"The foresighted gather together and whisper.
They already know that if that star is accepted,
all the stories will have to be changed."
-- Marilyn French, The Women's Room, 1977
In the room the women come and go...
-- Stephen King, The Shining,, Chapter 18
From Under the Volcano, by Malcolm Lowry, 1947, Chapter I:
From a biography of the poet Robert Lowell by Ian Hamilton:
Faustus is gone: regard his hellish fall --
Shaken, M. Laruelle replaced the book on the table... he reached to the floor for a folded sheet of paper that had fluttered out of it. He picked the paper up between two fingers and unfolded it, turning it over. Hotel Bella Vista, he read. There were really two sheets of uncommonly thin hotel notepaper....I sit now in a little room off the bar at four-thirty in the morning drinking ochas and then mescal and writing this on some Bella Vista notepaper I filched the other night.... But this is worst of all, to feel your soul dying. I wonder if it is because to-night my soul has really died that I feel at the moment something like peace. Or is it because right through hell there is a path, as Blake well knew, and though I may not take it, sometimes lately in dreams I have been able to see it? ...And this is how I sometimes think of myself, as a great explorer who has discovered some extraordinary land from which he can never return to give his knowledge to the world: but the name of this land is hell. It is not Mexico of course but in the heart.
In January 1968 Lowell visited the Jesuit priest Ivan Illich's Center for Intercultural Documentation in Cuernavaca, Mexico.... Most of the "Mexico" sonnets, however, are love poems.... The girl was called Mary, was probably Irish... and she seems to have been working at Cuernavaca as one of Illich's assistants.From the beginning of Chapter VI of Under the Volcano:No artist perhaps, you go beyond their phrases,
a girl too simple for this measured cunning....
-- Nel mezzo del bloody cammin di nostra vita mi ritrovai in...From The Figure of Beatrice, by Charles Williams, 1943:
We are still to suppose that Dante was right when he said that he was one who took note when Love spoke, and wrote accurately. What he writes now is the famous "Donne, ch'avete intelletto d'amore," and it was this poem of which he was thinking in the Purgatorio.... We ought to have taken at least this poem seriously, if we call Dante a great poet.... Briefly, he says... that an angel cried out in divine intellect and said that a wonder was on earth which shone as if in heaven. Heaven itself desired her presence. But God answered that she must remain on earth a little, for one was there who expected to lose her and who should say in hell to the damned: "I have seen the hope of the blessed -- Io vidi la speranza de' beati." ....This grace God has given her, that whoever speaks with her cannot end badly.... Dante wrote this when he was young; he ratified it when he was mature; he put it into the middle of the purging of the soul. He must therefore have supposed that he was talking sense, and not only sense but even holiness.... What he sees is something real.From The Shining, by Stephen King, 1977, Chapter 18:
Jack found the scrapbook on the first of November....From Under the Volcano, Chapter II:
Horace M. Derwent Requests
The Pleasure of Your Company
At a Masked Ball to Celebrate
The Grand Opening of
THE OVERLOOK HOTEL
Dinner Will Be Served at 8 P.M.
Unmasking and Dancing at Midnight
August 29, 1945....... RSVP
From a letter to the author by Lucero Hernandez of Cuernavaca, Mexico, in the early 1960's:
Hotel Bella Vista
Gran Baile Noviembre 1938
a Beneficio de la Cruz Roja.
Los Mejores Artistas del radio en accion.
No falte Vd.
From Chapter 14 of a 1966 novel by Willard Motley:
Si me de veras quieres, deja me en paz.
Soledad, her youngest sister, came softly into the room....William T. Noon, S.J., Chapter 4 of Joyce and Aquinas, Yale University Press, 1957:
She smiled and said,
"The others are all against it, but I'm all for it. It's so romantic! Just think -- devoting your life to God!"
Please go away, Paz begged silently....
"De veras! It's so romantic!"
-- Let Noon Be Fair
A related epiphanic question, second only in interest to the question of the nature of epiphany, is how Joyce came by the term. The religious implications would have been obvious to Joyce: no Irish Catholic child could fail to hear of and to understand the name of the liturgical feast celebrated on January 6. But why does Joyce appropriate the term for his literary theory? Oliver St. John Gogarty (the prototype of the Buck Mulligan of Ulysses)... has this to say: "Probably Father Darlington had taught him, as an aside in his Latin class -- for Joyce knew no Greek -- that 'Epiphany' meant 'a shining forth.'"From The Shining, Chapter 18:
In 1961 four writers, two of them Pulitzer Prize winners, had leased the Overlook and reopened it as a writers' school. That had lasted one year.... Every big hotel has got a ghost. Why? Hell, people come and go.... (In the room the women come and go)From "Epilogue," in Robert Lowell's Day by Day, 1977:
From The Place of the Lion, by Charles Williams, 1933, Chapter Eight:
The painter's vision is not a lens,
it trembles to caress the light.
Yet why not say what happened?
Pray for the grace of accuracy
Vermeer gave to the sun's illumination....
"Besides, if this fellow were right, what harm would the Divine Universals do us? I mean, aren't the angels supposed to be rather gentle and helpful and all that?"From Under the Volcano, Chapter II:
"You're doing what Marcellus warned you against... judging them by English pictures. All nightgowns and body and a kind of flacculent sweetness. As in cemeteries, with broken bits of marble. These are Angels -- not a bit the same thing. These are the principles of the tiger and the volcano and the flaming suns of space."
From a Spanish-English dictionary:
"But if you look at that sunlight there,
then perhaps you'll get the answer,
see, look at the way it falls through the window:
what beauty can compare to that of
a cantina in the early morning?
Your volcanoes outside? Your stars --
Ras Algethi? Antares raging south southeast?
Forgive me, no."
Look at the way it falls through the window....
lucero m. morning or evening star: any bright star....
2. hole in a window panel for the admission of light....
How art thou fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning!
-- Isaiah 14: 12
For more on Spanish and the evening star, see Plato, Pegasus, and the Evening Star.
Return to Journal.