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From: Adam Stephanides <adamsteph@earthlink.net>
Subject: (urth) Wolfe and Crowley, ancient and Renaissance
Date: Tue, 09 May 2000 08:54:39 

The Tarot discussion got me wondering whether Wolfe ever alludes to the
Tarot.  I couldn't recall his doing so at all.  Then it occurred to me
that not only does Wolfe ignore completely, iirc, the whole field of
Renaissance magic which so fascinates Crowley; aside from the anomaly of
THE DEVIL IN A FOREST, he pretty much ignores the whole of medieval and
Renaissance Europe as a source of allusion or intellectual background (I
would tend to see the Arthurian backdrop of CASTLEVIEW as a reference to
myth in general, rather than medieval Europe in particular, and the same
with the Irish legends in PEACE).  This strikes me as being unusual for
a self-confessed Catholic author and admirer of Chesterton.  On the
other hand, the classical Greco-Roman world is all over the place: the
SOLDIER books, obviously, but also the pseudo-classical gods and
goddesses in BOTLS and THERE ARE DOORS; the setting of BOTNS is modeled
after the Byzantine Empire, which was contemporaneous with medieval
Europe, but which had much less of a break with the ancient world; even
the conjurations of the witch in THERE ARE DOORS and in Gold's fake
Necronomicon in PEACE seemed to me closer to ancient Greco-Roman magic
than to medieval or Renaissance magic, iirc.  Of course, it's been a
long time since I read most of these, and I don't have copies close at
hand, so I could be completely wrong.

On the other hand, while Crowley is fascinated by Renaissance magic, he
doesn't ignore the classical world.  In fact, the conflict between the
two is a minor subtheme of LB: both Smoky and (or so it seems to me)
Ariel Hawksquill have minds molded by the classics, though Ariel is of
course aware of the Renaissance tradition; and both are made to
unwillingly recognize the truth of the Renaissance magic worldview.


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

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