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From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes" <ddanehy@siebel.com>
Subject: (urth) PEACE: Is there a doctor in the house? If not, where?
Date: Fri, 27 Oct 2000 08:54:48 

More and more I think that a lot of the problems of PEACE may be 
resolved by abandoning chronology entirely at a certain level:
specifically, by presuming (as I suggested briefly in my longish
post on "PEACE, love, and understanding) that W. is not merely
meandering over his life but _guided_ through it by beings seeking 
to bring him to "peace," salvation, or whatever.

These beings are (primarily, at least) represented by the Drs.
Van Ness and Black, whom W. visits "though dead." As noted, any 
attempt to assign chronology to these visits breaks down. 

There's a strongish hint that Dr. Van Ness is _not_ a figment 
created by W. to "consult" at his will. Consider this sequence:

	   "You promised me, Mr. Weer, that if I would prescribe
	for your stroke you would cooperate with me -- take 
	certain tests."
	   "I had forgotten all about you. I thought you were

		 [following which Dr. V. has W. play with mirrors
		 to check the accuracy of his self-image. But note
		 that Dr. V. speaks not of W's "somatic" body 
		 parts but of his "psychosomic body areas."]

	   "...Your image of each of the psychosomic body areas
	is perfect; in other words your I.D.R. is zero. I would
	say this indicates a very high level of self-concern."
	   "You mean that's how I look?"
	   "Yes, that's exactly how you look. Frightening, isn't

		[!!! This is a "psychosomic" body -- and its
		 accurate appearance is "frightening?" H'mmmm.
		 Finally, a little further along:]

	   "You know, all I really wanted from you was advice
	about the effect of exercise on my stroke. I've got
	that, and now I really should wipe you out."
	   "Do you really think that you could do that, Mr.
	   "Of course..."
				[pp. 36-7, Berkley PB]

Consider, too, Dr. Van Ness' lack of response to the idea that 
Sherry Gold, who is in the next room, is dead:

	   "...I woke up like this. It was the morning after 
	Sherry Gold died."
	   "Miss Gold?" The doctor's head makes an uninten-
	tional and almost imperceptible movement towrads the
	partition that separates us. I wonder if the girl is
	listening; I hope not. [pp. 14-15]

Let's be clear: I'm suggesting that Dr. Van Ness, not at all
a creation of W's memory/imagination, is a psychopomp, guiding
Weer in some way to (if not through) the memories he must deal
with. He has other patients, including those in the waiting
room (itself a pregnant image) with its achronic magazines.
In fact, whether Wolfe consciously thought it or not when he
wrote PEACE, I'm suggesting that Dr. Van Ness is, if not Jesus
Christ, then at least an agent thereof -- an angelic being, or
one of the blessed dead, whose "prayers accomplish much."

One last pair of bits suggest very strongly indeed that it is a
psychic body we're talking about:

	   I stand straight and six feet tall, a fine figure
	of a man, though twenty (Dr. Van Ness will say thirty)
	pounds overweight. [3]

But what Dr. Van Ness actually says on the subject is:

	   "You are thin, Mr. Weer. Underweight." [11]

...and this is the guy whose "image of each of the psychosomic 
body areas is perfect." H'mmm.

Well. Have a most excellent weekend, everyone.


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

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