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From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes" 
Subject: (urth) Critically rejecting the uncritical acceptance of criticism
Date: Mon, 8 Apr 2002 13:36:11 -0700

Marc (and, yes, somehow the latin form _does_ suggest itself) asks:

> Should we really question everything that comes from the second hand
> account?  What about The Book of the Long Sun?  All of that could be
> totally bogus.  But we have to believe something.  I think
> reliability should only be questioned to match an overwhelming theme
> or message.

Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to fit very well with the way Wolfe 
does things in general. He goes out of his way to show us, again and
again, that his narrators are in greater or lesser ways "unreliable."

That said: Yes, I think that we are intended to recognize that tBotLS,
while not "totally bogus," is deeply informed by Horn's hero-worship 
of Silk. Horn is not consciously lying, but he is warping, wending the
text to serve his purposes. It is not the facts, but the truth as he
sees it. I suspect that a careful reading of "Short" will inform the
reading of "Long" to show some specific ways in which it _is_, shall 
we say, bent by Horn's attitude toward Silk.

Then, as Jerry F. pointed out, "it's kind of begging the question to 
believe things that fit a theory and doubt things that conflict." One 
has to simultaneously erect theories of what's going on based on what
aspects of the texts seem to be reliable (for example, the _general_ 
outline of the _external_ events of all the Lupiverse books seems 
likely to be reliable), while building a model of what is reliable 
that works with the theories of what's going on. In other words, you
have to work at the puzzle from both sides, not just the "what's
reliable" side and not just the "this is the theory that puts it all
together" side. You wind up building a house of cards, but if you do
it right, an elephant can walk on it.



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