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From: m.driussi@genie.com
Subject: Re: (urth) Soldier Series
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 97 20:53:00 GMT

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

Reply:  Item #7613260 from URTH@LISTS.BEST.COM@INET00#


Re: Soldier series as your favorite, you are not alone--I've met
others who feel the same way, but also a number of people who dislike
them for not being accurate enough (in a classicist point of view)
and get downright irritated at some of the seemingly willful
"mistakes."  I believe SOLDIER OF THE MIST was the favorite one that
made Jeremy Crampton start up his fanzine, "Book of Gold."  So the
Soldier series might be the most controversial in having love/hate

(This issue of "accuracy" could possibly be leveled against the use of
mystical terms in TBOTNS, but I haven't seen anybody go much further
than Nutria's "He is just using Yesod for Heaven and Briah for Earth"
statement a few messages back.  Because it is true--Gene Wolfe isn't
a Kabbalahist!  [Nor am I, for that matter.]  I'm impressed by how
well he can use such terms as he does.  OTOH, the analogy "Heaven is
to Yesod as Earth is to x" would be answered "Malkuth" by the novice
student, rather than "Briah," which really is a different catagory--a
set in which "Assiah" makes more sense than Briah, for that matter.
So, is this a "mistake"?  Who knows, but say "Sure" just to avoid
pointless argument or senseless speculation on trying to figure it out.)

(All of which returns to the bush of "Gene Wolfe is writing
entertaining fictions not educational tracts.")

FWIW his pagan magic scenes seem to have met with great approval by
at least one pagan magic non-fiction author, Godwin, who wrote about
it/them in his book LIGHT IN EXTENSION.

Looking at the interview with Nutria (on the subtopic of the Soldier
books) one can see that Gene Wolfe planned to move ever further away
from the Robert-Graves-under-heroic-self-constraint-of-I, CLAUDIUS
(as opposed to wild Bill of KING JESUS and THE WHITE GODDESS) and
fully into the realm of Barry Fell's AMERICA B.C., with ancient
Phonecians, Romans, Greeks, et cetera cruising around North America
before the advent of Jesus.  At which point the classicists would have
finally relaxed and said, "Well, that's what happens when you read the
National Enquirer!"  To which Gene would surely quip, "But I always
read News of the World first!"  Or something like that, 'cause it's

It is definitely a challenging text because of the narrative device!


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