The Haunted Boardinghouse



A classical scholar has strange experiences in a four-sided boardinghouse when he goes to a new town to take a library job.


  • There's an interesting analysis of this story by Michael Andre-Driussi in the second half of this review of Strange Travelers.
  • There are several Latin quotations or tags in the story, which we are presumably to take as entries from Enan's Moralia that he's internalized and aims to live by:
    • Alis volat propriis -- translated in the text as 'he flies with his own wings'. The state motto of Oregon (although there given the feminine: the Latin doesn't distinguish).
    • Usus magister est -- more normally 'usus magister est optimus, 'practice is the best teacher', said by Cicero. Here suggesting it is the only teacher?
    • Nobis cum semel occidit brevis lux, nox est perpetua una dormienda -- 'When that brief light has died for us, then is a perpetual sleep of night.' (Catullus).
    • Nos exaequat victoria caelo -- 'the victory makes us equal to the heavens' (Lucretius).
    • Nullum est librum tam malum ut non ex aliqua parte prodesset -- 'there is no book so bad that some part of it may not be of use' (Pliny the Younger).
    • Omnia fert aetas, animum quoque -- translated as 'all is borne away by age, even the mind', although 'soul' might be an alternative word (Virgil).
    • Notitia linguarum est prima porta sapientiae -- translated as 'the knowledge of tongues is the chief door to wisdom', which is accurate (Roger Bacon).
    • Doctrina sed vim promovet insitam -- 'but instruction improves the innate powers of the mind' (Horace).
    • Placidaque ibi demum morte quievit -- translated as 'at last he found rest in peaceful death' although 'at length' is perhaps better than 'at last' (Virgil).

These seem to be a pretty accurate representation of the grab-bag of tags that one might expect to find in such a book. The translations are a little dusty and high-flown, matching the 19th-century feel of the story. Not obvious whether Wolfe drew the sample from a real volume, or from his own learning.

  • Meanings of names
  • References to other works
  • Theories about what happens under the surface, what the narrator isn't telling us, who the narrator is and when and why s/he is telling the story, what the whole thing "means," etc.
    If there are multiple or competing theories, each one should be given a name with a three-bang (!!!) header; if the page begins to get out-of-hand from the size of these, as could happen in a few cases, they should be shuffled off to their own page(s).
  • Etc.

Unresolved Questions

  • Was it A or was it B, or was it X or Z?
  • Was it he or was it she, or was it you or me?
  • Who dunnit?
  • Did the Star Child really start WWIII at the end of 2001?

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