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From: Michael Straight <straight@email.unc.edu>
Subject: Re: (whorl) Peach scarf, scented
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 1997 08:24:34 

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

On Wed, 13 Aug 1997, Doug Eigsti wrote:

>      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 
> forgotten.
>      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.

Perhaps Nadan is simply reflecting that the act of trying to deduce the
past by looking at his garments reminded him of the "Peri's asphodel"
scene in the play, rather than it being a literal example of the


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