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From: "Robert Borski" <rborski@coredcs.com>
Subject: (urth) Re: Digest urth.v019.n016
Date: Sun, 11 Oct 1998 23:03:16 

> >But isn't the monial Catherine, uh, rather =short= for an exultant?
> >I believe somewhere in the text it says that Thecla was Severian's
> >adult height at the age of thirteen . . . and she kept growing, of
> >course.

Catherine is the daughter of an armigette (Valeria) and an exultant
(Caesidias), so she may be less than full exultant height. She probably
also has no khaibit (since I doubt her father is going to use her as a
hostage concubine); hence no heightening or rejuvenating hormones. (Is this
what you meant, SBear?)

> Second larva:  Why haven't we heard this from mantis?  (Not that I
> automatically reject everything you write, Robert.)  Congratulations
> from me also.

Speaking of larvae, anyone willing to accept the notion that Famulimus and
Barbatus are short-lived larvae, and Ossipago is the Hierodule version of
Mr. Million? I'm also leaning toward the theory that Camoena (the Cumaean)
is the adult mother, with Merryn (who addresses her as "Mother" and is
described herself at least once as a "famula" [cf. Famulimus]) another
larval form. It's also possible the living statues of the House Absolute
are an intermediate stage, either pupae or eggs.

One last question for raster on the Claw's disappearance: when and how do
you think the Claw winds up in Sev's sabertache? Is it after the altar
crash, meaning that injured Agia, with her wits still about her, limps
over, picks up the Claw, limps back over to unconscious (or dead) Sev,
whereupon she puts it in in his sabertache, because she knows she's gonna
be eventually stripsearched by the high nun of the Pelerines? Because I've
never believed Agia's involvement; if she's not looking for coins as her
brother suggests when Sev comes to visit her and Agilus in his cell, I
believe she's looking for Sev's whetstone, which she knows is in his
sabertache. Sev also doesn't notice he has the Claw until just before the
Pelerines torch their cathedral tent, which is, what, two days after the
fiacre crash? Leaving me still perplexed as to how and when the Claw made
its way into Sev's possession in the first place.
> To Kieran: As for the idea that Wolfe is making use of cheap writing
> when he makes Severian's family the way it is, I offer this explanation:
> is fallible. Aren't we all?

In my opinion, cheap writing elements are much more accessible to ordinary
folk. Wolfe's fiction is not, and he may well have died before someone came
along (if ever) and figured out the various genealogical timeloops I've
proposed (this presupposes they're right, which they may not be).

> But that's a common enough experience, I'm sure everybody knows
> it--you work hard on something, send it off and wait.  Years go by.
> Nothing happens--the thing is lost under a rock in a deep cave in the
> middle of a black forest at the bottom of the ocean. It moulders
> among the boulders.

That's why I post to the list, rather than submit to non-electronic media.
I'm old and I don't care to have my work published posthumously. 

>     Eeek!  Surely there is a middle ground between run-away exegesis and
> silence.  Either extreme of censorship (on discourse or criticism) seems
> bad.

John Clute is probably the pre-eminent sf/fantasy critic and even he's not
immune to wild and wooly Wolfean exegesis. Or haven't you read his essay in
STROKES (since disclaimed) about how Catherine and the old autarch are one
and the same (a theory I would have been crucified for if I'd been the
first to propose it)?

>    Hmm... interesting.  Especially since the aquaestor takes on the
> role of Master Palaemon.   But isn't it stated or implied that Severian
> is the first torturer-autarch?  And wouldn't there have to be an RNA
> transfer to Appian during the period we know Palaemon is still alive?
> (Actually, do we have a date for his death?)  

Stinky the First (ne Reechy) aka Ymar the Almost Just was a torturer
autarch. And I'm not sure what you mean by a RNA transfer (especially since
in all likelihood Palaemon isn't human).
> I recently read "In Looking Glass Castle" and wondered if the man
> living in the house might seem less like a hallucinatory problem if he
> actually dressed like a woman and had a life outside of the house.  It
> would make it easier for him to survive.  If he is mentioned in the
> book but is in disguise, it might be that he could have gotten on the
> boat at the end of the book.  Does anyone have any ideas about who he
> could be?

prion: in my opinion, the man is a figment of Daisy's imagination. Read
Henry James' "Turn of the Screw," followed by Edmund Wilson's seminal essay
"The Ambiguity of Henry James," and then maybe go back to my post on ILGC
in the archives. Or maybe he's now Norma(n) Bates.

Robert Borski

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

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