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From: Doug Eigsti <d.eigsti@worldnet.att.net>
Subject: Re: (whorl) Peach scarf, scented
Date: Wed, 13 Aug 1997 22:12:28 +0000

[Posted from WHORL, the mailing list for Gene Wolfe's Book of the Long Sun]

mantis, et. al.;

  I have been lurking in on the "Tracking Song" dialog for some time 
and enjoying it immensely. The discussion has prompted memories more 
pleasant that when I last read it. Thank you.

     Re: The Peach Colored scarf. Cool connection, I don't think I 
would have noticed. I am not sure what it means, but it could be the 
key to some pervasive symbolism that Wolfe has been planting in his 
work from the beginning. Or, maybe, he just likes leading us on rabbit 

     I have a question from "Seven American Nights". Strangely enough 
it relates to the perfumed scarf: Can anyone elaborate upon the 
"shopworn" theater trick refered to as "the Peri's asphodel". It is 
used twice in the story. The first time (page 372 of the pb) while 
Nadan is watching the play: 

The one used here is to have John--Ellen's lover--find"Kreton's 
handkerchief and, remarking that it seemed perfumed, bury his nose in 
it. For an instant, the shadow wall used at the beginning of the 
second act was illuminated again to graphically present Ellen's 
desire, conveying to the audience that John had, for that moment, 
shared the telepathic abilities of Kreton, whom all had now entirely 

     The second (page 397) occurs when Nadan takes a bite of the third 
egg and he is trying to rationalize his experience with the monster:

True there were bloodstains on my clothes (the Peri's asphodel!) but 
they could have easily have come from my cheek, which is still sore.

     In the first case I can see where the Peri's asphodel might mean 
a plot device to tell the audience what is going on inside the 
character's mind. But I cannot seem to reconcile the second case.


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