(urth) Ascians' Thematic Purppose

Jeffrey Lefstin jeff.lefstin at stanfordalumni.org
Mon Jan 30 16:02:31 PST 2006

On whether "Ascian" is supposed to invoke "Asian":

While no doubt Wolfe's ideas of a totalitarian state were influenced by 
Maoist China and North Korea, I have always wondered what to make of 
the fact that the Ascians seem to come from NORTH AMERICA.

The Commonwealth, as I am sure has been discussed before, seems 
unquestionably placed in South America.  The Ascians come from the 
continent to the north beyond the equator ("the waist of the world.).  
Barring some serious continental drift, that puts them right here in 
the good old U.S. of A!

Besides, there are explicit Asian references in several parts of the 
book (see discussion in Lexicon Urthus) so implying one seems 
superfluous.  Didn't Wolfe claim a classical origin for the word 

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