The Chumps of Choice

A Congenial Spot for the Discussion of Against the Day, by Thomas Ruggles Pynchon, Cornell '59, and Any Other Damned Thing That Comes Into Our Heads. Warning: Grad Students and Willie-Wavers will be mocked.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Well, I'll Never Sleep Again...

I'd like to bring to the present attention a comment on the post "E-Extra!! Read All About It!... Evil Deal Goes Down!" recently left by Mysterious Benefactor Oarwell, which sheds some extremely creepy light on that weird hotel where Lew Basnight stayed after he'd committed whatever nameless crime he was exiled for...
Slaps head! The hotel! It's obviously the actual hotel built by serial killer H.H. Holmes, the top floor of which was "never cleaned by the custodian," and was a giant maze, with doors opening on brick walls, stairways leading nowhere: a trap in which Hunt killed at least 27 people, and maybe 200. In the basement were vats of acid and lime to dissolve the bodies, delivered from the top floor by chutes. Across the street? A pharmacy which Dr. [Holmes] owned.

Was Lew Basnight the murderer? A patsy? Clearly Pynchon has read "Devil in the White City," and borrowed at least the hotel for his own adventure in mythopoiea.
I call to your particular attention the fact that Holmes/Mudgett built this nightmarish rat-maze of a hotel for the particular purpose of luring unwitting victim/visitors to the 1893 Columbia Exposition...

Woof! Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs looks like Andy Hardy compared to this guy...

13 Comments:

At Thursday, April 12, 2007 5:49:00 AM, Blogger Will Divide said...

Holmes was notorious before "Devil" introduced him to a wide readership, certainly the sort of bloke Pynchon would have tumbled to early in his research. That said, it is an awfully creepy detail, though in keeping with the doubling theme, perhaps Lew's hotel was the mystic parallel to Holmes' slaughterhouse.

Also: I've been thinking about comments added months, maybe years, after us trailblazers have moved on; a sub-rosa discussion, if you will, that might make more sense than our current own. I trust, Ned, you'll keep us posted.

 
At Friday, April 13, 2007 6:15:00 AM, Blogger Monte Davis said...

There's another hotel with at least as good a claim to kinship with Lew's:

http://diveintomark.org/archives/2003/12/04/infinite-hotel

 
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