Zadie Smith was born on October 27th, 1975 in North London. Some of the inspiration for her debut novel, White Teeth, came from her upbringing. Her mother is Jamaican, and her parents met at a party, as Archie and Clara do in the novel. Zadie was so amazed that her father had ever been to a party, that she had to create that scene. However, Zadie has also said that while there may be similarities with her background, the characters of Archie’s family in the novel are far removed from those of her own.
In her midteens, she changed her name from Sadie, to Zadie, because she thought that it would make her sound more exotic, and it certainly shows that she was thinking of words and what they mean from an early age (Sadie means ‘mercy’ or ‘princess’ – ed.). There aren’t that many Sadie Smiths out there, if the internet is anything to go by, so she did not really have to change her name to stand out. On the other hand, if you type “Zadie” into Google, all the links are related to her, so she is the most famous Zadie in the world. She felt a bit of a freak at school, as she was always wearing odd “shoes, one red, one white, a red jumper and a red and white hat didn't help... Literature was a way of avoiding unpleasantness at school, particularly being at a big comprehensive”. Zadie Smith did have some good times at school, but perhaps she was a little introverted, and spent plenty of time in her room reading, for which consumers of literature can be thankful. However, she also has musical as well as literary talents, having previously earned some cash from singing jazz. Zadie is apparently very good at impersonating other singers, so one could say that she has only truly found her voice through writing. Tap dancing is also another one of her talents, and if they started making MGM musicals again tomorrow, then she would probably be the first in the queue for the chorus line. We’ve heard that Zadie is writing a musical on the life of Franz Kafka with her husband, so perhaps we’ll be able to see her in a new light – the limelight of the stage.
It also helps that she is smart, and was successful in gaining entry to Kings College, Cambridge, where she read English literature (which is what she was doing anyway – ed.). Yet, as Zadie Smith has said, “an English Lit degree trains you to be a useless member of the modern world”, so you may as well try to earn a living from what you’ve learnt. Whilst at Cambridge, she had a couple of short stories published in the May Anthologies (see below). It was also while she was at Cambridge that she wrote White Teeth, and where she first gained the attention of publishers, who conducted a bidding war over the book. Zadie also acquired an agent, the prestigious Wylie Agency. White Teeth was published to high acclaim in 2000, for which she was awarded the following literary prizes: The Guardian First Book Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction), the Whitbread First Novel Award, and the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Overall Winner, Best First Book). Zadie’s second novel, The Autograph Man, was published in 2002, and won the Jewish Quarterly Literary Prize for Fiction. Granta selected her as one of 20 young best British novelists in 2003. Her third novel, On Beauty, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. FilmFour have bought the movie rights for On Beauty, and are set to film the novel on a budget of $20m. Alison Owen and Scott Rudin will produce the film. Scott Rudin has previously handled successful literary adaptations, such as Angela’s Ashes, The Hours, and also produced The Wonder Boys. A non-fiction title, Fail Better, is due for 2006. “On Beauty” was the winner in the Eurasia region in the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, however, Kate Grenville’s “The Secret River” won the overall title. Zadie Smith is also in the running for the Decibel Award, which is given to the African, Caribbean, or Asian writer who has made the greatest contribution to the literary year, and On Beauty has now won the 2006 Orange Prize, as well as a Somerset Maugham Award. After receiving the Orange Prize, Zadie Smith said: “I'm delighted that it happened ... I'm elated, I really am.” On Beauty has also won the fiction prize in the 2005 Anisfield-Wolf Awards, a prize that was previously won by one of Zadie Smith’s literary heroines, Zora Neale Hurston. Zadie Smith was voted the 9th most stylish British woman in an annual poll conducted by “Harpar’s Bazaar”, and was the only Briton to make Time Magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most powerful and influential people in 2006. Zadie Smith was one of the judges for the Filminute 2006 internet film festival, along with Bernardo Bertolucci and Isabella Rossellini. Zadie married the poet and novelist Nick Laird in 2004, who she had met as a student at Cambridge.
White Teeth – review of Zadie Smith's first novel
“Mrs. Begum's Son and the Private Tutor” - Zadie Smith's short story from 1997, which features early versions of White Teeth's characters! “Picnic, Lightning” - another early story from Zadie Smith, published in the May Anthologies. Unfortunately, this website is now no longer online
White Teeth: A Conversation with Zadie Smith – Kathleen O’Grady, editor of the May Anthologies who published Zadie Smith’s first short stories, talks to her about the publication of White Teeth
Martha, Martha – we review the short story that was published in the issue of Granta that hailed Zadie Smith as one of the 20 Best Young British Novelists under forty
I’m the Only One – is a short story that Zadie wrote for a collection called “Speaking with the Angel”. This Barnes & Noble page looks to have an extract from the story
The Trials of Finch – is the title of a story that Zadie wrote for The New Yorker. It is not online, but she talks here to The New Yorker’s Ben Greenman about the story. In The Sovereignty of Others: Humanity in Zadie Smith’s “The Trial of Finch”, M S Smith writes about the short story in further depth
Hanwell Senior – is another Zadie Smith short story published in The New Yorker, and a very enjoyable one at that
You are in Paradise – Zadie writes about a less than exotic visit to Tonga for The New Yorker
The Limited Circle is Pure – Zadie Smith writes about Franz Kafka, and given that she is writing a musical about him, this should be interesting.
Love, Actually – Zadie writes about EM Forster for The Guardian
On the Road: American Writers and their Hair – Zadie finds something to amuse her amongst the ennui of a book tour
We proceed in Iraq as hypocrites and coward – and the world knows it – Zadie tells it as it is in this article in The Guardian in 2003
The Divine Miss H – Zadie writes about Katherine Hepburn, her favourite actress
The A4 Challenge – The Guardian prints a doodle from Zadie about the 2004 Hay Festival
Shades of Greene – Zadie’s article on Graham Greene
Letter from Liberia – a personal account by Zadie Smith
We are Family – Zadie talks to her brother Ben, who released a rap album in 2005 under the name of Doc Brown. It gives some musical details about their childhood. Maybe writers soon will be more engaged with SOR?
Zadie didn’t tell the real race story – an article in “The Sunday Times” by Maurice Chittenden, which voices Ziad Haider Rahman’s view of the novel – the article says that he was the inspiration for Magid
Enlivened by exasperation – a “Guardian” report on the proceedings of the Book Club they ran about On Beauty
Where did it all go wrong, darling? – Mary Ann Sieghart uses the Belseys’ marital problems in “On Beauty” to explain why we have fallen out of love with Labour
There now follows a more in-depth look at White Teeth, and I will do this by building up a list of links related to topics and themes discussed in the novel, page by page. The page numbers come from the hardback edition, so for the benefit of the paperback readers, I will also quote the chapters:
What is past is prologue - an auspicious quote to start White Teeth off. This is actually a quote from William Shakespeare's The Tempest. This website has a picture of the statue inscription that Zadie Smith is probably referring to. This statue, "The Future", is the work of Robert I. Aitken. This quote was fully attributed in later editions of the novel
Cricklewood Broadway - p. 3 Chapter 1 The Peculiar Second Marriage of Archie Jones - ah, the place to be or not to be - ttwinned with Venice!
Cavalier Musketeer Estate - p.3 Chapter 1 - is the very exotic name of Archie Jones's car. I couldn't find any reference to this car on the net, so I think Zadie Smith made the name up.
Ophelia - page 7 Chapter 1 - is the name of Hamlet's mad, suicidal lover in William Shakespeare's famous play. Although the Diagilo family has a tendency towards going nuts, it's actually Archie who's in the course of committing suicide in the book when Zadie Smith mentions his first wife, Ophelia Diagilo.
monstropolous - page 10 Chapter 1 - the use of this one wword reveals the depth of Zadie Smith's reading, for only one writer ever used it before her - Zora Neale Hurston in "Their Eyes were Watching God".
Waste and Whiteness: Zora Neale Hurston and the Politics of Eugenics - provides another quote using the word "monstropolous". Given that White Teeth also covers eugenics, this essay by Chuck Jackson might be of some interest to readers of White Teeth
Hoover's brand name - p. 10 Chapter 1 - the debate goes on and on. The Hoover building in Perivale is not a million miles away from Willesden, and it has ironically been internally rebranded as a Tesco supermarket (I can see the illuminations from my house in Ealing at night – ed.).
Cosimo de' Medici - p. 11 Chapter 1 - Archie's wife, Ophelia, has delusions of being the maid of this famous art patron
Herne Hill Stadium - p.13 Chapter 1 - this where the cycle events were held for the 1948 Olympics. It’s not going to be used for the 2012 London Olympics
1948 Cycling - these are the top 3's for the cycling events in the 1948 Olympics - doesn't go as far as 13th place!
Thespis - p. 20 Chapter 1 - introduced "hypocrisy" (more popularly known as "dialogue") into drama, and he invented tragedy. Eastenders would never be the same again...
"That Jamaican Cricketer" - p. 21 Chapter 1 - I thought Zadie Smith was referring to Viv Richards here (Archie purloins a cardboard cut-out of Viv Richards to put in O'Connell's), but Viv Richards comes from Antigua and played for the West Indies
Chelsea Boots - p. 23 Chapter 2 Teething Trouble - all you ever needed to know about Ryan Topps' footwear
"This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled" - p. 28 Chapter 2 - the debate about what Jesus actually meant when he said this rumbles on
A time, and times, and half a time? - p. 28 Chapter 2 - could have new implications for time and a half...
Jehovah's Witnesses decide the end is Fluid - p. 28 Chapter 2 - explains the emphasis on the 1914 generation, and why the end of the world just keeps slipping further away.
"Separating the Sheep from the Goats" - p. 29 Chapter 2 - Bad news for Goats Shocker - How Jehovah's Witnesses interpret (and ree-interpret) this phrase
Nearer My God to Thee - p. 30 Chapter 2 - singalong now!
Saint Jude - p. 31 Chapter 2 - Hey Jude! Find out more about the saint - Clara and Ryan go to St. Jude's school
Live fast, die young - p. 31 Chapter 2 - examines who may have come up with this phrase originally
The Lord's Supper and the 144, 000 Anointed Class of Jehovah's Witnesses - p. 33 Chapter 2 - how many Jehovah's Witnesses are cruelly denied wafer-thin bread
The 144,000 - so the world will be safe from apocalypse as long as we all keep on sinning!!!
The Great Crowd - p. 33 Chapter 2 - what Jehovah's Witnesses mean by this
Where is the Great Crowd? - my guess is that they're not at Wimbledon FC
Jehovah's Witnesses: An Overview - explains briefly what will happen to the lost
Murphy's Law - p. 37 Chapter 2 - where it all started to go wrong
Better to Marry than to Burn - p. 40 Chapter 3 Two Families - was Paul a misogynist?
Should not muzzle the Ox - p. 40 Chapter 3 - why one must never do this, even if the ox in question is a fat lardy bastard. St. Paul was obviously not thinking at all of the obvious implications for the Cadburys and Rowntrees production line
Iphegenia at Aulis by Euripides - p. 43 Chapter 3 - Clara at the registry office is where Zadie Smith deigns to tell us what her middle name is. The real Iphegenia was fooled into going to Aulis by the promise of marrying hunk Achilles (while Archie's not a youthful hunk, like Achilles, he's a bit gammy in the leg region), but then she's sacrificed by her father Agamemnon instead, just so that the boys can go to war. Such is the stuff of which several great dramas are made. Does not bode well for the Peculiar Second Marriage of Archie Jones
Jamaican Patois - p. 65 Chapter 4 Three Coming - mentions Irie
Abraham/Ibrahim - p. 65 Chapter 4 - one common figure in the traditions of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Sarah must have been one hell of a babe at 90
The Churchill Tank - p.73 Chapter 5 The Root Canals of Alfred Archibald Jones and Samad Miah Iqbal - hardly the best tank in the world
how to cook rabbit - Koos Rozemond, a Dutch lawyer, lays into Zadie Smith's depiction of the Royal Engineers - but even he goes with the flow in the end. I've always suspected that Zadie Smith was partially inspired by The English Patient for this section
Forging the Iron Curtain in the Balkans - p. 75 Chapter 5 - EAM was the political wing of ELAS, who were actually fighting EDES - so Zadie Smith is indeed incorrect on this page, as Rozemond writes (in his broken English). Captain Corelli's Mandolin is a recent novel that famously dealt with this Greek acronym clash. It would appear, that Zadie Smith, like KEVIN, has an acronym problem
The Gothic Line - p.77 Chapter 5 - where Samad fought well
The Tiger Triumphs - more details of Indian fighting divisions in Italy at this time
The German surrender documents - p. 80 Chapter 5 - as signed by Colonel-General Jodl
Dorothy Lamour - p.83 Chapter 5 - her IMDB entry
Pandy - p. 85 Chapter 5 - also means to strike the hand. Samad, Mangal Pande's great grandson, was shot through the wrist by accident, ruining his earlier glorious war career
“Mangal Pande in London” - Amitava Kumar points out just how unlikely it is that Samad could be Mangal Pande's great grandson - but like Rozemond, she's willing to forgive Zadie Smith for the odd mistake or two in an utterly compelling narrative. More to the point, where have all the good copy editors gone? This article is no longer online
Pesotsky - p.93 Chapter 5 - Zadie Smith possibly got this name from Chekhov's The Black Monk
Lydia the Tattooed Lady - p. 98 Chapter 5 - read the lyrics and singalong!
Facts about Diabetic Retinopathy - p. 100 Chapter 5 - learn more about this condition. If Dr. Sick has such bad vision, how is he ever able to shoot Archie?
when the chips are down - p.104 Chapter 5 - comes from poker, a game that Samad is very good at. Nothing to do with fish or depressed potatoes
The Cricket Test - p. 107 Chapter 5 - Norman Tebbit does his bit to promote cycling, if nothing else
“If they pass the ‘cricket test’, how do we stop the suicide bombers?” - Tebbit’s terminology is still being used by the media today, as this article by Niall Ferguson in the Telegraph shows
Mrs. Miniver - p.111 Chapter 6 The Temptation of Samad Iqbal - no doubt Samad first stumbles over Katie Miniver's name and status because if the famous book and film - you can learn more about Jan Struther, author of Mrs. Miniver, and read the whole book here
Am I a 'Ms' or a Miss - p. 112 Chapter 6 - the debate goes on
How do we worship - p. 113 Chapter 6 - Samad says that 20 days would be freed up if all the pagan holidays were removed from the Christian calendar, but this website says that there are only 8 pagan holidays
OshKosh B'Gosh - p. 117 Chapter 6 - can be spelt in several ways, although the spelling Zadie Smith employs is not that popular - Millat really wants to wear this stuff?
Why is the sky blue? P. 117 Chapter 6 - Magid is absolutely right
Blue Sky and Rayleigh Scattering - the science bit
To the Pure, All Things are Pure - p. 119 Chapter 6 - Samad must have heard Clara say this phrase, as it comes from St. Paul, upon whose writings she has already mused. "Can't say fairer than that" sounds more like Archie. Samad thinks of the sayings of his married friends as he contemplates infidelity
Things which make a Fast void - p. 120 Chapter 6 - Zadie Smith has them listed correctly
Abdullah Ibn Umar - p. 120 Chapter 6 - more details about him
Freddie Mercury - p. 135 Chapter 6 - the early life story of the Queen front man
Bharata Natyam - p. 136 Chapter 6 - more details about the dance that Alsana used to perform
Harlesden Clock - p. 142 Chapter 7 Molars - in glorious Technicolor
Home from Home - p. 143 Chapter 7 - the Stonebridge Estate is currently undergoing something of a regeneration
Speak-and-Spell - p. 148 Chapter 7 - literacy would never be the same again. Zadie Smith should be paid for this product placement stuff
The Mandibular Third Molar: A Method of Predicting its Eruption - p. 150 Chapter 7 - what Dudley would have done for this... Men inherit wisdom teeth much less regularly than women
Satyagraha - p. 154 Chapter 7 - find out more about Satyagraha and Gandhi
The Bukhari Hadiths of Islam - p. 156 Chapter 7 - an overview
George Stubbs on the Internet - p. 159 Chapter 8 Mitosis - he's not just on the walls of O'Connell's
Beastie Boys-inspired fad boosts VW emblem thefts - p. 166 Chapter 8 - this is what Mickey is talking about when he refers to "Beetie Boys" - may I apologise on behalf of my brother for the theft of that VW emblem from a car that was parked outside our hotel in Sorrento in the late 80's?
Luncheon Vouchers - p .167 Chapter 8 - despite what Mickey says, the golden age of Luncheon Vouchers is not over, and it's all thanks to Zadie Smith!
Queen Lucksami Tave - p. 167 Chapter 8 - was not so lucky. According to this webpage, she drowned in the river Chaopraya, not the Nippon-Kai as Zadie Smith writes
Operation Blue Star - p. 171 Chapter 8 - and the assassination of Mrs. Gandhi discussed
mono-browed - p.175 Chapter 8 - means "to not shave between the eyebrows”
“they are like the English POWs in Dresden who continued to pour tea and dress for dinner, even as the alarms went off, even as the city became a towering ball of fire” - p. 182 Chapter 9 Mutiny! - I could find no reference to this incident on the web, so I presume that Zadie Smith gleamed these details from reading Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five, who is one of Zadie Smith's favourite writers, as listed in this interview
Geographical Facts of Bangladesh - p. 183 Chapter 9
Bangladesh Cyclone May 1985 - p. 184 Chapter 9 - more details about this disaster
"Night's darkness is a bag that bursts with the gold of the dawn" - p. 184 Chapter 9 - comes from Tagore's 'Stray Birds' - read the full text of the poem here
Rabindranath Tagore - p. 184 Chapter 9 - a brief bio of the writer who penned both the national anthems of India and Bangladesh
To put away childish things - p. 189 Chapter 9 - just how many letters did that St. Paul blokie write? Zadie Smith's ghost writer invades the text again. Ryan Topps also calls on this phrase to save him from the embarrassment he feels at meeting Clara's daughter, Irie - p. 335 Chapter 15
Biddy Mulligan's - p. 190 Chapter 9 - where Millat gets in a fight, is a real pub in Kilburn, that used to be frequented by some of the members of the rock band Bush
Tornadoes - p.190 Chapter 9 - the world's deadliest ttornado swept through Bangladesh in April 1989
The Great Storm of October 1987 - p. 191 Chapter 9 – (coincided with my sister's 18th birthday – ed). Michael Fish has never looked so pescine. A more disturbing event than even the great Dudley earthquake of 2002
Royston (Iceni) Weather Station - you'll never leave! Some pictures of roads blocked by the storm damage
The Great Storm - also affected Northern France and the Netherlands
Michael Fish - a caricature
Worsley Institute of Blu-Tack Art - p.191 Chapter 9 - how long before they show up in Tate Modern?
Artists in Residence - Blu-Tack is "so polymorphous and essentially dichotomous", exactly the same thing that I always say about it. I think they're taking the piss, but one can never be too sure with artists.
Blu-Tack - Mrs. McNeill, our school headmistress, was the first to introduce us to this magical new English sticky stuff. It was my first exposure to product placement and globalisation, from which I've never truly recovered. It's kind to speakers too - no band should leave home without one
Viz puts on a show - p.191 Chapter 9 - it were twenty years ago today when methought that Whizzer and Chips was the epitomy of comic excellence, but Viz was a photocopied rag about to hit the big time
"O Me O My. There's no place like home. There's no place like home" - pp.191-192 Chapter 9 - is a reference to The Wizard of Oz. I find it hard to believe that hardboy Millat would do this. Apparently, a character in The Autograph Man also mimics Dorothy at the end of The Wizard of Oz. The best critique of the movie was written by Salman Rushdie, who was right to question the ambivalent ending. Maybe Zadie Smith will have a third and final click of the heels in her next novel
You Talkin' to Me? - p.192 Chapter 9 - Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver, Millat's iconic hero
Buffalo Soldier - p. 194 Chapter 9 - the story behind Bob Marley's lyrics
Buffalo Soldier - the lyrics
"I do not serve what you worship, nor will you serve what I worship. You have your own religion, and I have mine" - p. 197 Chapter 9 Mutiny! - quote from the Qur'an
Somokami - p. 199 Chapter 9 - looks like the crew are impugning the ticket-man's sexuality, and do this even more on p. 200. But more importantly - was there ever a train service between King's Cross and Milton Keynes? Sometimes I think Zadie Smith is making this stuff up as she goes along! Not that I'm a trainspotter or anything, I just live in Milton Keynes
Raggastani - p. 200 Chapter 9 - although it's debatablle whether Zadie Smith coined this word, she has certainly popularised it
Fear of a Black Planet - p. 200 Chapter 9 - the story behind this famous Public Enemy album
Rushdie in Hiding after Ayatollah's death threat - p. 202 Chapter 9 - mentions the burning of The Satanic Verses in Bradford
Book Burning in Bradford sparks political mayhem - p. 202 Chapter 9 - There were many people attending the protest who, like Millat, hadn't read the book. (I remember talking to a woman I worked with at the time who was violently angry against Rushdie if she had actually read the book - she hadn't - but then again, neither have I - ed.). However, events over the last year have made White Teeth even more resonant as a book of our times
A Decade on, the Rushdie crisis is over - p. 202 Chapter 9 - Never mind the man from Porlock, the man from my home town of Slough was far more malevolent
Divargiit Singh - p.203 Chapter 9 - gets his only reference on Google due to his mention in White Teeth
The vast majority of Bangladesh's inhabitants are Bengalis - p. 204 Chapter 9 - seems to be liberally quoted on the web
Indo-Aryan - p. 204 Chapter 9 - definition
Chuck D takes on the record industry - p.205 Chapter 9 - Millat has (had) a signed autograph from this member of Public Enemy - before Alsana burns it. The Autograph Man, of course, relates the business behind the exchange of such symbols
Slick Rick's Hey Young World - p. 205 Chapter 9 - has recently been re-recorded by Macy Gray
Shaft in Africa - p. 205 Chapter 9 - a review of this film epic
Berlin and the Cold War - p. 205 Chapter 9 - a good place to start to find out about the fall of the Berlin Wall
Fort! Da! Blues! - p. 211 Chapter 10 The Root Canals of Mangal Pande - everything you ever needed to know about the game invented by Freud's grandson, fort-da. Still, if the Football League collapses, we'll all be looking for a cheaper new sport to entertain us
Dum-Dum Arsenal - p. 218 Chapter 10 - a variation on "Boring, boring Arsenal"?
The Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 - pp. 218-219 Chapter 10 - more details
Paper Cartridges and the Sepoy Rebellion - pp.218-219 Chapter 10 - includes an extract from Blackwood's Magazine
Mangal Pande and Bhang - p. 221 Chapter 10 - according to Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Hindus don't have any qualms about drinking bhang, as long as it is strong enough
Captain Hearsay - p.220 Chapter 10 - I could not find any mention of a Captain Hearsay in relation to Mangal Pande, but a Captain Hearsay did (appropriately enough) threaten to sue Rudyard Kipling for libel, which led to Kipling abandoning India. It was more than a hundred years later when a crappy, manufactured pop band maliciously stole the good captain's name for their own nefarious ends. According to one webpage, the name and rank of the officer who demanded Pande's arrest was actually Major-General Hearsey, although the Wikipedia webpage above refers to ‘General Hearsay’
Trafalgar Square - Napier and Havelock: Truth behind the Generals' statues - p.220 Chapter 10 - it's not only Samad who hates this statue of General Havelock - Ken Livingstone wants to pull it down too
Alas! Poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio - p.221 Chapter 10- is the actual quote that everyone really knows well
Tatia, the Sword of Freedom - p. 225 Chapter 10 - another account of Mangal Pande's mutiny
In the old age black was not counted fair - p. 231 Chapter 11 - read this critique of Sonnet 127
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun - p.231 Chapter 11 "The Miseducation of Irie Jones" - a critique of Sonnet 130
Thy black is fairest in my judgement's place - p. 233 Chapter 11 - this quote comes from Sonnet 131
For since each hand hath put on nature's power - p. 233 Chapter 11 - is another quote from Sonnet 127
In nothing art thou black, save in thy deeds - p. 235 Chapter 11 - comes from Sonnet 131
Then I swear, beauty herself is black - p. 235 Chapter 11 - in his brilliant critique of Sonnet 132, Nigel Davies does battle with Mrs Roody's interpretation of this series of sonnets. Irie's reading - that Shakespeare is celebrating the beauty of a black mistress - does ring very true
“Blacks in London: An Interpretation” - p. 235 Chapter 11 - Henry Louis Gates, Jr. says that Elizabeth I "demanded that all the blacks in England pick up and leave", so Mrs Roody is wrong in her assumption that there were no Africans in seventeenth century London
Introduction to Black Studies - p. 235 Chapter 11 - this overview mentions that "African slaves were brought to England from the 1570s onward. It became fashionable"
Black Wednesday was White only in Britain - p.240 Chapter 11 - Robert J. Gordon writes some mumbo-jumbo about why Britain left the ERM
Lessons learned on 'Black Wednesday - p.240 Chapter 11 - the BBC overview of the crisis
It's time to get your knots fried - p.240 Chapter 11 - Erika Rollins on the contradictions of the beauty industry
Ethnic haircare - p. 240 Chapter 11 - from research sponsored by Mintel
KTalk - p.240 Chapter 11 - where there's demand, there are business opportunities, as Paul King discovers to his delight in White Teeth, with some of the money even going to good causes
Gimme a head with hair - p. 240 Chapter 11 - shows how globalization if affecting theee beauty industry, with black-owned firms being bought out by the major cosmetics companies (referenced webpage is no longer online – ed.). "And I wish to God I could buy black hair products from black people for once" says one of the customer's in Roshi's Haircare, little knowing that this will soon be even more difficult (p. 243 Chapter 11)
Black Beauty: Millionaire C. J. Walker - p. 240 Chapter 11 - C. J. Walker was America's first self-made woman millionaire, money she earned from her creation of beauty products for black women
The HisTory of Michael Jackson's face - p.243 Chapter 11 - need we say more?
Sense and Sinsemilla - p. 245 Chapter 11 - sinsemilla is marijuana
"Samad hates Saraswati, you understand. Calls him colonial-throwback, English licker-of-behinds" - p. 248 Chapter 11. I am not sure iff Zadie Smith is referring to any particular writer here. His name suggests V. S. Naipaul, but Naipaul was born in the Caribbean. Saraswati is the name of a Hindu goddess
"Where is his Khamise?" - p. 249 Chapter 11 - Samad is critical Magid's Western clothing
"What does Islam mean?" - p. 249 Chapter 11 - find out here
Laborare est Orare - p.250 Chapter 11 – definition of this Latin phrase
toke - p. 251 Chapter 11 - is a word that has travelled far
The Keepers of the Eternal and Victorious Islamic Nation (or KEVIN - they have an acronym problem) - p. 255 Chapter 11 - would appear to be a satire on the Nation of Islam
The person who goes in search of knowledge is on active service for God until he returns - p. 255 Chapter 11 - this phrase can be used in the context of converting to Islam
Vermiculous - p. 264 Chapter 11 - appropriately enough,, means "wormy". A good word for all you Scrabble freaks out there
The British Empire Exhibition of 1924 - p. 265 Chapter 11 - Wembley has never been used just for football
British Empire Exhibition - p. 265 Chapter 11 - another view
autogamy - p. 267 Chapter 12 Canines: The Ripping Teeeth - onanists
geitonogamy - p. 267 Chapter 12 - slightly more exciting than monogamy (for plants)
xenogamy - p. 267 Chapter 12 - nothing to do with Xena, or her gams
The Third Life of Grange Copeland - p. 268 Chapter 12 - more about Alice Walker's first novel
The Summer of '76 - p. 268 Chapter 12 - was never as good as the summer of '77, IMHO
Chimeric Mice - p. 269 Chapter 12 - the clever bastards
Ralph Brinster - p. 269 Chapter 12 - a brief profile of the Nietzschian creator of Chimeric Mice, SuperMice, Mighty Mouse, and Danger Mouse
Mice Embryogenesis and Genetics - p. 269 Chapter 12 - mentions the Eight-cell stage of development, when we develop gender
DNA Microinjection - p. 269 Chapter 12 - the things they do to cute mice
Production of Transgenic Mice - 270 Chapter 12 - don't try this at home
Gordon and Ruddle - p. 270 Chapter 12 - their roles in DNA microinjection
"Garter Knight Delphiniums" - p. 272 Chapter 12 - no mention of these on the web, so I think Zadie Smith made them up
Thrips - p.272 Chapter 12 - thripping hell!
Pulchritude - p. 273 Chapter 12 - all you ever needed to know about this word
What is the Ouroboros? - p. 277 Chapter 12 - Oscar creates one of these with an elephant
Arawaks - p. 277 Chapter 12 - a brief history of these people and their swift decline after the arrival of Columbus
The Question of Genius - p. 279 Chapter 12 - it seems most unlikely that Oscar could have an IQ of 178 - but then IQs seem to fall into the "damned lies and statistics" category
Nature V. Nurture - p. 279 Chapter 12 - "so much of it is Nurture" says Joyce, seemingly in contradiction to her husband Marcus, who is intent on genetically programming mice to play all sorts of tricks at the time he has designed them to do so. Is in Nature or Nurture that Millat later turns himself into a parody of Mangal Pande?
"Irieathus negressium marcusilia" - p. 280 Chapter 12 - i.e. Joyce thinks that Irie needs to be nurtured by Marcus
"Millaturea brandolidia joyculatus" - p. 280 Chapter 12 - i.e. Joyce has been watching 'On the Waterfront' too much, and thinks that Millat needs to be nurtured by her
Newsround - p. 280 Chapter 12 - I don't think Newsround was ever on for half an hour each day. They should bring back John Craven and his sensible jumpers - that was when Newsround really was on the cutting edge of the news media
Of Mice and Men - p. 281 Chapter 12 - Ralph Brinster's "Supermice" seems to be the model for Marcus Chalfen's FutureMouse in White Teeth (although I believe the Press coined the phrase "Supermice"). This web article by Kathleen Klein also discusses the inevitable issue of ethics (which also crops up in White Teeth)
Art Tatum - p. 281 Chapter 12 - this webpage gives you more idea of what this great pianist was like
"genotype hidden by phenotype" - p. 282 Chapter 12 - is quoted in Keecia James' review of White Teeth, where Alsana's fears of "racial dilution" are also discussed (review no longer online – ed.)
Speak Jamaican.com - p. 282 Chapter 12 - has more about the Jamaican use of the personal pronoun
Michaelmas Daisies - p.284 Chapter 12 - are not indigenous to the UK but prosper well. How our flora and fauna have been changed by immigration and emigration
"A headshot of Mendel looking pleased with himself" - p. 290 Chapter 12 - never has one man done so much with peas. This webpage would appear to contain the picture that Zadie Smith is referring to. The common myth surrounding Mendel was that his work on inheritance was forgotten for years, and then re-discovered. But this webpage suggests that this was not necessarily so, and that Mendel may have had good reason for looking pleased with himself. Certainly, the idea of this genius plodding away with his work in a monastery has always seem idyllic to me
Particle Delays and Annihilations - p. 290 Chapter 12 - "God does not play dice with the world", but he's a mean craps player
Does God play dice? - p. 290 Chapter 12 - this illuminating article was written by none other than Professor Stephen Hawking, who I once saw in Waitrose in Cambridge. Although Hawking's typist writes "Prewst" for "Proust", the rest of the article is very coherently written, and not wholly divorced from the concerns of White Teeth. And there's a cute cartoon of Einstein throwing dice
Maurice Wilkins - p. 290 Chapter 12 - gets to be in a cartoon with Rosalind Franklin, just below Crick and Watson
Double Helix discovery by Crick, Watson, and Franklin - p. 290 Chapter 12 - and Rosalind Franklin makes 4. If only Franklin hadn't obsessed over every detail, she would have been credited with the discovery of the structure of DNA. Unfortunately, she died of ovarian cancer in 1958, and the Nobel Prize is not awarded posthumously. Of course, Marcus doesn't mention Rosalind, probably because he's an old letch
mouse with tumour - p. 292 Chapter 12 - look away now if you're squeamish - these are the kind of pictures that Marcus and Irie are looking at. Note that the mouse's face is turned away, so that we cannot see it's expression
"activating oncogenes " - p. 293 Chapter 12 - find out more about tthis
"You eliminate the random, you rule the world" - p. 294 Chapter 12 - this quote of Marcus is discussed in Richard Seltzer's review of White Teeth. Barbara J. Gardner uses the quote in the title of her paper on Zadie Smith
Human Population Growth - p. 294 Chapter 12 - enough to put you off having children forever
"If you told that potato-head there was no gravity on the moon he'd think you were being silly" - pp. 296-297 Chapter 12 - or is there?
The Tricycle Theatre - p. 297 Chapter 12 - find out more about this hotbed of cultural activity in Kilburn
A Bout de Souffle - p. 297 Chapter 12 - Dennis Grunes has a much more positive view of this film
Jonestown - p. 297 Chapter 12 - Neena is referring too the mass suicide instigated by Jim Jones in Jonestown, Guyana. Neena is saying that Chalfenism is hardly a cult
The Well of Loneliness - p. 300 Chapter 12 - contains details concerning the court battle over Radclyffe Hall's novel
Our Bodies Ourselves - p. 300 Chapter 12 - the story of the book
Oranges are not the only Fruit - p. 300 Chapter 12 - read Jeanette Winterson's account of her debut novel. I saw her at Oxford Railway station the other day. Unlike Terry Waite and Stephen Hawking, she was not in Waitrose in Cambridge at the same time
Ottaman Empire: Flags with Zulfikar - p. 303 Chapter 12 - not a pair of scissors
"How many times... is it necessary to say thank you in a single transaction?" - p. 303 Chapter 12 - reminds me of the days when I used to word in a bookshop
"the Responsibility of Intellectuals" - p. 303 Chapter 12 - read what Noam Chomskky has to say on this issue
"I mean, after a while, you've got to suspect it's in the genes, haven't you? All these brains. I mean, nurture just won't explain it. I mean, will it?" - p. 305 Chapter 12 - Joyce seems to contradict what she said oon p. 279, by now stressing the primacy of Nature and inheritance, despite her urge to nurture
Muscular Christian - p. 305 Chapter 12 - a definition
Peccavi - p. 307 Chapter 13 The Root Canals of Horttense Bowden - err... - actually Charles Napier took Sindh, and sent this 1 word in a telegram back to his superior, Lord Ellenborough, not vice versa. If only Latin were taught more widely in schools, then "texting" could have a whole new dimension! To be fair to Napier, he probably only had a penny on him when he sent the telegram
maga - p. 307 Chapter 13 - means Ambrosia was thin. "Pickney" refers to child
"a young man called Garvey was staging a printers' strike for higher wages" - p. 308-309 Chapter 13 - Zadie Smith is referring to Marcus Garvey. Unfortunately, the printers' strike that Zadie is referring to happened in 1908-09, which seems to suggest that Ambrosia, impregnated in "May 1906" (p. 307), looks to have had one of the longest pregnancies in history (although we know that the date of Hortense's birth is already given as 1907).
Charles Taze Russell - p. 309 Chapter 13 - this webpage gives a supportive view of Russell, beard n'all
Millennial Dawn - p. 310 Chapter 13 - this webpage gives some idea of what was in Millennial Dawn
'Early will I seek thee' p. 310 Chapter 13 - comes from Psalm 63 and is also a hymn - seems to predict the imminent death of Sir Edmund Flecker Glenard
Jamaican Pimento - p. 310 Chapter 13 - is a spice
Memories of the Kingston Earthquake of 1907 - p. 312 Chapter 13 - there is far more on the internet about this year's Dudley earthquake than the Kingston earthquake - "I guess my family's more of an oral tradition" Irie says (page 293 Chapter 12) - it contains the sarcastic contents of the letter that Sir James Swettenham sent to the Americans. Lord Elgin (of marbles fame, no doubt) told him off, and Swettenham handed in his resignation. Arthur Farquharson had to shame Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill into realising the urgency of the situation by saying that he would go to the Americans for help if Churchill did not have time to see him. It must have taken a lot for Churchill to ask the Americans for help a few decades later
I will fetch my knowlege from afar - p. 313 Chapter 13 - the full text of Chapter 36 of Job
Clarissa - p. 314 Chapter 14 More English than the English - Alistair Cooke provides an admirable precis of Samuel Richardson's novel
F R Leavis - p. 314 Chapter 14 - read my thoughts on the original proponent of close reading
"More than kisses, letters mingle souls" - p. 314 Chapter 14 - read the whole of this John Donne poem, 'To Sir Henry Wotton'
"Delayed Twinning" - p. 315 Chapter 14 - is a phrase that is ooften used in defence of cloning (and apparently, we're dummies to be concerned about it). The Ethics of Human Cloning explores this in more depth - "Consider, for instance, the fear that a clone would not be an "individual" but merely a "carbon copy" of someone else -- an automaton of the sort familiar from science fiction. As many scientists have pointed out, a clone would not in fact be an identical copy, but more like a delayed identical twin. And just as identical twins are two separate people -- biologically, psychologically, morally and legally, though not genetically -- so, too, a clone would be a separate person from her non-contemporaneous twin. To think otherwise is to embrace a belief in genetic determinism -- the view that genes determine everything about us, and that environmental factors or the random events in human development are insignificant" - so what Marcus wants to do - "To eliminate the random" (as Magid puts it) - is to create this very SF model of cloning which everyone fears (albeit to cure disease and for the "good" of mankind). Now we see where Joshua's D&D fantasies come from... By putting the emphasis on genetic determinism, Marcus Chalfen would seem to come close to wiping out the whole of Nurture... Replicating specific persons says that even an identical clone would have their own personality, and Marcus has the example of Magid and Millat to prove that genetic determinism is not a reality, unless it's an unfortunate by-product of his own work
Andrusier - p. 322 Chapter 14 - Alexandra Andrusier iis the name of one of Millat's girlfriends, Adam Andrusier is also one of the world's leading agents in selling autographs. Zadie Smith's second novel, The Autograph Man, is about a bloke who sells autographs. Part of the dedication page in The Autograph Man reads "And for my friend Adam Andrusier, who knows funny from funny". Adam Andrusier’s webpage now openly acknowledges the connection
"illegally imported absinthe" - p. 322 Chapter 14 - You can now buy absinthe in Tescos. "Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder" may be outlawed as an advertising slogan any day now
Ambrosia - p. 326 Chapter 14 - Irie's middle name and the name of Hortense's mother comes from Greek myth - "De stuff dat make you live for ever" as Hortense says on p. 330 Chapter 15. Absolutely nothing to do with Cream Rice
napthalene - p. 328 Chapter 15 Chalfenism versus Bowdeenism - was Darcus sitting in his TV chair so long that Hortense had to cover him with moth balls?
cerace - p. 328 Chapter 15 - is a kind of healing tea
You will flee by my mountain valley - p. 329 Chapter 15 - this quote from Zechariah is also on this webpage.
And the Lord did confound the language of all the earth - p. 330 Chapter 15 - should read "the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth". Either Hortense is beginning to forget things, or she's using a different translation of the Bible
Fear them not therefore - p. 331 Chapter 15 - from Matthew Chapter 10, verse 26
"Railway sidings named after a careless child" - p. 331 Chapter 15 - I've no idea what Zadie Smith is talking about here - is what I wrote yesterday. But then I read another section of The Autograph Man last night which seems to confirm what I had already suspected - that Zadie is referring to Marylebone: "I always get those tube things mixed up - Mary-lee-bone?" Book 2 Chapter 2 'Discovering the footprints' page 239. Mary-lee-bone sounds like "Mary leaves bone" - you can imagine a careless kid leaving their bones behind on a daytrip to London. Marylebone, London, UK tells how 'Marylebone' is actually a contraction of 'Saint Mary by the Bourne'. Since the "bone" bit is a contraction of Tyburn, the image of a poor girl called Mary leaving her bones there isn't all that ridiculous - since Tyburn was such a macabre place, it's not surprising the contraction turned the sound of Bourne to Bone. If Zadie Smith ever gets bored, she could always set cryptic crosswords
German pickelhaube - p. 332 Chapter 15 - see what one of these looked like
feed a fever, starve a col' -p. 332 Chapter 15 – Cecil Adams is no dope
buguyaga - p. 333 Chapter 15 - meaning "tramp or bum"
tremolando p. 338 Chapter 15 - a definition
carillon- p. 339 Chapter 15 - a definition - Zadie Smith seems to be using a few musical metaphors in this section
The Revelation of St. John the Divine chapter 3 - p. 340 Chapter 15 – “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” is from Verse 19.
The Book of Revelation from the Holy Christian Bible - p. 340 Chapter 15. Is the Book of Revelation going to be fulfilled in our time? - give some indication of much of the content about The Book of Revelation on the web
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth - p. 340 Chapter 15 - seems to be a reference to the church at Laodicea
"turd part of the sea" - p. 341 Chapter 15 - is a paraphrase of The Book of Revelation Chapter 8, verse 8 - not a reference to coastal pollution
Welcome to the study of Escatology - p. 341 Chapter 15 - even if it's the last thing you ever do!
Tom Cringle's Log - p. 343 Chapter 15 - like my Mangal Pande (Father Prout, aka "Francis Mahoney", "Rev. Francis Sylvester Mahony (O'Mahony)" - my family does not even have oral history to tell us how our fecking surname is supposed to be spelt, although I believe we dropped the O' to sound less Irish!!!), Michael Scott wrote for Blackwood's Magazine. The opening to Tom Cringle's Log is probably the longest opening sentence to a novel ever - but good with it
In Sugar Cane Land - p. 343 Chapter 15 - Eden Phillpotts’ tome, published in 1893, still exists in a few collections
Natives are not critical of photographic quality - p. 343 Chapter 15 - read Hesketh Bell's Film Theory - 'the natives are not to see how sexualized white women really behave!' is how I would paraphrase it - he refers to "our struggling film industry" (things haven't changed much since 1926). He suggests making 2 versions of the same film, with colonised people getting sent the sanitised versions
Report on the Caribs of Dominica - p. 343 Chapter 15 - Hesketh Bell chimes again
100 Years of the Carib Territory - p. 343 Chapter 15 - the above letter of Hesketh Bell is still discussed today
100 Years since the destruction of St. Pierre - p. 343 Chapter 15 - thanks to Hesketh Bell and Jean Rhys, we know more about the volcanic destruction of St. Pierre than the Kingston earthquake
Jamaica - p. 343 Chapter 15 - apparently it was that lovely man Cromwell who finally settled on "Jamaica"
Helleborus Corsicus - p. 344 Chapter 15 - beware Greeks bearing flowers
Meat is Murder - p. 346 Chapter 15 - some of the things that might be in Joshua's leaflet
"Jew-fro" - p. 346 Chapter 15 - as worn by Art Garfunnkel. We await the photographed mullet version
Dadaist - p. 347 Chapter 15 - Sting later became one of these - "De do do do, De da da da" is all I want to say to you
anarchist - p. 347 Chapter 15 - I'm pretty sure that Tony Bear is not one of these
"I'm giving up leather" - p. 347 Chapter 15 - you can actually get vegan Doc Martins now
"Surrey T. Banks " - p. 355 Chapter 16 The Return of Magid Mahfooz Murshed Mubtasim Iqbal - an oblique reference to Iain M. Banks?
Recombinant DNA technology - p. 357 Chapter 16 - read a definition
Well Hello Dolly - p. 358 Chapter 16 - it was an Englishman, Francis Galton, who first proposed the science of Eugenics. Marcus may shrug off these fears, but he does not know his mentor's past history
Oncomouse - p. 359 Chapter 16 - find out more about the mouse from Onco, the model for FutureMouse
Oncomouse not patentable in Canada - p. 359 Chapter 16 - what about the oncomoose though? I believe that oncomouse has now been patented in Canada
The Laboratory, or the Passion of the Oncomouse - p. 359 Chapter 16 - by Lynn Randolph - the oncomouse is contrasted with the death of Christ, the messiah. There are 12 stations of the cross - the mouse just has one station - her laboratory/bell jar - where her life and death will be observed. The Canadian Council of Churches pdf ebook has more theological musings on the oncomouse. Bryan Crockett also presents the oncomouse as Christ. Find out more about Donna J. Haraway's ideas in Modest_Witness @Second_Millennium. FemaleMan_meets_Oncomouse: Feminism and Technoscience
Nomoskar - p. 361 Chapter 16 - means "hello" in Bengali. "kamon acho?" - means "how are you?"
India's partition - p. 365 Chapter 16 – read also a critical account of Mountbatten's withdrawal from India. Mountbatten's withdrawal also left open the question of what was going to happen to Kashmir
Coming apart at the seams - p. 366 Chapter 16 - what we used to wear in the old days
Black Label Beer - p. 367 Chapter 16 - is strong stuff
cleave - p. 368 Chapter 16 - a real homonym>
Leave no stone unturned - p. 368 Chapter 16 - never mind Luke and John, how off the wall was Matthew?
St. Jude - p. 369 Chapter 16 - is the patron saint of impossible or difficult causes. Marcus researches at St. Jude's College, Clara and Ryan went to St. Jude's school
Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - p. 370 Chapter 16 - Joyce thinks Millat has this
East Pakistan and West Pakistan - p. 371 Chapter 16 - what happened when they split
The Sphinx of Corinth - p. 375 Chapter 17 Crisis Talks and Eleventh-hour Tactics - looks nothing like Joyce
Shah Jahan - p. 377 Chapter 17 - famous for showing off his riches and building the Taj Mahal
Let the scholars beware! - p. 381 Chapter 17 - stand and deliver! - that's what highway robbers say. I'm adamant that Adam Ant did
haraam - p. 382 Chapter 17 - means "forbidden"
Acne - p. 387 Chapter 17 - all you ever needed to know about spots
Kaffir - p. 389 Chapter 17 - means "Unbeliever"
"Some people march on the parade ground and fire the first shot" p. 389 Chapter 17 - Samad explicitly links Millat with Mangal Pande
"it gave up the ghost and dropped back into the swallowing hole" - p. 391 Chapter 17 - thus does Archie's coin tossing become a deus ex machina once more
Malocclusion - p. 393 Chapter 17
The Sajdas of the Qu'ran - p. 393 Chapter 17. Here is a transalation of the passage Millat is using to guide himself, containing the full, uninterrupted text
Subhana rabbiyal-ala - p. 393 Chapter 17 – means “'Glory to my Lord, the Most High”
Definitions of wajib, sunnat, and makruh - pp. 393-394 Chapter 17 - can be found here
Kaba p. 395 Chapter 17 - "Quibla" should be "qibla" - Zadie Smith spells qibla correctly on p. 393 when she fully quotes "How do we perform Namaz" - although the spelling of these translateed Arabic words does vary. Here also is a definition of "fard"
he who wants to change worships becomes a disbeliever - p. 395 Chapter 17 - again from "How do we perform Namaz&"
"But contrary to Millat's understanding, this is no movie and there is no fucking end to it, just as there is no fucking beginning to it" - p.397 Chapter 17 - compare and contrast with The Autograph Man Chapter 10 page 218 - "Alex tells him the same thing he told him three hours ago and has tried, in one way or another, to tell him since their acquaintance began: this is not a film".
The Qu'ran and the Cosmos - p. 397 Chapter 17 - an interesting view on this debate
Restriction enzyme - p. 397 Chapter 17 - find out more about this
Patents on genetically altered organisms - p. 397 Chapter 17 - humans are included
Zeno of Elea - pp. 398-399 Chapter 17 - the world's first proponent of couch potatoism. Includes the famous paradox of Achilles and the tortoise. Nothing to do with Xena (or her gams). Josh Peete gives an admirable account of what Zeno was trying to say
The title of Chapter 18 is "The End of History versus The Last Man". Francis Fukuyama has written a book called "The End of History and the Last Man". Has History restarted since September 11? is Fukuyama's reaction to recent events. The Last Man is also the title of a novel by Mary Shelley, whose more famous novel Frankenstein also acts as a warning for those who pursue scientific progress without thinking of the consequences (like Marcus Chalfen). You can read The Last Man here
"Kifr" p. 400 Chapter 18 - another way of writing "Kaffir"
Ideological Warfare - p. 400 Chapter 18 - also discusses the Kufr and 'Ideological Warfare'
Alim - p. 401 Chapter 18 - means "one who has true knowledge"
"dypsomaniacs" p. 401 Chapter 18 - the commonly used spelling is dipsomaniac - i.e. Monty Clyde's parents were drunks
The Imam Muhammad bin Saud University - p. 401 Chapter 18 - their homepage
"the fascicles of Endless Bliss" - p. 402 Chapter 18
Human, all too human - pp. 401-402 Chapter 18 - is James Wood's interpretation of Zadie Smith's creation of Monty Clyde Benjamin (aka Brother Ibrahim ad-Din Shukrallah). (This article is no longer online – ed.)
Latter-Days Saints - p. 402 Chapter 18 - morons - sorry, I meant, mormons!
Selly Oak - p. 402 Chapter 18 - a virtual history of the area
The worth of Cleanliness and Hygiene in Islam - p. 402 Chapter 18 - may be similar to the writings of Brother Ibrahim
Garveyism - p. 403 Chapter 18 - this webpage gives deetails about the later career of Marcus Garvey. Strangely neglects to mention how Captain Charlie Durham ("Whitey"), could have bent the rules of time to suppress Garvey's printers strike in 1907 (pp. 308-309 Chapter 13)
Elijah Muhammed - p. 403 Chapter 18 - a brief bio
"the angel Jabrail" - p. 405 Chapter 18 - more about his cominggs and goings
Kurta-pyjamas - p. 406 Chapter 18 - some excellent models of this attire
The Orientalists, The Bible, and the Qu'ran: A Brief Review of the Bible Borrowing Theories - p. 407 Chapter 18 - will give you some idea of what Brother Ibrahim means when referring to 'The Orientalists'
"'Yes, shtoom, yes, I understand,' says Mo, speaking to Millat, but looking straight ahead as in a spy movie" - p. 407 Chapter 18
"the NGCA, the OHNO" - p. 408 Chapter 18 - the 'National Corn Growers Association'?, the 'Northern Californian Golf Association'? FATE picks some strange allies. Either that, or Zadie Smith is making it all up again!
- p. 409 Chapter 18 - a definition
The Spotted Dog - p. 410 Chapter 18 - if you're a dipsomaniac, visit the pub. "By 1992 it had transformed again, this time into the focal point of the huge Australian immigrant population of Willesden, who, for the last five years, had been leaving their silky beaches and emerald seas and inexplicably arriving in NW2" - p. 411 Chapter 18
Homo Erectus - p. 410 Chapter 18 - see some pics of our predecessors
Guy Debord - p. 410 Chapter 18 - his life and death
Guy Debord and the Situationists - p. 410 Chapter 18 - more about the ideas of the Situationists and what happened to them
Willesden High Road - p. 411 Chapter 18
Willesden Past by Len Snow - p. 411 Chapter 18 - this legendary tome is mentioned on this webpage about Gladstone Park, itself featured in White Teeth several times
Iago p. 413 Chapter 18 - find out more about this Shakespearean villain
detumescent - p. 413 Chapter 18 - a less than arousing definition
"the tribe of Reuben" p. 417 Chapter 18 - Ryan is quoting from the Book of Revelation, Chapter 7, Verse 5
"'Calm yourself, Mrs. B. I am afraid your granddaughter is too far gone for us. As I expected, since leaving us, she 'as joined the dark side.'
'Fuck you, Ryan, I'm not Darth Vader...'" - p. 418 Chapter 18
Chinese Box - p. 419 Chapter 18 - more complex than Rubik's Cube
crusty - p. 422 Chapter 19 The Final Space – the wwikipedia article refers to music, but it does give an idea of the environmental nature of crustiness
cained - p. 427 Chapter 19 - at one point in the nnovel, I believe that Millat and Magid are compared to Cain and Abel. However, Cain was the older of the two twins. It's the equivalent of Mangal Pande drinking bhang
Sura 52 - p. 427 Chapter 19 - an English translation
Salla Allahu 'Alaihi Wa Sallam - p. 428 Chapter 19 - means "may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him", referring to Muhammed
English translations of the Qu'ran - pp. 428-429 Chapter 19 - read about the various attempts
"It is only a dense cloud" - p. 429 Chapter 19 - read more of Rodwell's translation of Sura 52
"And in the night-time also hymn His praise" - p. 429 Chapter 19 - Pickthall'ss translation
ascetism - p.429 Chapter 19 - a definition
"Because they look to the future to forget their past" - p. 431 Chapter 19 - Abdul-Colin's view of the English philosophy of life also seems to be Alex-Li Tandem's philosophy of life in The Autograph Man - "Regret everything and always live in the past" - p. 296 Book 2 Chapter 5 "Taming the Bull"
"The sun rises and sets on it in twelve hours" - p. 431 Chapter 19 - is Abdul-Colin's view of the British Empire, adapted from the saying "The Sun never set on the British Empire"
What goes around comes around - p. 433 Chapter 19 - the Hindu philosophy of karma
He that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow - p. 433 Chapter 19 - Biblical writer makes huge sweeping statement shocker
There is no fear in love - p. 434 Chapter 19 - some musings on this passage from John
He would valiant be, 'gainst all disaster! - p. 434 Chapter 19 - singalong to the hymn, with words from Bedford lad John Bunyan
New Musical Express - p. 435 Chapter 19 - the NME - my tabloid of choice during the early 90's - I can still remember some of the Bez Jokes - oh, for the days when you could fool a whole nation into believing that Bob Holness played the sax in Baker Street
"If Star Wars (secretly Ryan's favourite film. The Good! The Evil! So simple. So true) is truly the sum of all archaic myths and the purest allegory of life (as Ryan believed it was), then faith, unadulterated, ignorant faith, is the biggest fuck-off light sabre in the universe" - p. 435 Chapter 19 - like a lot of things that Ryan believes, this is a lot of arse. Star Wars is far from simple.
Take the beginning of the best film, The Empire Strikes Back. Darth Vader infiltrates the rebel base, surrounded by a load of storm troopers dressed in Ku Klux Klan chic, like a negative image from D. W. Griffiths' The Birth of a Nation. What the feck is that all about? Darth Vader's voice was also done by the famous black America actor, James Earl Jones. Twenty years later, there were protests when another black American voice was utilised in The Phantom Menace: Jar Jar Binks (because it was a stereotypically Southern slave voice). There is the Trade Federation in The Phantom Menace, talking Japanesa and looking like Japanese Carp. Natalie Portman is presented as the image of innocence by dressing up as a Geisha in the same film. Yet today, the only person who complains about James Earl Jones's voicing the epitomy of evil is Dave Prowse, and he's laughed off the stage because of his wurzel accent.
When Darth Vader first appears on the scene in Star Wars, he is Death incarnate surrounded by skeletal storm troopers in a grotesque dance macabre. He is the Dark Father who exquisitely castrates his own son in The Empire Strikes Back (the only film Lucas couldn't spoil by putting cute cuddly creats into the Special Edition). No one has ever complained about this superb portrayal of black power, because it was, by its very nature, not stereotypical (especially in terms of the historical cinematic portrayal of African-Americans). Darth Vader was Shaft, the epitomy of blaxploitation. Sure, he was one evil mother (or father rather), but he was supported by rank and file English RADA Nazis (was the whole stereotypical casting of the English as baddies started because it was cheaper to film in England in the Seventies? Discuss). No one complained, most of all, because Darth Vader was cool and powerful. And unlike Golem, he actively makes a conscious choice to save the day at the end of Return of the Jedi (although everyone was secretly fecked off when they saw what Vader really looked like, not just Dave Prowse). Darth Vader turns out to be just a sham of Black Power - there's a white guy in his suit - ("ignore the man behind the curtain" - Wizard of Oz) - just as so many black leaders today are still sponsored/hindered by the West.
But there are signs that the Star Wars saga is getting even more complicated - just watch Attack of the Clowns (the only film in the Spielberg/Lucas ouevre that explicity goes back to its Cowboys and Injuns roots). There's that very interesting scene when cavalry officer/Jedi Anakin mows down the Tuscan Raiders/native Americans in their teepees in the John Ford Country of Tatooine before turning to the Dark Side as a by-product of his Kevintheteenagerisation. So now George Lucas seems to be saying that the evil empire, with its army of clones, is none other than the good ol' U S of A. Although the film had its laughably crap moments ("don't lust after me Anakin, even if I am wearing bondage gear"), it was easily the most subversive of the year. Just look out for Amidala's bodyguard - y'know - the guy in the eyepatch - he looks almost exactly like - You know when you've been Jango'd. On second viewing on DVD, where this digital film is really at home, it does become obvious, to my shame, that Captain Typho is played by Jay Laga'aia, not Temuera Morrison (Jango Fett). Still, when was the last time that two Maori actors were cast in a mainstream Hollywood blockbuster?
Star Wars? Simple? Pah!
deoxyribonucleic acid - p. 440 Chapter 19 - is good old DNA
gamete - p. 441 Chapter 19 - a definition
syllogism - p. 441 Chapter 19 - find out more about Aristotle's mode of arguments
synaesthesia - p. 443 Chapter 19 - a definition
Of Mice and Memory - p. 444 Chapter 20 - is the title Zadie Smith uses for Chapter 20. In this article from 1988, Joshua Brown used the same title for his discussion of Art Spiegelman's Maus: A Survivor's Tale. It's a play on words of the title of John Steinbeck's famous novel, Of Mice and Men, itself derived from Robert Burns' poem "To a Mouse"
Exempli gratia - p. 446 Chapter 20 - "for example"
"Because there aren't any alien objects or events any more, just as there aren't any sacred ones. It's all so familiar. It's all on TV" - p. 449 Chapter 20
Anagnorisis - p. 455 Chapter 20 - a definition
Jean-Paul Sartre - pp. 458-459 Chapter 20 - mentions Sartre in prison in 1941. "Man makes himself" is a direct quote from Sartre's Existentialism as a Humanism. This was published in 1946, so how would Dr Sick know about it in 1945 unless he knew Sartre? This is probably the only reason why Dr Sick is French - what other nationality would know so much of Sartre's work at this time?
"whether there be tongues" - p. 459 Chapter 20 - Clara, Samad, Ryan Topps, and Dr Sick all quote from White Teeth's ghost writer, St. Paul
"And then I think of the perverse German, Friedrich" - p. 460 Chapter 20 - would appear to be a reference to Friedrich Nietzsche, a philosopher adopted by the Nazis
"But surely to tell these tall tales and others like them would be to spread the myth, the wicked lie, that the past is always tense and the future, perfect".
Amazon.co.uk interview - Eithne Farry talks to Zadie.
She’s young, black, British – and the first publishing sensation of the millennium – it was this Stephanie Merritt interview for The Guardian that first introduced me to Zadie Smith. Never did like the title though
The Modern Library – their interview with Zadie
Zadie Smith: Where did it all go wrong? – David Steven writing for Bookslut. “Her shyness gives her a bad reputation, she tells us. In the past, signings have gone badly wrong, a lack of small talk with bookshop clerks the problem. Her publisher received complaints: Zadie Smith is rude, disgusting, anti-social. What did they expect, she asks us, a chat show host? “ Exactly. That’s why many writers turn to writing in the first place, because they are shy and sometimes inarticulate. Why should they have to sell themselves? Selling the book is the job of the publisher’s publicists. Zadie also criticises the decision to include unpublished writers in Granta’s list of 20 Best Young British novelists in 2003 – too right too – some publicists can be a bit too zealous for their big new signings.
White Knuckle Ride – Simon Hattenstone of the Guardian speaks to Zadie in the wake of White Teeth’s success. “She picks up a Rizla paper and rolls a fag, says that most writers are useless speakers, and that's why they write.”
Taking Fame with a Grain of Salt – Zadie Smith talks to Inspired Minds, includes the audio files of the interview. Speaking of White Teeth, she says, “I was 21, and when you’re 21 you do things badly in general. There probably is too much in it and I certainly wouldn’t write a book like that again” (I wouldn’t have spent so much time creating this webpage if I agreed with that – ed.) The webpage goes on to give more details as to how Zadie Smith got her book deal
The Ethical Strategies of Novels – Beth Potier from the Harvard Gazette reports on the work that Zadie did when she was a Radcliffe fellow in 2003
A Writer’s Truth – Zadie talks to the Boston Phoenix in 2003 about her interview with Eminem, and why she never wants to do another interview in the UK, life at Radcliffe, and contractual red tape
Zadie Smith talks about “On Beauty” – Linda Herrick talks to Zadie Smith
Zadie Smith still wary of the limelight – Sue Leeman’s interview with Zadie Smith
Q&A: Zadie Smith – Patrick Knowles talks to Zadie
Smith speaks On Beauty – some interesting comments about where Zadie Smith’s characters come from in this article by Jane Campbell
Zadie Smith, putting herself into her work – an excellent interview by Jennifer Frey of “The Washington Post”
Teachers win top awards for writings on diversity – “The Plain Dealer” talks to Zadie Smith after “On Beauty” has won the fiction prize in the 2005 Anisfield-Wolf Awards
Libraries threat – features an interview with Zadie, who is passionately campaigning against library closures in her local authority
Zadie Smith wins Orange Prize – as reported by Reuters. Zadie Smith comes from behind to win a book prize at last – is how “The Times” reported it, although, of course, the Orange Prize is not the first literary award that Zadie Smith has won, although it is her first major prize. A return to form for a 21st century celebrity – was how Claire Armistead saw it for “The Guardian”. Taking the Orange at Second bite – is a further report from “The Guardian”
Searching for Zadie Smith – M. S. Smith is inspired to track down signed first editions after reading Zadie’s novels
Don’t Shoot the Scientist! – Dimitris Kioussis gives a scientist’s view of White Teeth
Are you a Yindie? – Ed Caesar reports that Yindies regard Zadie Smith as being “the pinnacle of alternative fiction”
On Booty – a report on a “New Yorker” party attended by Zadie Smith. There’s a suggestion that Zadie and her husband Nick Laird will soon be moving to Rome for a year
Zadie Smith to judge 2007 Willesden Herald competition – “The Willesden Herald” is run by the great Stephen Moran. Zadie chose “Kid in the Well” by Willie Davis as this year’s winner
This term, we will be studying Zadie Smith – how novels become set texts for exams
Not in our name: campaign launched against Trident – Zadie Smith took part in this campaign in February 2007
Head, Dominic. ‘Zadie
Smith's White Teeth: Multiculturalism for the Millennium’. In Richard J.
Lane, ed., Contemporary
British Fiction. Cambridge: Polity, 2003: 106-19. This photocopied
pdf file comes from the webpages of the Texas A&M University
Moss, Laura. ‘The Politics of Everyday Hybridity: Zadie Smith's White Teeth’. Wasafiri, 39 (Summer 2003): 11-17. Again, this photocopied pdf file comes from the webpages of the Texas A&M University.
Karin E. Westman (Kansas State University), "Keeping it Local, Keeping it Real: Global Capitalism, American Culture, and British Identity in Zadie Smith's White Teeth". Also "Anatomy of a Dust Jacket: Deracination and English Identity in Zadie Smith's White Teeth." Under consideration at Cultural Critique. 35 pp. in manuscript. "London Calling: English Identity in the Novels of Zadie Smith." South Atlantic Modern Language Association Conference. Atlanta, GA. November, 2003. "To Market, to Market: Transforming Helen Fielding, Zadie Smith, and J. K. Rowling for the American Reader." South Atlantic Modern Language Association Conference. Baltimore, MD. November, 2002. "Literary and Cultural Contexts for Zadie Smith's White Teeth." American Ethnic Studies 501, "Leadership in American Ethnic Studies." Kansas State University. February, 2001.
‘Zadie Smith’s White Teeth: Happy Multicultural Land?’, in E Magazine, December 2002 by Claire Squires
"Un/Settling Migrations: Citizenship, Kinship and the Second Generation in Post-Immigrant Black Canadian and Black British Women's Texts" by Andrea Medovarski features White Teeth
Tournay, Petra, 'Challenging Shakespeare: Strategies of Writing Back in Zadie Smith's White Teeth and Caryl Phillips's The Nature of Blood', Postmodern Studies, 35.1 (August 2004), pp. 207-229.
Short Sharp Shocks – John Mullan on satire in White Teeth
Past Imperfect – John Mullan continues his analysis by looking at history in White Teeth
After Post-Colonialism – John Mullan completes his analysis
Sincerest Form – John Mullan takes a look at Zadie Smith’s imitation of E. M. Forster’s Howards End in On Beauty
The Autograph Man – Adam Smith’s review for Cercles
Where Novelists Fear to Tread – Theo Hobson on representations of the religious mind in “On Beauty”
López-Ropero, Lourdes, ‘Homage and Revision: Zadie Smith's Use of Forster in On Beauty’. Commonwealth Essays and Studies 32.2 (2010): 7-17