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From: adam louis stephanides <astephan@students.uiuc.edu>
Subject: (urth) V.R.T., Marsch, and "A Story"
Date: Wed, 17 Jun 1998 20:18:08 

On Wed, 17 Jun 1998 alga wrote:

> Do we think that "A Story" was written by Marsch alone or
> by the JVM/VRT amalgam? If it were placed last in the sequence, surely the
> latter. As it is, still probably the latter. But it's still a kind of fairy
> tale, not anything we can really rely on.

I'm morally certain it was written by V.R.T. (See below on the "amalgam.")
As you and others have pointed out, Marsch is far too insensitive,
especially regarding the Annese, to write anything like it.  The only
problem is that I recall reading an interview with Wolfe in which he says
Marsch wrote it.  I don't remember where but I remember him saying this
distinctly, because I already thought at the time that V.R.T. wrote "A
Story."  Maybe Wolfe meant only that the person calling himself Marsch
wrote V.R.T.  Or maybe he'd briefly forgotten that V.R.T. wrote "A Story."
If all other lines of defense failed, I would have to say that while Wolfe
may have meant to have Marsch write "A Story," in the story Wolfe wrote
V.R.T. wrote "A Story."  (I keep meaning to read the famous essay be
Wimsatt and somebody attacking the "intentional fallacy.")

> I don't think Veil's Hypothesis could possibly be true by evidence of VRT
> himself. Assume that he really is half-abo, and that in some way I can't
> pretend to understand, his personality has merged with that of JVM. Perhaps,
> like his mother, he can change his appearance--that thick black beard would
> help--but he also seems to have absorbed a good deal of JVM's learning,
> vocabulary and curiosity (he knows what Mr. Million is, for instance, a
> machine and tool if ever there was one, and about clones), and I find it
> hard to believe that, as #5 accuses, he learned everything from books on
> Ste. Anne.

I hadn't seen this thoery of V.R.T. merging with Marsch before, but I have
to stick to my belief that V.R.T. is just impersonating Marsch in the
ordinary way, perhaps aided by his shape-shifting abilities if he has
them.  I don't find it implausible that he learned all his anthropology 
from books on Ste. Anne and St. Croix; he had three years in the
wilderness to study Marsch's books, and could read more in the libraries.
In particular, his knowledge of "anthropological relaxation," which
another poster had cited, could have been picked up in the local library
after he's realized what the Wolfes are.  His learning doesn't have to be
very deep.  Who does he have to convince?  A dilettante who may have
ceased following the literature years ago, some moderately-informed laymen
who have access to the same sources he does, and the anthropological
faculties on the sisterworlds, which are bad (this is by V.R.T.'s own
testimony, but there's no reason to doubt it) and are no doubt already
predisposed to be impressed by the visiting professor from Earth.   And
IIRC it was never claimed that Annese couldn't intellectually comprehend
machines and tools, just that they couldn't make or use them.  

What convinces me that V.R.T. has not merged with Marsch, aside from the
lack of any indication that any Annese have this ability, is the drastic
change in personality evident between Marsch's real journal entries and
V.R.T.'s entries.  It's so great that, with the benefit of hindsight, it's
hard to see how anyone could have doubted that V.R.T. replace Marsch.


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

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