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From: "James Wynn" 
Subject: RE: (urth) My boy Hyacinth and Textual Analysis
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2003 11:01:45 -0600

Charles Reed admonishes:
Now you're verging on slandering those of us who prefer to analyze the
text on its own merits first and foremost.

Crush tries to mend some bridges:
Looking at the way my e-mail ended up finally being formatted (after
conversion to pure text) I see my bullets suggest a different thrust than I
originally intended.

What I intended was:
o All characters are telling the truth unless the narrator says otherwise
o No characters are wrong in observations unless the narrator says otherwise
o All things are as they are presented unless the narrator says otherwise
o Ignore extra-textual plot-lines regardless of how closely they may seem to
follow the story unless the narrator says otherwise
Does that approach a fair analysis? Perhaps there is still some hyperbole
there. I certainly haven't discoursed with anybody on this list that I would
call a 'lazy reader'. But it is not hyperbole to say that I latched on to
the "male-Hyacinth" theory solely from clues in the text, and that I now
consider it to have been a mistake for purely thematic reasons.

And since I find myself serendipitously discoursing with you, Charles, and
since the posting of mine that you referenced regarded the surety of Wolfe's
"unambiguous" answers, I think it is a good time talk about how important it
is for one to count his change when Wolfe is being "clear".

For that purpose I'd like to bring up the "Quetzal on Urth" theory that you
so long ago smote. This was the text:

> Here's a quote of interest from that transcript for
>everybody that's been following this Quetzal-on-Urth discussion:
>  Question:  In the Long Sun books, is Quetzal the only
>  one of his kind on the Whorl?  Was he an original
>  passenger or a late arrival?
>  Gene Wolfe:  He was a late arrival.  He is not the only
>  one of his kind, but the Inhumi are rare on the Whorl.
>I still believe it to be relatively clear from the text that Quetzal is
>a late boarder, but maybe this will convince some of the doubters.
>Crush, don't you have to give in now?  Or do you believe Gene Wolfe to
>be so sadistic as to outright lie about his own books?

I conceded then, but I must confess to recidivism. Quetzal was never on Urth
but Wolfe's answer does not preclude **any** Inhumi being there. I
thick-headedly associated only Quetzal with Dionysus when of course I was
aware that it is the entire race that Wolfe has so associated. You no doubt
assume he was being frank. I do not and I point out that he promised to try
to dodge questions. Does it not bother you that with the large number of
terse and obviously ambivalent answers he gave, that for this one, he
relatively droned on and on?

Now I recommend you get Graves' "The Greek Myths" and look up the entry
entitled 'Midas'. Read the first section and tell me that is not the story
of the Whorl.

I've explained, how Quetzal and Typhon are the 'two horned ones' mentioned
by Graves and other Wolfean sources.  So I ask you this? Why did Quetzal
plant a tamarind tree under his window? Of all the trees he could have
planted, why that? Well, darn it there are a lot of reasons, but to
reference one important reason, I recommend you check out the South Asian
version of the "Midas-receiving-donkey-ears" story. In that story, the King
grows **horns**. Oops! Nevermind, I googled for it:

So, independently, I've rummaged around and followed several trails to the
same place, all leading to Dionysus and Midas, with the same characters and
critters popping up in the same roles. This is DEFINITELY thematic rather
than textual analysis, but it is based on names, choices and clues provided
by Wolfe. I'm not writing my own novel here.

And while it's appealing to me to use Noah to connect Quetzalcoatl with
Dionysus (through the Inhumi) I would never have considered it until I saw
how closely Wolfe was following Graves' retelling of Midas. What are the
odds, that it is all coincidental, really.

As it is, I just can't see any point in waiting for Wolfe to break down and
confess; I think the evidence is all there.

Hmmm. On the other hand there is the Neighbors....
-- Crush


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