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From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes" <ddanehy@siebel.com>
Subject: RE: (whorl) Fallible Readers and Unreliable History
Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2001 16:46:18 

Jerry Friedman, you wrote:

> Here's the difference between reading the Whorl books
> and reading the Gospels, imo.  If you could learn the
> reality behind the Gospel narratives, you'd have the
> answer to a question that's been crucially (pun not
> intended but noticed) important to billions of people.
> On the other hand, if you could learn the fictional
> reality behind the Whorl books, all you'd have is
> another story.

Well ... yeah. That's the point, innit?

What I've been trying to convey: I "think" Wolfe's text offers a 
(willing) reader some sense of the experience of trying to get 
at the "reality" behind an ancient text, with multiple authors, 
questionable provenance, and no guarantee that N generations of 
copyists have managed the degree of accuracy we'd like, -- in
short, an experience roughly analogous to trying to determine
the historical "facts" behind the Gospels -- in a context that 
feels "safe" because, after all, "it's just a story;" and that 
it does this without repsect to (a) the story Wolfe has chosen 
to tell, (b) Wolfe's intentions in telling that particular story, 
and (c) whether or not Wolfe actually intended the text to offer 
such an experience-by-analogy.


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