(urth) note Re: Short Sun blog
severiansola at hotmail.com
Mon Sep 27 18:31:02 PDT 2010
>Daniel Petersen: Ok, Lee, thanks for your thoughts. You've got me thinking more about the
>flood, especially considering *Urth of the New Sun* features the realisation
>of this. The meddling/protecting aliens to some extent representing
>dark/light angels is also interesting.
My pleasure :- ).
>However, that Wolfe finds the Flood more significant than the coming ofJesus seems very hard to
I feared this misunderstanding but, as usual, I also fear overexplaining in any given post. Quite
the contrary; as a devout Catholic I must guess Wolfe finds the coming and continued presence of
Jesus to be of primary importance.
What I suggest is that Wolfe finds The Flood as more important to ridding the world of evil (an
evil which produced our legends of monster, fallen angels and pagan gods). That was a battle
beyond our human abilities. But clear in the BotNS text is an admonition to Severian that the war,
the battle, his life is about more than a simple struggle between good and evil.
The Flood taking out our superhuman enemies was necessary but it merely set the stage for Jesus and
his impact. I think maybe, for Wolfe, the impact of Jesus is more individualized. He assists us in
our battle against personal demons and thus in our modern world he holds far more significance than
the Titanic, Olympian battles of the ante-diluvian period.
(I see a parallel to this in Tolkein also, with the cosmic Silmarillion wars vs. the somewhat smaller,
more personal battles found in the Trilogy, then the even smaller, more personal battle at the end,
The Scouring of the Shire)
If I may indulge a little in meta-analysis I find it interesting that I find Severian to be an old
friend...someone I know well and feel I understand. In contrast I find his Creator to be cryptic,
baffling and quite elusive to my understanding.
>Maybe we shouldn't press for too many highly consistent details and instead simply 'feel' the
>resonances of the works as a whole and allow them to do their literary and imaginative work on us.
I tend to agree with this. Yet still I spend time trying to winnow out details. BotNS was written in
a time period rather significantly before the internet. And, imho, the majority of deep analysis has
only been accomplished after the internet and the incredible assistance it provides for both research
and inter-personal communication and idea-sharing.
Wolfe must surely have known that very, very few readers would have been able to match his paired
scholarship and devious, puzzle-making mind, back then. So perhaps he never expected us to really get
it. But perhaps another part of him always hoped we would.
Short Sun was written in the internet age and I tend to think its intensely cryptic nature is partly a
response to the success of analysis of BotNS that was being achieved. Part of him surely doesn't want
us to fully get it, after all ;- ).
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