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Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 10:58:17 -0500 (EST)
From: Michael Straight 
Subject: Re: (urth) The Best Introduction to the Mountains

On Wed, 30 Jan 2002, Andy Robertson wrote:

> 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
> understood.

To me, all that quote says is that the war is so far away, and the enemy
so comparatively weak, that the Commonwealth can fight with an army of
volunteers.  If the enemy were stronger, the war would press closer to the
Commonwealth and there would be a need to conscript soldiers from among
the populace.  

That other stuff about unity-in-disunity you must be getting from
somewhere else in the book.

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

Do the Hierodules have a particular love for the Commonwealth, or is the
institution of the Autarchy merely a means of raising up someone who could
speak for the whole Urth?  Severian doesn't automatically get to speak for
Urth just because he's Autarch of the Holy Roman Commonwealth.  If that
were true, Ymar could have brought the New Sun.

Does Erebus support the Ascians against the Commonwealth because the
Commonwealth is some kind of Holy Empire that he opposes, or do the
Hierodules support the Commonwealth merely as a means of keeping the evil
of Erebus in check?

And, to return to the original point, how on Urth does any of this
constitute Gene Wolfe expressing the opinion that rebelling against
tyranny is wrong?!?


Questions or problems: write ranjit@urth.net

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