Jules Superville’s L'Enfant de la Haute Mer (1931). The Streaming Kingdom is an aquatic kingdom under the English Channel, near the mouth of the Seine. It is inhabited by water-breathing humans who must drown before they can enter the Kingdom.
“The notorious 18th century pirate, Captain Clegg...”
Captain Clegg, in Doctor Syn, was a ferocious smuggler and pirate. He was also the alter ego of the kindly Reverend Dr. Syn.
“...something not unlike ‘His Royal Wetness’...”
The Streaming Kingdom is ruled by a creature called His Royal Wetness.
“...the four-inch aquatic infants found within the submarine caves of
St. Brendan’s Isle...”
St. Brendan’s Isle, and the “aquatic infants,” are a reference to Charles Kingsley’s The Water-Babies (1863). The Water-Babies is about Tom, a chimney sweep, who is found in the room of a girl and is chased from the room, then from the house, and then across the English countryside. Tom is being hounded to his death when he falls in a river. His body dies, but his soul goes is changed into a “water baby” by a group of faeries. Jean Rogers adds that
the reference here, as you say, is specifically to The Water Babies, but Saint Brendan the Navigator was a "real" saint - which is to say, there was a real perrson of that name to whom all sorts of wonderful legends attached in the middle ages. He sailed off in search of the Isles of the Blessed, was credited with the discovery of America, landed on an island which turned out to be a whale (loads of internet references, but the Brendan the Navigator site seems helpful).“Most famous are the ruins from the Arthurian period....”
“Most well-known is Victoria....”
Victoria is from James Buckingham’s National Evils and Practical Remedies, with a Plan of a Model Town (1849). Victoria is in fact a model town, built to be a kind of urban utopia under the rules Moore describes here.
“...it may be useful to compare Victoria with the model town established
further north as recently as 1899, in Avondale....”
Avondale is from Grant Allen’s “The Child of the Phalanstery” (1899). A “phalanstery” is a self-sustaining commune; the Avondale Phalanstery was a well-managed commune with the unfortunate habit of killing all crippled or deformed children.
“...the delightful village known as Commutaria....”
Commutaria is from Elspeth Ann Macey’s “Awayday” (1955). Commutaria is an Avalon of sorts for the weary commuter; whatever she or he wishes for can be found in the village. It was founded by a descendant of Merlin as a way to reward tired commuters, especially on Monday mornings.
"an enthralling tome by Donford-Yates..."
"Dornford Yates" was the pseudonym of Cecil William Mercer (1885-1960), an English author of mystery/adventure books with series characters Berry Pleydell, Jonah Mansel, and Richard Chandos.
“...more sinister evasive sites, like Abaton in Scotland....”
Abaton is from Sir Thomas Bulfinch’s My Heart’s In the Highlands (1892). Abaton is a Scots town of varying location, somewhere between Glasgow and Troon. It’s never where it is sought for, and only a few rare men and women manage to catch a glimpse of it, always at sunset and sunrise; those who see Abaton are always affected strongly by it, either with great joy or great sorrow. No one ever makes it to Abaton, however; they only ever see it from a distance.
“...the mind-warping horrors of ‘Snark Island’....”
Snark Island is from “The Hunting of the Snark.” Snark Island is the home of various deadly animals–the jub-jub, the bandersnatch, and the boojum, as well as the snark. The Island is filled with “dismal and desolate” valleys and jaggy crags, and is generally unpleasant.
Page 27. “...bleak, magnificent Baskerville
Baskerville Hall is a reference to the A.Conan Doyle novel The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902). In the story Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson visit Baskerville Hall to solve the mystery of a giant, ghostly hound.
"...to Crotchet Castle there in the Thames Valley..."
Crotchet Castle is from Thomas Love Peacock's Crotchet Castle (1881). In the novel Ebenezer MacCrotchet, Esq., one of the rare Scots Jews, read that London magistrates had ordered that all statues of Venus must appear in the streets wearing petticoats. MacCrotchet's response is to bring all of the offending statues of Venus to his home.
"At Yalding Towers..."
Yalding Towers are from E. Nesbit's The Enchanted Castle (1907). Yalding Towers was built decades ago by a man who owned a magic ring. The ring, when worn, makes the ring-bearer invisible. It also grants the ring-bearer the power to make the Towers' dinosaur statues come to life.
"...at Ravenal's Tower outside Ivybridge in Kent..."
Ravenal's Tower is from E. Nesbit's The Wouldbegoods (1901). In the novel Richard Ravenal suffers from the curse as Moore describes it.
"...an isolated cottage called 'The White House,' bordering a gravel
pit where there have been reported sightings of a stalk-eyed monster known
to the locals as a Psammead..."
The "White House" and the Psammead are from E. Nesbit's Five Children and It (1902). The White House was a holiday cottage in Kent where five children discovered the Psammead, an extremely cranky fairy.
"...Wilhelmina Murray, in 1904, visited (for reasons best known to herself)
an elderly bee-keeper who resided near the seaside cove of Fulworth..."
This is a reference to A. Conan Doyle's "The Adventure of the Lion's Mane" (1927), in which Sherlock Holmes is described as having retired to Fulworth to pursue his interest in bee-keeping.
"...folklore surrounding the 'Wish House' at 14 Wadloes Road in Smalldene..."
The "Wish House" and Smalldene are from Rudyard Kipling's "The Wish House" (1926). The Wish House is a small basement-kitchen house in which visitors, by wishing aloud into the house's letter-box slot, can take upon themselves the ills of their loved ones.
"...Murray was referred to the Starkadder family farm..."
The Starkadder family farm, and Miss Ada Doom, are from Stella Gibbons' Cold Comfort Farm (1932). Miss Ada Doom of the Starkadder family saw "something nasty in the woodshed" when she was a child, and rarely left her room after that.
John Sherman adds,
There is a reference to the Starkadder farm in League 2 and the matriarch of that family, Miss Ada Doom. Though the book Cold Comfort Farm was written in 1932, there are clear indication in the book that the story takes place in the future (or at least the future of 1932). There is a casual mention of a public telephone that does not have a camera, a mention of the Anglo-Nicaraguan War of '45 (and since the character it concerns is still a reasonably young man, it clearly is not a reference to 1845) and finally someone mentions that no one would remember Clark Gable because "he was 20 years ago." I would estimate that Cold Comfort Farm takes place around 1955."...the so-called 'Witch House' to be found on Pickman Street in Arkham, Massachusetts..."
"...the castle known as Yspaddaden Penkawr..."
Yspaddaden Penkawr is from The Mabinogion, the 14th century C.E. collection of Welsh legends and myths. Yspaddaden Penkawr is as described, a castle which seems to recede the closer one draws to it. Paul Duggan says, "The specific tale in The Mabinogion is 'How Culhwch Won Olwen.' Which says of the castle:
They journeyed until they came to a vast open plain, wherein they saw a great castle, which was the fairest of the castles of the world. And they journeyed that day until the evening, and when they thought they were nigh to the castle, they were no nearer to it than they had been in the morning. And the second and the third day they journeyed, and even then scarcely could they reach so far."The Mabinogion itself is translated from "The Red Book of Hergest" (collected 1375 - 1425) which is to be found in the Jesus College library at Oxford. It was translated by Lady Charlotte Guest between 1838 and 1845 (with the addition of the 16th Century tale "Taliesin".)
Ron Dingman adds the following:
I thought you might be interested in The New Arthurian Encyclopedia's verdict on the provinence of Mabinogion:"...the gloomy but imposing sight of Exham Priory, with its dismal history of ineffectual pest-control..."Sometime around the middle of the eleventh century, a single writer of considerable ability gave shape to this material in approximately the form we have it now, although the two surviving complete versions are found in manuscripts of a later period, the White Book of Rhydderch (ca. 1325) and the Red Book of Hergest (ca.1400).The entry goes on to aver that "Mabinogion" was a "scribal error" of Lady Charlotte Guest, "who thought it was a plural of 'mabinogi'" (which New Arthur Encyclopedia says is "roughly equivalent in meaning to French enfance"); this lengthy (nearly two full pages of two columns), interesting piece is written by Patrick K. Ford (University of California, Los Angeles).
"...the small but friendly railway station found in Llaregyb..."
Llaregyb is from Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood, a Play for Voices (1954). Llaregyb is a small, sleepy Welsh village. Peter Royston notes that the village, in Under Milk Wood, is "Llaregub," as in "bugger all" spelled backwards.
"...the great national embarassment, since its discovery in 1673 by
Captain Robert Owemuch, of the floating island Scoti Moria, alternatively
known as Summer Island..."
Captain Robert Owemuch and the Floating Island (aka Scoti Moria aka Summer Island) are from "Frank Careless"' The Floating Island or a new Discovery Relating the Strange Adventure on a late Voyage from Lambethana to Villa Franca, Alias Ramallia, to the Eastward of Terra Del Templo: By three Ships, viz., the 'Pay-naught,' the 'Excuse,' and the 'Least-in-Sight' under the Conduct of Captain Robert Owe-much: Describing the Nature of the Inhabitants, their Religion, Laws and Customs (1673). Floating Island is a small island located in the middle of the Thames-Isis Gulf, off the coast of England. The island floats away in winter and hides until the summer, hence its names. Floating Islands' inhabitants are as described.
"...the picturesque and world-famed English university town of Camford,
which ost recently achieved some notoriety due to the efforts of Professor
Camford and Professor Presbury are from A. Conan Doyle's "The Adventure of the Creeping Man" (1927). In that story Professor Presbury, through experiments on monkeys, had discovered that men could be transformed into apes by injecting monkey serum into their veins.
"...It was here, on the River Thames's banks somewhere between Godstow
and Folly Bridge in 1865 that the presumed abduction of a little girl took
place...the girl in question, sensitively known as 'Miss A.L.'..."
The little girl, "Miss A.L.," and the text following is from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865). "A.L." stands for Alice Liddell, the little girl for whom the Reverend Charles Luttwidge Dodgson, aka "Lewis Carroll," wrote Alice. The twist which Moore puts on the events of Alice is quite...Moore-esque. Colin Rankine notes that Alice Liddell ended up marrying Sir Richard Burton, the notorious Victorian adventurer and rogue who was, in some respects, a real-life Allan Quatermain. A large (very large, two dozen or more, far too many to name) number of people responded to this last comment by pointing out that Alice Liddell married Sir Richard Burton only in the pages of P.J. Farmer's Riverworld books, and that in real life Burton married Isabel Arundel and Alice married Reginald Hargreaves.
Page 28. “...there were two less happily-concluded
sequels to her exploits, the first taking place in 1871...”
The Reverend Dodgson published Through the Looking Glass, the sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, in 1871.
"The child's hair-parting was now worn on the
other side, and on examination it appeared that the positions of the organs
in her body had been reversed."
Cap'n Ben Hilton notes that this is a reference to an incident from "The Hunting of the Snark." He's right, of course; in "The Banker's Fate," the Banker is grabbed at by the Bandersnatch, and faints, with the result:
He was black in the face, and they scarcely could
The least likeness to what he had been:
While so great was his fright that his waistcoat turned white--
A wonderful thing to be seen!
Paul Rush writes
In addition to being similar to "The Banker's Fate" I remember reading somewhere that this is also what would allegedly happen if a person were capable of traveling across the entire universe in a straight line until they returned to their point of origin. The idea being that the universe is like a 4-dimensional moebius strip--looping back on itself, but twisting things around in the process."Apparently in consequence of this, Miss A.L. could no longer keep down or digest her normal food..."
There is in fact a rare medical condition known as Dextrocardia with Situs Inversus, in which the position of the heart and other internal organs are reversed. There is an excellent web site with a description of this condition in laypersons terms at the poorly named URL http://www.laughs.com.au/sid/. Unlike Alice's case, this condition is not necessarily fatal, and in fact people with situs inversus can live a normal life, with only a slightly increased risk of congenital heart defects and the tremendous inconvenience of every medical professional they meet wanting to put their cold stethoscopes on them to listen to their mis-placed heart sounds.Django Upton adds
Why, then, did Alice die? Those of us who can reach back into the distant past to our organic chemisty classes will remember that many important organic molecules, such as sugars and amino acids, exist in two forms, which are the mirror images of each other. These are known as levo and dextro (or L and D) stereoisomers. This bit of arcana is important because frequently in biological systems, only one of the isomers is active, that is, can be used by the body to break down for fuel, create proteins, and so on. This specificity is the result of our body's enzymes themselves having a specific spatial orientation, so that their receptor sites are positioned to only accept one of the two isomers.
If Alice's adventure resulted in her body being made a mirror reversal down to the molecular level, then her enzymes would be oriented so they could no longer make use of the stereoisomers of sugars and amino acids found in normal food, and she would rapidly starve. I would suggest that this was her fate.
I recommend Roger Zelazny's book Doorways in the Sand, which provides an interesting first-person account of the subjective experience of being turned into a mirror image of onesself.
This would occur if the molecules in their bodies were also reversed. Organic molecules such as Proteins have two equally likely ways of "folding up". All life on Earth uses one way. Molecules folded opposite to that required by the body cannot be digested.Rob Carr adds
According to quantum mechanics, if you mirror-imaged an object, it would become antimatter. You can think of this as taking the object out of our 3D spatial universe and inverting it and putting it back. The result would still be a world-ending explosion, so clearly this is not what happened.Ken Mann sees a reference, in the reversal of Alice's organs, to H.G. Wells' "The Plattner Story." Mike Everett-Lane sees a reference to Arthur C. Clarke's "Technical Error." Philip Cohen sees a reference to Martin Gardner's The Ambidextrous Universe. Kate O'Brien sees a reference to Dorothy Sayers' "The Image in the Mirror."
When Alice was reversed, she must not have been taken out of normal spacetime, but instead disassembled and reassembled mirror image. No antimatter, no time reversal, and no messy "Boom."
"An Oxford clergyman named Dr. Eric Bellman led the group..."
As mentioned in the notes to Page 25, Dr. Bellman is from "The Hunting of the Snark."
Page 29. “...the mention of a form of
local fauna called a 'jub-jub'...”
The "jub-jub" or "jubjub" bird is mention in both "The Hunting of the Snark" and in Alice Through the Looking Glass. (Not Adventures in Wonderland, as I originally said--thanks to Loki Carbis for correcting my mistake.)
"Asked how one might find this place, Bellman grew agitated and snatched
up a page out of my notebook, claiming that it was a perfect map of how the
island might be reached. The page in question, I should note, was yet unused
and thus entirely blank...."
From "The Hunting of the Snark:"
He had bought a large map representing the sea,
Without the least vestige of land:
And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be
A map they could all understand.
"What's the good of Mercator's North Poles and Equators,
Tropics, Zones, and Meridian Lines?"
So the Bellman would cry: and the crew would reply
"They are merely conventional signs!
"Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and capes!
But we've got our brave Captain to thank:
(So the crew would protest) "that he's bought us the best--
A perfect and absolute blank!"
"He would only say, 'The last word that he spoke was `boo.''"
In "The Hunting of the Snark" the last words of the Baker are "It's a Boo-" (For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.)
"...and certain tunnels found beneath an island in East Anglia, at Winton
Winton Pond is from Graham Greene's "Under the Garden" (1963). In the middle of Winton Pond is a small island underneath which are a web of tunnels, complete with a strange pair of inhabitants and a great trove of treasure, of all the valuable rubbish people have ever lost. One of the subterranean inhabitants refers to certain characters from Wonderland.
Coal City is from Jules Verne's Les Indes Noires (1877). Coal City, a subterranean city located beneath central Scotland, is a very productive mine and tourist attraction.
Vril-ya Country is from Edward Bulwer-Lytton's The Coming Race (1871). The Vril-ya are a race which has constructed a utopia in a ravine deep beneath Newcastle.
"...the Roman State..."
The Roman State is from Joseph O'Neill's Land Under England (1935). The Roman State is a fascistic subterranean nation underneath England, reachable via a trapdoor at the base of Hadrian's Wall. Although the Roman State's origin is unknown, its clothes, language and ships are at the very least influenced by the Romans.
"...Harthover Place in Yorkshire..."
Harthover Place is from The Water Babies.
"...Nightmare Abbey on the edge of Lincolnshire, a place so cursed that
its afflictions almost seem amusing..."
Nightmare Abbey is from Thomas Love Peacock's Nightmare Abbey (1818). Nightmare Abbey is a dilapidated family mansion haunted by a gloom of melancholy which eventually overwhelms its guests.
"...Alderly Edge, a windswept and remote location in the hills of Cheshire..."
Alderly Edge is from Alan Garner's The Weirdstone of Brisingamen (1960). Underneath Alderly Edge is the cave Fundinelve, in which 140 knights in silver armor lie in enchanted sleep, waiting for the chance to fight the evil Spirit of Darkness. Guy Lawley adds that "the Edge is also a very real place. The local legend of the wizard guarding the sleeping knights under the hill is a genuine one, 'borrowed' by Garner for the books."
"...the ancient ruins of Diana's Grove in Staffordshire, not far from
Mercy Farm and the nearby ancestral pile of Castra Regis, home to the illustrious
Caswell family until the sad events of their annus horribilus in 1911..."
Diana's Grove, Mercy Farm, the Castra Regis, and the Caswell family are all from Bram Stoker's Lair of the White Worm (1911). In the novel an ancient and evil white worm, which had survived since prehistoric times in the tunnels beneath England, plagued several good stout Englishmen and woman, all the while in the form of a beautiful woman, before finally being killed through the suitable application of dynamite.
Simon C. points out what I should have noted, that "annus horribilus" is the phrase Queen Elizabeth II used to describe the woes of the British Royal Family in 1992. Philip Cohen points out that it should be "annus horribilis."
"...Thus 'Nania' is a Vril-ya word denoting sin, or evil..."
Neat though it would be to tie The Coming Race to C.S. Lewis' Narnia stories, 'Nania' is an invention of Moore's and does not appear in The Coming Race. Rob Price notes that Moore, in Promethea, identifies Christianity as
the enemy of magic, of creativity, of imagination. I can't remember the exact wording right now but it's something like 'flat, empty, grey'."...a hand-written note refers the reader to an apple-tree currently being grown as a government project at Kew Gardens..."
Narnia is, of course, a poorly disguised allegory for Christianity ('Look for me in your world, where I go by another name' -Aslan). Therefore:
"...Thus 'Nania' is a Vril-ya word denoting sin, or evil..."
Surely the other creatures of magic would be inclined to regard Christianity as evil, as it effectively signed their death warrant...no? Therefore naming the land itself as a derivative of the word for evil makes perfect sense. Of all the lands of magic Narnia must be the most feared and terrible.
As is revealed in issue #2 of League v2, the apple-tree in question is actually taken from Nuremberg, where, in E.T.A. Hoffmann's "The Nutcracker and the King of Mice" (1819), a wardrobe granted access to another world, just as in The Magician's Nephew.
Simon C. points out this page from the National Physical Laboratory, which notes that a descendant of the tree from which the apple fell, enthralling Isaac Newton and helping him to conceive of the theory of gravitation, ended up in Kew Gardens.
Loren Collins adds the following about the tree:
Apple trees and apples are a recurring element in C.S. Lewis's "Chronicles of Narnia" series, but this is probably a reference to the events at the end of The Magician's Nephew (1955). In that book, Digory Kirke was allowed to take a silver Apple of Life from the tree that protects Narnia, the tree that Digory himself had planted with an apple from the garden of the west. Digory then carried that apple to Earth, and after feeding it to his mother to heal her, buried the core in his Uncle Andrew's backyard. Within a day, a young apple tree sprouted. Although it was not a fully magical tree anymore, it retained the memory of its Narnian origins, and would sway when Narnian winds blew. Years later, the tree was felled by a storm, and its wood used to build the wardrobe that featured so prominently in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe."...Narnia?..."
Kew Gardens is a real place in West Sussex, and is home to the Royal Botanic Gardens. The Gardens are home to, among other things, a wide range of conservation programs dedicated to the preservation of endangered plants.
Since the only Narnian apple tree was in a London backyard, this particular tree at Kew is an extrapolation by Moore. The most probable explanation for this second tree is that a seed or cutting was taken from Uncle Andrew's tree by someone who knew or suspected the tree's Narnian origins, possibly an older Professor Digory. Being the only such tree of its kind, its seedlings were taken to Kew for preservation and study. The scrawled word "Narnia?" is, then, the remaining suspicion of the tree's native land, just as a rare Dutch tulip would have "Netherlands" inscribed nearby.
Page 30. “...we had another beastly row...”
Apparently the course of true love doth ne'er run true when it comes to Mina's relationship with Allan.
"...phenomena of a more whimsical, fantastic nature, such as Gort Na
Gort Na Cloca Mora is from James Stephens' The Crock of Gold (1912). Gort Na Cloca Mora is the home of the leprechauns in The Crock of Gold, which is about two philosophers arguing with each other and encountering the leprechauns. Bill Nutt says, "the Irish village of 'Gort no Cloca Mora' is, I believe, the inspiration for 'Gloca Mora,' which is mention in the musical Finian's Rainbow, in the song 'How Are Things in Gloca Mora' which is a really beautiful song."
"..the nearby glen, Glyn Cagny..."
Glyn Cagny is from The Crock of Gold. Glyn Cagny is a glen associated with the two philosophers of The Crock of Gold. The salmon mentioned here live in a pond in the glen.
"...a peculiar breed of salmon said to be the
most profound and learned creatures in all Ireland."
Cap'n Ben Hilton notes that the salmon is a creature of Irish folklore:
This fish bestows wisdom and prophecy upon whoever eats it. The legend has it that the Irish hero Finn Mac Cumhail was told to cook it for his mentor. While cooking it, he burnt his thumb on the grease, and reflectively put his thumb in his mouth to cool it. In consuming even such a small portion of the fish, the gift of wisdom went to him, rather than his master. There are a number of varients on this story, but that's it in general."...the domain of The Sleepers of Erinn, where Irish god-king Angus Og and his bride Caitlin are believed to now reside..."
"...the Lake of the Cauldron..."
The Lake of the Cauldron is from The Mabinogion, in which it functions as described here. Tim Christopher, among a couple of other folks, wondered at the possible tie between the Cauldron mentioned here and the Black Cauldron from Lloyd Alexander's "Prydain" books. Alexander took his stories from Irish myth, so Moore is drawing on the same sources which Alexander did. Ian Driscoll further notes that the Cauldron is "generally considered to be one of the earliest figurations of the Holy Grail," and provides quotes from the Catholic Encyclopedia and the Holy Grail Art site as reference for this. Paul Duggan notes that "The tale in which this appears is 'Branwen Daughter of Llyr.' (Llyr is better known as Shakespeare's King Lear.)"
"...the peculiarly modern-seeming 'Giant's Garden' that surrounds an
outsized tower near Camford. Unbelievably, these ruins were not discovered
The Giant's Garden is from the Oscar Wilde story "The Selfish Giant" (1888). This charming story is about a giant, his garden, and the children who visit the garden.
"...Nearer to Dublin, we find Leixlip Castle..."
Leixlip Castle, Redmond Blaney, and Jane Blaney are from Charles Maturin's The Castle of Leixlip (1820). Leixlip Castle has, as the text here mentions, a dark history, with Redmond Blaney's daughters being murdered by their husbands or taken by faeries.
"...the famous spectral seafood vendor, Miss Malone..."
Miss Malone is actually sweet Molly Malone, from James Yorkston's "Cockles and Mussels" (1884). After dying of a fever Molly Malone still walks the streets of Dublin, crying "Cockles and mussels alive, alive o!" Keith Kole points out the Irish Historical Mysteries: Molly Malone site.
"...a demolished eighteenth century building in the centre of the city,
once known as 'The Red House'..."
The Red House is from J. Sheridan Le Fanu's The Siege of the Red House (1863). The hand which haunted Mr. Harper's red house was the ghost of an ancestor's hand, which had been mutilated.
"Forty miles east of Galway stands a house that presently belongs to
a middle-aged gentleman, one Mr. Mathers. Local legends or tall tales suggest
that Mathers' house may somehow form a gateway to a strangely different
Michael Norwitz identified this reference. It's to The Third Policeman (1940) by "Flann O'Brien," aka Brian O'Nolan, aka Briain ÓNuallàin. Mr. Mathers' house is the home of the quite dangerous Police Inspector Fox as well as a gateway to a hellish Ireland. (The Third Policeman is really quite good, and although it's not available online you should all go out and read it.)
"...the unearthly ruins we discover on the windswept western coast of
Ireland. These apparently once formed a house built on a wild crag jutting
out above a chasm..."
This house is from W.H. Hodgson's The House on the Borderlands (1908). The House on the Borderlands, inhabited by the old man and his sister mentioned in the text, is the gateway to a world of very evil swine monsters.
"...the island known as that of Saint Brendan the Blessed."
This is from The Water Babies, mentioned above on Page 26.
"...we should first comment on Coal City..."
This is from Les Indes Noires, mentioned above on Page 29.
"...the remarkable underground world extending
from the New Aberfoyle caverns..."
Duncan Steele wonders if this is a reference to Doon Hill and the Old Kirk.
"...the cave-world of the Roman State..."
This is from Land Under England, mentioned above on Page 29.
Page 31. “...equally-elusive Brigadoon...”
Brigadoon is from Alan Jay Lerner's Brigadoon (1947). Brigadoon is a Scots village whose inhabitants awake only one day every century.
Lang Thompson notes that the story of Brigadoon was based on Friedrich Gerstäcker's "Germelshausen."
"...Airfowlness, on Scotland's western coast where what seem to be courts
or parliaments of sea birds are held annually..."
Airfowlness is from The Water Babies. Airfowlness is the location where thousands of hooded crows hold their yearly parliament, to boast of what they had done the previous year and to bring one of their own to trial.
"...or Coradine, the fascinating matriarchal settlement up to the north
Coradine is from W.H. Hudson's A Crystal Age (1887). Coradine is a kind of utopia set in northern Scotland.
"...the more evasive settlements, such as the place known as the Glittering
Plain, which also has a second, secret name, the speaking of which is forbidden,
but which is, reputedly, 'The Acre of the Undying.'"
The Glittering Plain, aka The Acre of the Undying, is from William Morris' The Story of the Glittering Plain which has also been called the Land of Living Men or the Acre of the Undying (1891). The Glittering Plain is a kingdom on the coast of norther Scotland. Those who enter the valley are granted immortality, but after this they may never leave.
"...the City of Ayesha..."
Ayesha and her city, Kor, are from H. Rider Haggard's She (1887). Ayesha is She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed, the wife of Horace Rumpole and the immortal goddess of Kor.
"...a remote isle to the North of Scotland, famous for its wreckers
and its pirates, called the Isle of Ransom."
The Isle of Ransom is from The Story of the Glittering Plain.
"...the fateful expedition to The Blazing World..."
The Blazing World is from Observations upon Experimental Philosophy. To which is added the Description of a New Blazing World. Written by the Thrice Noble, Illustrious and Excellent Princess, The Duchess of Newcastle (1666), mentioned above on Page 25.
Back Cover. Geoffrey Tolle, doing yeoman's work, sends along the following:
"Footlight Favorites" Ad - The names of the women listed here appear to be period dancers, actresses, and burlesque workers. These were people who distributed photo cards advertise themselves. I tracked down two names from the first column:Geoffrey Tolle saved me a great deal of work with the preceding. All I'm able to add to the list is that "Lady's Maid" is likely The Confessions of a lady's maid, or, Boudoir intrigue : disclosing many startling scenes & voluptous incidents as witnessed by her in the various families of distinction with whom she lived : forming a wonderful picture of fashionable frailty, passion & seduction, an anonymously-written piece of pornography published in 1860.
Vesta Tilley - She was a famous music hall star (1864 - 1952). One can find more information on her at: http://unisonfree.net/casselden/index.htm
Kate Vaughan - She was a very famous dancer (with her own troupe), actress, and burlesque performer (1876). One can find more information on her at: http://www.streetswing.com/histmai2/d2kvaugn.htm
In addition, Richard K. Fox, appears to have been a publisher based in New York. He was editor/owner of the National Police Gazette. He was a boxing promoter. He also published imaginative and romantic stories of crime. He is, perhaps, most famous (in the LoEG field) for his History of the Whitechapel Murders (published: 1888) which would explain Moore's knowledge of him. One can find more information on him at: http://www.casebook.org/ripper_media/rps.html
Fox's London address is of note because of a much frequented barbar who also used to operate on this street - Todd Sweeney.
"Spicy Books & Cards" Ad - As far as I've been able to find information on these books, they all appear to be real.
"Revelations of Girlhood" - No Information.
"Fanny Hill, or the Careet of a Woman of Pleasure" - I believe that you have already discuussed this book.
"Maria Monk, or Awful Disclosures in a Nunnery" - Published: 1836. This is the supposeddly true account of the abuses suffered by a young woman at the Hotel Dieu Nunnery in Canada. It is lurid and based on a real person but not very factual. One can find more information on this book at: http://www.english.upenn.edu/~traister/hughes.html
"Bride of the First Night" - No Information.
"Complete Works of Aristotle" - This is, doubtlessly, real. I just have no idea why it is listed here.
"All About the Girls" - No Information. There appears to be a music group by this name which is making searching for it more difficult. Hoopster replies that"All About the Girls" is not the name of a band to the best of my knowledge, but it *was* the name of the first EP released by south Florida pop-punk band A New Found Glory. I wanna say it was released in late '98 or so, and was recently re-issued since they've become a fairly big thing with the MTV crowd."Boccaccio's Decameron" - Published: 1353. This was published as a response to Dante's "Divine Comedy" trilogy. On can read the e-text of this book at: http://www.brown.edu/Research/Decameron
"Moll Flanders" - I believe that you have already discussed this book.
"Rosario, or the Female Monk" - Also titled: "Ambrosio, or the Monk. a Romance". Author: Matthew Gregory (M. G.) Lewis. Published: 1800. One can read the e-text of this book at: http://encyclopediaindex.com/b/tmonk10.htm
"Lady's Maid" - I never got around to looking for this one.
"16 Positions of Matrimony" - No Information but I'd be interested to see it.
"Sexual Power" Ad - I found no references to "Mexican Confection" but I suspect that this ad refers to Spanish Fly - an erection stimulator which works well on horses but rather poisonously on humans.
"Don't Marry" Ad - I do not know if I found the right reference for this but it seems possible. Sir (not Doctor) Robert Anderson, Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police of London is believed to have been a highly effective police agent helping to greatly reduce London crime during the Holmes Era. In Stephen Knight's "Jack the Ripper: the Final Solution", Knight proposes that Anderson helped Sir William Gull and John Netley create the Jack the Ripper story as a symbol of Freemasonry and to cover Prince Eddy's "indiscretions". One can read more about him at: http://www.pilkingtonandsons.com/AndersonBooks.htm I believe that Moore even used the Anderson, Gull, Netley trio in his Jack the Ripper book, From Hell. However, I have no explanation forwhat he would be doing as a doctor in Chicago. Still, there is a tentative Moore / Ripper / prostitute / married woman sort of connection.
"The Batchelor's Friend" Ad - Interestingly, while this ad official targets young men, it appears to be a young woman who is engaged in enjoying monodextrous literature in the picture.
Ron Dingman wrote,
As regards the listing of "Aristotle's Complete Works" in the faux advertisement for "Spicy Books & Cards" on the inside back cover of LOEG, Vol. 2, No. 1: mightn't this be a reference to a "marital manual" authored by "divers hands" called Aristotle's Master-Piece?Steve Holland adds
Peter Gay mentions it in the first volume of his five volume (I think...) series The Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to Freud, while discussing the catalogue of "erotic literature" of one Thomas Cameron Beer; Beer boasted of his "'tough collection'" to his brother William early in 1887. Beer notes that he has a copy of Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel (illustrated by Doré), Boccaccio's Decameron, Queen Margaret of Navarre's Heptameron, and "'Aristotle's Famous Master-Piece.'"
Here is the relevant passage from Gay:The only entry in Thomas Beer's little catalogue that remotely resembles pornography is Aristotle's Masterpiece-- but only remotely. It alone among his titles could have supplied the innocent and the curious with abundant carnal knowledge. An informal seventeenth-century compendium often rewritten by a series of anonymous hands and foisted upon Aristotle, it lightened its informative, sometimes even reliable, dissertations on frigidity, impotence, pregnancy, and contraception with jaunty interpolated verses celebrating the joys of sexual congress. First published in the American colonies just before the Revolution, it had run through scores of editions and almost as many versions before Thomas Beer added it to his tough collection.The above comes from Vol. 1 of The Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to Freud, Education of the Senses (NY: Oxford University Press; 1984; ISBN: 0-19-503728-6), p. 367.
*NOTE: I don't know if the "seventeenth century" reference in the preceding paragraph is an error; since Gay is an American, one might reasonably infer that he means the *American* Revolution when he writes "just before the Revolution," but if he does, then either "17th century" is an error or he has a curious notion of something happening "just before" the American Revolution.
Gay devotes quite a bit of ink to discussing the "racy" reading habits of the "Victorians" in Education; while the LOEG community is doubtless well aware of the shady reputation many 19th century novels had to their contemporaries, the following passage may be of interest:Prévost's Manon Lescaut put Thomas Beer into a reminiscent mood: 'Do you remember,' he asked his brother, once borrowing that book from a friend, '& how you got *thunder* from Pap?' Even young men, it would seem, had to be discreet about their choice of reading matter as late as the 1880s.Finally, it should also be remembered that the notions of what was "racy" in the latter half of the nineteenth century were a bit milder than what we might award this description to:
-- ibid, p. 366Beer's library, then, illustrates the susceptibility of nineteenth-century readers to rather tame material, to erotic and scatalogical scenes embedded in drama, humor, and suspense. It it notorious that those who need it will convert the most innocuous words and pictures into reasons for arousal: anything whatever, including technical terms in dictionaries, may serve as fuel for sexual fantasies. The libido in search of expression will find, or if necessary construct, what it must have, and weave the most elaborate masturbatory scenarios around the scantiest and least probable suggestions. Nineteenth-century libidos were no exception to this human propensity."
-- ibid, pps. 367-68 Education of the Senses also discusses 19th century attitudes towards masturbation; and since girls and unmarried women were the most frequent objects of concern vis-á-vis novels, it's perhaps not surprising that the illustration for the advertisement addressed to "batchelors" does in fact feature a woman. (One might reasonably construe that the ad shows a"batchelor woman" or feminist; and, as Gay notes at length, feminists were frequently the targets of sexual slanders which held them to favor "mannish ways.")
Bride of the First Night is a British translation of the novel La mariee de Fontenay-aux-Roses by Paul de Kock.
The Complete Works of Aristotle was an omnibus of books probably first published in the early 19th century. The British Library has an edition published by E. Wilson, London, dated 1786 which they note is actually a false imprint. They date the book as c.1815. The "complete works" comprise "his Master-piece The Family Physician, his Experienced Midwife, his Book of Problems, and his Last Legacy."
These four works were earlier published separately, the first, for instance, as Aristotle's Master-piece; or, The Secrets of Generation Display'd in All the Parts Thereof (1690) and the reason they are included in the list of erotica is because the secret of generation is ... sex. The books were originally published as lost works of Aristotle but were not -- it seems more likely that the author was William Salmon (1644-1713).
"All About Girls" is probably All About Girls and their doings. A jolly book for jolly folks was published by R. March in c.1880.
Lady's Maid is more fully The Adventures, Intrigues, and Amours of a Lady's Maid written by herself (1822), an early erotic novel. The Confessions of a Lady's Maid mentioned by Geoffrey Tolle may possibly be a later reprint.
The tradition of Aristotle being linked with erotica goes back at least to the 13th century, when Henri d'Andely wrote "Le Lai d'Aristotle," which featured Aristotle being ridden like a pony by one "Mrs. Phyllis," who is free with a crop. This in turn inspired two paintings, Hans Baldung Grien' Phyllis Riding Aristotle (1513) and Bartholomaeus Spranger' The Woman and the Philosopher. In the 17th century two popular texts on reproductive matters (including, among others, birth control) were Aristotle's Masterpiece and Aristotle's The Experienced Midwife.
Kathy Igo wrote
"To Married Ladies" I can find any number of references to French Remedies on line, but they all seem to involve herbs or potions of some kind. The only association I can make to an invention of interest to married ladies is the following, so I will offer it. I apologise in advance if any of the following should be found offensive.
In the Victorian era, a frequently diagnosed malady of women was "hysteria". The treatment of this "illness" for many years was what can only be described as theraputic masturbation by a medical professional. By the late l860's mechanical appliances to assist in this task began to be marketed to physicians. These first steam-powered and electrical contraptions were large, imposing, serious pieces of equipment, designed for use in a doctor's office. However, by 1905 portable versions were available (for house calls), and by 1918 these gadgets began to be marketed directly to women themselves in such respectable catalogs as Sears and Roebuck.
I kid you not. This is a capsule history of the evolution of the vibrator, and has been documented in the scholarly work The Technology of Orgasm: 'Hysteria', the Vibrator, and Women's Sexual Satisfaction by Rachel P. Maines, published by Johns Hopkins University. The first chapter of this facinating tome is available online at http://www.press.jhu.edu/press/books/titles/sampler/maines.htm, and is a remarkable window into social and medical attitudes towards women's sexuality in the last one hundred and fifty years. It also demonstrates the remarkable ability of technology to fill a need, even if no one is willing to admit this need exists.
I believe it is possible that the "invention" mentioned in this ad is an early home vibrator. There are several problems with this theory. I have never seen the term "French Remedy" applied to the vibrator in its early history. The most popular early manufacturer of medical vibrators was British (a company named Weiss, the inventor a physician named Joseph Mortimer Granville.) I don't know of models being marketeddirectly to consumers as early as 1898, although relatively small portable models were available by then. The early ads I have seen or read of are not quite so mysterious, preferring rather to sell vibrators as excellent tools to "relieve tight muscles", "reduce tension", and "return the glow of youth to your cheeks." (In fact, you can see the same language on vibrators sold today in department and drug stores, usually accompanied with a picture of a model discreetly pressing the vibrator against her neck.) However, for want of a better explanation, that is my theory.
Taina Evans says, "French remedies - I assumed a reference to abortion or contraception- both being illegal, it could only be provided under a euphemism, and to a married woman (rather like contraception in Britain in the 1950's could only be legally provided to married women)."
E-texts, in order of their mention
Lieutenant Gulliver Jones
"Under the Moons of Mars"/A Princess of Mars
"The Crystal Egg"
A Pilgrim's Progress
“The Hunting of the Snark”
The Hound of the Baskervilles
The Enchanted Castle
Five Children and It
"The Adventure of the Lion's Mane"
(note: This may not be a wholly legal e-text.)
"The Wish House"
"Dreams in the Witch House"
"The Rats in the Walls"
The Floating Island
"The Adventure of the Creeping Man"
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Through the Looking Glass
Les Indes Noires
The Coming Race
Lair of the White Worm
The Crock of Gold
"The Selfish Giant"
The Castle of Leixlip
"Cockles and Mussels"
The House on the Borderlands
A Crystal Age
The Story of the Glittering Plain
Thanks to: Alicia, now and always. Mike Chary, for loaning me the advance copy. Michael Norwitz, for the Third Policeman reference. Scott Dunbier, for faxing a copy of this to Alan Moore (!), and relating Moore's praise (!!!) to me. Simon C., for the Kew Gardens reference. Win Eckert for the Martian references. Leandro Antolini, Peter Ayres, Rob Beattie, Sean Blair, Ronald Byrd, Loki Carbis, Rob Carr, Jonathan Carter, Carycomic, Tim Christopher, Philip Cohen, Loren Collins, Steven Costa, Kieran Cowan, John_Dee, Rick Diehl, Ron Dingman, Ian Driscoll, Duggy, Mike Everett-Lane, Taina Evans, Julian Fattorini, Jack Fletcher, Michael Frank, Mags Halliday, Billy Haney, Timothy Hatton, Cap'n Ben Hilton, Steve Holland, Hoopster, Seth Hunter, Kathy Igo, John Klima (of The Electric Velocipede), Keith Kole, Tim Kreider, Jean-Marc Lofficier, Ed Love, Gabriel McCann, Robert McCord, Ian McDowell, Mistress Malevolent, Charles Martin, Michael Meyer, Gabriel Neeb, Bill Nutt, Kate O'Brien, Nick Perks, Pete, Jim Pipik, Hisa Rania, Colin Rankine, Eric Reehl, Alasdair Richmond, Jean Rogers, Peter Royston, Paul Rush, Beppe Sabatini, Cliff Schexnayder, Tim Serpas, John Sherman, Daniel Smith, Ralph Snart, John Snead, Henry Spencer, Bill Svitavsky, Lang Thompson, Geoffrey Tolle, John Trumbull, Django Upton, Sean van der Meulen, Geoffrey Wessel, Kurt Wilcken, and Giles Woodrow for various additions and corrections.
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