From: "Roy C. Lackey"
Subject: Re: (urth) PEACE: trolls and troglodytes Date: Mon, 28 Oct 2002 02:10:41 -0600 Stone Ox wrote: >Prof. Peacock certainly has some trollish properties. He is associated >with caves, as he finds the cave with the skull and also he proposes to >Aunt Olivia that they "'live like the troglodytes known to classical writers' >and 'to Montesquieu' ". Could Aunt Olivia have been killed while in some >sense on a bridge (or is crossing a street somehow a modern correlate)? >Did Prof. Peacock die by being turned to stone? > >And finally, and I think most exciting, I found the troglodytes "known to >Montesquieu" that Prof. Peacock mentioned. Did anybody think of >looking for them before? ... No, I don't recall that anyone has. Great find! The two "letters" might be summed up as pointing the moral that "virtue is its own reward" (as regards the original question addressed in the letters). However, I have trouble associating Peacock with the selfish troglodytes. The sentence which contains that quote begins, "Professor Peacock--that lean, good-natured man . . ." I always thought he was the best choice among the three original suitors, even though the poorest. He would never be rich as a teacher, which seems to me the major strike against him, in Olivia's eyes, though he was closest to her own age and shared a common intellectual background lacking in the other two. Had Wolfe not named him as her killer, I would never have thought it of him. That he did kill her seems to exclude him from the idyllic second generation of trogs encountered in the second letter. That sentence I mentioned is one of those long, convoluted ones Wolfe uses from time to time. Those kinds of sentences are always hard to puzzle out. The ending of that one has always bugged me: ". . . save when some new arrival, some promising new member of the faculty, was at table and the future of the whole establishment turned, as upon less than a hair, on his judgement--when they would have roast pork and dressing, particularly if it was July." Why July? In the first quarter of the last century food distribution and preservation was nothing like today, when all sorts of things may be had out of season. While smoked pork products might be found year-round in rural areas then, hog-slaughtering time was, and remains, primarily in the autumn. Wolfe knows this: it was one of the ways Severian marked the turning of the seasons when he was a boy, iirc, by fresh pork appearing on his plate. I don't understand what Wolfe was saying here. -Roy --