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Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2002 14:30:38 -0500 (EST)
From: Michael Straight 
Subject: Re: (urth) The Best Introduction to the Mountains

On Tue, 5 Feb 2002, Adam Stephanides wrote:

> As the only revolutionary leader in BOTNS, Vodalus represents the idea of
> revolution.  If I read a book in which Lenin played a major role, and turned
> out to be a tool of Satan, I wouldn't think that the author probably
> approved of Communist revolutionaries who weren't tools of Satan.

I think that reading is way too allegorical.  Maybe Vodalus represents
Wolfe's belief that many (most?) revolutionaries fight to seize power for
themselves rather than for any sort of democratic ideals, but I wouldn't
try to argue from there to saying Wolfe revolution is inherently

> And I think we're intended to believe the Autarch when he tells Severian
> that he keeps the society of the Commonwealth frozen in barbarism because
> "all else is worse," including rule by the people. (Sword and Citadel, p.
> 356, pb edition.)

I think we're supposed to believe the Autarch genuinely thinks that.  I'm
not sure we're supposed to assume he's right.

Severian presents an argument that torture is more humane than
incarceration, but I wouldn't try to claim that Wolfe agrees with his
reasoning or expects the reader to.

> I thought I also remembered Severian, or Thecla-in-Severian, admitting that
> the revolutionary had been a fitting punishment for her, but I can't find
> the reference.

Again, Severian might say that because he disapproves of revolution
(or because he disapproves of Thecla's particular revolt), but I think
that's a weak weak argument for saying Wolfe thinks all revolution is

More likely Severian is just finding morbid humor/irony in her punishment
fitting the crime she was charged with, without regard to any political
opinions he might have about the legitimacy of those charges.



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