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From: m.driussi@genie.com
Subject: (urth) Fechin
Date: Sat, 17 Oct 98 16:10:00 GMT

Robert Borski,

That Fechin may have been autarch would appear to be quite difficult
to prove in the text, but it doesn't seem impossible.

I share your interest in Fechin as a mysterious, invisible thread
that connects elements otherwise impossibly removed (the Old Man of
Becan's house and Rudesind of Nessus).  But my inspiration is that
this odd "coincidence," whatever the semantic/thematic significance
of the touchstone actually is and/or might be, this echo, as I say,
signals what I am henchforth beginning to publically call a "station
of the sundial."

There, I've probably blown most of the thunder potential for an
essay. So I might as well muddle through a bit more.

There are scenes in Severian's narrative that are clear and obvious
echoes to other scenes contained within the text.  Rudesind himself
is an obvious example: the second time we see him, we wonder along
with Severian.  Is the whole second Rudesind scene just to put extra
push to the "corridors of the Library stretch far beyond Nessus"
metaphor?  No, of course not--but it sure seems like it at very
first, because the effect includes "reality confusion" in reader and

(In addition to anything else, the thread between Old Man and
Rudesind, between wilderness hut and vast cosmopolitan city, serves
to deflate Severian of any sense he may have of "escape,"
"isolation," "progress," etc.  It is as if he is still in the Old
Citadel he was born and raised in.)

Another very clear case is when scenes from "Eschatology & Genesis"
are echoed or prefigured.  This happens in at least three obvious
places--Severian's experience in the Botanic Gardens (long before he
is exposed to the play itself) is close to Scene I; Valeria (who has
never been exposed to the play) on the throne as the deluge comes
enacts Scene III; and everybody's favorite mysterious Contessa (V,
ch. 41) from Scene IV.

What I am saying is that these echoes amount to the hands of a clock
returning to a position on the clockface, or, to keep with the solar
images, the shadow of the gnomon returning to an hour on the sundial.

If I remember correctly, a similar echo went on with the Green man
hero of THERE ARE DOORS--stepping between realities and/or
"billypilgriming," to use that wonderful term, and yet often winding
up back at the play or the boxing match or another tableau.

(In fact Billy Pilgrim has this exact same thing: he tends to go back
to select moments of his life, the most visited being the nadir of
Dresden.  Billy Pilgrim never blips to one of the mundane moments
of everyday life that knit together the touchstones that form his
"stations"; Billy never lives real time in real time.  But now I =am=
wandering away . . . Billy's story is more one of a life's trials and
a few joys revisited from near the end of life as if in memory, yet
made concrete.  The Wolfe stories are more of one's present tense
life being shaped by unseen forces and patterns.)


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

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