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Date: Wed, 19 Feb 2003 14:40:51 -0800
From: Michael Andre-Driussi 
Subject: Re: (urth) Wintry thoughts on Wolfe

To begin, I did not intend to badger Adam Stephanides at all, and if that
is how it was taken by anybody then I apologize.

Alga wrote:
>Gosh, I  think it would be difficult to find a book of any genre that
>portrays domestic love more eloquently than LITTLE, BIG. Sure Smoky strays
>with Sophie, but can anyone doubt his long-term devotion to Daily Alice? And
>as for short-term romantic obsession, well, holy Toledo, who in the hell
>beats Rush with Once a Day, Auberon with Sylvie, Pierce with Rose, even,
>more diffidently Spofford with Rosie?

Of course I thought of these examples, too, but I thought that, for
example, Rush and Once a Day (of ENGINE SUMMER) might be already ruled out
by Adam's knock against "obsessive love" wrt TAD and TBOTLS.  In fact, I
sense that the situation in TAD might be very much like the situation in
not only ENGINE SUMMER but also LITTLE, BIG.

Here is what Adam wrote:
>Something else that contributes to my sense of Wolfe's bleakness is the
>absence of love from his works.  Does any of his major novels have a
>protagonist who is genuinely capable of loving another individual (as
>distinct from compassion)?  The closest, perhaps, are Green in TAD and Silk
>in BOTLS, but there's something obsessive about both these loves: neither
>Green nor Silk really knows the woman he "loves," and I don't think either
>of them is really interested in knowing her as a person.  (Though it's been
>a long time since I've read BOTLS.)  Horn's love for Nettle is unconvincing,
>and his feelings for Seawrack and Jahlee are more like lust than love; and
>Severian, Weer, and the protagonists of 5HC all seem incapable of love.
>Wolfe is a great writer, but his emotional range is limited.

If by using "genuine love" Adam means "domestic love," that would be an
important step to establish (and it could well be the case, given the
particular singling out of Horn and Nettle).  Yes, this would rule out
ENGINE SUMMER, pretty much, and LITTLE, BIG would probably be king.

I think it was Crush who offered a list of mainly supporting characters
(except for Latro) showing love: they may be good examples, but Adam is
talking specifically about main characters.  A possible strike against
Latro might well be the lack of domesticity; the fact that he only loves
her for one of the two books; or any number of reasons I couldn't hope to

But you know?  It really =is= easier to just say, "'Every man to his
taste,' as the farmer said when he kissed the cow."  Or just shrug and move



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