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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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‘The Map’: The Multi-volume Novels and Metafictional Cartography1

‘The Map’: The Multi-volume Novels and Metafictional Cartography1

(p.185) 11. ‘The Map’: The Multi-volume Novels and Metafictional Cartography1
Attending Daedalus

Peter Wright


This chapter argues that the Soldier novels and The Book of the Long Sun, multi-volume works published subsequent to The Book of the New Sun and The Urth of the New Sun, can be read as metafictional commentaries on The Urth Cycle. It argues that, read in this light, The Urth Cycle overturns the anti-intentionalist position adopted by most contemporary literary critics in favour of a more traditionalist stance, despite appearing to enact the latter. The chapter also examines Pandora by Holly Hollander as an adequate metaphor for interpreting Wolfe's work. A joyous, liberated metafiction, Pandora – the chapter contends – draws attention to Wolfe's preoccupations with the solution of mysteries using the iconography of the lock and the key. In so doing, the novel re-emphasises the model of interpretation that shapes almost all of Wolfe's fiction, that of author as encoder and reader as decoder of elliptically yet elegantly labyrinthine conundrums.

Keywords:   Gene Wolfe, New Sun, Long Sun, Soldier, Metafiction, Anti-intentionalist, Labyrinth, Puzzle, Pandora, by Holly Hollander

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