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From: Christy <cglst7+@pitt.edu>
Subject: (urth) Re: TBOTNS FAQ
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1999 17:48:50 

Thanks to Will Ansley for the FAQ definition. There is the certain amount
of questions that we all could plausibly furnish answers to. "Who is Gene
Wolfe? Did he invent Pringles? Are there any Gene Wolfe Reading Aids?
Where do I get his rare books? Bibliography?" etc. I don't think that any
of us are much worried about the answers to these, as they are readily
and happily corrected, and should not involve a lot of ego.

Ah, it is the rest! And here is the heart of the matter: how can we agree
on a body of questions that are indeed pressing, but that can also be
elucidated by the present body, unified? I daresay I think I know the

There is a point of diminishing returns in this area, and it is most often
where we are not as learned as Wolfe. We of the list have shown that
breaking point, time and time again, sometimes almost comically. Sometimes
where an obscure literary reference or theological wisdom would do, the
OED or a Greek or Latin dictionary will not suffice. This much is clear.
Will we ever know how deep the name of Terminus Est truly goes? Probably
not. With this, as with most topoi Wolfe delights in, we will never know
the whole story, and that's why we love it like children do. And perhaps
we can speculate when we look up the sword in a Latin dictionary. But it
also helps to know that Terminus was the Roman god of landmarks,

Likewise, in the Lexicon Urthus, Mantis speculates as to what Universal
Death is: common sense generates a few possibilities. But if you read
"Universal History" in Borges' Book of Fantasy, as Wolfe no doubt did, you
could eliminate all but one. This is where I feel we have synergy, and
where we can do some real good in interpreting Wolfe: providing a solid
base of information (and not as much speculation) from our varied
backgrounds and erudition.

What I've learned from reading Wolfe is: almost everything, every word,
has its place. Wolfe sometimes assumes we have read everything that he
has, and as such are equipped to unravel his work with a careful reading,
but, more often than not, such is not the case. We do not live in a
perfect world.

Now I've gotten off the beaten path. The FAQ is a good, great idea, it
demands to be done. We already have the Lexicon Urthus and this list.
Perhaps the best first step is to propose a set of questions. Since Will
Ansley knows about such things, I nominate him.


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

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