Page 129. " a photograph of the Primaporta Augustus "

Prima Porta Augustus
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikePrima Porta Augustus - Credit: Andreas Wahra

The Augustus of Prima Porta is a marble statue of Augustus Caesar in the Villa Livia at Prima Porta, near Rome, in Italy. The statue is a copy of a bronze work that was commissioned by the Roman Senate in 20 B.C.; the date it was made is unknown. It is now located in the Vatican Museum.

Page 130. " like the Invisible Man in H.G. Wells "


There are two famous Invisible Man books. One is a novel by Ralph Ellison which deals with questions of African-American civil rights and identities in twentieth century America, and the other is a science fiction novella by H.G. Wells in which a man becomes irreversibly invisible.

In the H.G. Wells novel, as Richard describes, the apparent 'gift' of invisibility soon becomes a curse, driving Griffin, the invisible man, insane. The book was adapted into a film in 1933.

Page 131. " I'd had an old Brian Eno song running through my head "

Richard is referring to the song 'King's Lead Hat'. Brian Eno is an English musician and songwriter known for ambient and experimental music. In the 1970s he was a member of the band Roxy Music.

Listen to King's Lead Hat on Spotify.

Page 132. " absorbed with morbid Poe-like fantasies "

 Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was an American writer, credited with inventing the detective genre of fiction with his 1841 story The Murders in the Rue Morgue, which featured the detective Auguste Dupin. His stories are known for their macabre, supernatural tone.

Page 138. " the lovely Etruscan terracottas in the Villa Guilia "
Etruscan terracotta statue
GNU Free Documentation LicenseEtruscan terracotta statue - Credit: Gebruiker:GerardM

The Etruscan civilisation existed in pre-Roman Italy in the area roughly corresponding to that of modern Tuscany. The civilisation flourished from around 700 B.C. until it was absorbed into the expanding Roman Empire in the first century B.C. It is known for its individual language and culture, which included an unique style of figurative art seen in ancient frescoes and terracotta statues. The Villa Guilia in Rome is home to the National Etruscan Museum.

Page 139. " head aching from Hegel "
Georg Hegel
Public DomainGeorg Hegel

 Georg Hegel (1770-1831) was an enormously influential German philosopher. He developed a number of important concepts integrated into a complex philosophical system based on the ideas of rationalism, contradiction and progress. He argued that contradiction was part of the evolution of ideas, and of history, and of a unifying concept he called the Absolute. In his wonderful book A History of Western Philosophy Bertrand Russell describes Hegel's writing as the single most difficult to understand; he's not the best choice of writer for Richard to read while he recovers.

Page 140. " It was of Vivien Leigh "
Vivien Leigh
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumVivien Leigh - Credit: Roloff Beny

 Vivien Leigh (1913-1967) was an English actress, most famous for her role as Scarlett O'Hara in the film Gone With the Wind and as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire. A noted stage actress with a career spanning thirty years, Leigh was married for a time to the actor and director Laurence Olivier.

Page 141. " I've seen pictures of him with the Sitwells "

 The Sitwells were three English siblings (Edith, Oswell and Sacheverell), all writers who were prominent in the early twentieth century literary world. At the time, their literary clique was considered to rival that of the Bloomsbury group, but since then their perceived importance has declined.

Page 146. " breathing deep and slapping his chest, like Oliver Douglas in the opening sequence of 'Green Acres' "

Green Acres was an American television series that ran from 1965 to 1971, starring Oliver Douglas and Eva Gabor. Bunny's Douglas-like gesture can be seen at about 0:53 seconds on this video.