FIND in
<--prev V16 next-->

From: m.driussi@genie.com
Subject: (urth) LU Questions Answered
Date: Thu,  9 Jul 98 00:35:00 GMT

Adam Louis Stephanides,

First, thank you for buying a copy of LEXICON URTHUS.  Perhaps even
more importantly, thank you for your kind words about it!

"Lexicon Urthus: Additions, Errata, &cetera (vol. 1)" (AE&1) is still
available directly from the publisher for $1 plus $1 postage.  (If you
ordered LU directly from us, then we owe you a copy.  Let me know in
private e-mail.)

Re: Atrium of Time as a time travelling structure.  The usual
disclaimers apply: your mileage may very, etc.  John Clute mentions it
glancingly in one essay on Wolfe (1983) and directly in the famed
Catherine essay (1986).  Others have mentioned it, I'm fairly certain.
The clues are: Valeria's clothing seems out of time; her lineage is so
ancient that it may stretch back to Ymar; the place she lives in does
not exist on any maps, nor can it be found from aerial survey or
reached in any other way than by the one true path through the maze
(exactly like the trail to Last House); and not the least, we know that
the Atrium is not named for the sundials--the sundials where put there
=because= it is the Atrium of Time.

Re: Valeria's Regency in the Valeria entry.  Do you consider it an error
because technically she became regent the moment Severian left Urth?
Rather than "during the decades of [Severian's] absence" (which sounds
vague and gradual)?  Your question makes it seem more likely that you
doubt Valeria was his regent while he was visiting Yesod.

I'm nearly positive that Severian uses the term "regent" or
"Valeria's regency" somewhere in URTH.

(FWIW, Feeley's essay uses the phrase "Valeria's ten-year regency in
his absence" [NYRSF No. 32, p. 14], and while I'd argue with the number
of years as being a gross underestimate, I wouldn't quibble at all
with the rest.)

But it is true that Valeria had a loss of faith during the many
decades of his absence--nobody had any idea it would take so long,
apparently.  (The medieval analogy is one of a king going off on a
pilgrimage to the Holy Land--figure a couple of years ought to do
it.  Set up a regency to irritate Robin Hood and sail off.)

So at some point it seems Valeria had to consider Severian lost at
sea (see the cenotaph, chapter 41).  Out of political necessity she
then called herself Autarch (with a capital A, rather than autarchia,
which she was before) and out of loneliness and/or additional
political necessity (to keep the Commonwealth together) she married
Dux Caesidus.  But the autarchy is broken since she hasn't eaten the
brains of her predecessor--she isn't a real autarch.  Even the
commoners via Eata know that there's some sham to this "autarchy,"
that she "doesn't know the words."  What can one do?  The war with
Ascia continues, etc.

Your quotes from chapters 4 and 16 of URTH are given slightly out of
context: the conversations are onboard the starship at the edge of
the universe, and in the example from chapter 16, the issue at hand
is that of determining which of two "autarchs" on the ship is the
real one.

In the general case, again using the analogy of a king going by ship
to the holy land:

Passenger: "So you still claim to be king of England while you are on
this ship out in the middle of the Mediterranean?"

King: "I was king--now I'm on holiday, so I'm the grand poobah of
partydom.  Good thing my regent is minding the kingdom while I'm away!"

Or, to put it in a skiffy way: if John F. Kennedy gets into a time
machine and travels to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, is
he still "President" while he sits there eating his meal and watching
the universe collapse in the Grand Gnab?  His nation is gone, his
planet is gone, his solar system is gone.

Dinner Cow: "So you still claim you're really the President?"

JFK: "Well, I was.  And I will be when I get in the time machine and
get back home--after I've finished eating you, of course."


*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

<--prev V16 next-->