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From: Adam Stephanides <adamsteph@earthlink.net>
Subject: Re: (urth) Mopsa the Fairy
Date: Thu, 07 Sep 2000 13:48:36 

William Ansley wrote:
> >Among the things that Wolfe says about the
> >story in his brief introduction is that "Ingelow dared answer a question
> >that no other such writer has even dared ask: If there really were a
> >fairy princess, what would she be like?"
> >
> >
> >--Adam
> >
> I find this a very odd thing for Gene Wolfe to say, considering it is
> a certainty (based on the evidence of "The Eyeflash Miracles") that
> Wolfe read Baum's Oz books. Ozma is nothing if she is not Baum's idea
> of what a "real" fairy princess would be like. She may not be a
> terribly *inspired* fairy princess, but she is definitely a fairy
> princess.

Wolfe explicitly mentions Baum in his introduction; he says: "You will
find much here that recalls Oz; you will also find the eeriness that L.
Frank Baum set out to banish from his own fairyland.  (He was thirteen
when 'Mopsa' was issued, and it must have frightened him.)"  And:
"Ingelow was writing for boys as single-mindedly as Baum ever wrote for
girls..."  I haven't read enough Baum since childhood to judge the truth
of these statements.

> I suppose it all depends on what Gene Wolfe means by 'really' in "if
> there really were a fairy princess". Based on my (mostly failed)
> attempts to understand his fiction, I must admit I have no idea how I
> would go about trying to understand his reality.

And I must admit that after a single reading of "Mopsa," I don't know
what it is about the fairy princess in this story that makes Wolfe
regard her as realer than any other fairy princess.  Nor do I share
Wolfe's enthusiasm for the story, although that's a common reaction of
mine to the writers Wolfe lauds (with the exception of Lafferty).


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

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