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From: "Greene, Carlton" <CGreene2@hunton.com>
Subject: (urth) 
Date: Tue, 2 Nov 1999 15:08:16 

Daniel Fusch wrote:

There is a technological level, a metaphorical level, a 
mythological level, and a spiritual level to all these things. I think what 
whoever-started-this was trying to point out was that the symbolic level of 
analysis is more important (or higher, to use a Miltonic concept) than the 
scientific level or analysis. In other words, it is more important that the 
reader understand what Typhon is doing on a symbolic level than it is for 
the reader to understand the anatomical knowledge that went into putting 
Typhon together.

I agree with you.  My point is simply that we should not cease seeking
technological explanations for the wonders in TBOTNS simply because the
metaphorical associations they create are more important than the physical
wonders themselves.  This is because the consideration of possible
technological explanations for these events enhances the power of their
corresponding metaphorical associations.

Following your Typhon's head example -- if there was no convincing
scientific explanation for Typhon's surgery ("and the magic man decided he
needed a second head, and poof!  He had one!"), then Typhon's story becomes
a arbitrary, transparent fairy tale vehicle designed simply to get across
the *moral of the story*.  In contrast, by suggesting that Typhon's
aquisition of a second head is an explainable scientific event bounded by
physical laws, Wolfe creates a very powerful association between the
explainable physical world and the divine not present in fairy tales (or
science fiction of the Arthur C. Clarke variety, for that matter).


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

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