This refers to the famous Greek-English Lexicon published by Oxford University Press and originally edited by Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, Henry Stuart Jones and Roderick McKenzie in the mid-nineteenth century. It is commonly referred to simply as 'Liddell and Scott', following the academic practice of referring to books by their author's or editor's names rather than by their titles.
The Liddell and Scott is still in print today. The ninth edition of the book, which was published in 1940, is freely available online via the Perseus Project. The most recent edition was published in 2007; the Supplement keeps readers abreast of changes and corrections made to the text.
Although Richard is right in that the Ancient Greek religion had no figure equivalent to the Devil in Christianity, this statement clearly hints at revelations to come. It is also a complex nod to Donna Tartt's friend, the writer Bret Easton Ellis.
Bret Easton Ellis was at Bennington College at the same time as Tartt. His first two novels, Less Than Zero and The Rules of Attraction, were both written whilst Tartt was working on The Secret History. In The Rules of Attraction passing mention is made of Tartt's then-unpublished novel when Ellis describes a group of Classics students: "those creepy Classics kids, off in the woods performing human sacrifice". Tartt returns the favour later in her own novel when she refers to the suicide of a freshman girl, an event which takes place in The Rules of Attraction.
Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) was an American painter of the abstract expressionist movement. He is best known for his 'drip' paintings, which were composed between 1947 and 1950. He would drip and splatter liquid paint on to large canvasses laid on the floor of his Long Island studio, a technique which has become known as action painting. Rumour has it that Pollock would urinate on his paintings before delivering them to art dealers, if he didn't like the dealer in question. He is also famous for relieving himself into a fireplace at one of Peggy Guggenheim's elegant cocktail parties.
Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) was a Polish Romantic composer and pianist. He spent most of his life in Paris, where he conducted an affair with the French writer George Sand. His compositions all focus heavily on the piano.
Doric order is one of three Greek styles of architecture, alongside Ionic and Corinthian. The Parthenon in Athens is an example of the Doric order, which follows rules of harmony and offers simpler designs than the swirling Ionic or the elaborately carved Corinthian orders.
Queen Elizabeth I of England and Lord Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. For a variety of complex personal and political reasons, Elizabeth I never married, and rumours persisted about the nature of her relationship with Leicester. Although it is clear that Leicester was the Queen's favourite, and she was probably in love with him, there is no evidence that they ever had an affair, and it is extremely unlikely that the shrewd and focused Elizabeth would have compromised herself in this way. For a long time after the death of Leicester's wife she considered marrying him, but widespread opposition in her royal court made the match impossible.
The Waste Land is a famous Modernist poem by T.S. Eliot, first published in 1922. The whole text of the poem, with a useful selection of notes, can be read online here. Some commentators have suggested that Tartt's reference to this poem is nothing more than showing off; they are unable to see the point. However, a closer reading of this passage makes the reason for its presence obvious. Henry is moved to discuss Elizabeth and Leicester whilst rowing a boat in the lake at Francis's house; it seems clear that this activity reminds him of the scene in The Waste Land in which Elizabeth and Leicester are themselves in a rowing boat, a connection made explicit by Richard's quotation. This scene could also be read as a covert hint at the secret understanding between Henry and Camilla.
Sherlock Holmes was created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a Scottish writer who wrote four novel and 56 short stories featuring Holmes. His stories have been adapted into numerous television series and films, and are popular throughout the world. Interestingly, the phrase 'elementary, my dear Watson,' which is considered to be something of a Holmes catchphrase, never actually appears in any of the stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle.
The Bride of Fu Manchu is one of a series of Fu Manchu novels written by the English author Sax Rohmer (1883-1959). Fu Manchu is a master criminal who eschews modern methods of carrying out his murderous plots in favour of more obscure weapons, such as poisonous spiders, secret societies of assassins, and poisonous mushrooms. The character of Fu Manchu has often been criticised as a case of racial stereotyping; Bunny's literary tastes seem to reflect his general xenophobia. The rather sensationalist and populist Fu Manchu novels would not appeal to Julian's more highbrow taste.