(urth) The Sorcerer's House Questions (*Major Spoilers*)

Thomas Bitterman tom at bitterman.net
Mon Mar 29 14:01:01 PDT 2010

On Sat, Mar 27, 2010 at 11:21 AM, Jonathan Goodwin <joncgoodwin at gmail.com>wrote:

> You see, the issue here is that the "Compiler's Note" is a paratext,
> to use Genette's term, in the same way that the little blurbs about
> finding Latro and Severian's manuscripts are. They are an agreed-upon

Maybe not that agreed-upon :-)

> fiction, because we understand that some justification is expected for
> how this particular narrative structure came to be. Such devices are
> very common in older novels, and I agree with you that it is not
> appropriate to identify the author of them with Gene Wolfe exactly,
> particularly when there is a direct statement that this arranger has
> made certain influential choices in the presentation of the material.
> Assuming, however, that the arranger and Bax are one makes the entire
> structure either incoherent or pointless.

I don't see why this is the case.

> The fiction of the
> "compiler's note" is that comes from a putative arranger/editor of
> these letters prior, not to their discovery, but their publication.

I do not see why such an assumption must be made.  It is easy to
imagine an epistolary novel containing an appendix to the effect of
"What a wild adventure I had" where the "I" was the author of some
of the letters.

> This is a different level or frame in the narrative structure and
> having Bax jump it does not fit.

Nothing else fits the notes.
- if Wolfe is the Compiler, why would he have to pay one of his own
  characters for some letters?  why/how would he search out the sword
  and perform other in-world actions?
- if it is some other, unknown, in-world character, how did they hear about
  this obscure, small-town missing-persons case?  how did they know the
  letters were out of order?  how did they get letters sent to Doris, whom
  they never spoke to?  or the letters from George to Bax, both dead?
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