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From: Michael Straight <straight@email.unc.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) tolkien, platonism, mythology
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2001 10:42:26 

On Tue, 21 Aug 2001, Dan wrote:

> And too it seems to have special bearing on Wolfe's detective fiction.
> I too think the detective story is a modern mythology--though I would
> argue, Nutria, that it's a Modern mythology that only realized an
> explicit Christian element under Chesterton's tutelage.  It's a
> mythology unique to modernity in particular, I think, because the most
> important element is the "decypherability" of the crime.  Usually by
> the tools of Reason, and Reason, personally exercised reason--whether
> you are a layman with your own Bible, a (Baconian) scientist, a voter,
> a consumer--is the raison d'etre of modernity.  And of course as we
> got increasingly gloomy about Reason the myth took new forms: Kafka,
> for instance, turned the tale on its head with _The Trial_, gave us
> guilt with no crime and thus no solution.

Further support for your thesis: comparing traditional modernist detective
stories with Umberto Eco's postmodern detective story, _The Name of the
Rose_.  In which there is no pattern, no answer to the mystery, except
what the detective creates.  In which, by looking for a "solution," to the
mystery behind the deaths, the detective creates one that wasn't there.


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

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