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From: Michael Straight <straight@email.unc.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) Jaynes and Wolfe
Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 09:14:01 

On Thu, 29 Oct 1998, Alice Turner wrote:

> "The characters of the Iliad do not sit down and think out what to do. they
> have no conscious minds such as we say we have, and certainly no
> introspections.... 
> ...The gods are what we now call
> hallucinations. Usually they are only seen and heard by the particular
> heroes they are speaking to...."
> Etc. There's much more to it, on how crowds behave, for instance. Hey, kidz,
> there's an academic thesis for one of you in this! Note that Jaynsean
> material is entirely absent in everything Wolfe wrote prior to the Soldier
> books, and informs everything he has written since.
> Interesting, for instance, Silk's blind faith in his Outsider, Mint's bowing
> to the will of the god. Contrast with Hamlet's caution re the authenticity
> of the Ghost--which he actually saw. Hamlet is a modern man, Silk and Mint
> and Latro are archaic. (In my opinion, Wolfe is much, much better with the
> archaic than when he attempts to be modern, but that, O Best Beloved, is
> another story.) And Latro's and Auk's head wounds.

I'm missing something here.  How exactly do you see Wolfe being influenced
by Jaynes as opposed to the Iliad itself?  Are you saying he gets the
idea that theophonies might be hallucinations from Jaynes?  Surely Jaynes
wasn't the first to suggest that.  Are you disagreeing with the earlier
posts noting that the gods do not act for Latro or Silk as the kind of
proto-consciousness Jaynes describes? 

Are you just saying that archaic people believed in gods but modern people
are more skeptical?  (I'm not sure even that much is true.)


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

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