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Attending DaedalusGene Wolfe, Artifice and the Reader$
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Peter Wright

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780853238188

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780853238188.001.0001

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‘A Solar Labyrinth’: Metafictional Devices and Textual Complexity

‘A Solar Labyrinth’: Metafictional Devices and Textual Complexity

(p.166) 10. ‘A Solar Labyrinth’: Metafictional Devices and Textual Complexity
Attending Daedalus

Peter Wright


Exploring how The Urth Cycle's labyrinthine microstructure, and its inter- and intratextual echoes may oppose effective textual analysis, this chapter pays particular attention to Wolfe's unconventional use of conventional metafictional techniques. These techniques, it argues, obscure the narrative's story further by suggesting that The Urth Cycle is an ingenuous, straightforward metafiction. Reading against such an interpretation, the chapter frames Wolfe's metafictional techniques and remarks as a series of playfully obscure allusions to the nature of the texts’ story and to the interpretative game The Urth Cycle plays with the reader. In order to achieve this, it provides close analyses of the texts’ theory of fiction, its use of inter- and intratextuality, the importance of its evolving mise en abîme and aphoristique, and the relevance of Wolfe's short story ‘A Solar Labyrinth’ to a potential decoding of the text.

Keywords:   Gene Wolfe, Urth Cycle, Solar Labyrinth, Daedalus, Metafiction

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