FIND in
<--prev V30 next-->

From: Michael Andre-Driussi <mantis@sirius.com>
Subject: (urth) twins and phantom-twins
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000 17:59:15 

Today I've been thinking of a pattern in Wolfe's fiction, that of twins,
and most specifically a thing I am calling "phantom-twins."  This is the
category of twin-ness that is not biological, nor clonal/oedipal, nor even
perceived by the two people so linked.

In 5HC, Number Five is to Maitre as VRT is to Dr. Marsch; both cases are
quite similar, along the clonal/oedipal lines, an awareness shared by three
out of the four subjects.  But when we compare Number Five directly to VRT,
that is, not twins by category but twins by some sort of psychic link
(established in the test, mind you), then we have a case of
"phantom-twins."  They aren't aware of it, but the reader is.

Branching out from this, we have the case of A.D. Weer and Crazy Pete: they
might be phantom twins.  (In some interview somewhere, Damon Knight said of
"The Changeling" that "the guy is dead but he doesn't even know it," which
at first blush made me think he was confusing the short story with PEACE,
but then again, maybe not--certainly Crazy Pete is an "unperson," and if we
read that as a deadman/ghost, as Wolfe often likes to play, it has an
interesting effect on the story).

In PEACE there is a clear twin-ness in Den and Bobby Black; an almost
clonal twinning between Olivia and Lois; a spooky sort of twinning between
Lois (Arbuthnot) and Louis (Gold), with their names like Agia/Agilus, and
their hearts bent on similar mischief (involving disguise).

Another sort of twin is a theme-twin, like the two musicians in "Bluesberry
Jam" and its twin story, "Ain't You 'Most Done?"  Here the two meet and
interact and they can see their similarities and their differences.


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

<--prev V30 next-->