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 scary > 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. Joe. PS: is the Neighbour whorl one of the sephiroth? --