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Binoculars in literature (1 Viewer)

hinnark

Well-known member
Hi all,

yesterday, while reading a book I stumbled once again on a topic I always do appreciate if I come across it. I'm talking about binoculars in literature. This was not the first time it happend but unfortunately I forgot most of the other occasions before |:$|. In order that these occurences of binoculars in literature don't slip the mind anymore I thought it could be a good idea to give the references a record here. Everybody is welcome to enhance this short collection whenever possible, no matter which language or nationality of the text. I could also imagine a list like this for binoculars in cinema. But let's start here first.

Steve

I would suggest an entry in the list in this order, as far as possible.

author | year | title | page | type of binocular | quotation

Pynchon, Thomas (2009). Inherent Vice. p. 90. "WWII field glass".

"Sauncho (! and not Sancho BTW...) had a pair of ancient WWII field glasses on a strap around his neck. He took them off and handed them to Doc."

Schmidt, Arno (1992). Zettels Traum. p. 6. Zeiss Dialyt 8 x 30 B.

To be continued...
 
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elkcub

Silicon Valley, California
United States
Steve,

When you say "Binoculars in literature," what do you mean exactly? It seems to me there are quite a few books about binoculars in print, such as:

Paul, Henry (1964). "BINOCULARS and All-Purpose Telescopes."

The two references you mentioned as examples only seem to have a specific binocular mentioned on a particular page. I'm confused.

Ed
 
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hinnark

Well-known member
Hi Ed,

thank you for giving me opportunity to clarify this. I don't ask for technical literature about binoculars like the example you mentioned. I ask for citations, where binoculars are mentioned in fiction, such as novels, stories and so on of reasonably well-known writers. So, this time for a change, no technical stuff (which I have already enough). Perhaps "Binoculars in fiction" would be a better title of this thread?

Steve
 
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LPT

Well-known member
Hemingway, 1935, 'Green Hills of Africa', page 207, Zeiss

"We started out with the brother ahead, wearing a toga and carrying a spear, then me with the Springfield slung and my small Zeiss glasses in my pocket, then M'Cola with Pop's glasses..."
 

hinnark

Well-known member
Hemingway, 1935, 'Green Hills of Africa', page 207, Zeiss

"We started out with the brother ahead, wearing a toga and carrying a spear, then me with the Springfield slung and my small Zeiss glasses in my pocket, then M'Cola with Pop's glasses..."

That's a great example, thank you! It also does remind me that I did forget an important point and that is, of course, the quotation. I will add this to the original post and catch up the quotation for my example which contains the binoculars soon. The quotation may work as an appetizer for some good reading as well, to bridge the time in case that some good birding isn't possible.

Steve
 
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hinnark

Well-known member
It seems that this thread isn't a thriller one like for instance "binocular bargains". I haven't done the homework in searching of quotations yet by myself. However, to give this thread more appeal I thought I could offer some additional value for those who give a correct quotation in the way described above. So I promise to answer one question about birding optics via PM no matter what it is, as a reward for a nice quotation. ;)

Steve
 

Purple Martin

Well-known member
"Bradow's Gambit," a science fiction short story by Curtis Adams: "On the fourth day the city came into view. Quentin raised binoculars to his eyes. The magnification seemed only to emphasize the isolation laid out before him...."
 

Matt_RTH

Well-known member
Sun Also Rises as well - during bullfight, I believe. I was hoping Hemingway would review the optical qualities of said glass as part of the story.
 

ronh

Well-known member
Not literature, unless your standards are so low as to admit the current magazine of the Nature Conservancy. But this organization, to which I contribute (and so receive the magazine every month), has had the good fortune of being donated Hemingway's last home, in Idaho, and many of his belongings.

One of these is his binocular, which appears to be a WWII vintage 7x50, although I am not expert enough to tell you it's a Mark whatever. But this most excellent old instrument, lovingly worn down to bare metal in many places, get a FULL PAGE SPREAD this month! Hubba hubba!

I recall Papa's referring to "the good Zeiss glass" in some story I read "...Francis Macomber"?, but when it got down to his own choice, I guess he was influenced by what was available where he spent his WWII time as a correspondent and ambulance driver. That would be what the Americans were using, and he probably got it "real cheap" do you think?
Ron
 

hinnark

Well-known member
Sun Also Rises as well - during bullfight, I believe. I was hoping Hemingway would review the optical qualities of said glass as part of the story.

Perhaps he didn't because forgotten to take the USAF resolution chart along to the bullring? But I need the whole quotation, please.

Steve
 

hinnark

Well-known member
"Bradow's Gambit," a science fiction short story by Curtis Adams: "On the fourth day the city came into view. Quentin raised binoculars to his eyes. The magnification seemed only to emphasize the isolation laid out before him...."

This sounds like a good one. But I couldn't find the reference.

Steve
 

hinnark

Well-known member
Not literature, unless your standards are so low as to admit the current magazine of the Nature Conservancy. But this organization, to which I contribute (and so receive the magazine every month), has had the good fortune of being donated Hemingway's last home, in Idaho, and many of his belongings.

One of these is his binocular, which appears to be a WWII vintage 7x50, although I am not expert enough to tell you it's a Mark whatever. But this most excellent old instrument, lovingly worn down to bare metal in many places, get a FULL PAGE SPREAD this month! Hubba hubba!

I recall Papa's referring to "the good Zeiss glass" in some story I read "...Francis Macomber"?, but when it got down to his own choice, I guess he was influenced by what was available where he spent his WWII time as a correspondent and ambulance driver. That would be what the Americans were using, and he probably got it "real cheap" do you think?
Ron




That's interesting. I can easily imagine how these bins look alike because your desription fits at my first pair of bins as well.
Well, I think a lot of binoculars changed their owner at that time and it was probably then when Zeiss got that legendary reputation for their optics at the other side of the pond. When I went to school I've read everything available from Hemingway in our local lending library, although in German translation. So if you have time to take a look, a quotation would be highly appreciated.

Steve

P.S. Just saw again the quotation from LPT (who, of course has one question for free). There's a small Zeiss mentioned at that citation. This couldn't hardly be a 7x50.
 
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LPT

Well-known member
Binoculars appear not infrequently in Hemingway's work although I don't recall he ever gets very specific about make and model other than Zeiss or "the big glass". Here's a picture of Hemingway holding a Zeiss 6X18 Telita or 8X24 Turita.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/1959-Ernest...47781?pt=Art_Photo_Images&hash=item45fcd345a5
This thread got me started and I reread Green Hills of Africa and even when the man wasn't at his best he could really write. Next reread is Death in the Afternoon panned by some critics as Bull in the Afternoon. Any bino references there I'll let you know.
One other famous person who seems to have liked and collected some interesting binoculars is Winston Churchill. I've come across several photos of him using different and most interesting binoculars.
Sorry to digress.
 

KorHaan

Well-known member
I've read "The Plague Dogs" written by Richard "Watership Down" Adams many years ago, unfortunately somehow lost it, but I'm positive there's mention of a pair of "expensive Zeiss binoculars" owned by some yuppie who goes into the Lake District with an equally expensive rifle to shoot the dogs, but falls off a cliff to his death, and is partially eaten by the starving dogs...

Maybe there's someone on here who owns the book, and can find the exact page where the binoculars are mentioned. Maybe the model is also mentioned, but I can't recall.

Best regards,

Ronald
 

Mike Penfold

Well-known member
I've read "The Plague Dogs" written by Richard "Watership Down" Adams many years ago, unfortunately somehow lost it, but I'm positive there's mention of a pair of "expensive Zeiss binoculars" owned by some yuppie who goes into the Lake District with an equally expensive rifle to shoot the dogs, but falls off a cliff to his death, and is partially eaten by the starving dogs...

Maybe there's someone on here who owns the book, and can find the exact page where the binoculars are mentioned. Maybe the model is also mentioned, but I can't recall.

Best regards,

Ronald

"The helicopter remained where it was, poised above Ravenglass, for the dogs were in full view through binoculars and there was nothing to be gained by disturbing them as the soldiers drove up, got out of their buses and fell in outside the Pennington Arms." (page 431)

A great read.

But this is probably the quote you remembered:

"Then he removed the binoculars and compass from his neck and laid them on the ground." (page 358)

The Plague Dogs. Richard Adams. Penguin Books, 1977

We're decluttering our home before moving, and this is one book I left on the shelf.

Mike
 
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KorHaan

Well-known member
"The helicopter remained where it was, poised above Ravenglass, for the dogs were in full view through binoculars and there was nothing to be gained by disturbing them as the soldiers drove up, got out of their buses and fell in outside the Pennington Arms." (page 431)

A great read.

But this is probably the quote you remembered:

"Then he removed the binoculars and compass from his neck and laid them on the ground." (page 358)

The Plague Dogs. Richard Adams. Penguin Books, 1977

We're decluttering our home before moving, and this is one book I left on the shelf.

Mike


Hi Mike,

A great read indeed!

The quote you gave is from the very moment he is going to shoot the dogs, and only seconds before he falls off the cliff.
The binoculars are mentioned earlier in the book, when he's still at home and is introduced to the reader, I think, describing his character and his fondness of expensive gadgets. There's where the name "Zeiss" got my attention, it's probably used only once ( a hapax) but I'm positive I read it.


Best regards,

Ronald
 

LPT

Well-known member
Been in the basement digging out the Hemingway...
'For Whom the Bell Tolls ', 1940, page 433:
"Robert Jordan, looking through the Zeiss 8-power glasses, watched his face as he leaned against the wall of the sentry box drawing on the cigarette. Then he took the glasses down, folded them together and put them in his pocket.
I won't look at him again, he told himself."
 

Mike Penfold

Well-known member
Hi Mike,

A great read indeed!

The quote you gave is from the very moment he is going to shoot the dogs, and only seconds before he falls off the cliff.
The binoculars are mentioned earlier in the book, when he's still at home and is introduced to the reader, I think, describing his character and his fondness of expensive gadgets. There's where the name "Zeiss" got my attention, it's probably used only once ( a hapax) but I'm positive I read it.


Best regards,

Ronald

"It would, perhaps, be tedious to catalogue his other possessions -- the prismatic compass, the Zeiss binoculars, ..." (page 334)

"Methodically he checked and laid out his fell boots, clothing and equipment ... binoculars ..." (page 338)

"The weather had become warm and damp, with a light west wind, and he sweated in his anorak as he stood swinging his binoculars this way and that across the slopes ..." (page 342)

Mike
 
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KorHaan

Well-known member
"It would, perhaps, be tedious to catalogue his other possessions -- the prismatic compass, the Zeiss binoculars, ..." (page 334)

"Methodically he checked and laid out his fell boots, clothing and equipment ... binoculars ..." (page 338)

"The weather had become warm and damp, with a light west wind, and he sweated in his anorak as he stood swinging his binoculars this way and that across the slopes ..." ((page 342)

Mike


That's it!

Thanks, Mike, for taking the time to look it up! Excellent! :t:

For a single moment I misread the last quote, in that the "swinging" of the binoculars occurred when walking, so the Zeiss 10x40 BT*'s sprung to mind, but when I reread I understood he's just scanning the slopes frantically with his Zeiss's. So it could have been the 7x42 BGAT* which have a more firm "hang" on the chest, thanks to the widely placed strap lugs. Or the Zeiss 8x56 BGAT* for that matter. I guess we'll never know...
(He doesn't appear to be the sort of figure that carries compacts, so I'll leave those out of the possible model configurations.)

My guess is: he's clearly a "dude" so the Zeiss's are probably the Dialyt 10x40 BT*'s.

Best regards,

Ronald
 

hinnark

Well-known member
Thanks to all for your very interesting contributions. Some really inspiring pieces here among the text passages. LPT, Hemingway could really write, that's for sure. Haven't read something by Richard Adams so far. Perhaps it were the animated film adaptions that lessen my interest in the past.

Steve
 

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