Mason and Dixon

ISBN: 0312423209
ISBN 13: 9780312423209
By: Thomas Pynchon

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About this book

The story of Charles Mason (1728-1786) and Jeremiah Dixon (1733-1779)—the British surveyors best remembered for running the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland that has come to known as the Mason-Dixon Line—as re-imagined by bestselling author Thomas Pynchon.Intermingled with Mason and Dixon's biographies, history, fantasy, legend, speculation, and outright fabrication, the novel is based on the focal point of one Rev. Wicks Cherrycoke, a clergyman of dubious orthodoxy, who attempts to entertain and divert his extended family on a cold December evening—partly for amusement, and partly to keep his coveted status as a guest in the house.

Reader's Thoughts


pynchon's _mason & dixon_ is ostensibly a historical fiction about the astronomer and land surveyor (respectively) commissioned to draw the now-eponymous line between pennsylvania and mason and dixon's line signifies distinctions of far greater import than simple political geography (north/south, slavery/abolition), so pynchon's tome is at once an epic journey through pre-revolutionary america; a sometimes-didactic People's History on which the hypocrisy of a people who would decry British oversight while visiting far greater atrocities on their native american neighbors is never lost; a degree-of-difficulty=10 meditation on religious and scientific philosophy in the age of reason; a novel about 18th century events written in the style of an 18th century novel; and most important, an examination of the beauty and occasional limitations of male friendship.where _m&d_ lacks the pitch-black humor and political immediacy of _gravity's rainbow_ it more than compensates with the most beautifully impressionistic, frequently elegiac prose i've ever seen committed to paper. further, where pomo lit generally relies on the "fracturing of self" -- note that the final book of _gr_ ceases to concern itself with "slothrop qua slothrop" [pg. 739, "a counterforce spokesman":], allowing the protagonist to be absorbed by the political movement for which he is a stand-in -- _m&d_ never wavers as a character study of the "melancholick" mason and the jovial outsized bumpkin dixon ["often causing future strangers to remember them as dixon and mason":].pynchon sets the events of _m&d_ in the crucible of their occurrence, foregoing reliance on "obvious" political events like the stamp act for ones that would really have informed the mindset of his protagonists -- gloucester's weavers' rebellion of 1775 (against the clothiers, over labor price-setting), the jacobite revolt of '45, braddock's defeat at monongahela river, the ascendancy of maskylene to the position of astronomer royal in the aftermath of bradley's death, etc. etc. like _gr_, _m&d_ is also loaded with science history; i know more about 18th century attempts to solve the apparently-difficult problem of determining longitude at sea (lunar; chronometer), the equatorial coordinate system (declination, right ascension), and the importance of the transits of venus in determining the distance from earth to sun than i ever thought i would. [note: this was mostly my own research, but i found it interesting, relevant and fruitful.]to address the elephant in the essay: if you read pynchon, you may not read him twice, so i'd probably start with _gr_, but to be completely honest i enjoyed _m&d_ more; neither is even remotely an easy read.


I could not read this, -- perhaps if I were taking some English Lit. class and forced to read it, disect it, and write a report on it then I'd be sufficiently motivated to continue reading the lengthy prose, convoluted descriptions, sentences that go on and on, not just from one line to the next, nor from one paragraph to the next but falling just shy of one chapter to the next -- somewhere in the range of a sentence being equal to several pages - as if anyone would have the energy to just ramble on, within the confines of one sentence, to challenge the reader in seeing how far he or she will continue in their effort to see the point, digest the vagueries and want to continue on with the next sentence - which may span another several pages before ending in a chapter in which you might have just said, "what did I read?"


Hay que empezar diciendo que ninguna reseña puede abarcar todo lo que Pynchon nos relata en su novela. No es una lectura fácil, pero es uno de los libros más asequibles de Pynchon. Creo que su autor no pretendía escribir una novela histórica al uso. Aunque conociendo al autor, ya esperaba algo similar. Haciendo uso de diálogos y pensamientos, Pynchon nos dibuja unos personajes que rozan la caricatura, o más bien el homenaje, parejas tan memorables como Don Quijote y Sancho Panza o Gargantúa y Pantagruel.’Mason y Dixon’ es la historia que el reverendo Wicks Cherrycoke narra a su auditorio, conformado por niños y adultos, que se sitúan a su alrededor. Como si de Sherezade en ‘Las mil y una noches’ se tratase, el reverendo Cherrycoke centra su mirada en este par de personajes, a los que acompañó en parte de sus viajes. También hay que puntualizar que el reverendo no es un narrador demasiado fiable, como muy bien él mismo se encarga de recordarnos al principio. Y es que la historia no adolece de elementos fantásticos, como perros que hablan o golems.Mason, astrónomo, y Dixon, agrimensor, fueron dos personas que existieron realmente. Su mayor hazaña, por la que están en los libros de Historia, es la que abarca la mayor parte de la novela: en la última mitad del siglo XVIII, trazaron una línea divisora entre las tierras del estado de Pennsylvania y las tierras de Maryland, con Delaware de por medio. En realidad, el libro puede dividirse en dos partes, una primera parte que transcurre en Sudáfrica, donde se asientas los cimientos de la relación de ambos protagonistas; y una segunda parte, donde se cuenta lo antes mencionado.Quien se acerque a ’Mason y Dixon’ no va a encontrar una novela de aventuras, donde prime la épica, o quizás no la épica que se pueda esperar de tal término. Pynchon ha trazado todo un monumento literario, de conocimientos enciclopédicos, más de diálogos y pensamientos que de hechos, donde los acontecimientos se van produciendo sin descanso.Personalmente, puedo decir que ’Mason y Dixon’ me ha gustado más que la desbordante ‘El arco iris de gravedad’, siendo más comprensible y asequible que esta última. La novela empieza muy bien, te atrapa desde un principio, y te arrastra hasta su ecuador, donde acabas llegando un tanto exhausto. Después, se vuelve una tanto anodina, pero te dejas llevar. Hasta llegar a la última parte del libro, donde la historia remonta, y donde destacan los últimos capítulos, que son brillantes, e incluso melancólicos.


I've just arrived at the last chapter & I find I'm so moved by the immenent end of the book that I have to put it aside for a few hours. It feels as though I have treavelled to the Cape & along the Mason Dixon line with the protagonists. After several months, I have finally come to the realization that the book is an experience more than a plot line. The episodes are incredibly vivid, sometimes gruesome, sometimes mystic, sometimes uproariously funny, always disconnected to most things before & after them, but they represent stages on a journey/life rather than parts of a developing story. Taken together, they make me feel like I have lived a lifetime, trekking & living history along with Mason & Dixon, & I'm putting off saying goodbye to all of that richness. Definitely a book to keep (even though it's not mine) & revisit later, knowing what to expect.It's taken me a while, but I was right to stick with it. Great book!Now I've finished it & the ending was poignant especially for the details of Isaac's name, Dr., after the doctor who delivered him but failed to save the life of Rebeckah, his mother. His father chose to call him always Dr. Isaac to remind himself of that, even though the son adored the father & longer to go to America with him. Sadly he only went at the very wend when his father was dying. Aaah!


The most digressive and, in many ways, the most characteristically American of Pynchon's novels. Pynchon's other two opuses, Gravity's Rainbow and Against the Day, are characterized by complex plots involving paranoid, wartime, international capitalist conspiracies, but Mason & Dixon is much more episodic in comparison, presenting a series of riffs on 18th-century America and its bizarre-yet-often-true events. It's just an utter joy to follow its protagonists through the winding backwoods of the American colonies, coming across in their travels such oddities as a pot-smoking, Yiddish-speaking George Washington, a mechanical duck capable not only of flight and speech but seeming to possess even a soul (not to mention erotic impulses), vegetable farms which produce specimens the size of houses, a man whom upon the full moon transfigures into a beaver, and too many other absurdities to catalogue here.But even setting aside its multitudinous surface pleasures as a piece of historiographic metafiction (BIG WORDS), it's a wonderful examination of the attitudes and politics that shaped America in its formative years, and which have continued to embody - for better and for worse - the spirit of the country ever since. Pynchon juxtaposes the horrors of slavery and the massacre of natives with the wonders of the Enlightenment (exemplified by Pynchon's liberal portrayal of Benjamin Franklin as a promiscuous, electric-magician rock star, an account not as far from the truth as you'd think) and the diverse and utterly unique personalities that are drawn to the promise and potential of a new country. It's perhaps the one Pynchon novel that's optimistic in any greater sense - he's hardly a thoroughbred nihilist, but he's always had a vicious streak of cynicism, which is replaced in Mason & Dixon by a profound melancholy. In transporting his sensibilities 250 years into the past, Pynchon has taken to heart the optimism that surely must have characterized the founding fathers in their quest for a newer, better, free-er country than before.Reflecting its fixation on history and historicity, the novel examines the concept of time in great depth - its flows both forward and backward, the role of memory in our lives, the great unknown of the future, and so on. There's an omnipresent irony in reading about the exploits of two characters about whom we know, if not the capital-T Truth (which is impossible to ever know), then at least some semblance of it, and the paths their lives would take them on - all the while the two wondering to what final purpose their lives have led (or been constructed for, keeping with Pynchon's paranoia). Of course, at its heart, the novel is about two divergent personalities - the somber, thoughtful Mason, who spends much of the novel pondering life's meaning in the absense of his beloved, deceased Rebekah, and the cheerful, carefree Dixon who is content to while away his days chasing skirts and drowning himself in beer - who come, over the years, to possess a shared fondness despite their marked differences in attitude. These two are easily the most sympathetically drawn characters in Pynchon's body of work, in no small part because of the greater role they take on than the usual Pynchon protagonists, and perhaps also because of their foundation as historical figures, who thus seem more real even in Pynchon's exaggerated account of their lives. Their journey through the heart of America and their witness to the clash between scientific exploration and the intangible, ineffable natural beauty of the world (which, given Pynchon's own fondness for abstruse scientific minutiae, is meta as hell) provides us with the most vivid, three-dimensional Pynchon characters yet. The two don't act so much as react to the shaping influences of the country, and by extension we come to know them, just as they come to know each other, in greater depth.And that's to say nothing of the aesthetic merits. Pynchon has always had an unparalleled way with words, and in adopting his style within the confines of 18th-century vernacular - replete with superfluous capitalization, apostrophes, dashes, and anachronistic diction - he manages to lose none of his charm, humor or insight. His allusive style provides many of the book's funniest moments - try as he might with all his fancy words, he can't completely skirt around the fact that his characters are discussing having sex with a goat. What's most impressive is how digestible it is - after a few dozen pages, deciphering it became second-nature. (Perhaps having GR and AtD as primers helped.) In fact, I was saddened as much for any reason to have finished Mason & Dixon because I know of no other novel written like this. Thank God then that it's Pynchon, whose books demand rereads like nobody else's.

Ethan Miller

Like my good friend Jay said when I told him I was embarking on M&D; "Oh, it's a joy!"As sorrowful, paranoid, shattered and crushing as Gravity's Rainbow is, Mason & Dixon matches that power with tools of joy, friendship, bittersweet ocean's of memory both historical and personal, phantoms of love and deep melancholy of the heart and of the mind, all forged in the opposite end of the emotional spectrum from the dark brew (perhaps abyss) that is Gravity's. Here Pynchon paints with all the colors of the flowing seasons that form and dissolve the walking dream of life. A beautiful book for the Fall, for laughter, for meditation, reflection, memory and to stand inside of joy and be reminded that it's spine must be made of sadness also for it's form to function fully. It's perhaps worth noting for those that felt there was something profound and wonderful about Gravity's Rainbow but couldn't stand the trudge through it's assaultive structure that M & D has all the wild baffling Pynchon style and blaze but is a much more linear narrative, though by no means conventional. Many believe it to be his masterpiece though I believe 'M & D' + 'Gravity's' create a larger masterwork together, a Yin and Yang portrait of the West in it's modern birth and modern death. Highly recommended as the starting point in Pynchon epics. OH IT'S A JOY


Bored with the Edna St Vincent Millay of Savage Beauty and tired of the endless formality of complete names in Love in the Time of Cholera, I fished Thomas Pynchon’s Mason and Dixon out of the box it came in weeks ago. Sat down, stirring sugar into the tea I intended to drink while I read, and dropped my spoon.Page 1: What kind of madness is this?? Oh My God. I’m tingly. No, this is not erotica. I don’t think. I don’t know what it is. But I think I like it. A lot. Dear God. Is the whole thing like this? I can’t tell if I love it or hate it. If it goes on this way till the end I may come to loathe it.Page 773: Yes. This (thus far) lovely torture is intended to continue. And yes. I read the last page. What of it? With writing like this I’m unlikely to remember it more than seven hundred pages from now anyway.First sentence, I kid you not:Snow-balls have flown their Arcs, starr’d the Sides of Outbuildings, as of Cousins, carried Hats away into the brisk Wind off Delaware, - the Sleds are brought in and their Runners carefully dried and greased, shoes deposited in the back Hall, a stocking’d-foot Descent made upon the great Kitchen, in a purposeful Dither since Morning, punctuated by the ringing Lids of various Boilers and Stewing-Pots, fragrant with Pie-Spices, peel’d Fruits, Suet, heated Sugar, - the Children, having all upon the Fly, among rhythmic slaps of Batter and Spoon, coax’d and stolen what they might, proceed, as upon each afternoon all this snowy Advent, to a comfortable Room at the rear of the House, years since given over to their carefree Assaults.I am speechless.


To sum it up in two words, "Mason & Dixon" is, overwhelmingly phenomenal! Rather than write a review, because how can you review Thomas Pynchon’s work. The man is a genius, who's depth of vocabulary is out of this world, whose knowledge is so vast it’s a wonder he can retain all he knows, and he is one of the most original authors to ever write. So here’s a top ten list of Mason & Dixon, its top ten phenomenal moments if you will. 10. The Vroom sisters messing with MasonHere are some lines in which Mason is on a ladder because he is locked out “With no more than precarious hold upon the Balcony, Mason now feels activity beneath his Soles, and looks down in time to see the Ladder being deftly abstracted and taken ‘roud the Corner in malicious fun by Jet, who for some reason is feeling underappreciated today. As he hangs there in Misery, tasting Ocean Salt in the Wind, watching in spirit of Distance, “Soon,” he mutters aloud, “to be Detachment,” the Bolts connecting the House to the Balcony, which was never meant to bear much more weight than that of an adolescent Female’s Foot, begin to slide, protesting with horrid sucking Shrieks, out of the Lime and Sand that have held them there so ornamentally till now. “What,” he is heard to exclaim,-“not again?” before jumping clear of the falling Iron-work, landing, mercifully with-out more than Contusions and Pain, upon the soak’d Earth”9. The Talking Norfolk terrier at a pub, who talks to Mason and Dixon8. Pissing in the snow, part of side story about a wedding.“Threading their way among snoring celebrants, trying not blunder onto drooling Faces or disarrange’d Skirts, they go outside, and together piss in the Snow. Shelby writes his name, sweepingly, as if at the bottom of some Blank and all-powerful Warrant of the Winter, whilst Tom draws a simple Heart, unpierc’d, unletter’d, whose outline he fills carefully, completely and then some. The Captain looks over. “You certainly did have to piss”7. Jenkins’s Ear Museum.6. Garden of giant vegetables5. Eliza’s and Zhang’s escape from French Canada4. The Lambton Worm3. Mason on the other side of St Helena Island with its mind-altering winds, which Mason is visited by the Ghost of his dead wife, or is just the wind.2. all the back and forth Banter between Mason and Dixon rather it is talk of star gazing, tea vs. coffee, or the conversations with many other people along their journey1. Armand’s mechanical duck (what else?) and the duck talks“So,” spray’d the Duck,-“the terrible Bluebeard of the Kitchen, whose Celebrity is purchas’d with the lives of my Race. Not so brave now, Eh” “…its Beak being of the finest Swedish Steel, did I mention that, yes quite able, when the Duck, in its homicidal Frenzy, is flying at high speed, to penetrate all known Fortification, solid walls being as paper to this Juggernaut…One can cower within, but one cannot avoid,-Bec de la Mort…’Beak of Death.”


In the search for the mythical "Great American Novel", too many are guilty of forming their idea of what this should be before reading any of the contending texts. Hence, the likes of Don De Lillo, Saul Bellow, Philip Roth and John Updike are those most often mentioned in this context. The assumption is that the beast should deal with twentieth century material - the America of skyscrapers, mass immigration, tenement buildings and baseball. However, what better way of getting to the soul of a country than an exploration of the initial conditions at that nation's birth? Thomas Pynchon obviously agreed and came up with a kaleidoscopic overview of America in the womb. Over 700 pages of the most impressive prose imaginable, Pynchon takes us on a tour of eighteenth century America, with doses of South Africa, the UK and St. Helena thrown in. But this isn't just an academic exercise designed to create dazzling prose, this is a touching novel with larger than life characters and a big heart - a human novel that emphasizes decency, open-mindedness and human frailty.


I used to hate Pynchon's novels. I'd never finished one, putting them down after a few pages feeling confused, irritated and bored. Reviewers didn't help: Either they were boys thrilled by his postmodern toys (ooh,shocking, he makes a dig at Clinton with the joke about not inhaling; hacleverha, the narrator is called Rev. Cherrycoke)or they were acolytes in awe who clearly didn't quite get what he was on about(all those postmodern master comments and references to particle physics). Interestingly no review I've read of Mason & Dixon has referenced events past page 50. Guess even the professionals give up sometimes.But, fellow reader, Mason & Dixon is a great and joyful book and completely worth reading to the end. It's about friendship between people (and between peoples), and made me realize how few books are about deep human relations as opposed to the exploration of an individual's consciousness and its conflicts with others. Pynchon never reduces life to a single unity. Instead we get the muddle and mystery of how our feelings for each other get tangled up with physicality, technology, logic and geography and motives and history and structures. Who's to say that they way through that mystery/muddle might not be lit by a mechanical duck that flies as fast as a V2, or a Learned English Dog? And where there is nothing to say--the genocide of Native Americans, a friend's death--Pynchon skirts the lacuna with lyrical, heartbreaking prose. As for the confusion of his writing, I ultimately found it distinctive and thrilling rather than bewildering. Reading his books isn't about parsing every line or nodding at every reference, it's about the experience of being caught up in a world outside our own consciousness and individuality. He needed to write it that way to make his point. And it makes for an exhilarating and enthralling read.I haven't thought or felt so deeply about a book for years. Highly, highly recommended.

David Lentz

The genius resident in this mighty and "prolifick" work is off the charts, lacking borders, bounds and limits. "Mason & Dixon" is a picaresque Iliad by a supremely gifted and inventive storyteller. The "electrick" writing on each of the 773 pages is luminous beyond belief. The characters are deeply human "comick" and "mystick" figures who consistently extend the wit of their banter well beyond the first or second brilliant repartee of each stretch of dialogue. The "vistos" of wild American colonial landscape in both city and countryside, on land and "oceanick", in royal and humble society in Pynchon's Great Chain of Being are breathtaking. The dialogue is intelligent and witty and often hilarious. Meet Franklin, Col. Washington, Penn, Calvert, Boswell and Dr. Johnson -- all in the mileux of their day -- in adventures high and low. "Mason & Dixon" is an American Human Comedy written in the style of Fielding in "Tom Jones" or Sterne in "Tristram Shandy" or Barth in "The Sotweed Factor." An intricate and elegantly woven story line awaits those who must have one. High science and political intrigue of the day abound for those who love reading 18th century American history. Most of all, the writing quality is so evenly elegant throughout this opus maximus that its supreme and sustained intelligence is the signature of a writer of Nobel Prize stature. Pynchon's body of work, including "V." "M&D" and "Gravity's Rainbow," are sufficient evidence of the breadth of his literary gifts. Only a handful of writers in this era are capable of writing metafiction at this lofty level -- Gaddis, Gass, Theroux, Barth, Donleavy and Bellow. Is Pynchon as brilliant as Nobel Laureate, Bellow? Pynchon is, at least, equally worthy. Few novels have so much going for them on so many levels. "Carpe carpum." Do yourself a favor and seize this brilliant, carping novel: someday its cover shall bear the seal of the Nobel Prize for it is a "magnetick" American Iliad -- a shimmering and timeless Flower of Light.


I Intend sometime to be Finish'd, but the first Hundred and so Pages have been Torture and Pointless Bantaloguities.


Like all of Pynchon's big books, this is a strange, freaky trip. Probably even more so because the freakiness of this book isn't that of V. or Gravity's Rainbow, with their bizarre blend of modern, techno-social paranoia, but of how freaky the beginnings of rational, modern civilization itself are. Mason & Dixon wander through the dark sewers of the Euro-American enlightenment, Through far flung island colonies, dank old world taverns, the bizarrely rendered wilderness of young America etc., everywhere they go they encounter a world in the throes of transitioning from an older, confusing age to a newer, even more confusing one. They meet talking dogs (weird) vengeful mechanical ducks(really weird), they get in sea battles and walk through gigantic vegetable gardens all while trying to make sense of the bizarre web of potential manipulations they find themselves wrapped up in in an increasingly interconnected age of commerce and geographic science. Pynchon's Olde Englishe writing style is easy to grasp (especially if you've read Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cylce, which owes a very strong debt to this work) and both the prose and narrative focus are much tighter though no less sprawling and wide ranging than in his previous books. Even though its probably one of his strangest books, Mason and Dixon is also one of his most sympathetic and humane. Reading this, it occurs to me that historical fiction, an often maligned term, is really Pynchon's default mode of writing. He excavates a past of bizarre ideas, outlandish characters and hallucinatory set pieces as a way of both shedding light on and at the same time increasing the obscure mysteries of the world we live in. This is a delightful, profoundly weird book from a delightful, profoundly weird artist. Highly recommended.


Oh god, I'm gonna cry, what a beautiful book, a gift from Pynchon in the form of an epic bedtime story. Explaining this book would only cheapen it, you should just trust me and read it, but if I'd have to give you a glimpse, I'd say it's a story about the ironies of pure theory vs. imperfect practice, clock time vs. the ocean's rhythms, a depressive vs. a lively romantick, the numinous quality of nature, and the allure of an untouched American frontier, a land where the stars are so close you won't need a telescope. But at its core it's about a friendship with arms long enough to reach from one end of the world to the other, and as the book ends, mortality brings things to a close, leaving you with an unbearable melancholy that I still haven't come to terms with. I'll have to revisit this one, maybe even soon...thank you again, Pynchon.


It would take me about three hours to do a decent review of this novel but suffice it to say that it really delves into the actual characters that Mason and Dixon both were, or at least how Thomas Pynchon imagined them to be. Pynchon did an extraordinary amount of research from the foods eaten to the old fashioned words in dialog and even the way words were spelled back then. There's also a sense of the preposterous here between the ghost of Mason's dead wife and a sense of missing 11 calendar days. My favorite parts were the animated duck and dog, gigantic vegetables, werewolves, the discovery of Uranus, the sense of overall adventure, the personification of Melancholy, and the sense of history of these two Brits coming to survey the land of America on the brink of it's fruition when there was a clear struggle between and the European settlers as well as a clear sense of wrongdoing that Mason and Dixon have against slavery...and, of course, animosity was growing between those who had settled in North America and Great Britain. It was a time when lightning storms and eclipses were the most exciting thing to happen and when two land surveyors could, in Pynchon's mind, have the adventure of a lifetime. There's a bizarre supernatural aspect of this in parts but just enough of a sense of actual history to keep it grounded. There's also a great deal of religion here with partial sermons even. In any case, I'm not sure how much Pynchon embellished on their personalities but I found myself wanting every word to be true and really routing for these two...Also, I admit I liked Mason the best. This is the kind of novel one could cherish many times throughout a lifetime in all it's nonfiction historical elements mixed with the preposterous ones. Some quotes I liked: pg. 220 "He (Emerson) has devis'd a sailing Scheme, whereby Winds are imagin'd to be forms of Gravity acting not vertically but laterally, along the Globe's Surface,-a ship to him is the Paradigm of the Universe."pg. 289 "Melancholicks are flocking to Town like Crows, dark'ning the Sun"pg. 309 "Soon there's a distinct feeling in the Rooms of Afternoon...the Child trembles at the turn in the Day when the ghosts shift about behind the Doors, and out in the Gust beaten wilderness come the Paxton boys..."pg. 346 "In America, as I apprehend, Time is the true River that runs 'round Hell."pg. 361 "What Machine is it, "young Cherrycoke later bade himself goodnight, "that bears us along so relentlessly? We go rattling thro' another Day,-another Year,-as tho' an empty Town without a Name, in the Midnight...we have but Memories of some Pause at the Pleasure-Spas of our younger Day, the Maidens, the Cards, the Claret,-we seek to extend our stay, but now a silent Functionary in dark Livery indicates it is time to re-board the Coach, and resume the Journey. Long before the Destination, moreover, shall this Machine come abruptly to a Stop...gather'd dense with Fear, shall we open the Door to confer with the Driver, to discover that there is no Driver, Horses,...only the Machine, fading as we stand, and a Prairie of desperate Immensity..."pg. 512 "Like a Dream just before the animals wake up..."pg. 555 "Mason for a while had presum'd it but a matter of confusing dates, which are Names, with Days, which are real Things. Yet for anyone he met born before '52 and alive after it, the missing Eleven Days road again and again in Conversation, sooner or later characteriz'd as "brute Absence," or "a Tear thro' the favric of Life," and the more he wrestl'd with the Question, the more the advantage shifted toward a Belief, as he would tell Dixon one day, "In a slowly rotating Loop, or if you like, Vortex, of eleven days, tangent to the Linear Path of what we imagine as Ordinary Time, but excluded from it, and repeating itself,-without end."pg. 586 "There is a love of complexity, here in America..."pg. 603 "Withal, he (Mason) is too open himself to the seductions of Melancholy and its own comfortless phantoms, to call anything even as remotely hopeful as this into question..."pg. 614 "A Defile of Ghosts growing, with the Years, more desperate and savage, to Settlers and Indians alike. You'd not wish this Line to pass to close to them, I shouldn't think."pg. 634 "So that's why Swedes chose to sail between the Capes of Delaware,-the thought it was another Fjord! You fellows do like a nice Fjord, it seems. Instead, they found Pennsylvania!"pg. 637 "But Time, surely, by now, no longer matters to her (the duck)?" Peter now curious,"-no longer passes the same way, I mean." The Frenchman shrugs. "Yet we few, fortunate Objects of her Visits remain ever tight in Time's Embrace," sighing as if for the Duck alone."She, then,...enters and leaves the Stream of Time as she likes?"pg. 657 "Another Lively Question is, Does it remember the Days, when we were bigger than Beets, yes, by about the same Proportion'd you notice, that Beets are now bigger than us? Now that the Tables are turn'd, do, do they harbor Grudges? Do they have a concept of Revenge, perhaps for insults we never intended?"pg. 702 "Then why not consider Light itself as equally noxious," inquires Dixon, "for doth it not move ever straight ahead?""Ah!" a gleam as likely Madness as Merriment appearing in his Eye..."pg. 745 "Out there in the Fog brimming and sweeping now over Ridge-tops and into the Glens, somewhere it waits, the world across the next Line, in darkness and isolation, barren, unforgiving, a Nation that within Mason's lifetime has risen to seize the Crown, been harrow'd into submission, then been shipp'd in great Lots to America. "I imagine there's yet a bit of ..resentment about?"The Doctor snorts. "The word you grope for is Hatred, Sir,-inveterate, inflexible Hatred. The 'Forty-five lives on here, a Ghost from a Gothick Novel, ubiquitous, frightfully shatter'd, exhibition gallons of a certain crimson Fluid..."pg. 746-747 "This Mountain I'm about to seek must be regular as a Prism, as if purposefully constructed in days of old by forces more powerful than ours...powerful enough to suggest about God (whatever that may be) has not altogether quit our own desperate Day."pg. 750 "Reflection on any Topick is an unforgivable Lapse, out here at any moment where Death may come whistling in from the Dark."Well Hullo, Death, what's that you're whistling?""Oo, little Ditters von Dittersdorf, nothing you'd recognize, hasn't happen'd yet, not even sure you'll live till it's perform'd anywhere,-have to check the Folio as to that, get back to you?"pg. 759 "When the Hook of Night is well set, and when all the Children are at last irretrievably detain'd within their Dreams, slowly into the Room begin to walk the Black servants, the Indian poor, the Irish runaways, the Chinese Sailors, the overflow'd from the mad Hospital, all unchosen Philadelphia, as if something outside, beyond the cold Wind, has driven them to this extreme seeking refuge. They bring their Scars, their Pox-pitted Cheeks, their Burdens and Losses, feverish Eyes, their proud fellowship in a Mobilitiy, that is to be, whose shape none inside this House may know."pg. 762 "Yet, 'tis possible, after all, down here, to die of Melancholy."

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