(urth) Honor

Michael Straight mfstraight at gmail.com
Thu Nov 24 14:02:33 PST 2005

On 11/23/05, transentient <transentient at gmail.com> wrote
> I definately agree that TWK contains a defence of, or apology for,
> european feudalism.

I think this is an oversimplification that lies at the heart of my
disagreement with many of those who dislike the Wizard Knight (and
also the guy linked to earlier who think Wolfe is fetishizing torture
in Urth).

Wolfe presents us with a different society, a society that has morals
and values that differ from ours.  And I think we are encouraged to
see that there are some things about this society that are admirable,
and some which are not.  I do think there are times where Wolfe wants
the reader to question his own values, to reconsider whether this or
that aspect of Mythgarthr that we might initially reject as bad might
not have some worth after all, but I wouldn't equate that as an
apology for european feudalism

Within this framework, we have Able.  Sometmes he is "good" by the
values of his society, sometimes he is "good" by the values of ours. 
Sometimes he is both and sometimes he is neither.

I most disagree with the idea that we are supposed to wholly approve
of or wholly disapprove of Able and his society and his behavior. 
What a boring book that would be.

And I don't think that Wolfe giving Severian a cool outfit means he's
trying to trick us into approving of torture.  Just the opposite. 
Sometimes, in real life, the bad guys have the coolest outfits.  And
it's an important skill to be able to say, yes, the outfits look good,
but the actions of the people wearing them are still evil.

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