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From: Joel Priddy <jpriddy@saturn.vcu.edu>
Subject: (urth) sugar cookie
Date: Sat, 21 Jun 97 13:45:44 EDT

[Posted from URTH, a mailing list about Gene Wolfe's New Sun and other works]

>>Well obviously I'm at a loss if you decline to answer my
questions (about men and women) regarding your generalizations
(about women).  So we'll just drop it.<<

  I didn't respond to the specific list of women for two reasons:
(1) I wanted to try and make myself clear on the general
statement. I think on a case-by-case basis there are going to be
lots of cross-overs and exceptions, and I wanted to make the
broad strokes before differentiating the little ones; and (2) I'm
admittedly shakey on the details. I know that without details I'm
making a weak argument, and I further admit to basically just
thinking out loud on the two previous points.
  My percepetion in this matter was the one tiny little grain
that sometimes colored my otherwise enormous enjoyment of Wolfe,
and I wanted to know if it was all in my head or if others had
the same impression.
 Since some other people do seem to have at least some sympathy
with this idea, maybe we should get down to brass tacks, and
start discussing individual characters. See if it holds up.

>>Re: Blackness. I'm not going to say anymore than point out that
your assertion "he [Wolfe] never seems to mention ethnicity
unless a
character is `Black'" conflicts with my tracking of "Celtic"
ethnicity within Wolfe's work.  Same books, different readers:
The End.<<

  I readily concede the point.

Peter Cash:
>>Well, Joel has _me_ convinced of Wolfe's misogyny. <<
I don't really think Wolfe is a misogynist, but, as I said, very
masculine in the worldview presented by a lot of his
protagonists. See Nutria's statements below...

       >> One of the interesting things about Wolfe's fiction is
that he takes the differences between men and women seriously.
His characters are often less than universal (unlike most of
literature), but rather are masculine or feminine. I suspect this
arises from his religious beliefs. It makes his fiction rather
startling in places. Severian becomes a more universal figure
only by incorporating a resurrected Thecla into himself.<<

A statement that I wish I'd been articulate enough to say myself.

        >>One of my questions for Wolfe in my interview with him
(and I don't think this went into the final version) was that I
could see that women could charge him with being anti-woman. I
provided illustrations: There seem to be a lot of bad women in
his books. He objected to this, and declared that he did not
intend to distribute badness unevenly. <<

I don't think that Wolfe spreads the badness unevenly,
but he just seems to have a little less variety in the way he
spreads it when it comes to women.

Now, to continue my series of controversal pronouncements on Gene
Wolfe patterns: Have you noticed the reoccurence of sugar cookies
with "big raisins" in the middle? I can immediately think of
_Peace_ and _Free_Live_Free_, and at least one short story (was
it "the Man in the Pepper Mill?") where these similarily
described cookies appeared. Are the big raisins Really big
raisins, or are they dates? Do the big-raisin-sugar-cookies make
more appearances the "big, greasy donuts" that also crop up in
Peace after Free Live Free? What could it all mean?


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