Kristina Marie Darling
Footnotes to a History of Dress
1. The locket which held her beloved's tangled hair.
2. A leather boot, laced from toe to calf, worn only after a loved one's passing. Its seductive arc was balanced, in this case, by the modesty of her chain and miniature.
3. She entered the room as the shades were drawn. The darkest lace bristling at her wrists.
4. "It was only then I wished to preserve my collection, its infinite variety. In each of the charms, a constellation. In every necklace a cluster of nervous stars."
5. Persönlich. Translated from the German as subjective. Suggesting the necessary progression from an object to its interpretation.
6. Only for a moment could she understand their fear of a spectacle. The red lacquer buttons gleaming from her shoes.
1. The act of disturbing.
2. To cause uncertainty about.
†3. To agitate the mind or emotions of.
8.At that point the laces on her boots appeared disordered, chaotic. Yet those who observed the event seemed to fixate on the violet nightdress.
9."I could no longer picture the heart-shaped box and its long golden chain. A rose garden held by the most delicate clasp."
10.In every locket, an empty frame where his face had been. And now the most garish flowers knotted in his hair.
11. Crape. A fabric worn in the first year. Used in such quantities that it became, for Courtaulds, an empire.
12. The unpublished novel depicts her attempt to abandon mourning dress altogether. While the manuscript was lost in a house fire, a white leather notebook can be found in the library's special collections.
13. An odd stillness as she wandered the unlit halls. The pearl earring glistening beside a lifeless clock.
14. A broken chain. Every primrose torn from the ground.
Footnotes to a History of Astronomy
1. An instrument used to align the city's buildings with the pole star.
2. She assembled her telescope when the moon began to fade. The apparatus groaning as she fastened its lens in place.
3. "I had wanted to observe the precession of equinoxes, their faultless order. But soon the minor stars had drifted from their course. Throughout the sky, I witnessed the most disconcerting symmetry."
1. Pertaining to the sky.
†2. A heavenly being, such as a god or an angel.
‡3. Referring to the fallen empire, which scholars often describe as a replica of the divine kingdom.
5. According to many Viennese astronomers, she calculated the lunar year with greater accuracy than one observes in the Gregorian calendar. Even then she noted deviations in the moon's trajectory. These disparities, while painstakingly documented, have not been verified by modern sighting instruments.
6. Festcomma. Translated from the German as "fixed point." Suggesting the material stability necessary for progress in the discipline.
7. "I had wanted to discover the cold metal gears winding beneath the firmament. Now the most fearful disruption of a delicate machine."
8. A passage in the recent dissertation, which compares her findings to an empire, fraught with internal dissention.
9. On the ground, a shattered lens. A heavy fog drifting through all of the windows.
10. A commonly held belief about divine providence. For a more detailed exposition, see Appendix D.
Footnotes to a History of the Chandelier
1. Each candle was affixed to an iron stake, which rose from the chandelier's intricately welded crown.
2. She lit the wicks when the shades were drawn. Their light stuttering into the hall's beveled mirrors.
3. "Even my dreams unfurled in the most Neoclassical style. Within each room, a gilt cornice framing the portentous chandelier. In every champagne glass the most brutal display of light."
†1. Radiating or reflecting illumination.
2. Intellectually revelatory or enlightening.
3. The quality of being intelligible.
5. A lost chapter of the manuscript, in which she realizes the otherworldly nature of her beloved. This intricate Faustian motif extends well into the novel's denouement and its prose diagrams of the evil city.
6. Every house in the province contained a hidden staircase, which was lit by the most exotic chandelier. At night she would lie on her back and count the endless tiers of Bohemian crystal. The ominous smoldering of the candles.
7. Malcontreuse. Translated from the French as star-crossed.
8. After the fire, she remembered the dance hall. Its beveled mirror and perfect rows of white tables.
9. "I had wanted to preserve the strange white light that shone that evening. Now the most barren ashes scattered on the lawn."
10. Meaning, in this case, to discover or unearth.
11. An early bildungsroman, in which the heroine retained an unusual fascination with fire. Her coming of age involved a cremation of childhood mementos. For a more detailed list, see Appendix B.