(urth) Babbiehorn?: Was: a sincere question mostly for roy
marcaramini at yahoo.com
Thu Nov 17 18:44:17 PST 2011
--- On Thu, 11/17/11, James Wynn <crushtv at gmail.com> wrote:
Antonio, let me give you an example of the way I read Wolfe and you can see if it is useful to you as well. When I read The Book of the Long Sun the second time. The names of the three sybs: Rose, Mint, and Marble combined with the Sun St. Manteion led me to the story of Aristaeus, the prophet of Apollo. It just so happened that my reference on this was Robert Graves' "The Greek Myths". As I read on I realized "Hey, this part of the LS story is sort of like the next part in the Aristeaus story the way Graves tells it. If Wolfe is tracking this story, I should see such-and-such next." And I did. The story kept riffing on the life of Aristeaus. And then I also discovered that according to Herodotus (the major source for the first two Latro volumes) Aristeaus appeared in Italy after his death and claimed that he had been Apollo's raven-- hmm...there's some Silk in there. And I learned that Pindar (also a major character in the Latro story) had written a
major work on the life of Aristaeus so it now I was pretty certain that Wolfe was quite familiar with Aristaeus. Finally, I was consistently troubled that whenever Incus played a part in the elements of Long Sun version of Aristaeus's life, he played a female (and I also noted that he played the role of Hesphaetus's "mechanical woman"). So that was how I decided Incus was female and learned the identity of the mysterious Maytera Corn. And I expected next that Silk would have a son, who would be turned into a deer and killed by his own hounds. Boy was I disappointed. I didn't try to MAKE it fit, though. I just said, "Wolfe isn't carrying it that far." Then eventually I realized that the greenbuck Horn encountered resurrected his body and taken his mission...until his own men turned on him in Green and killed him. And afterwards I realized that this tracked to the story of the son of Aristaeus and I was glad. Anyway, that's how I do it.
Fairly interesting James. The way that I read him is I look for identity statements that seem impossible the first time through, and then note any confusing disjunctions between dialogue and character or any confusing scenes. Then I extensively cross reference them. Every appearance of wind, or tree, or horn, or pig, for example. I rely on the patterns of the text to spit out a meaning in conjunction - sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn't.
Myths and external references I have so far found most helpful (obviously) in the Latro books. If a myth and the text don't congeal, I tend to follow the textual patterns (the sheer page count devoted to distinguishing between the appearance of Chenille and Silk inexorably leads me to deny any genetic relationship between them and the reason I read that "son not of my body" so differently than you - a "bought" son). I think your technique might have merit in some part assuming Wolfe is operating with the same myth in mind, but then, there are so may campbellian syncretisms its hard to pinpoint one unless its referenced by name. To deny the absolute necessity of plunging into Greek myth for latro would be fool hardy ... but once again I think the greatest mysteries are surrounding Christian ceremonies (Sev's baptismal healing/death repeated with water over and over in New Sun, even stumbling three times from his sword in the cataracts in Sword of
the Lictor, the literal eucharist and transubstantiation as an illucidation of what is physically occurring in short sun (not only transformation of vegetable wine into blood, but the consumption of that blood leading to a sharing in the substance of the blood, etc.)
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