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From: "Robert Borski" 
Subject: Re: (urth) catamites and narrators
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2002 20:01:06 -0500

Marc Aramini writing originally:

>For an author who
> should be a bit opposed to it, there seems to be an awful lot of it in his
> books - and a lot of it that goes relatively uncommented upon, too.  While
> Wolfe may be clearly anti-feminist at times, I don't pick up this
hostility to
> the very idea of homosexuality.

Then Blattid adding:

> While acknowledging Nutria's correction to "Christian moral
> exemplar," I wish to observe that it wasn't really necessary.
> Wolfe does not, in my opinion, involve any protagonist in such
> an encounter.

Among my many works-in-progress (most of which will probably never see light
of day), but promised to another venue, is an essay entitled "The Stained
Altar Boy: The Pederast as Villain in the Works of Gene Wolfe." In it I hope
to show that while on the whole Wolfe has remained relatively
non-judgemental about homosexuality, he has frequently cast pederasts as
villains, both major and minor, in a number of his works; whether it's the
original John Marsch of Earth; the nameless physician in Vodalus's camp who
sleeps with the youth Mamas; or Pasicrates, who may see in Latro the ideal
victim (and whose continued sexual exploitation may be the source of Latro's
deep depression at the end of ARETE, it being sensed but not remembered by
our hero); moreover, how (with the exception of the middle example above)
the pederastic acts are all off-stage and never directly mentioned, but must
be deduced (Wolfe being far too subtle a writer to offer us an easily
recognized child molester as villain).

Blattid again

> On the other hand, Severian commits almost every other
> sexual sin available to him in the circumstances of his
> travels -- incest, fornication, a kind of adultery,
> rape ... though not, as near as I can recall, bestiality

But he does bed larval Apheta, who is clearly outside our species, and
immature to boot. To some--and especially those factions on Urth who see all
aliens as cacogens ("those filthy born"), this may constitute bestiality.

Robert Borski


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