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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Gene Wolfe on how to deal with myth

" 'A simple way would be to admit that myth is neither irresponsible fantasy, nor the object of weighty psychology, nor any other such thing. It is wholly other, and requires to be looked at with open eyes.' " p. 324 of Return to the Whorl: Volume Three of the Book of the Short Sun, by Gene Wolfe (New York: Tor Books, 2001) This is Horn (or Silk) the main character, reading from a randomly picked passage in the Chrasmologic writings, the sacred book of the religion of Viron. No context is given. Horn just reads this.

Thanks for reading.


Elliot said...

Wolfe said in an interview somewhere that the Chrasmologic Writings were the result of Typhon saying to some scribe: "Put together a compilation of various sacred and philosophical writings, but make it vague enough that it will give me plenty of wiggle room." And some of the other quotations from the Writings prove to be from real sources, like Sappho, and the Bible. So I always assumed that this snippet, which I quite like, was also from a real-world source. My guess was Joseph Campbell or C.G. Jung. But maybe Wolfe did make it up himself!

Martin LaBar said...

Beats me!

Thanks, Elliot

Anonymous said...

From 'Hamlet's Mill' by Georgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend

Martin LaBar said...

Thank you!