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From: Dan Rabin <danrabin@a.crl.com>
Subject: (urth) Agonizing over Wolfe's place in literary history
Date: Thu, 28 Oct 1999 22:02:00 

[It's not that I'm not enjoying the modernism thread, but that I can't
contribute much, being the Modernism-101-only-plus-Pynchon sort myself.]

I think we're agonizing a lot over a non-problem.  Several of us have
testified to hooking other people on Wolfe's work.  Some of the hookees
will hook others in turn.  Some of their kids will discover their parents'
copies of the books on some low-lying shelf before they pass the age at
which _The Book of Gold_ may be found.  No one I know who is impressed with
Wolfe feels much restraint against proclaiming their admiration for the
man's work.  These are pretty good conditions for preservation.

A lot of the angst seems to stem from pessimism that Wolfe's work will be
_canonized_, a different matter from whether he will be _read_.  Wolfe will
be read, because he writes treasures.

As for the question of what the critical consensus will be, who cares?
Today's critical consensus (for literature as a whole, not for the genre)
excludes Tolkien and is hence mistaken.  You ignore my _Book of Gold_, I
ignore your criticism.  Seems fair to me.

  -- Dan Rabin

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

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