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From: StoneOx17@aol.com
Date: Sun, 27 Oct 2002 20:59:51 EST
Subject: (urth) PEACE: trolls and troglodytes

Inspired by mantis's identification of Santa Claus as the switcher of 
the presents, I reread the section of Peace containing Christmas at 
Grandfather's.I am inclined to agree that Santa Claus switched the 
pearls and the toilet water, but still think the stories in the books 
were switched only in Weer's memory, as I contend the three Irish 
stories have also been similarly switched (although I admit I don't 
understand how the St. Brandon story reflects in the book at all).

That's not my main reason for this posting, though.  I noticed the 
following line: 

"... trolls (of whose existence I remained convinced for years after 
this visit, as I remained, for that matter, convinced of the reality of 
Santa Claus)."  

So, if Santa Claus is real, then trolls presumably are as well.  We 
already have a candidate. From mantis'  "scattered notes" on Peace, 
we have

> 6) Weer's dream last night of age 25 in the Chinese garden.  
> The dead bird= Olivia,  the toppled troll = Peacock; both dead by 
> time Weer is 25.  Dream like the china pillow story in style 
> (the wall and the plain) and in reality (old man Weer revisiting 
> young Weer's situation).

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?

And finally, and I think most exciting, I found the troglodytes "known to
Montesquieu" that Prof. Peacock mentioned.  Did anybody think of 
looking for them before? ... It would have been a lot harder before the web.  
Anyway, they can be found in letters 11 and 12 of Montesquieu's "Persian 
Letters" (Lettres persanes).  To me, they seem quite clearly relevant for 
Peace.  These two letters are quite short, and it's impossible for me to do 
them justice with a summary, so I'll simply give the URL, and say that if 
these are indeed the trolls Wolfe is talking about, then they are in a sense 
real, and Prof. Peacock appears to be is one of their number.   The URL 
I found is:

--Stone Ox


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