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From: "Alice Turner" <akt@attglobal.net>
Subject: (urth) Re: Digest urth.v028.n198
Date: Wed, 3 May 2000 23:07:37 

From the Kind and Helpful Ratso (what a paradox!)!

> "I came upon a Persian parable called _The Parliament of the Birds_,
> supplied me with a plot remarkably -- uncannily -- suited to what I
> altready thought up.

For heavens's sake! Chaucer wrote "The Parliament of Foules" (Fowls)
which I read in somewhat cribbed Middle English back when I was an
English major in college, but I don't remember (a) it (though if I had
the energy I could leap from my seat and consult my old textbook); or
(b) that there was a Persian original. Where would Chaucer have got it
from? But I'm sure he did. Crowley is quite scrupulous with period
details in -The Deep- (as I prove in my esssay on the same that so few
of you [humiliatingly for me] wish to read).

> "Lastly, I had toyed for some time with the idea of writing a story,
or a
> series of stories, about a powerful mage who solves crimes or puzzles
> a detective, puzzles that turn out to be cosmogonic or otherwise
> earthshaking: the reawakening of a sleeping emperor, for instance --
> something like that.

That's Hawksquill, sort of. He didn't pull that part off, I feel.

> So, this all came together. A last quotation: "... Among the very
> images I had had of my family was of a man packing his married life in
> bag and setting off on a final journey: and some eight years later I
> down that scene, close (at last!) to the end of the book, the book you
> So, there it is for those who don't have it.

Yes, the Gladstone bag, which I (erroneously, but not, I feel,
altogether erroneously) attributed to Mary Poppins in yet another of my
underappreciated essays. It's a marvelous image.

Rat rants on re Hawksquill (and given the Alice factor here, perhaps you
ought to stick to my Vironese name):

> Unpersuaded am I, Alice. It does not seem so simple, and Ariel
> is the problem. Where does she get fairy blood? But then again
> me), she's not conceived in the pentacle either. I guess you could say
> Oliver H. gets "infected" by Violet -- a kind of Fairy VD -- and then
> is passed to his daughter Ariel.

Hawksquill is a cousin, but not on the Violet side. Ayee. No rejoinder.

> The chart does not strike me as "evidence" either way. The backstory,
> seems to me, is to establish that the Rev. Bramble was an apostate
> Anglican, turning away from Christianity and possibly scientific
> toward fairy magic, and this is the point of initiation of the "tale."

That sounds somewhat accusatory. Lots of Victorians were experimenting
with "spiritism" and that's what JC was playing with, granted.

From mantis, alluding to yet another of my undervalued essays:

> Which is why I brought up Tarot before.  As alga mentioned long time
> the tarot deck varies in number of cards (there isn't really a
> except by more or less arbitrary), but it is alway much more than 52.
> 52 deck, aka the deck of standard playing cards, forms the basis for
> JCdeck (not to be confused with "the Crowley Tarot"!!) as it appears
in THE
> So you see where I'm heading with this: the old "real" Tarot reflects
> old order of fairies.  The shifting of numbers, arranged from high to
> as if a sequence across time, reflects their real dying off.  Through
> history of the real Tarot deck, from many cards to fewer, we see
> the hidden history of the fairies.
> (Over-reading?  Who, me?)

Well, you do overread. But JC plays fast and loose with the Tarot,
adapting it to suit his needs, and I think this is entirely legitimate
in his contexts.
> Questions of heaven and hell.  Granted, there is ambiguity as to
> the formerly human are evolving upward toward angel status or
> downward into nature idols.  This is a point you've made and I agree
> it.
> That whatever-it-is that happens to Alice & Co. isn't simply death
seems to
> be the case, because if so, then Smoky would show up at the party,
since we
> know he just died.  Maybe.  That is, there is some sort of division
> Smoky and the group.  So you (Nutria) suppose that he has gone to
> while the group (Alice & Co., not alga & friends) takes a detour
> hell.

No I don't! I don't accept this at all. I don't (a) think there's any
objective (literary) evidence that Smoky has gone to heaven. (Adam,
prove me wrong.) As I've said, I have doubts that JC remains a
Christian, and though I also said that Smoky is a kind of saint, I am
not sure that the reward for this kind of sainthood is "heaven." As
opposed to (b) hell---I absolutely reject that, in this novel,
fairyland, or wherever it is that our friends end up in, is equated with
hell. I know that other writers have experimented with that, but no, no,
no, not here.

> Possible.  But you know how JC keeps turning things over, examining
> in other works: don't forget "Her Bounty to the Dead" (in
> Here the afterlife situation is basically this (iirc): there is only
> much room in heaven, so if you'd rather go into non-being, that's
fine.  Or
> "everybody gets the afterlife they want and feel they deserve" kind of
> thing.
> So, in the JC universe, there are many options as to "where Smoky goes
> he dies."

Okay, you tempered it. But you're still being kind of sneaky.

To which the Rightious Rat added:

> Sorry I was not more clear. I don't think Alice etal. really died, but
> that their transition is parallel to Smoky's death. "heaven and hell"
> probably too loaded as terms to describe the two avenues.



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