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From: "Urash, Tom" <turash@firstam.com>
Subject: RE: (urth) Wolfe on PEACE
Date: Mon, 06 Nov 2000 11:27:36 

-----Original Message-----
From: Adam Stephanides [mailto:adamsteph@earthlink.net]
Sent: Monday, November 06, 2000 1:44 PM
To: urth@lists1.ba.best.com
Subject: Re: (urth) Wolfe on PEACE

Robert Borski wrote:
> Wolfe: Weer is dead. In spirit, he is reliving his life, which he confuses
> with the house he built during his final years. Note that at the end of
> book Miss Bold asks permission to plant a tree on his grave. It is the
> of that tree, at the beginning of the book, that has freed his ghost--an
> superstition.

Many thanks for posting this, Robert.

It's a bit difficult to reconcile what Wolfe says here with his
statements re the house in the Jordan interview that I cited earlier. 
The best I can do is to say that he did build a house, but didn't put
"memory rooms" in it.  The other alternative, of course, is that Wolfe
was mistaken in one of the interviews.  (Although I tend to regard
Wolfe's exegeses of his own work as authoritative, I've never been
completely at ease about it.  That part of the People On-line Chat where
Wolfe is asked whether Weer is a mass murderer, and has to pause and
think before saying "no," suggests that has memory of the book may have
become fuzzy over the years.)

Assuming that this interview is indeed reliable, we can also infer that
Weer is not actually haunting his house, which means that we don't have
to place his grave in his backyard.  I'm unclear as to how to reconcile
the statement that Wolfe's ghost was freed at the start of the book with
Weer's memories of having been "sick" for some time before the book
begins.  Are we to take these memories as doubly unreliable--false
"memories" of hallucinatiions that were never hallucinated, so to speak?


Could Weer's "sickness" be the ghost's interpretation of whatever travails
or confusion of being it experienced between physical death and the release
brought on by the felling of the elm? How would this being interpret a prior
purgatorial state if given a chance to reflect, and isn't it traditionally
the case that ghosts are ghosts because of attachments to the physical
universe they are unable or unwilling to let go of? I don't read a great
deal of horror or supernatural fiction, so this may be a stretch, but if you
were to relate the condition of being a ghost to the condition of most
individuals when dreaming, I think there are some parallels, e.g.,
volitional control of movement and context are often severely limited, and
critical examination of surroundings and events is practically non-existent,
otherwise we'd all be lucid dreamers (aware that we are dreaming during
every dream). So, instead of "false 'memories' of hallucinations", etc.,
maybe we have the ghost's best (or most comfortable, soothing)
interpretation of an otherwise non-sense-ical state of being, one that would
be neither true nor false in the usual sense of those words.  


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

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