Page 509. " if Homer would make a better impression than Thomas Aquinas "
Thomas Aquinas by Fra Angelica
Public DomainThomas Aquinas by Fra Angelica
 Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) was an Italian theologist and philosopher. He was interested in questions about the nature of reality, and of human behaviour, and worked towards reconciling Ancient Greek philosophy, especially that of Aristotle, with Christianity. He produced a commentary of Aristotle's works, as well as many philosophical texts of his own, including Summa contra gentiles and Summa theologiae, his two most famous texts.


Page 517. " reciting some poem from the T'ang Dynasty "

The Tang Dynasty ruled China from 618-907 A.D., during a time which is considered a high point of Chinese civilisation, and especially for Chinese poetry. The imperial capital was at Chang'an, modern Xi'an, which was then the largest city in the world. The famous poets Li Bai and Du Fu were both active during this time.

 Li Bai's 'Drinking Alone with the Moon':


From a pot of wine among the flowers

I drank alone. There was no one with me –

Till, raising my cup, I asked the bright moon

To bring me my shadow and make us three.

Alas, the moon was unable to drink

And my shadow tagged me vacantly;

But still for a while I had these friends

To cheer me through the end of spring....

I sang. The moon encouraged me.

I danced. My shadow tumbled after.

As long as I knew, we were boon companions.

And then I was drunk, and we lost one another.

...Shall goodwill ever be secure?

I watch the long road of the River of Stars.

Page 522. " there's a fucking Tintoretto on the inside "

The Worship of the Golden Calf by Tintoretto
Public DomainThe Worship of the Golden Calf by Tintoretto


Tintoretto (real name Jacopo Comin, 1518-1594) was a Venetian Renaissance painter. The dramatic style of his paintings has led to him being considered a forerunner of the Baroque movement. Three of his most important works lie in the church of the Madonna dell'Orto: The Worship of the Golden Calf, The Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple, and the Last Judgment.