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From: "Robert Borski" <rborski@coredcs.com>
Subject: (urth) Re: Digest urth.v025.n003
Date: Thu, 8 Apr 1999 20:06:20 

> Thank you for your kind words about the Lexicon.  It doesn't give the
> name of the boatman, I don't think, but Robert Borski and I are in
> the habit of calling him one version or another of "Charon," since he
> is so obviously linked to the ferryman of the dead.

mantis favors Charonus, if I remember correctly, while I like Caron,
because there's a saint by that name. I also believe it's possible that
Becan's father is named similarly. Granted, he's no ferryman figure; but
his son and granddaughter do wind up being eaten by the alzabo, a houndlike
beast that in all probablity has come to Urth from Saint Anne, one of the
sister worlds in Wolfe's THE FIFTH HEAD OF CERBERUS. So the Stygian
connection, although different in context, is still preserved.   
> I suppose when we all grow up and get serious we will call him
> "Boatman I, XXII" ("boatman eye-twenty-two") in contrast to "Boatman
> I, II."

Actually, I argue elsewhere they're both the same--Severian having an
enormous amount of difficulty in recognizing members of his own family
(which may explain the Contessa in the Path of Air enigma, since with raven
hair and a dark complexion she resembles Mom). And the woman Boatman 1 asks
about may be (or so he hopes) Dorcas, who if she's drifted free of the Lake
of Birds (since he can't find her there) may have wound up in the river.

>     She not only grasps his hand, she is pulling him _down_. Next thing
> know, he is near-drowned at the edge of the water, with barely enough
> strength to save his sword. Dorcas is already out of the water and helps
> to safety. When Sev raises the dead it always weakens him, and the
> newly-risen dead are always befuddled. So what happened between chapters,
> when they were both underwater?

Roy raises an interesting point here, and my take on it is unorthodox. I
believe that the hand pulling him down belongs to Juturna or one of the
other undines--remember, we've already been told "There's been some sort of
trouble on the river" (similar words underscore the appearance of undines
late in CITADEL) and what others describe as manatees--the very human faces
of which may have inspired our legends of mermaids--may be one of the
Brides of Abaia. The same attempt to mate may also  have been extended
later to Baldanders (remember the dream Sev co-opts when they're sleeping
in the same bed?), only Baldanders accepts, and the result is the child
Severian later describes as Baldander's catamite. At least this makes more
sense to me than arguing that the hand which is pulling him down is also
the one that later pulls him up.  

>     She regurgitated some of the lead weights on the night she and Sev
> parted ways in Thrax.

Anybody willing to buy that this may also be symptomatic of morning
sickness? Severian and Dorcas have been having sex long enough for her to
be entering this stage of pregnancy, and it's interesting to note that nine
or so months later, when Severian sees Dorcas for the last time in Oldgate,
"on the floor near her was a basket, not small yet not large either." Could
this basket perhaps contain a baby?

And last but not least let me add my welcome to Dr. Gevers (I loved the
Nova Express review, and like all good reviews it made me want to reread
tBotLS) as well as applaud the new Laidlow project. Long may you both
contribute to the fruitful study of Gene Wolfe.

Robert Borski

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

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