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Date: Mon, 28 Oct 2002 07:41:30 -0800
From: Michael Andre-Driussi 
Subject: Re: (urth) PEACE: trolls and troglodytes

Thanks to Stone Ox for pointing us toward an online version of PERSIAN LETTERS.

The section under discussion does not give, imho, an accurate sense of what
that novel is about.  IIRC, it is about a Persian travelling in Europe,
told through his letters to friends in Persia describing his adventures in
the exotic West, and letters from his friends to him.  As might be guessed
from such a set up, beneath the travelogue it is a satire of French
institutions, customs, etc.

I read PERSIAN LETTERS around 15 years ago and have not looked at it since.
(I regret not adding more to the "Montesquieu" entry in the "PEACE
Indexicon": even though space was getting tight, I really could/should have
added the novel's title.  I wrote it into my personally annotated copy and
encourage others to do the same.)  Without looking again at the text I had
supposed that the troglodytes were a European group, but they are not.  So
the section by itself reads like a straight entry from Pliny the Elder's
natural history.

PERSIAN LETTERS has a more immediately direct link to Wolfe's "Seven
American Nights," I think, where the hero is a Persian travelling in the
former USA.

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?

There is also the gnome suitor in the green book story.

I think the bridge is there in the Chinese garden dream because trolls are
often depicted as living under bridges.



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