(urth) Love & Courage

thalassocrat at nym.hush.com thalassocrat at nym.hush.com
Mon Dec 5 19:26:10 PST 2005

It seems to me that themes running through Wolfe's later works have 
much to do with these two qualities. It would probably be more 
exact to say "the positive attributes of Aphrodite/Venus" and "the 
ditto of Ares/Mars", except that Wolfe does not see them as 
essentially female and male, although their anthropomorphized 
aspects may take genedered forms. 

Wolfe, I believe, sees a kind of alchemical marriage between the 
two as the route to transcendance or whatever you want to call it. 
The transcendant Neighbors advertise their "married" state by their 
twinned forms, with the obvious nod to the Symposium. (Recall the 
frustratingly interesting question posed to Jahlee by the inhumu 
who has pursued Silkhorn to her mountain top: "Is this your male 
half, oh Misted One?" - or words to that effect.)

Some of his human protegonists suffer from a lack of balance 
between the two, which gets resolved one way or another as the 
character develops. Silk's Love-aspect, for example, overshadows 
his (nevertheless substantial) Courage-aspect, most obviously in 
his obsession with Hyacinth. Horn goes the other way, his Courage 
far outstripping his Love. Fused and balanced in SilkHorn, they 
achieve a joint transcendance.

As a Wolfean hero, it's interesting that Able is not a compound (in 
fact, he's more of a split; Able and Art). His development is from 
adolescence to adulthood, rather than as a fusion of complements. 
Obviously, he's Courage-dominated in the way of adolescent males - 
his love for Dsiri starts as adolescent eroticsm and infatuation, 
very strong but very crude. By the end of the story, of course, his 
Love-aspect has developed into the Real Thing, and he's ready to 
ascend through the higher spheres. 

(Dsiri, of course, develops also: to start with, fickle; by the 
end, surely not. And surely timorous to start with, and in the end 
a valiant warrior.)

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