(urth) Wolfe as Heretic

Lee Berman severiansola at hotmail.com
Wed May 19 07:00:52 PDT 2010

In my fairly extensive review of Gene Wolfe interviews I've
found him to be generally cautious and circumspect with regard
to revealing the mysteries behind his literary work. But 
occasionally a certain interviewer will inspire him to let 
something important slip. For example, in the Larry McCaffery
interview I mentioned in another post he is willing to resolve
the central mystery of Fifth Head of Cerberus.
In the '96 interview with James Jordan I find one of the most
telling revelations which has helped my personal understanding
of the thematic underpinnings of the Sun series. Ironically the
answer is in response to a question about the Soldier series. But
it displays a part of the stated personal belief system of Gene
Wolfe which seems to have inspired much of his work. I think it is
a belief which is not reconcilable with orthodox Catholicism, though
I can't be sure.
>JJ: Which is another way of saying, do we have fallen angels here
>or some type of power that really was operative in the world before
>the kingdom of God?
>GW: That is my personal belief. I think that the gods of paganism were
>real. But what I tried to do was to write about that pagan world as the
>pagans themselves wrote about it. If we read modern historians we are
>reading a very rationalistic viewpoint of this which says that all of
>these people were absolutely wasting their time by building temples to
>Ares or Apollo or you name it. And by offering sacrifices in worship and
>all that it was nothing there. Nothing at all there and that whether it
>is true or not that certainly is not the way the people who were doing it
>felt. They were convinced that there was something there and they had all
>sorts of legends and so forth about the appearances of the god and in fact
>there is one place in the Acts where Paul and another one of the apostles
>are mistaken for Zeus and Mercury. Zeus and Hermes, we are mixing the Latin
>and the Greek which is what I was trying to get away from. They are mistaken
>for Zeus and Hermes in human form because people in those days expected that
>you could see Zeus and Hermes in human form. I am not so sure they were wrong.
>I am not convinced that they were wrong. We love to think how much smarter we
>are than people of ancient times or biblical times or so forth but I am very
>dubious about that.
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