Although the characters are far too numerous to be very fully developed, they are nevertheless not rendered merely as caricatures. Many reappear from Changing Places—Morris Zapp and his former wife Desiree Boyd, Philip and Hilary Swallow, Bernadette, and several others—and nearly all are academics whose interests cover the entire range of critical approaches, from the naive and the humanist to Marxist, structuralist, reader response, and inevitably, deconstructionist. It is a novel with a vast cast but no clearly distinguished protagonist. Persse, however, the least intellectual and least dogmatic of the lot, does receive proportionately the greatest amount of the author’s and the reader’s attention, and it is around his quest for Angelica that many of the other characters’ quests cluster (even though they neither derive from nor depend on it). Persse’s story serves, therefore, less as a narrative focus than as a recurring narrative thread. Possessing native intelligence but entirely ignorant of twentieth century critical theory, Persse embodies the simple folk hero, one who finds himself not in the king’s castle but in the, for Persse, equally alien environment of contemporary academia. His simplicity is deceptive, however, for Persse is not only what he appears to be but also all that he and more especially his name intertextually call to the reader’s mind. Thus, he is not only Persse McGarrigle but also the Perceval of the Grail legends, the Perseus of Greek myth, the Charles Saunders Peirce of semiotics, and the Persse O’Reilly of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake (1939), who is himself one more version of that novel’s protean hero, Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker. Multiple as he himself may be, Persse is nevertheless the archetypal naif and as such tends to misunderstand his world with comic regularity. In fact, given the novel’s overt preoccupation with critical theory, one might say that Persse tends to misread his world and more specifically to misread Angelica, who is not only a character in Lodge’s novel but also an intertextuality of literary citations drawn from a variety of sources, John Milton, Ludovico Ariosto, and the Romantic poets among them. As the birthmarks on her and her sister’s upper thighs make plain, she is herself a literary allusion.