(urth) The Politics Of Gene Wolfe

David Stockhoff dstockhoff at verizon.net
Thu Mar 19 09:06:00 PDT 2009

I will never get any work done today, with all these interesting topics!

He's referring to the empire of Charlemagne, the Holy Roman. The Frankish aristocracy assembled every year at Marchfield (not sure where that is, probably Germany) to approve rulings and such.

The line about "the people" is odd. But clearly the system became a parody of itself, one might say. Everyone in the system gained power until, in England, the King's butler basically became the Lord Chamberlain. (Literally. If I have it right.)

Thus, barons originated as free farmers.


Message: 6
Date: Thu, 19 Mar 2009 10:30:18 -0500
From: Matthew Groves <matthewalangroves at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: (urth) The Politics Of Gene Wolfe
To: The Urth Mailing List <urth at lists.urth.net>
	<39ed084f0903190830h5ed94268i1b702c32084dfc65 at mail.gmail.com>
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I've been puzzling over this passage in Claw, Jonas and Severian are
in the Antechamber and Jonas is wigging out.  I don't know the history
Jonas is talking about, and I wonder if it sheds any light on Wolfe's
views on monarchy and democracy.

"Hereditary rulers and hereditary subordinates, and all sorts of
strange officials. Lancers with long, white mustaches." For an instant
the ghost of his old humorous smile appeared. "The White Knight is
sliding down the poker. He balances very badly, as the King's notebook
told him."
[...] "None of it began so." There was a sudden intensity in his
quavering voice. "Severian, the king was elected at the Marchfield.
Counts were appointed by the kings. That was what they called the dark
ages. A baron was only a freeman of Lombardy."
"It became ingrained. It all endured too long." As I walked toward the
crowd, I heard him say, "The people didn't know."


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