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From: Alex David Groce <Alex_Groce@gs246.sp.cs.cmu.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) preliminary notes for PEACE
Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 17:03:45 

<vast snippage>

Very nice, mantis.

On the "dead Den" thesis, I think it is proper to see this as a
purgatorial fantasy.  In my opinion, the final moments of the book do
indicate that Weer has finished his business with all of the stories
(tacking them down on the desk) and is heading to join his Aunt in

***SPOILERS*** for Robert Irwin's THE ARABIAN NIGHTMARE follow.

I became more convinced of this after reading Robert Irwin's THE
ARABIAN NIGHTMARE.  I have no idea of Irwin has read any Wolfe (they
have some curiously similar choices of vocabulary, at any rate), but
THE ARABIAN NIGHTMARE seems to be the opposite situation.  In PEACE
the recursive nesting of stories is finally broken--Weer, I think,
hasn't finished telling any of the stories, but he's come to terms
with his place in them.  The stories aren't finished because they
aren't _his_ stories, alone, but shared with others (hence Smart as
the real protagonist).  The escape is one of breaking out of the
nested levels of storytelling (as with the headrest, "popping the
stack").  In Irwin's work (which I strongly recommend to all Lupines)
the opposite, I think, occurs.  The nesting continues infinitely,
spiralling downwards into inconclusion, confusion, and madness.  The
"Ape of God," Satan is the opposite of God, the true author.  Satan
cannot finish a story, only avoid properly ending one.  The main
character of TAN is trapped in an endless, exhausting "untelling"
while Weer is freed by breaking out of all the stories once he has
come to terms with his role in them.  Although it is difficult to
"prove" this from the texts, Wolfe's story has a strong implication of
eventual release into another state (especially with the placing of
the sidhe story) and is thus a Purgatorial fantasy, while Irwin
provides one of the most chilling and disturbing visions of Hell in
all of fantasy: endless suffering without redemption or even _memory_,
"beginnings" without their necessary endings, and a vast and evil

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32
Alex David Groce (agroce+@cs.cmu.edu)
Ph.D. Student, Carnegie Mellon University - Computer Science Department
8112 Wean Hall (412)-268-3066

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

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