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The Hero as Werewolf
In Gene Wolfe
The Lion that Stalks by Night
In Claytemple Fiction
James Pepe
Nov 20, 2018
@Glenn This section of the forums seemed pretty lonely so I figured I'd read it and liven up the place a little. I also know it's nice to know people out there are consuming the stuff you make and put effort into. Reading this reminded me a lot of the few months I spent in Oxford, thinking about my time there and the people I was with. Let me ask you this though, how is it that you seem to be able to get into the head-space of a little girl so easily? Haha. On a somewhat more serious note, I suppose, I think all of the authors in the PDF of this listed Lovecraft as one of their favorite writers. I've read a fair amount of Lovecraft and I enjoy him as well, but I have to admit that I find his recent resurgence somewhat inscrutable. I think part of it is that, Lovecraft tried to write about these things that were so hyperbolic, i.e. this monster is beyond human comprehension, to look upon creature X is to have one's very ego ripped away from them, etc. and I think the popular reception of him has taken what is actually in his writing and turned what is already pretty hyperbolic up to 11. But that doesn't really match the tone of Lovecraft because even though he is writing about these cosmic horrors and men being driven to madness, his actual writing is pretty understated. His narrators often come across as sort of trying to maintain proper English gentlemanly decorum, despite being American, and despite the things that are being talked about. Also, and perhaps this is just me, I don't find Lovecraft to be an evocative writer in the sense of his writing evoking strong emotions from me. I think you could probably point to writers that do that sort of thing better than him on every front, writers that are scarier, more suspenseful, more exciting, etc., but, at the end of the day, reading Lovecraft is still great. Perhaps his strength lies in the world-building or in his ability to draw one in to his world. His writing does stimulate the imagination and perhaps this is why people like so much to write in his world specifically, whereas you don't get a lot of people writing in, say, Tolkien's world specifically, unless, I guess, you chalk up every instance of an elf or orc to writing to being in Tolkien's world.
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The Lion that Stalks by Night
In Claytemple Fiction
The Lion that Stalks by Night
In Claytemple Fiction
Five's Anthropology of Slavery
In Gene Wolfe
James Pepe
Oct 27, 2018
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Five's Anthropology of Slavery
In Gene Wolfe
James Pepe
Oct 18, 2018
Wow! Both Glenn and Brandon. I feel like I'm talking with a couple of celebrities!. Let me further elaborate on what I was thinking. This is, of course, going to be in broad strokes and I'm sure someone more familiar with both Kierkegaard and Nietzsche could to a better job, but here goes: Like I said, I think 5's existentialism is stuck at the point of needing to take the leap of faith. I think the reason for this is that he cannot, as Kierkegaard puts it, "move beyond the Socratic". In a certain sense, 5's entire project, and that of his father, and perhaps all the way back to whoever it was that became Mr. Million, is entirely Socratic, they want to "Know Thyself". And they're doing it in a very Socratic way. As I'm sure you guys know, Socrates\Plato's epistemology was one of aletheia, of un-forgetting. For, in the transmigration of souls, the soul would pass into the after life, come to know all things, and then pass thought the river lethe and forget it all again before being re-ensouled in a body. Thus, for Socrates\Plato, the process of coming to know something wasn't really learning something new, but remembering something you had forgotten. Thus the entreaty to "Know Thyself" was entirely appropriate for Socrates because one only needed to look into oneself to find knowledge. 5 is doing the same thing, and is, in fact, trying to do it so hard that he has made copies of himself to that he could come to know himself all the more. He also literally looks inside of things in his laboratory work. But Christianity changed all this. Christianity, of course, claims that there are truths that are beyond our ability to reason to. That, in fact, there are truths that must be revealed to us by God. Thus, Kierkegaard says we have to move beyond the Socratic to come to know those things because they cannot be found within, they are radically different than us despite them also being what makes us up at our very metaphysical core. Thus the irony is, to come to know ourselves more perfectly, we have to give up ourselves entirely, take the leap of faith, and hope that God will catch us and return us to ourselves. The other point I had in mind is that I think that 5's is, more or less, Nietzschean in his moral and social outlook. I think that the quote that Glenn brought up above illustrates this well. In that quote, 5 at first sees the slave as something that he might buy and help until the slave shows himself to be truly slavish by responding in that "servile way" of slaves, and he is disgusted by it. Why is he disgusted by it? Perhaps because he sees himself as a wolf and the people below him in social standing, and perhaps in intelligence as well, as prey. This, Nietzsche says, is the trick of the slaves, to make the "non-slaves" feel bad for them and to then elevate them to equal status. Nietzsche says that not only is it absurd for the predator to feel sympathy for the prey, it is also absurd for the predator to be held accountable for being a predator and killing prey. This was also one of Nietzsche's critiques of Christianity, namely, that it wanted to invert the power structure between the slaves (the Jews \ the early Christians) and the masters (their many oppressors \ the Romans). Anyway, I've written a huge wall of text now so I think I'll stop. However, I think there are also interesting metaphysical questions like the ones you have both brought up in your recent episode. I think the question of who are human and who are rational \ intellectual creatures is an important one. A creature can be rational \ intellectual and be not human and a creature can be rational \ intellectual and not be part of Christ's salvific work. Perhaps very few of the character in the story are humans and were thus not saved by Christ's salvific work and are therefore in hell. Perhaps David is the exception, which is why he was able to leave the brothel permanently.
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