(urth) Severians Later Appearance (Spoilers)

Craig Brewer cnbrewer at yahoo.com
Sat Jan 16 12:51:14 PST 2010

Not to bring up the old "authorial fallacy" here, but if he wrote the books in such a way that they support the "male chem/once male" possibility in a way that doesn't contradict it and in fact makes it a compelling possibility, it doesn't matter what he said after the fact. Granted, we're talking about a potential plot point which is different than a reader's interpretation. But with a writing style that often works by indirection and suggestion, he runs the risk of this kind of thing getting out of his control. He may know how it all adds up in his head, but, as the rest of us know, there are *vastly* different readings of his books that are out there and that all claim to have "solved" various puzzles in jaw-droppingly idiosyncratic ways. If his books lend themselves to this kind of reaction, then I wonder if Wolfe is really always the best reader of Wolfe, if that means we have to divine exactly what he thought in order to "get" the books. I mean,
 any book that requires the author to explain it or to verify things beyond the covers of the book seems like a failed book. I'd rather deal with the text than with what Wolfe thought it meant before (or even after) he published it. Once it's out there (barring a revision), the text is definitive, not Wolfe.

(And with that, I step down from an undergraduate-styled-podium-of-Foucault-ness...heh...)

----- Original Message ----
From: "brunians at brunians.org" <brunians at brunians.org>
To: The Urth Mailing List <urth at lists.urth.net>
Sent: Sat, January 16, 2010 2:13:18 PM
Subject: Re: (urth) Severians Later Appearance (Spoilers)

Maybe for you, who was not there, it doesn't.


> brunians wrote:
>> In 2002, when I met Gene Wolfe, I mentioned the theory that was bouncing
>> around the list at the time, that Hyacinth was a male chem.
>> He remarked that it was a good thing that he wasn't on the list.
> Of course, since "male chem" and "once male" are two entirely
> different things, this doesn't help prove or disprove the theory at
> all.
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