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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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‘There Are Doors’: Memory and Textual Structure

‘There Are Doors’: Memory and Textual Structure

(p.145) 9. ‘There Are Doors’: Memory and Textual Structure
Attending Daedalus

Peter Wright


Following on from the discussion of the potential effects of Wolfe's obscure diction, this chapter argues that the linguistic, literary and extraliterary eclecticism of The Urth Cycle can be read as part of a textual memory system that encompasses the entire structure of The Book of the New Sun. It also reveals how this structure enables the reader to recall with ease the progression, if not the details, of the narrative from memory. Drawing from Artistotle's laws of association and Frances Yates’ The Art of Memory, the chapter traces the mnemonic patterns occurring through The Book of the New Sun, though it focuses predominantly on the first volume, The Shadow of the Torturer. It argues that the allusions, quotations, intertexts and narrative structure of The Urth Cycle also appear to be mapped onto, though they invert, the planned memory theatre of Giulio Camillo. This mapping, the chapter contends, has significant implications for the reader's reception of protagonist's characterisation and for the texts’ treatment of time as both arrow and cycle.

Keywords:   Gene Wolfe, Urth Cycle, Frances Yates, Memory, Memory Theatre, Giulio Camillo, Time, Time's Arrow, Time's Cycle

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