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From: Michael Andre-Driussi <mantis@sirius.com>
Subject: (urth) PEACE: geography and interviews
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 2000 09:32:21 

Re: the PEACE bit from "Thrust" interview.  I have this item (bought it
when it was new), and I had recently reviewed it myself, but I couldn't
bring myself to post it--so thank you, Robert!  Now others have access to
it, for further clarity and confusion. <g>

I especially wanted to mention that Logan bit.  Based on a town in Ohio (go
look at an online street map right now); but is the fictional town actually
supposed to be there?  Joan Gordon says it is in Ohio (based upon her own
reading, based upon her interview with Wolfe which I haven't read; I don't
know exactly what it is based upon).  The text seems to resist such
certainty: the nearest the text comes to saying Cassionsville is in Ohio is
regarding Quantrill, who was born "near here"; but then the text seems to
retreat from such a tight focus of "here" to being more regional, i.e.,
"the Midwest."  So on the one hand I think of Cassionsville as being in
Ohio (despite the text evidence that suggests Ohio is out of state--I'm not
giving it here, but I seem to remember Ohio being mentioned in a few
contexts where it wouldn't be mentioned if the speakers were located in
Ohio), but on the other hand I think of a fuzzy line between Lawrence,
Kansas and Dover, East Ohio (birthplace of Quantrill).

That _sidhe_ reading mentioned by the interviewer provoked a mini-debate
between Dan'l and myself: he thought it was wild, off the chart, something
we never talk about (thus far removed from the current local consensus); I
thought I could understand it but admitted that I'd been living with the
notion for so long that I may have been contaminated (familiarity breeds

Adam wrote:
>It's a bit difficult to reconcile what Wolfe says here with his
>statements re the house in the Jordan interview that I cited earlier.

Oh good: now we can see that interviews, while providing some data points,
are not necessarily the be-all and end-all.  I mean, not to complain or
anything, but I was starting to feel that people around here were beginning
to give great weight (perhaps even supreme weight) to data points from one
interview or another.  Which is fine, I mean, whatever: the answer that
fits a given reader is where ever he/she finds it (I really don't mean to
knock that); toss out all the lit crit and find all answers in interviews;
but the impish side of me always wants to point out, "Just read _another_

Because it seems to me that the text of all Gene Wolfe interviews will form
another complex plate of spaghetti to be interpreted: the drawback is that
it is a step removed from the primary text (not to mention the larger
margin for editorial error, mistakes in transcribing, and all the other
details that make a product of journalism different from a product of
fiction writing).  And thus a step removed from "your" reading of the
primary text, whether this reading is wildly idiosyncratic (like the sidhe
reading?) or tightly consensual (the "dead Weer" camp).

I don't want to discard all interview datapoints (I'm happy to use them
when they serve my purpose--when they buttress a point that is also in the
text): I just want to remind us all that the interviews are not entirely
reliable; that conflict and paradox arise when we compare two or more
interviews; and obviously they are not under the same authorial control
that a novel is.

I couldn't find the energy to mention all of this before because, as I
outline above, the whole thing is tangential to my interests, and I don't
want to be seen as raining on anybody's parade. But now that someone else
has introduced the problem, I find myself spending all this time to
agree--go figure!


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

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