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From: Peter Stephenson <pws@ifh.de>
Subject: (urth) Atria I Have Known and Loved
Date: Sat, 11 Jul 1998 15:53:18 +0200

This is the quotation I was scrabbling for before.

  The old orchard and the herb garden beyond it had been so silent, so
  freighted with oblivion, that they recalled to me the Atrium of Time,
  and Valeria with her exquisite face warmed in furs.

    Claw, chapter XXIII, opening words

Apart from the first reaction `Not thinking about women *again*?',
this shows just the associations I was trying to suggest for the
Atrium.  The Atrium doesn't *travel* in time, which implies darting
back and forth, materialising in 1970s Britain to defeat the Sea
Devils, materialising in 19th Century Britain to defeat horrible
things in the sewers, materialising in 1980s... well, you get the
picture.  It remains fixed in time, unmoving (remember the carved
animals?), while all else travels forward.  Of course, we know it has
seasons, but that's just the stuff it's fixed with respect to.
(It's OK, I don't understand that either.)

Wolfe probably means `atrium' to have something like the classical
meaning (is there a Peristylium of Time?), but the word, in modern
parlance, means something like a big reception area, not unlike a
Wolfean Antechamber, where you wait and wait and nothing happens.


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

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