From: "Don Doggett"
Subject: (urth) King Jesus defense Date: Wed, 13 Nov 2002 00:32:21 -0800 Hello! Thanks to you all for your warm welcome. I can't tell you how great it is to talk about these works with people who are more than superficially acquainted with them. It's occurred to me that I may be operating on too many fronts at once but we'll see. Prudence dictates that I retreat from my Severian/Ymar origin theory for lack of more than superficial evidence (so far). Rest assured it's not a surrender. Now, I want to address Blattid's criticisms. Then I'll deal with Silk as Typhon in a separate post and last, chime in with my two cents on the Blue/Ushas debate. It may take a few days. But on to Blattid. Your primary contention seems the easiest for me to refute but,before I do, let me clarify that I said NS is in SOME (sorry, I'm not sure how to underline) ways a reworking of KJ, not in all or even most. I've never encountered an author who supersaturates his works with as many ideas and references as Gene Wolfe. It's nearly unbelievable. That said, I could see your point of Wolfe rejecting the worldview of King Jesus IF Severian were conceived as an incarnation of Christ. He is not and Mr. Wolfe has definitively stated this. He is merely a Christ like figure, a man emulating that ideal (or trying to). I would further argue that this very fact that Severian does not equal Jesus allows Mr. Wolfe to play with the ideas presented in Graves' work with little danger of himself slipping into heresy. In essence, much like Prof. Tolkien, he is engaging in an act of sub creation, carefully engineered not to violate his Catholic worldview. As always imho. Now, on to your point by point arguments: 1. The lameness and the wound. The fact that these images are found all over literature is not a refutation. Graves borrows from all over the map as does Wolfe. The fact is, the two characters have similar markings which Graves describes as signs of divine kingship. Jesus is a king and Severian is Autarch. Even if you are unconvinced you must grant me plausibility. 2. Dorcas. I don't care much about this. I just thought it uncanny. I argue supersaturation. 3. Manipulation of bloodlines. Jesus' bloodlines in KJ are manipulated to produce a messiah. Severian's are manipulated to produce a New Sun. Since Severian is not Christ, Mr. Wolfe is off the hook, and your argument doesn't hold. 4. Severian in relation to Apollo. Severian is the New Sun. Apollo is the Greek sun god. There is also the strong association between Jesus and the sun (Sol Invictus, the Unconquered Sun, who was Constantine's first god from whom he made little differentiation regarding Jesus) and between Jesus and Apollo (especially in art). 5. The female argument I yield to Mark Aramini's earlier post. He's more articulate on that than I. (It's late) 6. Typhon. Before KJ I would have agreed that Typhon was primarily a Satan figure. Again, I argue supersaturation. 7. Severian's self birth. I am retreating for now, but I will argue that there is no consensus on Severian's birth or parents. His word is untrustworthy. 8. Jesus/Silkhorn/Arthur. If it looks like a chicken and eats grain, it might be a rabbit with feathers, but since they both taste like chicken, who cares? The parallels are there and both use Arthurian imagery. The only thing Jesus is lacking is an Azoth or a Terminus Est (though he does have the cross-metaphorically speaking). Plausibility to a high degree. Anyhow, thanks again for your welcome and for forcing me to exercise my brain. I look forward to more conversations. Don --