Talk:Against the Day

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Doesn't the extract, even if taken from a catalog, constitute a copyvio? I'm not sure what the rule is in this case; I've seen similar extracts removed for this reason. 23skidoo 03:00, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

My belief is that it conforms to the Amount and Substantiality clause of the Wikipedia Fair Use policy. I'm not aware of a counter-example. Abaca 15:10, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
At the very least it needs to be sourced, preferably with a link to somewhere other than a mailing list. 23skidoo 16:07, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
I would add that if this passage comes from a publisher's catalog, the copyright holders probably view it as advertising, which makes the Fair Use case much easier to argue. Also, I added a bit of discussion (hopefully not completely tangential) about when these events can be dated, so that our article is analysing the quoted passage in a semi-scholarly way. I second the concern about proper referencing, tho'. Anville 16:09, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
If an online source isn't available (certainly the Penguin catalog is on a website somewhere?) at the very least a title and date of the catalog should be added. Yes it comes from an apparently reputable mailing list, but it's still a mailing list; there needs to be an "official" source so that the extract can be verified both for fair use and for accuracy. Otherwise we just have an e-mail's word that this is even a true extract (it most likely is, but you know what I mean). 23skidoo 16:20, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
I believe it's the current print catalog, and it has been separately confirmed. It's probably "August 2006", however, I'll chase up the correct date citation and add it. Abaca 16:26, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

By my analysis, it completely fails the significance test of Wikipedia:Non-free content which requires that "its presence would significantly increase readers' understanding of the topic, and its omission would be detrimental to that understanding". Given that it is followed by a section on "Writing styles", and noting Anville's comment that he/she has "added a bit of discussion (hopefully not completely tangential) about when these events can be dated, so that our article is analysing the quoted passage in a semi-scholarly way" - something which, incidentally, the added comments entirely fail do do (let's face it - it's a transparent & bogus excuse for the reprinting of the text and a comment that undermines its own argument ... I've deleted the section per Wikipedia:Non-free content. I would expect to see some very compelling arguments presented before the text is reinserted. --Tagishsimon (talk) 21:50, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

It doesn't worry me one way or another whether it is removed now that the novel is published, though the pre-publication advertising excerpt released by the publishing house as a taster obviously did pastiche one of the writing styles discussed in the article and so was most definitely there to "illustrate a point, establish context, or attribute a point of view or idea" as per the Wikipedia Fair Use guidelines ... not to mention that to delete half a page taken from a 1000-plus page literary text seems somewhat petty ...
However, the more salient question is whether such an excerpt (i.e., a pre-publication excerpt released by the publishing house) can be used on Wikepedia in a pre-publication context ... which is the issue with Pynchon's next novel, Inherent Vice (see the Discussion page there), where the excerpt exemplifies both the 'unaccustomed genre' ('noir') and the setting. By my analysis, the only reason you could knock it down in the pre-publication context would be that it's too close to advertising a commercially saleable item, but that's not the reasoning behind the deletion of these Fair Use extracts.Abaca (talk) 22:49, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Tagishsimon. In my opinion it's much too long an excerpt, either for fair use or for making a good Wikipedia article, and there was no commentary on it justifying its presence, except for the bit about the cyclone, for which a single line would suffice. Coppertwig(talk) 02:11, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

Character List[edit]

I don't know how to do this correctly but I just wanted to suggest someone start a comprehensive character list for Against the Day.

well, you're welcome to-- there's over a hundred, though. NapoleonicStudent 14:30, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
I started a "Principal Character" list because, from what I read, many of the characters only appear briefly. Any character that appears repeatedly or after, say, 80 pages for even just a second time, would be useful to put on the list, but the many characters that come and then briefly go would be a waste to record and a distraction to a reader looking for something useful, I think.Noroton 22:53, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

What should be done was to make a complete list of characters at But, as it has been said, there is a lot of characters.

Abstruse words[edit]

Somebody anonymously deleted the "Abstruse words" section, saying in a comment on the edit page that this isn't a dictionary and inferring that the words could be found there. Actually, those words are not in most dictionaries and it is incredibly useful for a reader of the book to find the definitions here. I hope that list, which I took from some book review, will get longer. Anything useful for a reader to better understand the book, as long as it can't easily be found elsewhere and doesn't violate some important Wikipedia standard, belongs here.Noroton 22:56, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

Well, it does violate "some important Wikipedia standard". First, Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. The fact that those words aren't in most dictionaries (which is not true. Six of them are included in my elementary dictionary and I, learning English as a second language, understand three of them) does not mean that those words should be in an encyclopedia; and the fact that it is incredibly useful (to quote you) does not mean that those words should be in an encyclopedia. Try this: WP:NOT a dictionary. Maybe you should read WP:NOT#OR, WP:NPOV and WP:VERIFY too as I don't think the "Abstruse words" section complies with those policies. As for "Anything long as it can't easily be found elsewhere..belongs here", that's absolutely untrue. See WP:NOT a directory and WP:NOT A MIRROR for examples of "useful" things that don't belong to Wikipedia. See also WP:NOTE for the amount of notability needed in Wikipedia (Abstruse words have no notability unless you can, for example, say that some of the best language scholars in the world did not understand them. Even then, it deserves a few sentences at most).
Apart from the list I also deleted the section about "Years of the narrative", which is, to speak the truth, blatantly useless. With no regard to the fact that no other article includes anything of this sort, the years of the narrative is in fact already mentioned in the third sentence of the article and it is thus completely unnecessary to mention it again and to list every single year in the period.
I also suggest a rewrite in sections 9, 10 and 11 (Historical events, Geographical locations and Abstruse topics respectively). These sections hold little more significance than the two which I deleted. Moreover, "Against the Day" is not the only novel to contain much information about historical events and geographical locations, and it's easy to find a non-novel that contains much, much more topics than "Against the Day". It perhaps deserve mentioning that it is uncommon for a novel to include a large variety of topics, but the topics mentioned in the book are not notable itself to be listed out (as they are commonly discussed topics). And, of course, it would be difficult to define which topics should be included in the list and which shouldn't. If you would be cooperative, I suggest either deleting all three sections or merging them into section 8, Themes, which, in Wikipedia, normally includes these sections. Or, if you still believe they are useful and belong in Wikipedia, I suggest creating another article called "List of topics in Against The Day" or "Themes of Against The Day", etc. which would cover all these. Aran|heru|nar 13:00, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

First, glad that you're out in the open and not anonymous, Aranherunar. Second, try not to call things "silly" in your comments -- you may want to review WP:CIV, particularly the "Petty examples" section near the top, under the subsection, "Petty examples that contribute to an uncivil environment" with "Rudeness" and "Judgmental tone in edit summaries ("fixed sloppy spelling", "snipped rambling crap")" the first two examples given. Those kinds of things are best avoided. If you want to be civil, we can discuss things here; otherwise maybe we should go to an administrators forum.

The purpose of what you call non-encyclopedic additions is to help our readers better understand the book, which (as every reviewer acknowledges), has more abstruse topics than most novels, even given its size. If we ask ourselves, "What would a reader want to know in turning to a Wikipedia article on this book?", then help with abstruse topics, including some of the multitude of abstruse words, would fit the bill. Even the reviewers agree that the multiple themes of the book are extremely difficult to figure out, and most reviewers offer only some guesswork at it, which is why I've included many comments, organized as best I can. In any event, there is no way that the themes of a novel aren't worth including in an encyclopedia article on that novel.

As for abstruse topics, you state, "the topics mentioned in the book are not notable itself to be listed out (as they are commonly discussed topics)". I'm afraid that's just completely false. Read the reviews. Also, those sections about abstruse subjects wouldn't fit well into themes and should not be crammed in there. (There is a little overlap in some of those abstruse-topic sections, but not much and not in most of them.)

The idea that it isn't useful to have individual links to the Wikipedia year articles — well, what can I say? It is useful to have links directly to those articles because some readers won't even know the year articles exist and any reader would find it easier to get to them because the links are on this page. Why do you want to make more work for the reader?

On abstruse words, you write, "the fact that it is incredibly useful (to quote you) does not mean that those words should be in an encyclopedia." Well, I guess we differ on how important it is to help the reader rather than copy old encyclopedia formats. I think we should be a little loose about that when the subject calls for it, and I'm positive the subject calls for it. Maybe mine is a minority view, I'm willing to discuss it. Civilly. By the way, you should take another look at WP:NOT with regard to Wikipedia not being a dictionary: That guideline talks about not having articles that are essentially dictionaries, not a short list in a section of an article, as is the case here. You link to a number of guideline articles, but I can't see how they're relevant to this discussion, and they don't back up your objections.

You say "If you would be cooperative, I suggest either deleting all three sections or merging them [...] Or, if you still believe they are useful and belong in Wikipedia, I suggest creating another article called "List of topics in Against The Day" or "Themes of Against The Day", etc."

I'm not sure. The article is getting a bit long, but there are plenty of other long articles in Wikipedia and it's an article about a long, difficult book, so maybe it will inevitably be long. I'm not sure I see the value of having a separate page for information that I think most readers would hope to find in a Wikipedia article about the novel. If there's a consensus in that direction, I could live with it. Noroton 21:44, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

I'm afraid you didn't get my point. First off, I suggest you to re-read WP:CIV and WP:NPA. What I referred to as silly was the sections, and that was completely legitimate even if you wish to take offense yourself for them. Second, there's a lot of things people would want to see in a large, convenient project like Wikipedia, but take notice that Wikipedia is first, a Wiki, which means that every person can edit it and which means that every person can disrupt it, thus requiring foremost caution, and second, an Encyclopedia, which is not responsible for dictionary meanings. Nor, in fact, do any encyclopedias include sections with the purpose of manual guides, such as the "Years of the Narrative". Plenty of things are useful, but unfortunately this is Wikipedia, which's purpose is to give readers a brief, neutral introduction and summary to the subject in question. Furthermore, I assure you very few readers of the book would be looking up the meanings of some particular words on Wikipedia, even if they are included. There's a principle in Wikipedia: Don't include everything that some readers would be looking for. Include only things that all readers would be wanting to know.
"In any event, there is no way that the themes of a novel aren't worth including in an encyclopedia article on that novel." Yes, the themes should be included if they are prominent in the book and among other books as well. I see no uniqueness with the book's presentation of matters like "poison gas" and "Marco Polo" (which, by the way, appeared twice in the article's list). The "Themes" section is already a sufficient summary of the book's themes, while as far as I can see the "Abstruse topics" is merely a list of theories and subjects that were barely mentioned at all in the book. Surely the author could not afford to devote more than but a few pages to the topics, which are far, widely covered in other books). Tell me how, for example, the book's presentation of Leonhard Euler is more prominent than a biography of that person itself, or how its research on light is more detailed than the quite possibly few thousand books already dedicated to the subject (and, of course, "light" isn't "abstruse"). If topics as widely perceived as "Oscar Wilde" or "Landmines" are to be listed out as "Abstrue topics" in an encyclopedic article about the book, well, I feel it is justified, for example, to list out topics like "The letter 'M'" in the article about Da Vinci Code.
And, I repeat, the "Years of the Narrative" is 'completely ridiculous (no offense) - plus, they are in no way significantly related to the article. These year links only include notable events, births, deaths and holidays that occured in the year - e.g., in the World War I article, it is important to have a link to 1914 so that readers could see what other things happened in the year that may have instigated WWI. However, as an article on a book, and especially a novel, these year links are unnecessary because the article is merely about a depication of events that already happened and a depication of events that in reality did not happen. Take a look at any other article about books - Mao: The Unknown Story, for example, does not have links to the hundreds or so years that are, briefly or detailedly, mentioned in the book, and Metamorphoses does not have links to the thousands of years that the poem span.
As for the geographic locations, I have to say, most novels as long as such have plenty of geographic locations. Sure, 22 as listed out is quite enough to deserve a mentioning, but the current format in which they are listed out, stating only that there are a lot of geographic locations, but not how, is humdrum to say the best (plus, generally, nobody, even zealous readers, would be looking for them), and does not make any sense as a separate section (it should be included in "Themes" as a sub-section at most, because it is about how the novel make use of a large array of locations, not about, for example, where the novel is sold).
In addition, I would like to say that we are not copying old encyclopedias. The guidelines on writing Wikipedia are clearly listed out, and I have provided you the links to some of the crucial policies reinforcing them.
In any case, even if the subjects in question were to be included, they have to be trimmed and made more encyclopedic rather than as a list. You argue about how important it is to include these "useful" information in Wikipedia, while they at first sight to me seem not to be useful at all.
Two more things: I am not the anonymous user who first made the changes, and please do not revert war while discussion is going on, even if you're absolutely right for that matter, as it would be difficult to cooperate this way. Aran|heru|nar 11:49, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
Response: When you write, "What I referred to as silly was the sections, and that was completely legitimate". That is precisely not legitimate according to WP:CIV, and that was precisely the point I was making, which you have ignored. Please reread the first paragraph of my previous response, particularly the quote from WP:CIV.
Of course someone reading the book can, on their own, type in various words into the Wikipedia search box and come up with Wikipedia articles which may or may not exist on a particular subject. The purpose of having the links in the article is to make that process enormously easier. It doesn't take up an enormous amount of space, either. The usefulness is obvious. Violation of a Wikipedia standard is much less obvious. Most of those standards deal with what subjects are appropriate for entire articles and the nature of entire articles, not useful sections. As for not doing this for any book, well, Against the Day is a literary work for the general public, not a volume meant for experts, where background knowledge can be assumed and where explanations are given for references when they cannot be assumed. Pynchon is o-b-v-i-o-u-s-l-y putting in references that nearly every reader will have to look up in order to understand them. Therefore having these links to other Wikipedia articles is appropriate.
When it comes to the year links, you just don't seem to get it: It's far easier for the reader to click on the link than to remember the exact name of the year article and type it in, and some readers won't know that the year articles even exist.
Although no one would be coming to the Wikipedia article with the idea of finding the abstruse words section, once found it would be useful to nearly every reader of Against the Day. Yes, people might go to a library to find a large dictionary for some of those words, or try to look them up online, but they could do that with most of the information they could find in Wikipedia. As a section of an article on this particular topic, that part of the article should be there.
Wikipedia guidelines state, at the top, that they are not to be applied rigidly and editors must use common sense and be flexible because particular circumstances may call for ways of doing things not anticipated in the rules. This is the case here, if, in fact, any rules were even violated, which I don't see. I think you're interpreting rules with extreme rigidity. It might be useful to review WP:DUH!
I notice that no one else is supporting your point of view and I also notice that a number of people have contributed to the very sections that you object to. Noroton 15:24, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
Let me add my own two cents...I think I'd like to agree with both users on point...I can sort of see a reason to have the abtuse words section; the rarity of usage of such words is notable such that it would warrant inclusion...I'm sort of indifferent though, with wikipedia not being a dictionary. What I do feel more strongly about is that the links to the years section should DEFINITELY be taken out. My opinion is that its justification is insufficient for inclusion. It is really not that dificult for a reader to look up a year. Any major events can be listed in the section above it. Lastly, and semi-off point, that passive-agressive "please reread WP:___" is a bit childish. 16:59, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
You'd have more credibility if you weren't anonymous. For instance, are you a sock puppet of Aranherunar? There are numerous real historical events in Against the Day that are not well known, and the best way to help a reader find more information on them is to include those year links. And we can't expect occasional users or readers coming to Wikipedia from some search engine to know about the year links. That subsection takes up hardly any space and is obviously useful. As for WP:DUH!, well, I didn't make up that name, and I think I've been pretty good at ignoring provocations in this discussion. And I had good reason to remind him to look there. Noroton 18:44, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
Well, we're all anonymous online...but to answer you, no, I'm not the other user, and YOU would have more credibility if you'd only let me voice my two cents rather question my identity. Perhaps it is that unbelievable to you that someone would support Aranherunar's view as you doubted above.
Let me respond to one more thing - I STRONGLY disagree with your statement that the subsection is "obviously useful". I'd claim the opposite, that it is obviously UNuseful. Your arguements (prior to my first post) had failed to convince me of its usefullness. Perhaps you should show a little more humility when using words like "obviously" (when validity is at the least questionable) because in actuality you are only expressing your own opinions.
I have said all I care to on this subject and so will retire from this discussion. 13:14, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
    • I feel I must step into this debate, as I was the one who accidentally deleted the section anonymously because I was on a friend's computer and forgot to sign in. Later I deleted it whilst signed in, and with good reason, I would suggest. A relevant comparison I believe would be to say that Wikipedia is not a Cliffs Notes. Much of the material in this article seems to be of the reader's guide nature, such as a glossary, character listings, place listings, themes, etc. Material which would never be in a traditional encyclopedia. Which is not to say that some of it should not be, but I think that the abstruse words section is particularly ignominious as it is not book-specific content; those words are not Thomas Pynchon's neologisms, nor are they proper nouns relating to the plot, characters, etc. All of the other material guides the reader of this encyclopedia in understanding the nature, scope, and population of the plot. But a glossary? In the age of google, this is certainly both unspecific and unnecessary. TheLateDentarthurdent 19:17, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
I've asked for more comment here: Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Media, art and literature Noroton 19:11, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
Just to throw another voice into the debate, I agree with Aranherunar that these additions are out of place on Wikipedia and should be removed. Noroton, why don't you add that info over at the Pynchon Wiki (no relation to Wikipedia), though-- You've done good research that would be useful to readers of ATD. NapoleonicStudent 23:51, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
As someone approaching page 300, I find the material useful; it is similar to the article List of cultural references in The Cantos, which is a featured list connected to a featured article and which involves a work with many similarities. Pynchon could be a wiki himself, he is so full of cross references and interrelating elements -- the project of putting many of them in one place in this manner is useful. I say leave it here and let it build, and see what becomes of it. It may end up as a separate featured list as with the Cantos. Sam 19:17, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
I see the discussion has grown long. I apologize for my prolonged response to your comment, Noroton. Here let first state something very clearly: Accusing other anonymous users as sockpuppets without any base is a serious breach of Wikipedia policies, and I have seen users given a year's ban for the trouble caused by this type of irresponsible and completely under-researched comment. Here I will not further extend this matter except this notice as it is obviously based on ignorance of Wikipedia policies. Furthermore, Wikipedia policies completely allow being anonymous and taking negative views against any unregistered users reveals only your own incredibility.
Second, "silly" is not being uncivil. My edits have been called "silly" a number of times in Wikipedia when I first started editing. If you have to taken offence at the word "silly" that was not in any extent directed at you, well, good luck.
Third, you seem to fail to get the point: Being useful does not justify inclusion in Wikipedia. Period. I'm not saying that the information is useless (well, the years definitely are), but being useful does not equal to being included in Wikipedia. I repeat: Lots of stuff are useful. You might want the address of every friend of yours included in Wikipedia so you can get to Wikipedia, click into an article and then find your friends' addresses conveniently; but then other readers wouldn't be wanting to read about the addresses of some strangers to them. Got that? Read the articles I provided you, and stop dodging the point, thanks. Any other comments rebutted. And the "years" section is completely unnecessary. You might just want to link every word in the article.
To A Musing - Yes, it can be put into a separate list, if it's notable - that is, if the book is very popular or unique. No doubt "Against the Day" is unique, which is why I have suggested the possibilty creating a separate article, if someone is able to provide sources that fortify its notability. And no one could, yet.
Fourth, Noroton, your interpretation of Wikipedia policies are personally biased. You quote WP:CIV while you use WP:DUH to rebut any other policies - clever way circling around policies, but please, this does not help the matter. "Wikipedia guidelines state, at the top, that they are not to be applied rigidly and editors must use common sense and be flexible because particular circumstances may call for ways of doing things not anticipated in the rules." This is not to say that you are allowed to ignore any of the guidelines and write to your own likes.
Fifth, "Although no one would be coming to the Wikipedia article with the idea of finding the abstruse words section, once found it would be useful to nearly every reader of Against the Day. Yes, people might go to a library to find a large dictionary for some of those words, or try to look them up online, but they could do that with most of the information they could find in Wikipedia. As a section of an article on this particular topic, that part of the article should be there." Don't try to guess what the readers might want to find along with the information. For all we know, people might want to find the Top 200 list of the game RuneScape in the article along with the relevant information.
Sixth, "Pynchon is o-b-v-i-o-u-s-l-y putting in references that nearly every reader will have to look up in order to understand them. Therefore having these links to other Wikipedia articles is appropriate.". "There are numerous real historical events in Against the Day that are not well known, and the best way to help a reader find more information on them is to include those year links." "The usefulness is obvious." See WP:OR. Show us its useful.
Seventh, "That subsection takes up hardly any space and is obviously useful." Whether a subsection takes space is completely off the point. There're contributors quarreling and getting banned over tenses.
Eighth, "And we can't expect occasional users or readers coming to Wikipedia from some search engine to know about the year links." From this perspective, we can't expect occasional users from search engines to know about anything about Wikipedia, for example, clicking links. Don't guess what readers would know, because what you guess would be mostly your own thinking, which would be POV.
Ninth, "I notice that no one else is supporting your point of view and I also notice that a number of people have contributed to the very sections that you object to." Let's say that first, nobody is supporting your view and a number of people are deleting the very sections that I object to, and second, this is again irrelevant. Instead of dodging my points, why don't you actually address to my concerns?
Tenth, "Therefore having these links to other Wikipedia articles is appropriate." Ridiculous. This way any article in Wikipedia should link to the other 1.5 million articles.
Eleventh, please stop taking my words out of context and please address them fully. This is a discussion that is about Wikipedia, in Wikipedia, and supposed to help Wikipedia. Indiscriminating against anonymous users, accusing random users of sockpuppets, et cetera to gain an upper hand in discussion does not help Wikipedia, nor do edit warring. If another user edits while in discussion, well, he's wrong, but two wrongs don't make right. Read my concerns comprehensively, respond, and we'll have a discussion. Stop taking things personally and stop turning a deaf ear to anything to the point and stop making irrelevant comments. The reason I have such patience is that you are relatively new and apparently ignorant to the subject (though I would not rule out trolling). For more experienced users, it would be end of discussion, edit to the article and RFC. Aran|heru|nar 08:32, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
I certainly don't want to get drawn into all of this, but let me respond to the question of notability. There are an enormous number of reviews for the work, all within a month of it's publication, many cited in this article. I think that those reviews by themselves establish notability. If a solution for this is to establish a separate article focused on "List of abstruse words in Against the Day", comparable to the Cantos list, I think that would make sense. There is ample material. Also, as I get further in this book, let me say this particular project becomes more strikingly relevant. (By the way, you seem to be questioning also why it is relevant, and let me suggest this: Pynchon mixes details of both real and imaginary science and history, as well as creative words and concepts and intentionally confusing language and grammar, usually in some way, shape or form that often has intrinsic meaning; the beginning of the analysis is to figure out where a reference is to a real theory or fact, word or concept and where it is not, and this list is thus useful; many of the reviews I have read discuss this interplay. I do think it would be useful to expand the list over time to provide a one or two sentance summary of each theory or fact, as in the Cantos list, but we must start somewhere). Sam 13:58, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
  • The present issue is not entirely about the notability of the sections. That can be solved by providing a few reviews of those you spoke of, and it'd be Concern No.1 addressed. For the second, we need to make the list encyclopedic and readable (with a little bit of prose), according to Wikipedia standards, and it doesn't meet that criteria presently. Third, we have to adjust to Wikipedia No Original Research policies, i.e. cite the book reviews which say they are abstruse and put in-line texts next to the corresponding sentences, which would be quite complex, but possible. And of course, these three concerns are about all the addressed sections, Abstruse Words, Abstruse Topics, Geographic Locations etc. In my opinion, "Abstruse Words" do not warrant a section or a list themselves; they should simply be mentioned in Abstruse Topics or Themes because the reviews, I perceive, talk about how the book uses a number of abstruse words, with some examples, but not about the abstruse words themselves (as it would be off-topic). Or, in other words, the notability of "Abstruse Words" come from the way the author used it, but not from the "Abstruse Words" themselves. I restate: Wikipedia is NOT a dictionary. I accept that "Abstruse Words" should be included in the article considering they are quite unique, but not in the form of a list of words. Hope I made it clear, thanks. Aran|heru|nar 14:21, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
On all of these issues, I think the List of cultural references in The Cantos provides both a model and a well-vetted, clearly blessed approach. I agree on the addition of some prose. However, if the stuff isn't here to work on it will be hard to bring it up to snuff. Sam 14:31, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
As Noroton has not replied two days despite being quite active from the look of his contributions, I have made the deletion of "Abstruse words" and the lists and the merge of three other sections into "Themes", for a large number of reasons mentioned above. If you want to put them into a list, take the data from the history. Aran|heru|nar 12:35, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

As the List of cultural references in The Cantos shows, there is plenty of precedent for the sections Aranherunar deleted and which I have restored. I think all of this information can be included in one article about the book, making creation of another article unnecessary.Noroton 20:42, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

Rv per lack of good-faith. You would be heard when you address to my and other users' concerns instead of responding with meaningless one-paragraphs such as "I think this information can be included". Moreover, it would be difficult to assume good-faith when you responded only after the discussion has apparently ended and the edit has been made. Here let us conclude four principals which would be complied with during this discussion. If any of these principals are defied, we would be seeing each other in RFCS and eventually ArbComs: 1. Listen to every user's comment, 2. Respond within 7 days; if not, an edit would be made. If one user still wishes to discuss, respond in talk page but do not revert the edit. 3. Address to every concern of the other user. 4. Comment on content, not users.
That said, I would reply once again to your statement: the present concern about the articles is that they ought to be outright deleted from Wikipedia. The creation of another article is a separate method. 02:07, 14 December 2006 (UTC) User:Aranherunar edit made in different ip.
Please note that you also deleted another user's substantive contributions when you reverted; I would ask that you return them to the article. Please also note, that I have also agreed that these sections are generally useful, so to the extent some of your comments are directed at User:Noroton being the only person expressing a view, those comments have been responded to. Best, Sam 02:16, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

I've restored the list of years links now that I noticed Aranherunar had deleted them. Sam has a useful suggestion in the "Time and place" section at the bottom of this talk page, and perhaps integrating the years with the geographical locations, either in a list or, eventually, in some kind of prose, would meet Aranherunar's objections. But I'm going to keep adding the list back if it gets taken out after such a poor discussion as this, and I'm fine with referring this matter to either the Mediation Cabal or more formal mediation. This overlong, overdramatic, overly rationalized and weakly reasoned argument is becoming boring. Perhaps a new article titled "Abstruse topics in Against the Day" is the better solution after all, and then no doubt Aranherunar will request that that article be deleted.Noroton 00:32, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

I won't request the new article to be deleted because that was my suggestion in the beginning - common sense? This discussion is only poor because you are not willing to address to any concerns by me, and keeps on edit warring. Let me just say that this is not my first conflict and from my experience the situation is not going to improve like this. If you continue to make bad-faithed edits dodging my points, there would simply be another blocked user on Wikipedia's list and I certainly don't want to see a prolific user like you getting banned over a conflict.
Apparently you aren't going to bother to do anything except to complain and edit war, and of course, it would be impossible to assume good faith from your comment. As you undoubtfully do not assume good faith from me either, I would leave this discussion and let matters develop. I believe in the good intentions of User:A Musing (Sam) and his ability to make the article growth, and I would continue to come to this article to see what I can do to help. However, if you were to engage in edit wars and conflicts with any other users, I would return to the discussion immediately and request action against your behaviors. Thanks. Aran|heru|nar 10:48, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

Long quotes[edit]

I provided some extensive quotes from book reviews, especially in the themes section. I think they may be extremely useful, especially placed together, in helping readers think through what's going on in the book. In time, some reader who has actually gone through the book could probably edit, summarize or remove quotes as part of the process of writing a better description of the novel's themes, but I think these are useful for now. Noroton 23:02, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

-please, I don't know where to put this, but i think there has been a great mischaracteriaation of the theories in ATD as "false scientific ideas" there is nothing false about Quarterions nor their relationship to maxwell's theories or to riemann's zeta function or spheres. the plotlines of the book follow these still accurate scientific relations. please don't say this is pseudoscience jsut because Stuart Kelly doesn't understand the topics of the book. thanks Jordan

Hey Jordan, I don't know quarterions from nickelions. Just change it. Be bold!! If you're wrong, some quarternion expert will challenge you on it. Please, go for it!Noroton 05:58, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
I have always been impressed by the amount of science Pynchon gets right, and Against the Day carries this admirable trait to a truly accomplished extreme. Quaternions can indeed be applied to Maxwell's equations, the study of rotations in three-dimensional space, and umpty-ump other topics. Moreover, they were displaced in favor of vectors during the early years of TwenCen. Pynchon works in the time-honored tradition of science fiction, where one can extrapolate beyond the science and mathematics we know today to what we might know tomorrow and explore in narrative form what that new knowledge might imply. He starts with the knowledge known in 1893, of course, and extrapolates from there, with a bit of foresight based on the way science actually turned out (vectors displacing quaternions, special relativity driving out the aether and so forth). When Yashmeen Halfcourt ponders about treating the zeroes of the Riemann zeta function as eigenvalues of a Hermitian operator, I nearly fell off my sofa in astonishment. See "The Spectrum of Riemannium" (American Scientist, 2003) for an introduction.
You can try to read Pynchon with a bland, post-everything "it's all relative" attitude, but you won't get very far. The man knows his science. By taking us back to the knowledge we had a century ago, he shows how people react to the frontier of the unknown, which is a precious lesson indeed. Anville 00:34, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
I have no knowledge in this matter, but what I would suggest is that cite some notable sources instead of using personal opinions to determine the author's claims' authenticity. Keep in mind WP:OR. The problem with original research is, even if they are correct, they tend to get contested and have to be removed because the original writer is often nowhere to be seen when a random reader contends the claim. Aran|heru|nar 11:53, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Time and Place[edit]

Reading through the reviews and their discussion of the book, I would suggest that time and place be combined on this page -- so we would indicate, for example, that he is focused on Chicago, 1893 and on Venice, 1902, rather than separate sections for time and place (I've added some references to an article from the NY Review of Books on the point). I think this information combined is more relevant to tackling the underlying Pynchon puzzles running through the book. It may be worth thinking a bit abstractly about where this page is going to end up; with the book only out a very short time, there's already alot of material and I am wondering if the ultimate project starts looking like Blake's mythology, which has a whole category of relatively short articles on different elements of the works, or one of the other "clusters" of articles that exist about complex major literary works. Sam 22:45, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

I haven't started the book, and I always hoped that my contributions would be improved by people who were reading it and could refine them in light of what they saw in the book. Your suggestion might also answer some of Aranherunar's objections — a sentence mentioning the Chicago World's Fair and the year 1893 might be more useful than the list of years. If you believe it's more useful, please organize the references in that way. My only concern is that at the end of the process no useful references have been omitted. Noroton 00:13, 15 December 2006 (UTC)
I added a couple and will chip away at it. Sam 00:18, 15 December 2006 (UTC)
Let's just say that I don't think adding separate sections complies with Wikipedia's general purpose. The content of the book is usually explained in the section "Plot" - the other sections are for special and notable features of the book. I would suggest putting them in as sub-sections or integrating them into "Plot", or changing "Plot" into a sub-section and put all these under a section titled "Synopsis", "Summary", "Overview" etc. It would make much more sense this way as the article is not only dedicated to the book's content but to its influence and themes as well. For example, take a look at Harry Potter or The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. In fact, most of the sections could be nicely fitted into the Plot section.
By the way, the article's lacking some information about the book's influence.Aran|heru|nar 11:03, 15 December 2006 (UTC)
Please note that I have deleted the years section for reasons mentioned above and absolutely no response to any of them. I'm afraid I simply cannot tolerate the existence of such a ridicule in Wikipedia - I'm quite certain you will find nobody else agrees that it's useful at any rate. I am not objecting to Sam's suggestion with this action - the time is already mentioned in the article. It is simply ridiculous to list out all the links - in fact, as I have said above, if it is so useful, why don't you link every word in the article?
I am willing to engage in an edit war over this section as I would consider it vandalism and trolling. As for the other sections, I am not totally objecting to their inclusion in Wikipedia and will thus allow some other users to comment. Aran|heru|nar 16:02, 15 December 2006 (UTC)
Some info here - if you insist on the importance of "Abstruse Words", take a look at Finnegans Wake, the article about one of the most confusing book ever written. I doubt most readers know a third of its vocabulary. The section about its language and style is written in prose, not a list of meaningless vocabularies that people can find anywhere and has absolutely no value in an encyclopedia. Aran|heru|nar 16:06, 15 December 2006 (UTC)
I have removed the link at the top. More information on a certain section/certain sections within the article doesn't go to the top of the article, it goes to the section's beginning or ending. I have also deleted the two redundant sections - they are already in the other article. Wikipedia is not a guidebook - we don't have to repeat the same things over and over just to make sure some "Random readers from search engines" could find them.
I was wondering if we should put something about the book's abstruse words (but not the list of it) under the "Writing styles" section. Aran|heru|nar 07:34, 16 December 2006 (UTC)

Groucho Marx' Cameo[edit]

The copy on the book jacket mentions a "cameo" by Groucho Marx. Has anyone found that? Can you give me a page number? I've read through the book and musthave missed it. Presumably its in the material on the motion picture industry in southern California in the 1920s, near the end of the book. Or is it? I found Bela Lugosi? Also,the other "cameo" menioned in the jacket copy, Tesla, wasn't a cameo at all, but an integral although relatively minor character. Still: Where's Groucho? --Christofurio 22:32, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

You might find something at the Against the Day wiki. Good luck. Noroton 22:40, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
p. 467–8. - Jmabel | Talk 01:10, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Pynchon-Against-the-Day 2.jpg[edit]

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Image:Pynchon-Against-the-Day 2.jpg is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

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BetacommandBot (talk) 19:48, 5 December 2007 (UTC)


"the title of the previously anonymous novel": the word "anonymous", while technically correct, seems inapt. An "anonymous novel" usually means one with anonoymous authorship. - Jmabel | Talk 17:54, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

Too Much of Reviewers Ideas, Too Little Pynchon?[edit]

Doesn't the ratio of interpretation of the novel to the actual novel seem to favor interpretation? Shouldn't the plot summary come before what people may think the title means? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Shamharush (talkcontribs) 20:28, 28 April 2009 (UTC) In addition, the lengthy negative reviews of Against the Day should be moved to reviews - not 'Characterizations', since this gives the impression that someone's review of the book objectively sums up/describes the "Characterizations" —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:58, 17 August 2009 (UTC)