Further Notes on Ignota
A collection of notes and queries on ‘Seven Surrenders’ compiled by CAMESTROS FELAPTON, at the Request of Certain Parties, being a sequel of sorts to my previous notes.
Page numbers and text are from the 2017 Tor US hardback edition. Errors and typos are from me except where indicated. The notes are not authorised by the author or editorialised by the editor. I’m speculating people! Latin translations are often my best guess from Google translate or from the book itself – corrections welcome.
Notes are given in the order that I spotted something in a book. In some cases, a reference is later explained in the actual text of the book. In other cases, I’m guessing. In many cases, I have added further comments to an observation based on later information from the book. Note also, that my last set of notes contained some unwitting spoilers – i.e. unexplained references in the book which are then later explained by characters for plot purposes.
As many things in this book explain references in the previous book, there are fewer notes overall. I have also included some stray observations as things occur to me. ’TLtL’ will refer to ’Too Like the Lightning’
Character and author intent. Most of the book is narrated by Mycroft Canner, who is obsessed with Voltaire and the Enlightenment. To what extent are his references the intent of the character or that of the author? Obviously it is both, but in general, I’ll assume that it is Mycroft trying to say something if the reference is Mycroft and Palmer is trying to say something when it is a reference outside of Mycroft’s control. Likewise, with possible errors, I’ll assume these come from Mycroft as a character.
These notes take us to the end of the sixth day. Events move rapidly and references are fewer.
Page 150 Chapter the Tenth: Providence Chooses Left
• Ingolstadt – Historic Bavarian city. In Frankenstein (the novel rather than movies), Ingolstadt is where Victor studied (and if I remember rightly were he puts the monster together?) at the (in real life) famous medical school. Also where Adam Weishaupt founded the quasi-masonic Bavarian Illuminati in 1776 which espoused rationalist Enlightenment values.
• ‘Charlemagne’ – aka Charles the Great 742-814 King of the Franks and effective emperor of Western Europe and recognised as the Emperor of Rome by the Pope. While the Holy Roman Empire was not founded until over 150 years later, Charlemagne can be seen as the precursor to the idea – an emperor uniting the multiple Germanic tribes of Western Europe under the banner of what had been the (Western) Roman Empire. The connection with Ingolstadt is slim – the cities existence is first mentioned in documents belonging to Charlemagne’s rule but more generally the city has a long association with nobles within the Holy Roman Empire.
• ‘2170s’ – a key decade in the development of the society we meet in 2454.
• I’ve written “j’moriarty” in the margin but I don’t know why.
• “We speak so smugly of economic determinism…” – This long section from Felix Faust on perspectives of history is an interesting contrast to the ideas in TLtL. Faust discusses 19th-century and 20th-century perspectives on historical forces and how people at a given period of history don’t experience events in that way.
Page 159-162 End of Chapter 10
Page 163 Chapter the Twelfth: Snakes and Ladders
• ‘Freud’s’ – Julia has a couch based on Freud’s couch. Note how while TLtL is dominated by French 18th-century figures, Seven Surrenders has more 19th-century and Germanic figures appearing.
• ‘C-CF-003035’ – Carlyle Foster’s tracker tag code
• ‘Their notion of reincarnation is more Pythagorean than Buddhist’ – OK so that’s what they meant by Pythagorean set-sets.
Page 169-175 End of chapter 12
Page 176 Chapter the Thirteenth: Rose-Tinted Daydream
• ‘the Renaissance’ – many references on this page but most have been addressed before.
• ‘Juliet, Helen, Cleopatra, Lesbia, Dante’s Beatrice, Abelard’s Heloise’ – Juliet as in Shakespeare’s play, Helen of Troy, Cleopatra are self-explanatory. Abelard’s Heloise we’ve discussed. Dante’s Beatrice is his guide in heaven as Virgil was for hell and purgatory (Virgil being a pagan, couldn’t go into heaven). Lesbia (which is giving autocorrect hell) was the subject of poems by the poet Catullus who was a major influence on Ovid. Each of the women listed were subjects of works by great poets.
• ‘fawn-thin’ – I noted but I’m not sure why.
• This page has a clever use of text columns.
• ‘Count of Monte Cristo’ – The novel by Alexander Dumas in which the character Edmond Dantes is unjustly imprisoned, escapes and re-invents himself as an aristocrat. The Pantheon was discussed in the previous notes – Dumas’s ashes were not interred in the Pantheon until 2002 on the bicentenary of his birth.
• ‘Icarus’ – legendary son of the master builder Daedalus. Ovid also recounted his story in Metamorphoses
Page 202 End of Chapter 13
Page 203 Chapter the Fourteenth: The Suicide of Cato Weeksbooth
• Machiavelli – as discussed in the text
• “Jehovah’s ‘language’” – the question of the original language of humanity (the language of Adam) was a matter of some curiosity. Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II conducted experiments on children so that they would be reared without any influence of a human language so as to see what they would speak naturally. Unsurprisingly the cruel experiment failed. JEDD was raised using an opposite approach: access to many languages from which he has synthesised his own.
• ‘a labyrinth to baffle Daedalus’ – the designer of the labyrinth of King Minos of Crete in which the Minotaur lived. Although Daedalus’s labyrinth canonically had many routes, the symbols of labyrinths from Crete were typically unicursal – i.e. winding but with only a single path. Consequently ‘labyrinth’ is often used to denote unicursal winding paths as opposed to mazes.
Page 205-212 End of Chapter 14. End of Sixth Day