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Date: Mon, 21 Apr 2003 12:18:49 -0500
From: James Jordan 
Subject: Re: (urth) Rape in Wolfe

At 11:46 AM 4/21/2003, you wrote:
>This was some time ago, and I realize you may not be responding directly 
>to me, but I feel it's necessary to revisit the comment I originally made 
>which spawned the conversation, if for no other reason than to put rant 
>mode in perspective:

         Naw, it was just a general rant. And I meant it semi-humorously, 
not intending to distress you or anyone else. My apologies to whomever I 
may have offended.

You wrote: It seems to be more making a point about the savagery present in 
every individual mind, even those which are seemingly "nice", rather than 
placing the danger out there in the world at large. This is not exactly an 
unprecedented thought either, when it comes down to it.

If I break down my discomfort based on this, I get two general, related 
questions. First, is this negative aspect of the human soul (independent of 
its truth - I don't really disagree with the truth of it) necessarily 
central to most of Wolfe's longer stories? I'm not really sure. Second, if 
this negative aspect *is* a necessary point to bring out in the story he's 
trying to tell, for what reasons can we infer that he's expressing it in 
the *particular* form of sexual violence. Archetypal, perhaps? Again, I 
don't know.

I reply:
         I think it is somewhat archetypal. After all, rape combines 
several aspects of sin: exploitation, predation, violence, sexual 
disfunction, etc. It relates to Wolfean themes about religion and 
government, especially protection, and to his interest in man-woman 
         Also, in terms of "centrality," we've commented before here that 
Wolfe points to "salvation" off the page, so to speak. God is the only True 
Lover, and human being ought to be like God (images of God) in how they 
treat one another. But they aren't.
         It might be interesting to list and analyze all the rapes in 
Wolfe, starting with the abuse of the female slave in *5th Head.*



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