J1.02 A Host of Angles

Annotations for Jerusalem by Alan Moore

Book 1 – The Boroughs
A Host of Angles

Page 40 – photo

Page 41 – title, quote

Page 42 – blank

Page 43 – titled A Host of Angles

  • The title plays on the similarity of “angles” and “angels.”

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  • Ernest  John Vernal (also called “Ern” and “Ginger”) is Alma Warren’s great-great-grandfather. He is mentioned in the first chapter Work in Progress on p12: “…Snowy’s father Ernest, Alma’s great-great-grandfather, had lost his mind and had his hair go white while he was working on St. Paul’s Cathedral as a painter and restorer down in London in the 19th Century.”

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  • First appearance of Ern’s wife Anne “Annie” Vernal and their son John Vernal. (John is perhaps Snowy Vernal.)
  • Lambeth” is a district in central London.

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  • A “jerry” is British slang for chamber pot.
  • Does this description of a play match any known theater works?

Page 44

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Page 45

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  • Thursa Vernall was mentioned earlier in WiP page 12.

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Page 46

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4 thoughts on “J1.02 A Host of Angles”

  1. Below are the thoughts I posted on Reddit the other day regarding chapter 2:

    • I agree, scott_speaks, that it is disturbing that the angel is responsible for Ernest’s mental breakdown, not his brain chemistry. However, perhaps it could be argued that the unique chemical balances that were present in Ern’s brain are what allowed him to see and hear the angel in the first place? Or maybe it’s a chicken-or-the-egg thing? (Or a pigeon-or-the-egg thing, sticking with a current theme.)

    • The long description of Ern’s morning piss and the chamberpots being emptied at the beginning ties in later with the human as a “chimneypot turned upside down” revelation on p62 (or maybe that’s a stretch).

    • First mention of William Blake on p47! (And it notes that he had previously lived on Hercules Road, which Ern walks past.)

    • This line made me laugh: “Ernest had to chuckle at the irreligious notion of the statues intermittently producing liquid marble stools, Saints’-droppings that embittered parish workers would be paid to scrape away” (p49).

    • The discussion halfway down p50 re the “mast-like central pivot” and the overall dome structure seems to slightly parallel what the Third Borough and his colleagues were building in Alma’s dream from chapter 1.

    • I didn’t know they used egg whites as an ingredient for paint (p53)! That’s cool.

    • It’s a clever idea how the angel spoke only the last few words of each statement, yet the full statement “unfolded and unpacked” inside Ern’s head. Also, the full statements by the angel are written in italics without quotation marks – the same way the Third Borough asked Alma if she knew who he was in chapter 1!

    • From the angel’s statement on p59: “around a veer or corner in the heavens where the doves and pigeons fly.” Both the “corner” theme and the “pigeon” theme collide in that line!

    • Ern fears, after thinking that he may be insane, that in fact he may NOT be insane, and this animated angel he experiences may actually be real. This mirrors Alma’s response to Mick regarding his sanity in chapter 1.

    • The entire paragraph starting at the bottom of p61, discussing the angel’s lecture to Ern, seems almost like a compact thesis statement regarding four-dimensional spacetime. Especially these sentences: “He was invited to consider time with every moment of its passing in the terms of plane geometry, and had it pointed out that human beings’ grasp of space was incomplete. An emphasis was placed on corners having unseen structural significance, being located at the same points on an object whether realized in plan or elevation, constant though they be expressed in two or three more dimensions.”
    Additionally, Ern gets an earlier glimpse of this concept while he’s being hoisted up on p55, when he notices that from his elevated vantage point he can see two clerics waddling “unaware towards each other along the adjacent sides of an enormous pier,” soon to unknowingly bump into each other.

    • Ern recalls his father had stopped talking because he feared “their conversations were being overheard by ‘them up in the eaves.'” Earn wonders if his dad was referring to the pigeons, and if that’s where the term “eavesdropping” came from. (This also mirrors Mick’s ceiling experience in chapter 1.)
    I’d also add, that if it is pigeons on the eaves, then “eavesdropping” could also mean bird shit (which would obviously be less sacred than marble “Saints’-droppings” haha).

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  2. I’ll put my dramatis personae and index lists here.
    NOTES:
    Page referrers are for 3 volume paperback edition by Knockabout.
    Dramatis personae-characters in brackets are only mentioned but not in scene.

    Dramatis Personae
    • Ernest Vernall: restorer, painter, POV
    • Anne Vernall: Ernests wife
    • John Vernall: Ernests son
    • Ernests mother
    • Thursa Vernall: Ernests baby daughter
    • (John Vernall: Ernests father)
    • (Robert Vernall: Ernests Cousin)
    • Billy Mabbutt: foreman of restauration of St. Pauls Cathedral; Ernests quatermaster in Crimean War (1853-56)
    • Albert Pickels: workman, brawler
    • (Jackie Thimbles: street artist, painter; Ernests teacher and mentor 1840)
    • Strawberry Sam: young apprentice
    • Another, slightly older apprentice
    • An Angel (Michael)
    • Old Danny Riley: worker
    • Appelina Vernall: Ernests daughter
    • Messenger: Ernests son

    Index
    • St. Pauls Cathedral: whole chapter
    • Paulus von Tarsus (c 5-c 67), Saint, apostle of Jesus, considered most important figure of Apostolic Age: whole chapter
    • William Blake (1757-1827), English poet, painter, draughtsman and visionary: 54
    • Richard Dadd (1817-1886), English painter, famous for The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke (1855-64): 54
    • Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) as ›American Prime Minister had been shot dead‹, American republican politician, 16th US-president: 55
    • Spencer Perceval (1762-1812), English Prime Minister, assassinated 11. Mai 1812: 55
    • Karl Marx (1818-1883), German philosopher, economist, sociologist, journalist and revolutionary socialist: 56
    • First International Workingsmen’s Association (1864-1876): 56
    • Henry John Pemple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston (1784-1865), English Prime Minister (twice): 56
    • Mother Seacole, Mary Jane Seacole (1805-1881), Jamaican war nurse, traveller, writer, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Seacole : 56
    • Horatio Nelson (1758-1805), British navy officer: 59
    • Charles Cornwallis, Viceroy of Ireland (1738-1805), surrendered 1781 in Siege of Yorktown in American War of Independence: 59
    • George Washington (1732-1799), Comander-in-Chief of Continental Army during American Revolutionary War, 1st President of United States: 59
    • Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), Dutch painter: 60
    • Sir James Thornhill (1675-1734), English painter : 61
    • Pepper’s Ghost, illusion technique, popularized in England by John Henry Pepper in 1862: 65
    • Charles Darwin (1809-1882), English naturalist and geologist: 70

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  3. At page 58, “Pepper’s Ghost” is mentioned. This 1800’s invention, developed by John Pepper (from whom it takes its name) is a further development of Henry Dirks’ “Phantasmagoria”, an optical illusion that exploits a sheet of glass to make transparent figures appear on a stage. The two men supposedly met at the Highbury Barn in London and their story has already surfaced in another Alan Moore project, the performance piece “The Highbury Working”. The “Pepper’s Ghost” trick is still used today in haunted house attractions and allowed director Michel Gondry to achieve, without further digital manipulation, the effect of a ghost Nathalie Portman appearing in Paul McCartney’s video “Dance Tonight”

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  4. Just wanted to mention that the quote from Wittgenstein that begins Book I, was also used to begin the immortal James Burke’s landmark BBC series ‘The Day The Universe Changed.’ To my knowledge, Moore has mentioned Burke’s work before.

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