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From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes" 
Subject: Re: (urth) Re: RAH sex
Date: Mon, 21 Apr 2003 12:09:03 -0700

>... But only RAH was actively offensive in a horrible lame, leering,
>really repulsive sort of way--for me it's that chalk screaming across
>a blackboard syndrome to a degree I've never felt with another writer
>in any genre ...

H'mmm. While I agree that RAH's writing about sex (both in the
concrete and the abstract) is very little short of abysmal, it's
never affected me that way: possibly because I _am_ a het male who
grew up with RAH's writing. Two books, and two alone, really offended
me on first reading: FARNHAM'S FREEHOLD, for reasons too numerous
to mention -- though I have since concluded that RAH never intended
what he seems to intend with that book, it still is what it is --
and "THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST--", for reasons primarily of sexual
politics ("Husband! What a heart-filling word." Icky. Double icky.)

>Perhaps I should add, being rather outnumbered by gender here, that I do 
>not find Wolfe viscerally offensive sexually. There are rape scenes, yes, 
>but they are not gloated over and they seem to me in context. The worst 
>rape is that of Seawrack, and that is certainly agonized over, and also has 
>a certain supernatural aspect.

Neither of which seems to me to help: it is indeed far and away the
most brutal of Wolfe's rape scenes, and made worse by the fact that
the victim chooses to blame herself ... which is part and parcel of
that "supernatural aspect," come to think of it. That whole scene
bothers me, perhaps, more than anything else in Wolfe, which is saying
quite a lot; I think there has to be some kind of meaning to this
scene which I have never grasped, and I'm not sure I _want_ to.


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