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Date: Mon, 21 Apr 2003 14:56:50 -0500
From: James Jordan 
Subject: Re: (urth) Rape and Misogyny in Wolfe

Chris wrote:

>re: the question at hand
>There is one, I believe, in the Latro books. The way those are written 
>makes the incident hazy in my memory and I unfortunately can't dredge up 
>the details (might as well ask Latro, for all the good I am there).

         Io is raped between the chapters. She's really just a child, to boot.

>Best example, I believe, is Horn and Seawrack in OBW.

         Of course, she's a siren and Odysseus could not help himself -- or 
could he?

>Severian, of course, you've mentioned.

         Memory does not oppress me, but fails me. Lots of sex, but I don't 
recall Sev forcing any women. Someone remind me.

>Silk doesn't seem to get dragged into this (at least not in the Long Sun 
>series), but Auk does.

         Well, also there's the Christmas story about the little boy alone 
in an automatized house, "rescued" by a soldier who clearly has ... plans 
... for him.
         And in 5th Head, I'm referring to the third novella, where a 
female slave is brought in to service the soldier, Clinton-style, while he 
is working. IMO, making servants do things like this is rape. Maybe "sexual 
exploitation" is better, but that may be a distinction w/o much of a 
         There's another novelette wherein a female space captain makes 
sexual use of an underling male. Exploitation, anyway.
         Of course, maybe given how much Wolfe has written, there aren't 
THAT many rape scenes after all! I can't recall any in Devil, Pandora, 
There Are Doors, Castleview, Free Live Free.

>Usually there are extenuating circumstances, as alga pointed out. These 
>extenuating circumstances aren't enough to excuse any of them, however (as 
>Horn himself points out to Seawrack, and Auk may have said something 
>similar come to think of it).
>re: misogyny, I tend to think the word has been extended to refer to a lot 
>of things beyond its real scope - such that it gets to be very difficult 
>to have a sensible discussion about it. I would vigorously deny that Wolfe 
>is a misogynist if the accusation were made. A claim might be made that 
>his metaphors and female characters reflect a general attitude that is 
>objectionable - to actually debate that would require such care that I'm 
>not sure I'm quite smart enough to take part in that. But even if you 
>grant that much, this is still not misogyny IMHO.

         I agree. Wolfe is an equal opportunity critic of human sin and 



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