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From: "Alex David Groce" <adgroce@eos.ncsu.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) Re: Digest urth.v021.n005
Date: Tue, 3 Nov 1998 12:57:26 

Wombat said:
> >I'll say again that I believe that Wolfe is at
> >his best when dealing with rather flat "archaic" figures, that in my own
> >opinion he is less successful at the nuanced 3-dimensional "modern" figure.
> Interesting observation, and one that I simultaneously find quite correct
> and want to argue with. Alden Weir is a brilliant 3-dimensional figure, but
> other than that, the characters in his best stories do tend to be viewed at
> a remove. 

	Perhaps a better way to put it would be that a lot of Wolfe's best
characters have a very different psychology than you generally find in modern
literature--Severian comes to mind, of course, but Latro fits the bill as well.
I don't think Severian is so much "flat" as extended in a different
manner--where a modern character has depth, Severian does indeed seem flat.
	However, Severian's memory and ability to tune in to what I guess I
would call a sacramental view of reality replaces this; he does not agonize
over decisions because he is doing something else.  Latro works the same way
(his lack of memory serving the same kind of function as Sev's abundance
	Weer is, to my mind, the most complex of Wolfe's characters--with both
the psychological depth of a "modern man" and the labyrinthine memory of a
Severian (Weer's being, presumably, less "true" but equally involved.)  I'd say
Weer's closest parallel is the narrator in Remembrance of Things
Past--completely different kinds of books, with very different concerns, but a
similar unique kind of character.
	Of course, I'd say that it's more that Wolfe emphasizes certain kinds
of psychology that aren't prevalent in modern literature (or recognized by us
moderns in general, although still extant) than that he can't handle the kinds
usually seen--I think Weer's proof of that.
	Silk I see as more "modern" than Severian, but also akin to Myshkin or
(what I thought of when I started the book) Aloysha in The Brothers
Karamazov...   An Aloysha, a Father Brown, a "little Christ", and a bit of
Moses (so is Auk Aaron?).  Hey, that's actually a nice point.  Moses never got
to the promised land either!  The book is "Exodus," after all.  Of course, Blue
& Green don't seem to be the land of milk and honey, but then the Israelites
were being given the one nation in the region without oil supplies.  So, if
Silk is Moses-like, what's his disobedience that prevents arrival in the
promised land?  Or is this an intentional contrast, where it's his loyalty (to
Hy) that prevents it, making him both Moses-like and Christic in self-sacrifice
for (a less than Godlike but still touching) love?
"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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