(urth) barrington interview

Andrew Bollen jurisper at gmail.com
Mon Oct 6 20:29:32 PDT 2014

On Tue, Oct 7, 2014 at 1:42 PM, Richard Simon <gallebuck at yahoo.co.uk> wrote:

> My own view on this is as follows: most of Wolfe's 'puzzles' have a direct
> bearing on the story; that is to say, they conceal information that could
> help the reader understand something more about the plot, the characters,
> the subtext, etc. They are functional, part of the mechanics of the story
> itself.
> Occasionally, when he thinks it is possible for him to do so without
> endangering the sense or misleading the reader , Wolfe will add a poetic
> conceit, usually a classical allusion. Decyphering it will add something to
> the reader's enjoyment but little to his understanding.
> I do not believe that symbolism in the work of Gene Wolfe has any
> relevance outside the frame of the story. I often see his interpreters
> present some example of the use of symbols that they have found (or think
> they have found) as a full and sufficient explanation of Wolfe is up to at
> that point in the narrative. They read it as an attempt to convey some
> extra-literary meaning. They are mistaken. Gene Wolfe is a creator of
> popular entertainments, nothing more. He is certainly a great author —
> 'great' as in 'for the ages' — but he is not a preacher or a philosophical
> huckster. He is a technician, a craftsman above all.
Wholehearted agreement!

Also: I think the most fruitful approach to Wolfe is via considerations of
character and ethics. Why did this character do this or that; and did he or
she act well or badly in the circumstances?
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