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From: "Joe Eull" 
Subject: (urth) lost in the big woods
Date: Mon, 4 Feb 2002 18:29:06 -0500

Regarding sex in the sun books:

I think that Severian's description of his relationships with women has done
a lot to cement Wolfe's reputation as sexist. The scene you're talking about
is a particularly affecting one. Without re-reading, Severian seems to hate
Jolenta for her relationship with Dorcas, and more importantly for the lust
she engenders in him is a reflection of her desire to be desired. He says
she made a tribadist of Dorcas, and nearly an algophilist of himself.
(lesbian, ghoul-lover respectively). My girlfriend at the time stopped
reading the book at this point and handed it back to me saying it was
disgusting. I don't blame her, Severian is talking about killing her and
raping her dead body for spite.
The subject of sex in Wolfe deserves extended treatment. Although I don't
consider his writings sexist, I've had some uncomfortable thoughts about his
work. Still, this scene is important. Urth, at the time of the red sun, is a
barbaric place and Severian is a product of the society. I think if the
writer had held back on his depictions it would have been dishonest.

Marc mentioned reading
> The Claw of the Conciliator in the fifth grade or so.  That's a pretty
> description to a young boy.
I wouldn't have been able to follow the book in grade five. I think we were
probably reading it about the same time, though. I'm 34 and read it at
twenty, in 1988. How did you hear about it?

>Here is one more that might be just coincidental: Horn falls in that big
pit >on the island.  If you buy my theory that this recreates the vanished
>people by hybridizing man and tree, then Horn acts as an impregnating
>phallus "lost in the big woods".

As for buying the theory: I'm agnostic about it. For my money, there's a
strong possibility that Blue is Ushas, and I think you've done some
interesting work justifying the premise. I think only additional reading and
discussion will work out the details. As I've written here before I've been
gestating on tree symbolism in Urth otNS for too long. One thing I came
across was this concept from the Kabbalah about  Zaddiks. A zaddik is a
righteous man. Zaddik is the ninth letter, just as Yesod is the ninth
sephiroth. Although I can't find my notes on this right now, I recall that
there has to be a pillar from our world to Yesod, which is created by these
righteous men. Severian's quest it would seem is about recreating this
pillar. Note the similarity of Tzadkiel and Zaddik. The ship Severian
travels on looks like a tree, which stretches from Urth to Yesod (note a
similarity also between the ship which stretches from the old world to the
new in Peace's St. Brendan's Land). Severian becomes a Father here
(phallus/pillar) and engenders a new sun.
 How does this connect to Horn in his pit? Horn is a "fallen" man. In his
pit he is helped by a neighbour (only time we see ones face) and an inhumi.
According to your theory a  neighbour is created from Horn, and his name is
Horn also. This involves a genetic crossing with trees (hope I'm correct
here). Could there be another engendering happening here? The one in UNS is
one which connects an ending to a beginning. You might say that's tue here
as it connects the conclusion of the work to it's beginning. I think some
questions have to be answered first.

How has Horn been "every being of his kind"? (pg 272 pb OBW).  This is said
by the neighbour Horn to Horn before he is resurrected in Silk. Horn has
been (so far) a son, student, lover, fighter, colonist, husband, father,
mill builder, adulterer, sailor, quest taker....and more. Except for the
last, many New Vironese men could probably claim to be all these things
(replace miller with smith or cooper if you like).
What do the writers mean by "his (?) search for the fabled town of Pajarocu"
in the Afterword to RTTW (pg 409 tor hc).
Typically, my analysis just brings up questions I can't answer but I have to
say I like your theory more and more.


PS: is the Neighbour whorl one of the sephiroth?


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