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From: "Alex David Groce" <adgroce@eos.ncsu.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) The Wolfe Library
Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999 11:09:48 

On Jan 26,  5:49am, m.driussi@genie.com wrote:
> Subject: (urth) The Wolfe Library
> Lest we forget, PALE FIRE contains a haunting (near-death?) vision of
> a white fountain . . . and when the artist at last meets another
> person who has had this vision, he warms up with wonder that another
> human being has seen it, the fountain is somehow a real thing, and
> then she murmers that it is like Mont Blanc, which seems like a
> non sequitur, until she says ah, the white mountain!  And within him
> the ediface of a shared mystical experience comes crashing down.
> If I'd read PALE FIRE before I'd written the Lexicon, I probably
> wouldn't have written the Lexicon at all--the horrible humor of
> seeing something beautiful (in that case it was poetry) butchered by
> a highly-inventive-yet-obviously-wrong reading.  Well!  Ignorance is
> Strength.

	Also, although I doubt it influenced PEACE (since Wolfe has said he
came to read Nabokov only later), I think of PEACE and PALE FIRE as two sides
of one coin--Weer turns his story into a story that is about everyone else,
while Kinbote turns another man's story into his own.

> Re: the Essential Wolfe Library.  Hard to say--boiled down to five or
> six titles sounds more like the "quintessential" Wolfe Library!  Have
> to include the Bible, clearly.  Here's another application where what
> would come in handy would be a list of every book he has ever
> mentioned in interviews (so often they ask him about influencial
> authors and books!) and in articles.  (I've got the start of such a
> list somewhere around, which is why I keep bringing it up, I
> suppose.  Half-started lists, like a splinter in a hand.)

Other titles for the library:

Crowley's LITTLE, BIG (I've never seen Wolfe mention the AEGYPT or LOVE &
SLEEP, but he called LITTLE, BIG "an education in modern fantasy")
Le Guin's THE BEGINNING PLACE (and definitely not THE DISPOSSESED, which Wolfe
disliked--especially as I share his opinion...)
Poe's short stories
Robert Grave's I, CLAUDIUS and CLAUDIUS THE GOD (highly important, given all
the obvious influences on BOTNS)

Perhaps also some representative Nero Wolfe mystery, as Wolfe has said those
are his favorite detective stories.

> That Vance entry looks to be dead-on: in talking to him and
> corresponding with him I get the impression that Gene Wolfe has read a
> lot of Vance, and what we know of his reading habits (re: Chesterton,
> for example) we can assume he read everything at one point, but the
> only title he has ever mentioned in public is that one: THE DYING

"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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