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From: Michael Straight <straight@email.unc.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) Weer is not dead.
Date: Thu, 27 Aug 1998 09:52:00 

On Thu, 27 Aug 1998, William H. Ansley wrote:

> -----------------
> It is time, I think, that I see the enchanted headrest of the Chinese
> philosopher looming behind me, and I wait its coming. My aunt's voice on
> the intercom says, "Den, darling, are you awake in there?"
> _Peace_, p. 264, Orb ed.
> -----------------
> Like so many things Wolfe writes this passage seems contradictory. On the
> one hand, the reference to the "enchanted headrest of the Chinese
> philosopher" seems to indicate that Weer's memories of his life (but from
> what point?) were a dream or illusion and didn't happen. But we know from
> earlier in the book (p. 64 of the Orb ed.) that when Aunt Olivia say "Den,
> darling, are you awake in there?" it is time for Weer to stop reading, put
> out his light and go to sleep. So, on the other hand, it seems as if Weer's
> restless spirit may finally be going to its final rest at the end.

Excellent catch!  That's what I get for spinning after reading just once
and without a copy of the book.

It also means that, if it's a dream, it takes place after Bobby's death
and Dennis going to live with Olivia, which torpedos my theory that the
fight with Bobby is the fork where Dennis gets the chance to take another

Unless his aunt's voice is like the fire engine in your dream that turns
out to be an alarm clock.

I still think the Chinese pillow implies some chance do it all
differently, but perhaps I've been reading it too literally.  Are there
any Roman Catholic traditions in which Purgatory provides a chance to undo
the wrongs done in life?


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

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