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From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes" 
Subject: Re: (urth) New Poster: Nettle theory
Date: Tue, 13 May 2003 09:05:21 -0700

Alan Lewis wrote:

>Hello one and all,

Greetings and hallucinations, welcome to the list.

>once I had [all the SS books] I still hesitated, one of the reasons being 
>the cover art which I found embarassing

Am I the only person in the world who actually likes these covers? Oh well.

>(and having read them, it's doubly embarassing to have them contain such 
>stupid inaccuracies as well, but that's a whole other discussion).

Well, that's for durn sure. Even LS has some problems (i.e., the infamous
Marble/Mint confusion). Porfreeding at Tor books seems to have gone to
hecky-darn in a handbasket.

>Now I have spent many many hours reading the archives of this list to
>"catch up" somewhat, and though I did not read all the postings or
>even half, I'm ready to jump in.

Hey, read the FAQ. You are required to read the whole archives, and make
sure you verify that nothing you post ever repeats anything that has ever
been posted here before. We have no time for repetition, redundancy,
excess, or sarcasm.

(Uh... 8*) for the humor-challenged.)

>First let me say congratulations on the friendly and fascinating exchange 
>that takes place here -- as others have commented, I feel I know much
>about many of you.

Good. Maybe you can tell us about ourselves some time. I'm sure I'd like
to know who I am.

>I have a bunch I wish to discuss about Short Sun, but I want to start
>with a simple point, which I wonder if I will get anyone to agree with
>me on.

Well, that's another point you should have picked up in the FAQ. Everyone
is required to jump on all new theories, especially by new posters, and tear
them to tiny shreds. We're totally opposed to novelty here.

See previous parenthesis.

>Almost everyone has wondered why in the Outsider's name Nettle would
>go if into the Long Sunset with Silkhorn and Seawrack.  My solution is
>simply this: she didn't.

I don't think this works, for a variety of reasons.

>Of course, part of why I believe this is I found it so hard to believe 
>that she would go on this trip.  But there's more.  Here is the quotation
>from Whorl:
>"They are in it, I hope, he and his eerie young woman, Nettle, the old
>sybyl, and their bird. . . ."
>Now of course the standard reading of this line is that the commas
>separate the different items on a list, and thus Nettle is a passenger.
>  However, when the Narrator has been writing this book he has been
>doing so in a certain style, for an audience of one much of the time,
>that being Nettle.

Absolutely correct.

However, this chapter (like all the "interstitial" chapters in WHORL, and
certain inserted remarks in the earlier volumes - which in turn should lead
us to question how heavily the Narrator's own words have been edited!),
is NOT the Narrator writing; it is Daisy.


>I propose that at the end of the book the question of just who is speaking
>has become confused, like identity in so many other places in this series 
>to me is the major theme of Short Sun, as I hope to eluciadate at greater
>length later).

The nature of identity is a major theme of all the Sun books, and indeed of 
of Wolfe's major work. However, there is no real doubt about who is writing
that final chapter, unless you have some mechanism to propose whereby the
identities of Daisy and the Narrator might become confused..

>Thus the style of the Narrator who addresses his words to Nettle has 
>in.  Under this theory the line is read as the equivalent of: "these are 
>people who went, Nettle."  In other words, the line is addressed to Nettle, 
>though she is not part of the list.  In support of this is the fact that 
>hers is the only name given, which otherwise seems odd.

I don't think this will work.

As you semi-note in a bit I deleted, there is NO sense in any of the 
"by the kids" material that they are addressing Nettle; in fact, in one of 
inserted remarks, in (I believe) OBW, responding to the Narrator's wondering
whether or not "you" will ever read the ms., the kids say that *she* has.

The kids do not even try to write in the Narrator's style; if they did, they 
fake up a first-person narrative instead of the "he" they use in describing 
Adventures On The Whorl.

>This actually was the way I made sense of this line on my first reading of 
>although I did re-read it a few times and see that Wolfe had been very
>mischevious and ambigiuous -- qualities which he exhibits quite a bit, no?

Well, he seems to claim that he doesn't, but ...

>[...] Nettle SEEMS to be making her goodbyes to her family -- or is
>she?  Here is the passage:
>"We will sail tonight," he told me.  "Would you be willing to make my
>farewells to Hoof and Hide?  Nettle is making her own, and cannot be
>bothered with mine."
>Now here is some room for ambiguity as well.  The standard reading
>would probably be that Nettle is making her farewells to Hoof and Hide,
>so has no time (or inclination?) to pass on "his" farewell.  However, it
>could be that Nettle is "making" her farewell to this fellow, because she's
>not going with him, and has no time to pass on messages.


This is not merely a non-standard reading; it is, I think, a tortured 
If Nettle were "making her farewells" to Silk(Horn?), she would be there
with him. She isn't.

>And what might she be making?  How about another copy of the Book
>of Silk, which we know she did in the past, and that Horn treasured
>mightily.  And/or a copy of that portion of the Short Sun as the Narrator
>wrote it out.  Just a thought.

And an interesting one, but for "her own" in the cited passage NOT to
refer to "goodbyes" would require a possible referent to be at least
implied. There's nothing in the passage that even vaguely suggests that
she's making "her own copy" of either Book.

Interesting stuff, and well worth putting forth, even if it doesn't work.


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