(urth) 5HC (again)
aldenweer at charter.net
Tue Aug 23 11:39:39 PDT 2005
John Barach wrote:
> Maru writes:
> > As usual, I've been reading through the archives again; I've
> > noticed that one of the more popular theories for Fifth Head
> > of Cerberus is that the unnamed family is surnamed "Wolfe".
> > I can see the attraction of this, in an novel concerned with
> > identity, and with the only obvious clear clue to the surname
> > the statement "the kids called our house "la maison du chien""
> > (to quote from memory) in the first novella. But this has a
> > problem with solving as Wolfe. Cerberus is a dog; the three-
> > headed beast is a dog. "Wolfe"=wolfe !=dog != Cerberus/
> > three-headed dog in the front of the mansion. The archives
> > don't tell me how this difficulty was resolved, if it was, or even
> > if it ever came up.
> The name of the house is not the only obvious clear clue as to the
> family surname. We're also told that Number 5's father has written
> lots of books and that Number 5 looks for them when he visits the
> library. He clearly expects the books to be in the fiction section,
> since that's where he's looking, and the last name they're under is in
> the W section near Virginia Woolf (if I recall correctly).
> So we're looking for a last name that is related to the French word
> "chien" (dog) and begins with a W. There's only one I can think of
> and that's "wolf." Doesn't Wolfe have an essay somewhere (perhaps in
> Castle of Days) where he talks about how dogs are just tame wolves?
> Furthermore, we're also told that Number 5's aunt is named Jeanette.
> Given that she's the sister of Number 5's father and that both of them
> are therefore likely to be clones of the grandfather, the theory is
> that Number 5's father is probably named "Jean," the French version of
> John. But pronounced in an English way, "Jean" is homophonic with "Gene."
> That, at least, is the theory set forth (again: if I recall correctly)
> by Robert Borski. Speaking of which, is his Fifth Head website up
> again yet?
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I believe this is one of the few things that Wolfe has actually
confirmed in person...but I don't remember where it was right off.
Maybe in Strokes, by John Clute...Yeah, here's the quote:
"A member of the class then asked a question about The Fifth Head of
Cerberus. Certain clues about the narrator's name seemed to lead in one
particular direction, he said. Given these clues, could the narrator's
name really be Gene Wolfe? Gene glanced at the student in mild
surprise. "Why of course," he said, as though he were the last person
in the world to have a secret."
I thought I read somewhere that chien's predominant meaning was dog, but
could also be wolf. But I don't remember for sure...
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