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From: Joel Priddy <jpriddy@saturn.vcu.edu>
Subject: (urth) Endagered Species
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 97 11:39:12 EDT

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

I'm still working out my whole Wolfe-women thinga-ma-doogey in
typically slow, plodding fashion. Upon closer inspection and
slower reflection I'd been leaning towards it having more and
more to do with the perception of the particular protagonists. It
seems most apparent in _New_Sun_ but much less so in _Long_Sun.
This is in equal proportion to the difference between Severian
and Silk.

But then...

With the recent discussion of _Endangered_Species_ I stumbled on
this in the Introduction, where he is describing his reader:
  "You are both a woman, amused by men, and a man, enthralled by
women. You realize that it is only in our own time that life has
become easy enough to permit a handful of us to abrogate our
ancient alliance..."

What the hell?
What is he saying here? I assume that the alliance he refers to
is the co-existence of men and women in society for purposes of
procreation. For my fellow non-English majors out there,
"abrogate" means to abolish or treat as nonexistent. 

Certainly between population size and technology life has become
easy enough in the past century to allow Feminism and Gay Rights
to become mainstream issues. Not having to build a large
family/work force as a matter of survival has given us all sorts
of luxuries in the realms of sex and gender. But I don't think
this would be described as an abrogation of our ancient alliance.
He doesn't say "re-negotiate," as in a shift of power between men
and women. So, is he talking about the two sexes going their
separate ways? Monks and nuns? Amazons and Spartans?

Wolfe's a husband and a father, so he must consider interaction
between the sexes to be beneficial (not that I want to delve too
deeply into his personal life here). 

Any ideas? Am I just missing some obvious point?


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