Sunday, 26 April 2015

Looking Back

Poul Anderson, The Boat Of A Million Years (London, 1991).

Despite my uncertainty at the time, "li" (p. 208) (see here) is clearly used in the sense of a unit of distance.

"' river, lake, portage...the great Dnieper and its falls - hardest of the portages...'" (p. 149)

It occurred to me that I had only a vague idea of what was meant by "portage." However, the meaning, "carrying," can be deduced from the word and its context and is confirmed by google.

"Flambeau flare..." (p. 305) - another word that should have been clear but wasn't fully. (GK Chesterton created an excellent criminal mastermind/continuing villain, "Flambeau," who has the added merit that he is converted to the cause of good by his opponent, Father Brown, and becomes the latter's companion/assistant, as if Moriarty became Watson.)

"...a chromolithograph gazed from its frame..." (p. 312)

I had read of lithographs, without a clear understanding of them, but not chromolithographs.

"'I saw the Cherokees at the end of their Trail of Tears...'" (p. 291)

This was obviously a historical reference that it made sense to google.

Surely Hanno, originally from Tyre, would be too dark-skinned to pass as English? (p. 294)

"'...- native church...'" (p. 312) Peregrino, an immortal, says, "'I found a new faith among the Kiowas and I'm bringing it to the Nermernuth. Do you know the peyote cactus? It opens a way, it quiets the heart -'" (p. 292)

Does Peregrino mean "found" or founded"? He refers to the Native American Church. Peregrino, a fictitious character, helps Quanah Parker, a historical figure. In return, "'Quanah's covered for me...'" (p. 313), which explains why Peregrino's immortality never came to light.

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