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From: "William H. Ansley" <wansley@warwick.net>
Subject: Re: (urth) Peace Question #2
Date: Sat, 18 Apr 1998 00:21:51 

[Posted from URTH, a mailing list about Gene Wolfe's New Sun and other works]

>The story of Finn M'Cool and his cat appears in Wolfe's Book of Days (I
>think - I don't own a copy).  Was it originally composed for Peace or was
>it published earlier?  Is the anthologized version the same as the one in
>Peace?  It seems it must be a little different because the Peace version
>has an aside to Dennis ("and [the dog] would have had this tale if you
>hadn't laughed at the cat"--which is odd in that it implies a version of
>the story with the dog in the cat's role).


I can only help you with a small part of your question. The story for St.
Patrick's Day in _Gene Wolfe's Book of Days_, titled "St. Brandon" is an
excerpt from _Peace_, aside to Dennis and all. In fact, I think the whole
chapter (section?) containing this story is excerpted (I don't have my copy
of _Peace_ handy to check.) The story in GWBOD starts with "We had fish and
roast beef, and I think I remember green beans cooked with mushrooms." I
suppose this would have bothered me more if I hadn't read _Peace_ first.
(By the way, I am actually referring to _Castle of Days_ which contains
GWBOD, as well as _Castle of the Otter_ and essays by GW.)

I found the aside strange, too. I agree that it does seem to imply a
version of the story with the dog in cat's role, but it would have to be
quite a different story if it were told that way, as far as I can see.

I don't know what this story has to do with Weer's story, but it amused me
that America or more specifically Boston seems to be the earthly paradise
here. This may have something to do with Weer referring to America as a
magic land (if I recall correctly) elsewhere in _Peace_.

Rats *were* brought to America by Europeans and I am pretty sure
domesticated cats were too, but I would guess that if GW has this in mind
at all, it was a very minor part of what he put into the story.

William Ansley

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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