(urth) Wolfe being clear on 5HoC

Daniel D Jones ddjones at riddlemaster.org
Fri Sep 22 15:13:15 PDT 2006

On Friday 22 September 2006 08:41, Adrian Robert wrote:
> On Sep 21, 2006, at 7:46 PM, Nathan Spears wrote:
> > He refutes this view on the basis of two ideas -- first, the
> > writer is not operating in a vacuum, but is a conduit through which
> > species- and culture-universal as well as individual experiences
> > flow, and second, that what is accessible to conscious control and
> > introspection can in no sense be said to make up the entire
> > contribution to a creative work as complex as a poem, let alone a
> > novel.  There are just too many aspects, too many details, too many
> > dimensions to suppose that the author has consciously exerted control
> > over every one of them -- yet they are affected and determined
> > nonetheless by the author (and that which has influenced him or her).
> >
> > I will look for the essay, but I can agree with this on the basis
> > of what you have said already.  What I was trying to say was that
> > this shouldn't be the most interesting, dominating aspect of the
> > work, and be pivotal to the interpretation and understanding of
> > it.  I can't shake the feeling that proponents of this type of
> > analysis feel that all an author's skill and craft are the part of
> > the iceberg above the water.  Maybe that is true, but if I ever
> > become convinced that it is so, I will give up reading and find
> > something else to occupy my time.
> Well, it's certainly everyone's right to appreciate art however they
> would like to appreciate it. ;)  And I used to hold this kind of "art
> is communication" (or at least "conscious conveyance") view myself.
> However, you give something up by holding to it, which is precisely
> the ability to pick up on the full, broad and various range of
> currents of experience and interpretation that are channeled through
> every artist.  Some of these currents may by nature never find their
> way into conscious awareness during a particular creative process (or
> maybe ANY creative process), but nonetheless end up being reflected
> very powerfully in the result.
> Putting preferential weight on the products of the author's conscious
> efforts in some sense implies that the reader / appreciater of an art
> work is less than 50% of the equation.  There IS asymmetry in the
> relation, but accepting a subconscious role in creation means the
> degree to which various themes or contents resonate with the reader
> -- and the interpretations they build around them -- deserve to be on
> equal footing with the author's intent.
> But I'm not explaining myself very well -- whereas Jung had a
> different order of communicative skill.  I'll be curious to hear, if
> you do read the essay, how it affects your thinking..

Which brings us back full circle to the point I originally made - that there 
is a significant difference in relying on the author as an authority when one 
is trying to appreciate art and when one is trying to solve a puzzle as to 
the actual events that occur in the story.  Appreciating Wolfe as an artist 
is quite a different endeavor from solving Wolfe's puzzle.  If Wolfe makes 
some sort of definitive statement about the artistic value of one of his 
works, then I'm not going to ignore him but I'm not going to consider the 
matter closed either.  However, when Wolfe says that the author  of V.R.T was 
indeed replaced by a shapeshifter, then I DO consider that matter closed.

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