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Date: Tue, 5 Feb 2002 10:53:45 -0500 (EST)
From: Michael Straight 
Subject: Re: (urth) lost in the big woods

On Mon, 4 Feb 2002, Joe Eull wrote:

> 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.

It seems possible to me that Wolfe's treatment of sex may be related to
Christian doctines about sexuality.  The main orthodox understanding of
sex seems to be that though sex is a good thing, in fallen human beings,
sexuality gets warped in all kinds of bad ways.  A lot of SF writing (e.g.
Heinlein) seems to think almost any kind of sexual desire or activity is
healthy and good.  Or at least that many kinds of sex that are well
outside the mainstream for our society is (would be) healthy and good.

So it may be that Wolfe continually probes at the ickiest kinds of
sexuality in reaction to that, to get readers to realize that they don't
really think that any sort of sexual desire is good and healthy (which is
obvious once you state it that baldly, but you do still run into people
who seem to think the only thing wrong with sexuality is repressing or
denying ones desires).



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