Fire and Hemlock - a couple more things...

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at
Mon Jul 24 17:26:59 EDT 2000

>Elise said:
><<I think I am jealous that I have already read it!  If only I could sip the
>waters of Lethe and wake up to a pile of the complete works of dwj right
>next to the bed.>>
>Can you explain 'waters of Lethe'?  I recently finished Stephen Baxter's
>existing Xeelee novels, with "Ring", and in that book he uses 'Lethe' and
>'Lethe's waters' as swearwords.  I thought he made it up!

Elise and Tarja have already explained, but I have to add that it's in
Keats's "Ode to a Nightingale" also.  I'm quoting it, as having looked it
up, and realized that the only thing I remembered from school was the
"hemlock" bit, I had a "Hey! That's appropriate!" reaction.

"My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains,
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:"

Bet it'll turn out now that Elise _meant_ us to get the allusion!

>Okay, this is something spooky about "Fire & Hemlock"; at least, I think it is.
>I agreed recently to send a Frenchwoman a UK copy of "Harry Potter and The
>Goblet of Fire" in exchange for a French copy of the first Harry Potter
>book.  The new book isn't available in France yet, and I wanted to help her
>out.  Anyway, she e-mailed me today with her address, and I discovered that
>her surname is Leroy [For those of you scratching your heads, the name Leroy
>is very significant in "Fire & Hemlock"].
>Synchronicity at work, I guess, but [twilight zone music] *weird*.
>Fortunately, I don't play an instrument, or I'd be expecting bad things!

:-)  It's that kind of book!  And again synchronistically I guess, I had
_just_ sent off a letter offering to get F&H for someone in another country
when I read your post.  Struck me as slightly weird at the time.


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