Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow (1973)

Gravity's Rainbow



164; bomb developed by Spottbilligfilm AG to blind "whole populations"


"a progressive knotting into" 3; "labyrinthine," 10; "The rooms are triangular, spherical, walled up into mazes." 82; "labyrinth of conditioned-reflex work," 88; "this inexhaustively knotted victim" 93; "what there is of labyrinth collapsing in rings outward," 143; "soft, confusing, womanly tunnel-systems that must stretch back for miles" 195; "We are obsessed with building labyrinths, where before there was open plain and sky." 264; "El laberinto de tu incertidumbre," 383; "brick labyrinth," 384; "your labyrinth walls," 388; "as much labyrinth as required between himself and the inconveniences of caring," 428; "labyrinthine path," 537; "maps of his revetments and labyrinths," 672; "too finely labyrinthine, for either category to have much hegemony any more," 681; See also Daedalus; Thesean brushings; Weaving the Web


685; "just in from Lübeck" at Säure's pad

Lamplighter, Allen

139; buddy of Treacle's killed by a buzzbomb (V-1); one of the seven original owner's of The Book; 140; 146; 167

LANG, Fritz
See also Metropolis/Metropolis



Laredo lamb

61; dance in Slothrop's Sodium Amytal session


84; "three-variable 'lie detector'


101: In hoc signo vinces: in this sign you conquer
O, O, O,
To-tus flore-o!
Iam amore virginali
Totus ardeo . . . :

Oh, Oh, Oh,
I bloom completely!
Now with virgin love
I burn completely . . .

433: Gaudeamus igitur: Therefore, let us rejoice
580: Semper sit in flores: It is always in bloom:
616: ex Africa semper aliquid novi: from Africa always something new (quote from Pliny)

Law of Negative Induction


lawn sports

golf, 190, 194; football, 194; croquet, 200; tennis, 476; baseball, 508

Lawrence of Arabia (1888-1935)

Thomas Edward Lawrence was a British archaeological scholar, author and military strategist known for his legendary war activities in the Middle East during World War I and for his subsequent account of those activities in The Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1926); 201


736; road name for "the Lübeck Hitler Youth Glee Club"

Le Froyd, Reg

73; "King of the Cold" and inmate at the White Visitation who in 1925 escapes and leaps into the sea, i.e., "steps back into the void"


229; rat at White Visitation

Leibniz, Gottfried Wilheml (1646-1716)

German philosopher, mathematician and polymath who is the putative inventor of the infinitesimal calculus (although he published his system in 1684 and Isaac Newton in 1687, the Royal Society formally declared for Newton in 1711). He also developed the doctrine of a hierarchical system of irreducible, immaterial isolates called "monads," the highest of which is God; "Summe, Summe, as Leibniz said" 300; "in the process of inventing calculus, used the same approach to break up the trajectories of cannonballs through the air" 407;


The lost land that is supposed to have connected Madagascar with India and Sumatra in prehistoric times. It is thought that it was the original habitat of the lemur, so named for the ghost-like appearance of its face and its nocturnal habits which links to Lemurs, the evil and fearsome spectres of the dead of Roman religion who haunted their relatives and caused them injury; 564

Lenin, Vladimir Ilyich (1870-1924)

Russian revolutionary who became an activist in communist organization after studying Marx. After being exiled to Siberia for 3 years for his activities, he lived in Switzerland in 1900. He returned to Russia in 1905 and worked to strengthen the majority Bolsheviks; when they took power after the Revolution in 1917 he was their leader; 162; former patron at the Odeon, 262; fond of "Napoleon's on s'engage, et puis, on voit" 346; Orders of Lenin, 636; See also Stalin

Lepers' Quarter in Bukhara

347; where Tchitcherine bought his red and yellow opium pipe

Lerner, Sgt. Howard ("Slow")



523; "synthetic gasoline"; Moss Creature, Water Giant & Fungus Pygmies (Pavel's hallucinations), 523

Leyte Gulf

The Battle of Leyte Gulf (Oct. 23-26, 1944) was a decisive air and sea battle of World War II, which crippled the Japanese Combined Fleet thus permitting a U.S. invasion of the Philippines, and giving the Allies control of the Pacific; "a drunken sailor whose ship went down at" 584; "The fighting is going on at Leyte. . .then on to Iwo Jima" 690


German: "(cinematograph) film"; listed under "Espionage, Industrial" on the list of Zürich cafés, 258

Liebig, Justus Freiherr von (1803-73)

Illustrious German chemist whose greatest achievements were in organic chemistry and animal chemistry; "the great professor of chemistry" who "was at the University of Giessen when Kekulé entered as a student" 411

Liebknecht, Karl (1871-1919)

German barrister and politician who, with Rosa Luxemburg, formed the KPD, the German Communist Party, in 1918. He was killed by army officers while leading the so-called "Spartacus League Revolution" in Berlin in 1919; his funeral, 621


260; "The Door That Opens You!"

Likbez center

338; the local, in Seven Rivers country, "one of a string known back in Moscow as the 'red durts'"; agents, 341;


408; one of Ilse's playmates at Dora


547; 67-year-old mentioned in Pirate's and Katje's How I Came To Love the People


305-07; 311; 334-35; See also polymorphous perversity


257; in Zürich, a quai along the Limmat River

Lindy Hop

60; dance in Slothrop's Sodium Amytal session

Lion, the

"in each one of you. He is either tamed — by too much mathematics, by details of design, by corporate procedures — or he stays wild, an eternal predator. [...] He takes, he holds!" 577; "the untamable lion who could let it all crash [...] asserting his reality against them all in one last roaring plunge" 578;


The girl whom the mythical Tannhäuser (the Minnesinger: "minstrel") cheated on by living underground for a year with Venus (aka Frau Holda). After a year he returns, satiated, and goes to the Pope to seek absolution. The Pope says there's as much chance for Tannhäuser being forgiven as there is for the Pope's staff blooming. The Pope's staff miraculously blooms three days later, but not before Lisaura has died of grief and Tannhäuser has returned to the abode of Venus; 364; 393; Pope's staff, 470, 532; 533, 619; See also Tannhäuser


733; love note to her written on wall, which Slothrop sees somewhere in northern Germany

Livingstone, Dr. David (March 19, 1813-73)

Scottish missionary and explorer whose 30 years of travel and Christian missionary work in Africa had a formative influence upon Western attitudes toward Africa. In spite of his paternalism and Victorian prejudices, he believed wholeheartedly in the African's ability to advance into the modern world. In 1871, stricken with illness and short on supplies, Livingstone put out a call for help. He was rescued by Sir Henry Morton Stanley who, upon finding the old hero, greeted him with the famous words "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"; "one of the "classic Weird Mason Stories [...] (living stone? oh, yes)" 587-88


731; with Enzian


468; coastal resort town in Wales, England []

Loaf, H.A. (Half A. Loaf is better than none.)

14; Pirate has his fantasy


Member of a Germanic people who from 568 to 774 ruled a kingdom in Italy. Originally in northwestern Germany (1st century AD), they had by the end of the 5th century, migrated and settled into the area roughly coinciding with modern Austria north of the Danube River; "I'm not a German, I'm a" 445
Long Enough
664; "The text of each issue [...] when transformed this way, yields many interesting messages"


229; lab rat at White Visitation

Lord of the Night

"children [...] [p]raying to their Master" 49; "waiting beside the door of the bus in his pressed uniform" 413;

Lord of the Sea

73; aka "Bert", heard by Reg Le Froyd

Lorraine and Judy

19; characters in a Slothrop story related by Tantivy to Bloat. See also Slothrop's girls/star


A pilgrimage town in southwestern France, situated at the foot of the Pyrenees IFrom February 11 to July 16,1858, Bernadette Soubirous, a 14-year-old girl, had numerous visions of the Virgin Mary in the nearby Massabielle grotto, on the left bank of the stream that runs through the town. In 1862, the Pope declared the visions authentic, and thus the cult of Our Lady of Lourdes was sanctioned. The underground spring in the grotto, as revealed to Bernadette, was declared to have miraculous qualities and Lourdes has been a major pilgrimage center ever since; "the holy water of" 479; [http:/]


Check out Douglas Kløvedal Lannark's exhaustive & excellent documenting of "love" in Gravity's Rainbow!


"Sandoz (where. . .Dr. Hofman made his. . .discovery)," 250; "You interested in some L.S.D.?" - 260; "the indole crowd. They're very elitist. They see themselves at the end of a long European dialectic, generations of blighted grain, ergotism, witches on broomsticks, community orgies, cantons lost up there in folds of mountain that haven't known an unhallucinated day in the last 500 years" 261; "Micro" Graham, 295; Devil behind the mirror, 444; "a touch of acid," 586; See also Bummer, Säure; dope


260; Latin: Libra, solidi and denarii = "Pounds, shillings, pence"


339; worked for Tchitcherine in Central Asia

Lubbock, Isaac

240; "the Father of British Liquid Oxygen Research"; his team "set up a static-test facility at Langhurst near Horsham";


151; civilian town which the RAF bombed on Palm Sunday, provoking German rocket attacks on London; Leni grew up there, 162; angel, 217; Lübeck Hitler Youth Glee Club, 736 [MAP]

Lublin Communists

34; "drawing beads on Varsovian shadow-ministers"; "Poles fleeing the Lublin regime" 549;

Lucifer Amp

542; "verminous, hairy creature" that used to worked for SOE


350; bay in Südwest; 388; [MAP]


553; kid who has lemming named "Ursula"; shadowing the Schwarzkommando, 729; "a white glowworm in the mist," 733; with Thanatz, 736; [Etymological musings]

Ludwig II

394; "von Göll had dreamed of making a film about"; "we have long left mad Ludwig and his Spanish dancer guttering" 750;


25; German airforce; "resort near Scheveningen" 97; "Army vs." 416;

Lugones, Leopoldo (1874-1938)

Argentine poet, literary and social critic, and cultural ambassador, considered to be the outstanding figure of his age in the cultural life of Argentina. He had a substantial influence on writer Jorge Luis Borges. Increasingly uncomfortable with the prominence and accompanying public responsibilities, he became a fascist in 1929 and, under great emotional strain in later years, he committed suicide; "saying 'Now I'm going to tell you, in verse, how I conceived her free from the stain of Original Sin'" 263; "Pavos Reales" 383

Lüneburg Heath

Site of Blicero's last stand/final madness where the S-gerät 00000 is fired; Argentinians' goal to set up a small estancia [Sp: a large estate, esp. a cattle ranch], 388, 390; Thanatz & Greda move there, 486; Slothrop tells Enzian about the Heath, 562; "Among the prehistoric German tribes, that's what this country was: the territory of the dead." 612; Mexico drives through "the burnt-purple rolling of," 626; Blicero "got as far as the Lüneberg [misspelled]," 659; "the last stand in the," 666; "There are. . .no windmills on the," 670; "Kingdom-of-the-Deathward," 673; 692; Tchitcherine "came into Lüneburg last weekend," 719; Schwarzkommando arrive to assemble 00001, 737; "The Heath grows green and magenta in all directions," 749 [MAP]

Lüstig, Lotte

483; German: Lüstig = "merry, joyful"; "dizzy debutante" Erdmann played in Jugend Herauf!, "proceeding downriver in a bathtub with rich playboy Max Schlepzig"

Luxemburg, Rosa (d. 1919)

155; founded KPD with Karl Liebknecht (see p. 621). Both were murdered in 1919; 158; See also KPD


383; with Felipe on U-boat; also "Squalidozzi's girl"


Gravity's Rainbow
Gravity's Rainbow - Thomas Pynchon