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From: "Robert Borski" <rborski@coredcs.com>
Subject: (urth) Castleview
Date: Sat, 8 Aug 1998 00:07:13 

Just finished CASTLEVIEW for the first time and thought I would offer my
preliminary observations. After I do a second read, I'll probably post some
longer, more explicatory stuff--though by then I may have changed my mind
about some of what follows.

Doc Dunstan's diary is stolen from the county museum by the six "people" in
the van from Minnesota. The diary contains coded information about the
location of Excalibur (or possibly the Holy Grail). Jim Long deliberately
crashes his sedan into the van so he can appropriate the diary for Morgan

Morgan Viviane and Liam Fee are one and the same.

Ditto for Lucie and G. Gordon Kitty.

Ann Schindler and her daughter Mercedes may represent Merlin (they may also
live life backwards a la Merlin and thus remember the future).

The Giant Horseman/Greenman/Master of the Hunt
represents--minimalistically--a combination of Odin/Christ/Cernunnos. 

King Geimhreadh probably represents a combination of Joseph of
Arimathea/the Fisher King/a Frost Giant. He may also be Malory's King
Evelake (who in some accounts is father to Morgan Le Fay). 

Von Madadh is both Mordred and Fenris (madadh = large dog [Celtic]; wolf
[Gaelic]). He's also the half Celtic, half German Gene Wolfe.

Morgan Viviane conflates a whole mess of figures from both Arthurian legend
and various other mythologies. She's Morgan Le Fay and Viviane and the Lady
of the Lake and Guinivere. She's also an oceanid and a merrow (an Irish
mermaid). 'Mor' means sea in several Celtic languages.

Valse Triste is from Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt? Not hardly. (Though it does
provide a clue as to who's stealing the Dunstan diary, while the true
provenance of the piece provides us with an early clue about the fate of
Will Shields.) 

[Always nice to see Gene use classical music in his works. He does so in
"The Friendship Light" and Alban Berg's Wozzeck is crucial to an
understanding of "In Looking Glass Castle." Anybody know of any more?]

The Isle of Glass = Glastonbury (the Saxon translation of Ynis Witrin,
'Island of Glass'). Chapter 36's title, "The Land of Apples," combines
Edenic imagery with Arthurian--Avalon means "Isle of Apples." Glastonbury,
founded by grail-bearer Joseph of Arimathea, is traditionally held to be
the site of Avalon.

The book as a whole seems based on the novels of Charles Williams--like
C.S. Lewis, another Oxford don heavily into religious fiction. Anybody read
William's WAR IN HEAVEN? 

All in all, I rather enjoyed CASTLEVIEW--though it is a bit confusing at
times and I still have lots of questions. I'm hoping maybe some of you may
have the answers I seek and will join me later when I begin to post the
longer pieces. 

Robert Borski

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

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