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From: Michael Straight <straight@email.unc.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) What is a "satisfactory" narrator?
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 1999 12:56:47 

On Sun, 24 Oct 1999, Daniel Fusch wrote:

> "Whether Severian is a reliable narrator or not, he is certainly an
> unsatisfactory one by any of the usual standards of story telling."
> Here's my point--or rather my question--isn't Gene Wolfe, through
> Severian, asking us to examine the way we perceive storytelling?
> Consider that storytelling is thousands of years old, and has passed
> through many forms--at one time it was an oral form in which the
> audience was invited to participate. 
> Severian's fictional audience may not expect the same manner of
> storytelling that we expect. "The Book of the New Sun" should really be
> treated--for all intents and purposes--as a work translated from another
> culture. That, after all, is the effect that Wolfe is trying to achieve. 

As I first read this, I wondered if you weren't conflating Wolfe and
Severian.  That last paragraph seems like handwaving, unless we have some
evidence that Severian's culture has different narrative standards than
our own. 

We have some data to consider the question.  Severian repeats several
stories not of his own invention.  Do they show any of the same
idiosyncrasies as Severian's narrative?


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

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