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Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 10:45:00 -0600
From: James Jordan 
Subject: Re: (urth) The Best Introduction to the Mountains

Hartshorn wrote:

>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?

The Commonwealth is Byzantium.

Rostrum wrote:

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

         I do think it is there. I had the impression, which being years 
away from reading the books twice I cannot support directly, that the 
Vodalus part and the Autarch exist in a kind of tension, perhaps both set 
up by Severian the Conciliator. I think (think!) Wolfe is saying (a) every 
society needs diversity of leadership; thus the Autarch and the Aristocrats 
and also the Rebels; a (b) no society before the end of history will be 
perfect, so there will always be underground dissenters.
         Look at it sacramentally. The Autarchy is a kind of Established 
Church, with the Pope eating the memories of his predecessors via the 
alzabo. Vodalus's band is a kind of Sect Church, gathering in little groups 
to partake of the alzabo sacrament. That's not all there is, of course, but 
it seems to be part of it.

Rostrum also wrote:

"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?!?"

         Does he? In "Hour of Trust" (*Island of Dr. Death etc.*) Wolfe 
himself joins a rebellion reciting the Lord's Prayer.


Questions or problems: write ranjit@urth.net

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