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From: "William H. Ansley" <wansley@warwick.net>
Subject: Re: (urth) Napoleon's Hand
Date: Sat, 2 May 1998 01:05:44 

>From: David_Lebling@avid.com
>> From: "William H. Ansley" <wansley@warwick.net>
>> Does anyone in this group know what Wolfe is referring to here? And is
>> there really biography of Napoleon by a man named Ludwig?
>I'd like to know as well.  To answer part of your question, there indeed
>is a biography of Napoleon by Emil Ludwig, which was published in 1926.
>It was a best-seller.
>How old is Weer on page 2?  He's just a kid, right?  This gives a good
>shot at his birth year, perhaps.  If true, it seems likely to me that
>the very beginning of _Peace_ takes place in our future: the tree
>planted on Weer's grave has grown and fallen down. Weer would only be
>about 80 right now, were he alive today.  He lived to at least age 65,
>according to his estimate of his age at the time of his stroke.

Were actually gives his age in the passage I am talking about. He is 13. He
says he read the book a year or so before. Let's say he read it at 10 at
the earliest. If he read it the year it was published, then the year he was
born was from 1914 to 1916 at the earliest. (You seem to have made very
similar calculations, since you say that Weer would be about 80 if he were
alive today, but I had to work it out for myself.) Of course he could have
been born at any time after that. If Weer is a temporally equivalent alter
ego for Wolfe, then I would suppose Weer was born in 1931, as Wolfe was.
Weer certainly describes no "large" historical events that can help us
place him in time. The world outside Cassionville and its immediate
vicinity might as well not exist in his narrative for the most part.

If I understand you, you are saying that Weer's "awakening" from death,
caused by the falling of the elm tree on his grave, occurs in our future. I
have to agree with you here. If we take the earliest possible birthdate for
Weer, 1914, and assume he dies at age 60 (almost certainly too early) he
would have died in 1974 and the oak sapling would have been planted then. I
am a little vague about the growth rate of elm trees, but the fallen tree
Weer describes seems quite large and I would guess it would take 25 to 50
years to get that big.

This places the earliest date of Weer's "awakening" at 1999. If Were were
born in 1931 and lived to be 65 and the tree grew on his grave for 50 years
then he "awakens" in 2046. This is probably a reasonable bracket for the
latest date, unless we want to assume Weer or the tree lived longer than

Well, I have gone on long enough here (most likely too long)!

William Ansley

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

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