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From: "Andy Robertson" 
Subject: Re: (urth) The Best Introduction to the Mountains
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 13:27:31 -0000

----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Straight" 

> How does Wolfe "denounce" rebellion against the Autarch in BOTNS?  He
> shows that the Ascian rulers are bad, probably worse than the government
> of the Commonwealth, and he shows that Vodalus is no real revolutionary
> (he just wants to seize power for himself and his friends) and a dupe
> besides.
> As it turns out, the aliens are supporting and using the Autarchy for ends
> that Wolfe seems to think are ultimately good, but I can't see how you
> read that as saying Wolfe would condemn a true revolutionary movement that
> was trying to overthrow the Autarch not because they oppose the New Sun or
> want to seize power for themselves but to free themselves from tyranny.

Politically,  no-one seems to have mentioned Wolfe's only direct statement
on the subject:

Severian:  "Unite?  Shout? I know that you have isolated yourself, Master,
to fix your mind on higher things, but I would not have thought any man
could know so little of the land in which he lives.   Carreerists,
mercenaries, and young would-be adventurers fight the war.  A hundred
leagues south it is less than a rumour, outside the House Absolute".

Master Ash:  "Your Commonwealth is stronger than I would have believed,
then.   No wonder your foes are in despair".

All of this signals that the goverment of the Commonwealth is a mystery, its
weaknesses strengths, its disunity hiding a flexible union-in-diversity that
is highly evolved and exquisitely tuned to survival.   Attempts to
understand the politics of Severian's nation are doomed unless this is

It is a nation that exists by divine right, and speaks for the whole of

In LITTLE,BIG, John Crowley hypothesised that the Holy Roman Empire had,
through a process of amalgamation, extension, and withdrawal, moved to beome
the contemporarty USA.

I wonder if Wolfe sees his Commonwealth as the Holy Roman Empire, extended
yet furthur into the future?


Questions or problems: write ranjit@urth.net

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