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Date: Mon, 6 May 2002 21:47:11 -0700
From: Michael Andre-Driussi 
Subject: Re: (urth) PEACE: Morryster's _Marvells of Science_

Ten months ago, Adam Stephanides wrote:

>I was looking over the section where this book appears (211-12, Harper hc)
>and I have an observation and a question.
>First, the observation: the book is introduced with the sentences "There
>were several books on his table, and I picked one up.  It was Morryster's
>_Marvells of Science_..." (211)  Now, this way of phrasing it strongly
>suggests that Weer is already familiar with the author and title; otherwise,
>he would say something like "It was entitled _Marvells of Science_," by a
>man named Morryster.  However, the book does not exist: it was invented by
>Ambrose Bierce in _The Devil's Dictionary_, and the author and title were
>borrowed by Lovecraft.  The copy Weer picks up is one of Gold's forgeries
>(and since he finds it in Gold's office, we can dismiss the possibility that
>_Peace_ takes place in a universe in which _Marvells of Science_ does

Does THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY (1911) have some reference to that title? In
any event, it shows up, with a little quote, in Bierce's short story "The
Man and the Snake" (1891).  See here
Yes, then Lovecraft used it later, but I've misplaced the note on which
story that was.

>Next, my question: where does the stuff on Heaven and Hell that Weer
>ostensibly reads in _Marvells of Science_ come from?  It doesn't sound like
>anything from either of the book's sources (and afaik, Lovecraft only
>mentions the title without describing the contents).  And it doesn't sound
>like one of Wolfe's own inventions to me.  It sounds like the sort of thing
>that might come from Swedenborg, though I'm no expert, and we know that
>Swedenborg was at least indirectly an influence on _Peace_.  Can anybody
>verify or refute this?

The quote included in "The Man and the Snake" does not match the direct
quote that A. D. Weer reads in the bookstore.  (But the quote in the story
does sound rather familiar--maybe it is somewhere else inside PEACE?)
Further research would be to check if Lovecraft created a quote that was
used--this would be a nice "double-decker" forgery.

The indirect quote that Adam refers to is not included in the Bierce story,
nor is it germane to that story, yet the story itself is rather germane
toward PEACE as a whole, or so it seems to me, and it also seems like the
sort of story that Gene Wolfe loves to the point of emmulation.


Sirius Fiction
booklets on Gene Wolfe, John Crowley
PEACE: a timeline WITH dates! Come see!


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