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From: Peter Stephenson <pws@ifh.de>
Subject: Re: (urth) Severian & Christ, Wolfe &
Date: Fri, 13 Mar 1998 10:37:38 +0100

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

Tony Ellis wrote:
> There -are- parallels between this scene and Christ before Pilate, 
> but I feel it's too lightweight for the significance you're giving it.

There are certainly no major thematic links, I didn't want to
imply a deep relationship.

> Yeat's world-view (as represented by his gyres and masks) was
> very dualistic, and I would say that there we have a crucial 
> difference between him and Wolfe. Wolfe's Urth universe
> is ultimately Unary: there is really only one side, and everyone
> is on it - they just don't all realise it. <g>

Certainly there are differences of this kind.  I would say, though,
that when looking for particular themes this isn't going to worry the
reader --- even the careful reader --- too much of the time (which
really amounts to your last remark).  In Yeats the oppositions tend
mostly to be night/day, male/female, living/dead and so on.  In Wolfe
there are also such complexities: dying sun and white fountain, cold
and warm futures, death and resurrection; I would tentatively say,
perhaps even a stronger sense of good and evil.  You don't often find
the directness of Severian vs. Typhon or Agia in Yeats, as regards
ordinary humans at any rate --- but I suppose that's in the nature of
lyric poetry.


*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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