(urth) Wolfe as conversionist

Daniel Otto Jack Petersen danielottojackpetersen at gmail.com
Tue Nov 4 05:28:06 PST 2014

Well put, Antonio.  Some take Wolfe's open-ended and polyvalent narrations
as evidence of either a lack of commitment to any certain set of beliefs on
his own part, or lack of a desire for his readers to commit to a particular
set of beliefs - or both. But I think the ployvalence is there because it
is one of the best ways to open people up to whole new conceptions.  It's
not there to make them think all conceptions are equal (which really means
equally false). I still think a sympathetic reader can see that Wolfe is
rooting for the reader to embrace a certain central set of beliefs (just as
some of his characters do - or try to do as best they can). I would say
that whether I myself were a 'believer' or not.  It's just the most astute
way to read him.


On Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 1:35 AM, António Pedro Marques <entonio at gmail.com>

> No dia 03/11/2014, às 17:21, "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes" <danldo at gmail.com>
> escreveu:
> > Wolfe definitely played a (small) part in my conversion from generic
> Christian to Catholicism.
> I think for many Wolfe - like so many others and other things, but let's
> say Wolfe since we're talking about Wolfe - may first play the role of
> intellectual disruptor: he _can_ make people understand that things are not
> so simple as they had thought.
> But many are not stuck at that point. In this list, for instance, Lee has
> had the opportunity to articulate masterfully some of the things that
> religious folks usually think only they understand, and yet Lee is not a
> believer. Because to be a believer one actually has to believe in God, and
> that doesn't even mean believing in the Bible; it means feeling the
> presence of God, even if only at times, and then accepting religious belief
> as an explanation for that feeling. Now, some don't feel God because
> they've shut their senses, or fight against them, or never developed them
> in the first place, but none of those states has to be permanent. Art like
> Wolfe's may contribute to free one from the need to fight God, but it can't
> do everything. And certainly for some that would be considered a step
> backwards.
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Daniel Otto Jack Petersen
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