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From: "James Wynn" 
Subject: RE: (urth) Doors:the Goddess
Date: Thu, 16 Jan 2003 12:43:34 -0600

Two responses.....

Marc says:
I have a hard time accepting that Wolfe would ever be sympathetic to a
feminine point of view, especially when attempting to equate the moral
of the novel There Are Doors with a perspective analogous to Graves.

The very premise of the novel is that sex with a woman can kill you dead,
dead, dead.  Is reproduction worth it?  Of course Mr. Green wants the
 Perhaps choosing earthly love is bad if it could kill you.  He is an
man who cannot free himself from the ordinary entrapment - the flowering
stigma of the goddess, which exists only to trap his pollen.  I see the
as the failure of ordinary men to overcome the sexual drive.  While love
be worth it, the love Wolfe talks about is not necessarily sexual in nature.
I think.

Mr. Green is just kind of dumb.
Crush responds:
In the Wolfe interview with James Jordan that Mantis referenced
(http://www.op.net/~pduggan/wolfejbj.html) Wolfe says the following...

"People always fault me on it by saying I did not work out what a world
would be like in which men died after intercourse, but I feel that I did."

"In There Are Doors I wanted to do something that I think has only rarely
been done. It certainly has been done, but it isn't done very often. I
wanted to present a protagonist who isn't very intelligent. Green isn't. He
has almost no virtues. By that I don't mean that he has many vices, but he
is not outstanding in any good way. He is a man of very limited
intelligence, not terribly courageous, not terribly energetic or
enterprising or any of those other things. He is the sort of man who would
be quite content to work all his life in a dead end job and never try to get
very far outside of that---except that he meets Laura. That is what changes

This was sent yesterday (but seems to have been lost in the ether:
Roy responding to Mantis:
You have noted Graves' position vis-a-vis earth and sky; needless to say,
Graves' sympathies were with the goddess. Wolfe's, needless to say, are with
the other side. That being so, North, the wannabe goddess-killer, would be,
in effect, in the service of the God of the Bible. Green, following the
goddess, would be lusting after the very sort of figure that the Old
Testament prophets were forever railing against.

That would make North a good guy, Green a bad guy, in Wolfe's cosmology,
wouldn't it? How can this reading square with Wolfe's known religious views,
and his own opinion that THERE ARE DOORS is his best book?

Crush butts in:
IMO, Wolfe enamorement with Graves' White Goddess is a foregone
conclusion -- trackable over several novels and series. So the question is
"What does Graves' White Goddess mean to Wolfe considering his

Soooo, here I go:

Wolfe almost always presents the Goddess stand-ins as generally in league
with his protagonists (in the Soldier series there's some ambiguity here).
In the Long Sun, the Goddess' aspect as Love (Kypris/Aphrodite) is the
Vironese/Pagan image of the Outsider/Christian God --- the image selected by
the Outsider for himself.

Now, consider that Wolfe himself came to his conversion by **first** falling
in love with his eventual wife, Rosemary.

Perhaps Wolfe believes that God drew him to Himself through something so
sublunary (pun intended) as romantic love. Perhaps that is the story he is
telling over and over through Graves' White Goddess.

-- Crush


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