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From: m.driussi@genie.com
Subject: (urth) Bungle in the Jungle
Date: Thu, 18 Mar 99 16:59:00 GMT

Just for kicks:

Rather than an "either/or" situation ("either they are chant caught
OR there is time travel involved"), experiment with the idea of an
"and" situation ("some, but not all, are chant caught AND there is
time travel involved").  (Since we know that time traveling buildings
exist on Urth--that "fantasy" becomes more concrete as TBOTNS

Of the three it seems that the most likely (yet somewhat
counter-intuitive) candidate for "chant caught" is actually Isangoma,
since R & M are a pair with a history that includes "Paris" ("we'll
always have Paris," heh).  So maybe Isangoma is the "chant caught"
tourist from Urth--and maybe this would explain how he is able to see
Sev and Agia.

But Robert is able to see them too, a bit.  Marie is incapable.  So
the "pairness" of R & M is somewhat illusory: maybe Robert is able to
see because of some unusual action he took in the mundane world
(i.e., as an art student maybe he ate a hashish brownie that opened
the doors of perception), or just because he is a "sensitive artist"
type.  Or maybe Robert is another tourist from Urth, making the men
the "pair."

Yet blindness of this sort would seem to be more an indication of
"chant caught" behavior (even though we really don't know what "chant
caught" behavior is, exactly).  If this is the case, then those who
can see Sev and Agia are native to the time/space, and those who are
blind are tourists "gone native."  So Marie would be the tourist and
the other two the locals.

However, this plays hell with all the shared memories of pre-Jungle
life between Robert and Marie.  (Unless someone is a pod-person who
has replaced an "original," ala THE FIFTH HEAD OF CERBERUS, but that
adds an additional complication which the jungle text doesn't really
support . . . unless we consider the Domnina story [ch. 20] as one
about pod-people . . . ?)

Another angle: the theme of reincarnation is pretty strong in TBOTNS.
Agia says that some people are strongly influenced by a biosphere,
and when Severian lingers so long in the desert garden we get that
sense of linkage between Sev and biblical lands--by way of
reincarnation (he might not be Jesus but there is a sense that he was
at least a contemporary of Jesus).  So, if we put these two notions
(chant caught and reincarnation) together, we might guess that those
who become chant caught are reincarnates that have found the
landscape of a previous existence and feel at home there; which is
chicken-and-egg stuff again (since it errodes the line between
tourist and native).


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

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