House of Leaves, V: Digital Annotation

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

pg. 41:

For me, Danielewski’s work exemplifies the idea of multi-vocality and demonstrates it for readers in a variety of ways. I am most intrigued with the idea that we are “all standing on the shoulders of giants”; in other words, the idea that we reference authors of the past by reworking their texts or by embedding ancient characters and plots into modern contexts.

Many of the ideas in the book can be considered as echos of past authors. Myths are retold, ancient languages are translated, and authors are constantly referenced and cross referenced throughout the manuscript and footnotes. There is blatant evidence of Danielewski’s sources and inspirations, and it is clear that he leans heavily on works of the past.

resized_20160920_130222pg. 42-43:

The use of Greek mythology functions as a link to the revered authors of the past; we still reference and rework ancient texts, therefore creating a conversation with authors of the past. Ancient stories persist in modern contexts –stories are rewritten: multi-vocality

in a way, House of Leaves piggy-backs on ideas brought up in the myths of Metamorphoses, reworking the myth of Echo into a modern story (think of Karen as Echo, Navy as Narcissus) — thereby creating a conversation between Danielewski and Ovid.resized_20160920_130254

pg. 44:

SIGNIFICANCE OF ECHOS: echo greek myth,

The mirrored quotes claiming to be written by two different authors further illustrates the idea that authorship is not necessarily singular. Literature is constantly being recycled, and people continue to have the same thoughts, feelings, and ideas that people have had in the past.


The planetary glyphs used in the footnotes of this chapter have ROMAN names, rather than GREEK; represents looking at the same ideal through multiple lenses. The glyphs may represent some connection that the author (Zampano and/or Danielewski) was making between the characters he was writing about in the story and characters from, for example, the Greek myths that may have inspired his modern characters. The parts of the myth that has footnotes coorespond to the planet that was used for the footnote. (eg. The moon rules the emotion, and the moon footnote reveals a very emotional line from a very emotional character. Or, how the ☿ Muses studies would have been an intellectual task, and Mercury☿ corresponds to matters of the mind.)

⊕ Earth

♇ Pluto: Transcendence, metamorphosis. Pluto indicates a receptivity to other worlds.  It gives us the power to transform into new ways of life.  If the cross outweighs the crescent, we risk losing sight of the purpose of the transformative energies and become obsessed with power for its own sake, or to bolster our egos.  If the upward crescent and circle outweigh the cross, we run the risk of detachment from reality or even psychotic episodes. (Greek Hades). // ♇ Pluto represents transcendence, as seen through the way two authors can supposedly relate subconsciously, how two people can be thinking the same thing at once.  

♂ Mars: Assertion, desires, masculine. The Mars glyph represents the cross of materiality with a directed energy overriding the circle of spirit. Mars is the yang side of our emotional nature. (Greek Ares, god of War). // ♂ “I’ve spent ten years on Cicero” “Ass!”

☿ Mercury: Intellect, psychology, communication, the mind. The Mercury glyph represents the link between the spirit and matter, and between the soul and personality. It is represented by the crescent, the circle and the cross. It indicates the receptivity of the soul  through the exaltation of the spirit over matter. // as ROMAN Mercury (rather than Greek Hermes): patron god of financial gain, commerce, eloquence (and thus poetry), messages/communication (including divination), travelers, boundaries, luck, trickery and thieves; he is also the guide of souls to the underworld // ☿ “The Muses’ studies” “divine ones” 

☾ Moon: Emotions, the feminine. The Earth’s Moon would logically be an extension of the Earth as its satellite, and thus attunes us to impressions in the here and now, often referenced to the personal past and sometimes in the collective past, where it sometimes tempts us to remain.  Our Moon also reflects, in various modifications, the light of our Sun to us, and because of our Moon’s proximity to us, it appears as a relatively bright object in the night sky, lighting up our surroundings in the apparent absence of our Sun.  The crescent lines are doubled, indicating the high level of receptivity, perceptiveness, and sensitivity. // ☾ “Narcissus: ‘May I die before I give you power over me.’ Echo: ‘I give you power over me.’”

♃ Jupiter : Search for meaning, the need for understanding, responsibility and leadership. This planetary glyph represents the search for meaning and understanding. The Jupiter glyph represents the ascending crescent of the personality which is no longer confined to the material plane, which is why Jupiter moves beyond what you can actually see and finds gain. // as Greek ZEUS, god of sky and thunder, symbolizes power, leadership, guardianship/protection; associated with the principles of growth, expansion, improvement, spontaneity, opportunity, increase, aspiration, the higher mind, wisdom, enthusiasm, optimism, benevolence, generosity and gain through experience. // ♃ “‘O outcry’ returns as ‘love,’ ‘delays,’ ‘hours’ and ‘king.’”

∞ Infinity: In modern mysticism, the infinity symbol has become identified with a variation of the ouroboros, an ancient image of a snake eating its own tail that has also come to symbolize the infinite, and the ouroboros is sometimes drawn in figure-eight form to reflect this identification, rather than in its more traditional circular form // ∞ “‘Who will put an end to his great sadness?’ ‘The hours passing’”

☊ Northern (ASCENDING) Node: represents your karmic objectives in this lifetime. It points the way towards soul growth and evolution. // ☊ “Literature’s rocky caves”

☉ Sun: The Sun glyph represents the circle of unlimited potential, which is brought to Life with a dot in the center. The dot is your focus and where you will shine in Life.



  • Bloch, Douglas, and Demetra George. Astrology for yourself: A workbook for personal transformation. Newburyport, MA: Ibis Press, 1987. Print.
  • Danielewski, M. Z. (2000). Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of leaves. New York: Pantheon Books.

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