Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Annotated Nexus - Page 20

20.0 The similarity of Dostoevski's Russians to that of the everyday worker in New York continues from page 19, ending Chapter One. Chapter Two begins mid-page, with a decsription of a cold winter's day in New York.

20.1 Monotonous
In one sentence, Miller uses the word "monotonous" four times to emphasize the monotony of the streets, homes, individuals, and thoughts found in New York City. "Monotonous and at the same time unlimited!"

On page 287, Miller describes New York as having a "morbid monotony" as he walks it's streets one last time before leaving for Paris.

20.2 "lunatical"
This word describes the American lifestyle (just as it is found in Dostoevski's Russia). Miller places this word in quotation marks, though I can't figure out why. Perhaps: a) he is exaggerating and doesn't quite believe Americans are "lunatics," or; b) he is referencing a use of the word by Dostoevski.

20.3 Bosch's creations
Americans may have at one point lived a "human existence," but tomorrow "their world will possess a character and lineament more fantastically bedeviled than any or all of Bosch's creations."

Hieronymous Bosch (1450-1516) was a Dutch painter most famous for his surrealistic and sometimes disturbing cluttered scenes with human-animal hybrids. [see a fragment below from his Garden Of Earthly Delights].

20.4 antedeluvian
Theologists define this as the period of history before the flood described in the Noah's Ark tale.
[description]. Again, Miller is negatively characterizing Americans, in their "antedeluvian aspect," living in a time of wickedness that is about to be swept away.

20.5 "a winter's morn"
Chapter 2 begins with a description of a cold winter's day in New York. It seems this moment is in the present tense of the book (as established in 9.4), but it is really just a starting point to delve into an anecdote from the past (which makes up all of this chapter).

20.6 septentrional
Miller uses this antiquated term to describe the winter's day; looks like Henry was milling his thesaurus on this day of writing. According to Wikipedia, this word was mostly found on pre-1700 maps, and means "northern" or "boreal."

20.7 beggars
The bulk of this paragraph places the image of a beggar within this frigid environment. With sarcasm, Miller describes the point of view of a businessman ("comfortable banker") who would not in his right mind take his hands out of his pockets to give the beggar a dime. From here (on the next page) Miller talks about himself, implying that he is the beggar in question (he had indeed begged on the streets of New York during his lean years); this explains his bitter, sarcastic tone.

<--- previous page 19 next page 21 --->


Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is an unmistaken monotony I always have been plagued with returning to my birth city after living abroad for many years. Your notes make clear what Miller was getting at – in a precise and ethical way. And I relate to both.

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