I just went through the 2 hour podcast and really loving how you have unpacked a lot of things which we encountered in the first chapter, and also went through the last part of the first chapter, in the previous podcast.
The record keeping part, I have different take on it from you guys, I liked the part where you said that, the image standing behind Weer, is us readers, who are also now part of his story, and in a way we are keeping him alive in our world, by being part of his world, and this is what he says by record keeping, that by reading his memoir, which is this book, Weer will always be alive in our memory, and he will be truly be gone, when no one will read his memoir or think about him.
And as per Weer for him what matters to him is not the physical world, but the manifested world of memory where the dead go on living without care, and I think this is what he means when he says about his mother, that she was alive for a long time in other sense.
Also I liked the fact that you have a difference on opinion regarding the present of Weer, what exactly is his present ? Is he the old man who is living in the museum house or is he the person who is present at the doctor in the present ? Because this gives us two different ages for Weer, because if he is in his house, then that makes him a old man who has had a stroke, and if his present is doctor, then that makes him around middle aged person.
But the thing going at the doctor is also so weird, because he sees all the people from his memory there, also if this is a memory, then how come Dr Van Ness talks back to him, and questions his perception about the world. Also the test which the doctor gives him is completely different from the normal tests.
The imagery about nature, and how you unpacked it, it's perfect because Weer is definitely thinking about how nature finally overcomes everything no matter how wonderful or big, and this he's probably thinking as he finds himself in an decaying body, which won't last long. And that's why he always portrays nature darkly, where he thinks that the trees are addicts for sunlight.
Another imagery which keeps coming back in the chapter is that of deer and a stag, I don't know what to make much of it, but there is a strange scene in doctor's office when Weer is near the window, and he puts a branch of elm tree which is shaped like a horn of a stag on the window, and says this is not what I wanted ladies.
The lost places & the folk tale imagery which keeps on repeating in the first chapter definitely has a connection to Weer's memory, the lost places he has re-created in his own home, but not all the places which were denied to him due to god or science, the folk tale imagery seems to me like Weer is trying to find answers to some of things which has happened to him in his life in these folk tales. Because the image of cruel mother and dead infant is very strong as you have suggested, and may be we are going to encounter something like that going forward.
The native Indian connection is also there where we have ceremony going on the Weer's house, and also how he thinks the native Indian race to be alcoholics, and how this was shaped as a narrative when their land was taken from them, this invokes so much fifth head for me, because we have lot the same questions which are asked in fifth head, regarding the narrative which is created by the invaders regarding how the aboriginals living there were lost, and it we who saved their souls by conquering them, fantastic unpack again.
The cosmology stuff, I think you guys are experts in it, and I agree with your observations regarding Weer questioning his position in the universe in the end, and by that means invoking Dante.
Most of all I agree to the last observation, regarding Weer himself, who was an important and successful person in his life, and who had things going his ways when he was at the peak in his life, but now he finds himself in the old age an abandoned person, who doesn't even a normal living person to talk to, that's why he's trying to find answers to the questions in his life by reviewing his memory and whatever he has read, he just trying to find answers to questions.
Now does that make Weer insane or is he actually memory travel ling, also can we trust his memories, because he has himself suggested that he has painted his own memories according to his own perception, that will become more clear or more confusing considering we are reading Wolfe going forward.
Can't wait to start the next chapter, but will probably read the first chapter again, and the next 7 pages, and wait for you guys to till 6th July.
Great observations! Behind the scenes, we're going to be a chapter ahead as we release our episodes, so I won't say much in order to not color your initial reading of the next chapter.
We missed the stag head at the doctor's office, so that's a great catch. And the fact that it's related to some kind of tug on his memory, something that is pulling him into a memory where he doesn't want to be is also interesting.
I can't wait to take stock of how much Peace overlaps with The Fifth Head of Cerberus, which were both written around the same time though published a few years apart. You can just see what books Wolfe had out on his desk and what he was reading about in newspapers. But then he uses those things in such different ways in these books. Sheer genius.
Chapter Two is so good!