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From: "William H. Ansley" <wansley@warwick.net>
Subject: (urth) The Wonderful Eyeflash of Oz, part 1
Date: Fri, 29 Jan 1999 00:00:45 

This posting could be considered to be my way of volunteering to answer the
FAQ: What are the Oz references in "The Eyeflash Miracles"? except that I
doubt it is a question asked very frequently. It is one that interests me,

When I first read "The Eyeflash Miracles" I noticed that it had many
references to Oz in it as well as many other references, including (not at
all surprisingly) a great deal of Christian symbolism. I am not very
qualified to discuss the Christian aspects of the story (especially as
there are so many others on this list who are), but I am fairly well
qualified to discuss the Oz aspects.

As most of you, if not all of you, know _The Wonderful Wizard of Oz_ was
just the first of many Oz books that L. Frank Baum wrote, although, because
it was made into the very well known film[1] of almost the same name (_The
Wizard of Oz_), it is by far the most famous of his books (he also wrote
many non-Oz books, which are even less well known).

The movie version differs from the book in several significant ways. I
mention this because Wolfe refers to details from both the book and movie
versions of _The Wonderful Wizard of Oz_, as well as _The Marvellous Land
of Oz_ (the second Oz book), _Ozma of Oz_ (the third) and _The Road to Oz_
(the fifth). I have recently reread the first six Oz books[2] so I can be
pretty sure about these. There may be references to other, later Oz books
(in fact I think there is at least one) but not many. Since characters,
places and situations recur throughout the Oz series, it certainly would be
possible to include more books, but I am trying to only include the first
occurrence of each reference.

The most interesting thing to me about the Oz references in "The Eyeflash
Miracles" is that even though many of them are so explicit as to be quite
obvious and wholly unambiguous (which is unusual for Wolfe) the boy in the
story, George Tibbs (usually referred to as Little Tib) never recognizes
any of them. Now, I am willing to accept that, because of his unusual
background, Little Tib never saw the _Wizard of Oz_ movie or read any of
the Oz books, but then why does he see characters from the Land of Oz in
his dreams and visions? I don't have any answer to this question beyond "It
is the kind of thing Gene Wolfe likes to do."

I will get to the  actual references in my next installment.

William Ansley

[1] I am, of course, referring to the 1939 movie starring Judy Garland.
There were several other films with the same name more or less based on the
same book.

[2] If you want all the titles, they are:

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
The Marvelous Land of Oz
Ozma of Oz
Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz
The Road to Oz
The Emerald City of Oz

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

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