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From: Alex Groce <agroce+@cs.cmu.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) de Sade, Plato, and Jack the Ripper.....
Date: Thu, 22 Jul 1999 12:45:57 

On Thu, 22 Jul 1999, Peter Stephenson wrote:
> Yes, it would, although maybe he's just saying Wolfe refers to anything and
> everything and has picked some extreme examples, like Polonius ends his
> list of things the players in Hamlet can perform with `scene individable
> and poem unlimited', whatever that means.  But it's fun to make dodgy
> hypotheses based on tenuous connections.
> Plato, I suppose, means the ideal republic of the Republic, with its
> philosopher ruler, which isn't so far off what the autarch is (in practice,
> I mean, when we actually meet him --- pedants will want to wreck this by
> noting that we don't in Shadow, apart from an appearance in the House Azure
> which isn't explained till later).  You could probably make an argument
> that the New Sun was the Form of the Good, but that would be a bit vague
> even for my taste.  Nor does it seem particularly outr'e to suggest the
> Commonwealth is less than ideal.  Was he thinking of cave dwellers, looking
> at the world in shadow?  Or (I may well be doing Budrys a disservice) does
> Plato mean `some Greek guy with old-fashioned ideas about society'?

        I think Plato is definitely the easy one of these to find.  My
guess would be Severian's "We believe that we invent symbols"
passage--which I showed a friend as an example of Wolfe's writing, and he
said "Nice writing, but it's just Plato's old stuff about Ideals."  Maybe
not exactly, but certainly related.

        Jack the Ripper and de Sade somehow seem more likely to be 5HC
elements than in Shadow. . .  Urth is more Byzantine decadent than
Victorian London/Justine decadent.    

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." John 8:32
Alex David Groce (agroce@cs.cmu.edu)
Ph.D. Student, Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science

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

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