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From: "Alex David Groce" <adgroce@eos.ncsu.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) Chesterton
Date: Wed, 5 Aug 1998 10:40:09 

On Aug 5,  8:16am, Michael Straight wrote:
> Subject: Re: (urth) Chesterton
> On Tue, 4 Aug 1998, adam louis stephanides wrote:
> > On a completely different topic, I know that Wolfe admires Chesterton, but
> > Chesterton has never seemed "Wolfeian" to me, to employ a Borgesian
> > temporal inversion.  But in THE COLLECTED WORKS OF G. K. CHESTERTON vol.
> > 14, which contains hundreds of pages of unpublished short stories,
> > novelettes, and fragments, there is a short story, "Child Street," which
> > did strike me as very Wolfeian. It's an excellent story, and worth seeking
> > out in a library or through interlibrary loan.  (The samw volume contains
> > another excellent unpublished short story, "Le Jongleur de Dieu," which is
> > not particularly Wolfeian, but is strikingly un-Chestertonian.)
> I've always thought "The Man Who Was Thursday" was a bit Wolfean (albeit
> less subtle than Wolfe) in it's attempts at deliberately misdirecting the
> reader, and perhaps also in the really weird twist everything takes at the
> end.
> -Rostrum
	I think Chesterton's influence is more philosophical than literary.
 Wolfe has stated many times his vast admiration for Chesterton and Kipling (as
well as Mark's Engineering Handbook), and I think that a lot of what he does at
shorter lengths could be described as writing Kipling stories with a
Chestertonian worldview.  Wolfe's portrayed universe is admittedly far darker
in tone than Chesterton's.  But then, I think Borges once said that Chesterton
is really closer to Kafka than anyone thinks, he just hides it well.
	As to obvious influences, I think Wolfe's essays and interviews have a
very Chestertonian feel--Wolfe's always saying G. K.-ish things that at first
seem silly, then on reflection appear to possibly be profound truths.  And his
fondness for ideas like the return of cavalry or MX missles on wooden boats is
very Chestertonian in the "cheat-the-prophet" sense.  In fact, such ideas seem
to me a combination of Kipling's fondness for railroads & other engineering
feats and Chesterton's love of the wildly implausible...
	And if Silk in NIGHTSIDE isn't Father Brown redux, I'll eat my hat.

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." - John 8:32
Alex David Groce (adgroce@eos.ncsu.edu)
Senior (Computer Science/Multidisciplinary Studies in Technology & Fiction)
'98-99 NCSU AITP Student Chapter President
608 Charleston Road, Apt. 1E (919)-233-7366

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

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