(urth) Long Review Essay on Wizard Knight

stilskin acronus at yahoo.com
Tue Sep 18 14:23:24 PDT 2007

--- Stephen Frug <sfrug at post.harvard.edu> wrote:
If people pile on great, but I wouldn't *mind*
agreement. :> 

For what it's worth, I agree with you Stephen on many
of your points.  Totally as far as Wolfe's inability
to convincingly write dialogue for a modern teenager. 
And partially when it comes to Abel as an exemplar of
some really awful "virtues" -- I think that Wolfe does
really confuse a kind of mythical chivalry with what
it must have been like in the real world, and his
conservative religious beliefs make him yearn for a
return to this mythical past which he believes was a
factual one.  Abel is an unreliable narrator, but I
think he's a reliable guide to what Wolfe believes is
noble, heroic, courageous, etc. behavior.  This is
even more true, IMO, of Chris in Pirate Freedom, which
on the surface appears much more straightforward than
WK but actually, at least from a moral or religious
perspective, seems to me a far more troublesome book
-- troublesome in the sense of its underlying argument
being highly complicated and at odds with its surface.

> Stephen Frug
> PS: Oh, and remember that "glory, honor, courage, or
> hallow" is a 
> *quote* -- from Ernest Hemingway -- not my words.  I
> presented it as 
> an exemplar of a broader change in attitude that
> occurred (in complex 
> ways at various times, but most especially) after
> the first world 
> war.  If you think I'm wrong that this happened, or
> this attitude's 
> wrong, then fine.  But to nit-pick the choice of
> those four words is 
> to miss the point: they weren't my words, it was my
> citation of 
> another's words.
> (The block-quote is clearer in the blog-version of
> this review, which 
> you can find here:
> -- I apologize if my unfamiliarity with the
> formatting of the Urth 
> list made what was a quote and what wasn't less
> clear than it should 
> have been.)>
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