Hannibal’s Memory Palace
As once we visited Dr Lecter in the Palazzo of the Capponi, so we will go with him now into the palace of his mind …
The foyer is the Norman Chapel in Palermo, severe and beautiful and timeless, with a single reminder of mortality in the skull graven in the floor. Unless he is in a great hurry to retrieve information from the palace, Dr Lecter often pauses here as he does now, to admire the chapel. Beyond it, far and complex, light and dark, is the vast structure of Dr Lecter’s making.
The memory palace was a mnemonic system well known to ancient scholars and much information was preserved in them through the Dark Ages while Vandals burned the books. Like scholars before him, Dr Lecter stores an enormous amount of information keyed to objects in his thousand rooms, but unlike the ancients, Dr Lecter has a second purpose for his palace; sometimes he lives there. He has passed years among its exquisite collections, while his body lay bound on a violent ward with screams buzzing the steel bars like hell’s own harp.
Hannibal Lecter’s palace is vast, even by medieval standards. Translated tothe tangible world it would rival the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul for size and complexity.
- Thomas Harris, Hannibal the novel
Reference to Hannibal the novel in Kō No Mono (S2E11) and Œuf (S1E4)
Dr Lecter was watching a film called A Brief History of Time, about the great astrophysicist Stephen Hawking and his work. He had watched it many times before. This was his favorite part, where the teacup falls off the table and smashes on the floor.
Hawking, twisted in his wheelchair, speaks in his computer-generated voice: "Where does the difference between the past and the future come from? The laws of science do not distinguish between the past and the future. Yet there is a big difference between the past and future in ordinary life.
"You may see a cup of tea fall off of a table and break into pieces on the floor. But you will never see the cup gather itself back together and jump back on the table.”
The film, run backward, shows the cup reassembling itself on the table. Hawking continues: “The increase of disorder or entropy is what distinguishes the past from the future, giving a direction to time.”
Dr Lecter admired Hawking’s work very much and followed it as closely as he could in the mathematical journals. He knew that Hawking had once believed the universe would stop expanding and would shrink again, and entropy might reverse itself. Later Hawking said he was mistaken.
Lecter was quite capable in the area of higher mathematics, but Stephen Hawking is on another plane entirely from the rest of us. For years Lecter had teased the problem, wanting very much for Hawking to be right the first time, for the expanding universe to stop, for entropy to mend itself, for Mischa, eaten, to be whole again.
and in the ending of Hannibal:
Occasionally, on purpose, Dr Lecter drops a teacup to shatter on the floor. He is satisfied when it does not gather itself together. For many months now, he has not seen Mischa in his dreams.
Another reference to the famous cup breaking! :) Oh Hanni…
I think it’s time we discuss the paintings on the right side of Hannibal’s bedroom. (The description of left ones are here, as well as terms like Ukiyo-e, Woodblock printing or The Edo Period and Katsushika Hokusai.)
The first one is “Shinpan Ukie Shin Yoshiwara Omonuchi no Zu” (新版浮絵新吉原大門口之図) - “A New Edition of a Perspective Print Showing the Great Gate at New Yoshiwara” by Katsushika Hokusai. It dates from between 1811-1813. This print shows a bird’s-eye view of men and women passing through the gate between buildings in the New Yoshiwara.
The second one is from the same artist and its called Yokkaichi, from an untitled series of the Fifty-three Stations of the Tôkaidô Road created in 1804.
The third one (when there is no lamp in front of it :-)) is called Groups of Mountain Climbers (Shojin tozan), from the series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjurokkei) and is also from Katsushika Hokusai.
Sending thanks and love to xshiromorix for help with indentifying the pieces.
All descriptions of paintings in Hannibal are here.
Hannibal’s home sweater / pyjamas top.
I tried to find it (so I could hannotate it - I have absolutly no intention of wearing it and thinking about Hannibal, nope, really not, *heavily in denial*) and was only partial successful. I find a lot of similar ones - but not a lot of them had the ‘v-neck’.
First I tried to find the exact one in men’s clothes - the closest I managed to find (in the different color, yep I like blue) is the first one. I think it’s not difficult to imagine Hannibal in this Ralph Lauren pullover.
Then I decided I find the closest one in the women department. Same Raulph Lauren woman version is the second one (Did I tell you I like blue?).
Unfortunately that brand is something I can afford
just to imagine I mean for scientific reasons, so I managed to find something more money-plausible - that’s the third one.
I keep looking for the right one… does anybody know what that sweater is for sure? Did Bryan or anyone mentioned it in any interview? I need to know… for scientific reasones of course ;).
These prints in Hannibal’s office originate from: “Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers” (Encyclopaedia, or a Systematic Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts, and Crafts).
Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métierswas a general encyclopedia published in France between 1751 and 1772, with later supplements, revised editions, and translations. It was edited by Denis Diderot and, until 1759, co-edited by Jean le Rond d’Alembert.
As of 1750, the full title was Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, par une société de gens de lettres, mis en ordre par M. Diderot de l’Académie des Sciences et Belles-Lettres de Prusse, et quant à la partie mathématique, par M. d’Alembert de l’Académie royale des Sciences de Paris, de celle de Prusse et de la Société royale de Londres. (“Encyclopedia: or a Systematic Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts, and Crafts, by a Company of Men of Letters, arranged by M. Diderot of the Academy of Sciences and Belles-lettres of Prussia: as to the Mathematical Portion, arranged by M. d’Alembert of the Royal Academy of Sciences of Paris, to the Academy of Sciences in Prussia and to the Royal Society of London.”) The title page was amended as D’Alembert acquired more titles.
The Encyclopédie was an innovative encyclopedia in several respects. Among other things, it was the first encyclopedia to include contributions from many named contributors, and it was the first general encyclopedia to lavish attention on the mechanical arts. the Encyclopédie is famous above all for representing the thought of the Enlightenment. According to Denis Diderot in the article “Encyclopédie”, the Encyclopédie’s aim was “to change the way people think”. He wanted to incorporate all of the world’s knowledge into the Encyclopédie and hoped that the text could disseminate all this information to the public and future generations.
These plates are engraved by J.A.Defehrt and Bonaventure/Benoit-Louis Prevost after J.R Lucotte or Goussier. The first plate is engraved by Prevost after Goussier and the second one by Defehrt after Goussier.
Sending love to xshiromorix for identifying the pieces! :-)
All descriptions of paintings in Hannibal are here.