Love, Among the Corridors


Wolfe's comments from the Introduction to Storeys from the Old Hotel

"'Love, Among the Corridors' is a homage to Kipling's lovely 'The Children of the Zodiac'. Like 'Alphabet', it originated in a Haystack assignment: write a fantasy in which a woman's touch brings a statue to life."

Wolfe's comments from the article "Kipling's Influence," reprinted in Castle of Days:

"'Love, Among the Corridors' had a different genesis. When I listened to the Just So Stories (and for many years after), I didn't know they had a precursor, "The Children of the Zodiac." It is a work in which Kipling did what Poe is justly celebated for doing over and over: he invented a whole new kind of story, the modern literary myth or antiallegory... In allegory we say 'What if a giant were despair?' Then we have the giant wrestle our hero, and so on. It has always seemed an obvious idea to me, and a rather stupid one, since a giant is much more interesting than despair... But what Kipling (and the ancients) really said was much more interesting: 'What if love were a woman?'"


A woman walks through a mysterious dusty palace, and her touch brings a Harlequin statue to life. They converse, and she reveals herself to be Amor, daughter of Chivalry and Poetry. She suggests testing whether her touch can bring other things to life, and after a little discussion she touches the palace itself. At first it appears nothing has happened, but eventually life does start to appear around them, at which she decides to touch her own heart.


  • The story, which is very short, is told in an anti-allegorical style.
  • "Amor" is Latin for "Love". And is also the "secret name" of the city of Rome.
  • "Harlequin" is a character from the Commedia dell'Arte, a mischievous servant who loves unrequitedly.
  • The Kipling story 'The Children of the Zodiac' can be read here.

Unresolved Questions

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