FIND in
<--prev V20 next-->

From: Dan Parmenter <dan@lec.com>
Subject: (urth) Cumaean's divinations
Date: Thu, 15 Oct 1998 14:30:46 

From: "Robert Borski" <rborski@coredcs.com>

>When Severian as a very young boy runs his first errand to the Witches
>Tower, he tells us "I was ushered into the presence of an old woman who sat
>in the only chair I had yet seen there, staring through a glass tabletop at
>what appeared to be an artificial landscape inhabited by hairless, crippled
>But what might these hairless, crippled animals be?

At one point we somewhat jokingly discussed the idea that this was a
Pac-Man game (or another video game).

>Of course, Severian at this age may not fully appreciate what he's seeing,
>but it does seem the Cumaean may be attempting some sort of clairvoyance,
>looking at something a good deal away in time or space.

I tend to favor the view of the Witches as intelligence gatherers.
It's not difficult to imagine that they'd have various surveillance
devices available to them.

>If there were only one hairless, crippled animal, I'd suggest it was the
>bottled mandragora Severian finds in the long-abandoned autarch's quarters
>in the Citadel. But there's more than one.

Don't you think he'd have said "crippled men"?

>On the other hand, what I find interesting is how many people are soon
>claiming they know Severian once he's become Autarch. Rudeskind, oddly
>enough of all people, is the first to point this out, observing, in a long,
>long series of examples,  "Been a while now since I met a woman didn't kiss
>you and sew up a hole in your pants...You're every boy that's ever been
>here, and I've heard stories put on you that belong to men that was old
>when I was just a boy, and I've heard about things I did myself, seventy
>years ago."

I think of this as one of the most straightforwardly stated things in
the book.  This is simply a statement that something akin to the "folk
process" is happening: every little anecdote about mischievous boys
(and others) is now associated with Severian.  But there's a literal
twist as well, since Severian now contains hundreds (thousands?) of
other personalities, he is in a sense a true "everyman" and this
passage reflects that.  He literally and figuratively embodies his

Remember also that Rudesind's "role" is to teach Severian that there
were others before him, in all possible senses.  Other torturers,
other autarchs, other writers, etc.


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

<--prev V20 next-->