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From: "Tony Ellis" <tellis@futurenet.co.uk>
Subject: (urth) Re: The Quiet Urth
Date: 23 Oct 1997 18:13:48 +0100

[Posted from URTH, a mailing list about Gene Wolfe's New Sun and other works]

Jason Voegele wrote:
> Anyone up for a 
>dissection of The Fifth Head of Cerberus?

Me me me!

>  It seems, for some reason,
>that Christian symbolism is a good place to start off.

Why? No offence intended to anyone, but I think that there is
sometimes far too much Christian symbol-spotting in discussions
of Wolfe's work. Sometimes a character is just character, and not
a Christ figure, or Mother Church, or St Paul the Apostle's 
Personal Shopper or whatever. Yes, Wolfe is a Catholic, but he is
also a polymath, and a terrible punster, and I find plenty of double
meanings and conceits in his stories that have nothing to do
with Christian themes.

>Of course, there's the obvious Satan imagery--666 Maltimbaque (?) St.

Ok, let's use this as an example of what I mean. You say Satan
imagery, I say pun. 666 is "the number of the Beast", rather than
specifically the number of Satan, and 666 Saltimbanque St is the
House of the Beast: the "Maison du Chien", or House of the Dog.
The protagonist's extended family is also a kind of Beast, 
the five-headed Cerberus of the title.

That's my theory, anyway. What does everybody else say?

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