Study Guide

Foundation Part II, Chapter 4

By Isaac Asimov

Part II, Chapter 4

  • Lord Dorwin, the Chancellor of the Galactic Empire, arrives at the Foundation, and a word of warning in advance. Dorwin speaks in non-rhotic dialect, meaning he drops most of his r sounds. Think heavy Boston accent. Awesome when spoken by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck; eye-gougingly annoying as transliterated by Asimov.
  • But don't worry. Just muscle your way through Chapter 4, and you'll be fine.
  • To get back on track: Pirenne and Lord Dorwin hit it off so well you'd think they'd been set up by OkCupid. The two have just a grand old time together, and Hardin has to track them down after they disappear together.
  • He eventually finds them. Dorwin compliments Pirenne on the accomplishment of the Encyclopedia. Pirenne plays it cool and humble, but you know he's giddy on the inside.
  • Hardin tries to dialogue with Dorwin on the Anacreon situation, but Dorwin clearly thinks that this is chill time, and business can wait.
  • It's only the threat of invasion, after all.
  • Dorwin changes the subject to archeology. See, in the future, the Galactic Empire has forgotten that humanity comes from Earth, so one of the great goals is to rediscover the planet of humanity's origin.
  • Seems Dorwin studies this mystery and is currently reading a book by a guy named Lameth.
  • How long ago did Lameth write his book? 800 years. So, a tad dated.
  • Hardin want to know why Dorwin relies on such an old text. Why not just go and do the research himself? Dorwin argues that the scientific method requires him to only compare the opinions of experts.
  • If something doesn't sound right in Dorwin's answer, it's that he's utterly wrong about the scientific method.
  • Pirenne—a scientist, mind you—says nothing and only asks if Dorwin is ready to leave.
  • Before they go, Hardin has one last question. He's heard that there was a power planet accident on Planet V and wants to know what happened.
  • Dorwin says they have no idea. They can't find anyone who is knowledgeable enough to do the repairs, either.
  • Dorwin isn't surprised to hears that all the periphery planets have lost nuclear power, Dorwin believes this makes sense. After all, they're barbaric planets, hardly worth considering.
  • The irony of his words is lost on him completely.