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From: Jim Jordan <jbjordan@gnt.net>
Subject: Re: (urth) Free Live Free
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 10:54:57 

At 10:57 PM 1/25/00 -0500, you wrote:
>I just read this book again, and once again enjoyed it.  I think it's one
>of Wolfe's most fun books.
>I was wondering if the Quadrumvirate's temptations can be mapped to the
>seven deadly sins.  Candy's is obviously Gluttony and Barnes's is Lust,
>but what about the other two?  Stubb and Serpentina might both be
>Pride.  Or maybe Stubb is Pride and Serpentina is Covetousness, if you
>think of her coveting power.  Interesting, for a group that is
>down-on-their-luck, none of them seems particularly slothful.  Stubb is so
>diligent and competent, I had a hard time believing he couldn't find a
>good job, his height notwithstanding.
>I counted four mentions of The Wizard of Oz - Two by Candy, and two that
>actually mention the musical The Wiz.

	The four  main characters are from the Wizard. Ben Free is the Wizard.
Glinda (note spelling) is also the name of one of the good witches. It's
been years since I read it, but I do recall that the father and son (Barnes
and Kip?) are Dorothy and Toto. The others can be seen as needing courage,
brains, and heart. Of course, it's all transposed, as in Niven's Ringworld,
but it's definitely there. Also, I suspect that the narrative follows
Wizard of Oz to a degree, with the madhouse scene equivalent to the visit
to the Wizard, the journey to High Frontier as the visit to the west (?),
	Since I've not read this in years, someone else will have to correct the
errors in the above paragraph; but I've given enough to go on.
	As for the Deadly Sins: this looks very much right-on to me, even though
putting seven together with four will complicate matters a bit. It's very
Wolfean in concept, and prima facie looks right.
	Of course, this is one of Wolfe's "American" stories, with Been Free as
the old America before socialism (like it or not, Wolfe is pretty
libertarian). Thus, to use the Wizard of Oz as a scaffold is entirely
appropriate. The characters are living in "fallen America" and search for
"true America," and the story goes from there. I need to re-read this, of
course, because since they only find an empty airplane (old America), the
question is: What is the REAL thing they are looking for? Well, we know
Wolfe will answer: Christianity. But how is that presented? I don't recall.
	Oh, the original English publication does not have the timeline, but the
American edition(s) do. I don't have every single printing, so I cannot be
more specific. As I dimly recall, Wolfe was persuaded to include the
timeline by the publishers, who thought it was needed. I'd say: Take it cum
grano salis (with a grain of salt). Since Wolfe originally intended the
timeline as a puzzle for the reader, I doubt if he completely solved it in
his appendix -- that would be very UN-Wolfean!!


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

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