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From: "Chris" 
Subject: Re: (urth) Janus, Juturna and the reconciliation with Ocean
Date: Tue, 24 Dec 2002 06:06:33 +0000

Just a couple notes on different subjects, but at least on something less 
general than before:

I agree that Graves is very helpful in trying to understand Wolfe's work; of 
course, I also agree with someone else who posted that attempts to jam Wolfe 
into a... Graves-ian framework, aren't going to work. Comparisons tend to be 
fruitful, though.

There are also qabbalistic references here and there in his work. I only 
knew enough, at the time, to make some general inferences which have 
probably been rehashed here 20 times. However, by coincidence I picked up a 
commentary of the Sefer Yetzirah (for non-Wolfe-related reasons), and when I 
finish it I'm hoping those pieces will fall into place.

Also, w.r.t. Abaia and the undersea entities... I felt that their function 
in the story was largely allegorical- to the point that they may partially 
(or even entirely) be the invention of Severian (as an author, and aware of 
the devices of authors) to illustrate a point. Where he uses them, I find 
that nearly always the water they are submerged under is time/history, and 
the large entities like Abaia could be compared to the influence of 
long-dead nations and cultures, and possibly even dominant *ideas*, cast 
aside but reaching out to extend their largely subconscious influence on the 
present. One of the most obvious instances (if any are needed, though I 
suspect everyone's gone well over this by now) is the defeat of Baldanders 
and the potential of what he could have been: he goes back under the waters, 
swallowed by time.

Not to say that this is a universal theme applied to all segments in the 
story, it's just a sub-story alongside the story, I suppose. But I find it 
an interesting consequence that, from this point of view, the cycle must 
necessarily end with a flood.

From this way of looking at things, it would follow that while Abaia & co. 
achieve victory at the end of a cycle in a sense, they nonetheless are 
vanquished at that instant where the end of the old cycle gives way to the 
beginning of the new (though they may be reborn). I am unable to produce any 
textual evidence whether such an extinction did/did not occur, but I would 
be interested if anyone knows.

Apologies, by the way, if I have spent a great deal of time re-hashing what 
everyone has taken for granted/dismissed a long time ago; I haven't seen it 
in the archives, but I also haven't read them from beginning to end either. 
I've been babbling on far too much of late.


Andrew wrote:
>Looking for the "simplest" explanation is rarely the best way to approach
>Wolfe. The explanation with the greatest "poetic meaning" is probably the
>most appropriate, as was said of Robert Graves. I agree with Crush on this,
>I think: it is fruitful to approach Wolfe with the same "analeptic" mode of
>enquiry that Graves brought to myths.

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