(urth) Spring Wind

James Wynn crushtv at gmail.com
Tue Sep 28 11:07:27 PDT 2010

>> Me-
>> No. This is an elaborate, rather occulted, _telling_ (not allegory) of
>> the deeds of the SON of Typhon. How do the sons of Typhon relate to
>> Severian? That's for the reader to figure out.
> Andrew Mason-
> Why is it wrong to call it an allegory? It is, I take it, a story in
> which one thing stands for another thing - unless Typhon's son was
> literally brought up by wolves.

Just because the story says Frog was raised by "wolves" and Fish was 
raised by "shepherds" does not mean that those terms are not accurate 
even if --if you saw them-- you would not recognize the referred 
organizations as wolves or shepherds.

Germans don't call themselves "Germans". But a history that used the 
terms "German" and "Germany" rather than Deutsch and Deutschland, would 
not be an allegory. Nor would an account that replaced "The Hun" for the 
Nazi forces in WWII. What about a history of WWII in the distant future 
that referred to the The Tribes or The Brothers (a similar concept to 
the original meaning of "german") ? That is not an allegory. "Juno" does 
not mean "Early Summer", but that is a reasonable translation of her name.

Think of the stories as being translated into new languages three or 
four times.

Additionally, remember that Severian refers to Typhon's era and earlier 
as The Age of Myth.

>> Me-
>> HOWEVER that doesn't mean there wasn't a such a person as Bird of the
>> Woods whose circumstances were fundamentally as described. The tone of
>> the actual events would be different however, than the telling. I
>> reiterate: this is NOT a retelling of the story of Romulus and Remus.
>> Nor is it Kipling's Jungle Book story. Romulus kills his brother. It was
>> not his followers who killed him. And Mowgli had no brother. The
>> mythological elements that the reader can easily recognize merely
>> confirms that the mythology is "true" as well. We recently discussed the
>> Emerald Tablet here.
>> "2. That which is below is like that which is above that which is above
>> is like that which is below ."
>> That concept is a subtle backdrop that reappears in Wolfe's fiction. Or
>> as Green put it in "There Are Doors":
> Andrew Mason-
> Something seems to be missing here.

I was going to quote something from There Are Doors, forgot to look up 
the quote. Looking at it now, it stands fine  on its own or not at all.

> Andrew Mason-
> What do you think are the implications of this for other stories in
> _Wonders of Urth and Sky_? Are they all accurate accounts of events in
> the 'future' timeline of Urth? And if so, are they also retellings of
> ancient myths (I mean, did their composers have ancient myths in mind
> when they wrote them), or are their similarities to ancient myths (and
> some real events) purely the result of some kind of correspondence
> working across the ages (as Dr Talos suggests for _Frankenstein_)?

Yes, I think all of that is the essential concept working here.

King Arthur and Alexander the Great were historical figures that became 
myth. Conversely, CS Lewis --as a new Christian answering critics that 
Christianity was a rehash of earlier myths about dying/resurrected 
gods-- said "No. He is the myths made real."
Also, note that were it not for the names Juno, Rhea Silvia, Mowgli, 
etc. we would not readily associate this story with Romulus or Kipling. 
Typhon's mother was probably not named Juno. His mistress was probably 
not named Rhea Silvia. Those names were lost and filled in with their 
mythical cognates like the dinosaur DNA in "Jurassic Park" was 
supplemented with frog DNA because 95% of Chordata DNA is identical anyway.

These are real stories. There are parallels from myth and literature 
that have imprinted themselves directly on the retelling of these 
stories. On the other hand, the stories are --in ways-- the fulfillment 
of those ancient stories. "Peace", "There Are Doors", the Latro stories, 
"Castleview, "The Wizard Knight" have all addressed this concept 
directly in their own ways.


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