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From: "Mitchell A. Bailey" <MAB@lindau.net>
Subject: (urth) You Are What You Remember
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 14:45:28 

In the vein of this ongoing "Death & Memory" discussion, I had noticed
there seems to be a motif or idea running throught B/UNS and some other
Wolfe works as well relating memory and resurrection or immortality. It
could be expressed roughly as follows:

Perfect Transference of the memories = Transference/resurrection of the

Apparently Mr. Wolfe is exploring the idea that if all the memories of
sentient entity A are transferred perfectly and in toto to entity B, 
Entity A for all intents and purposes lives in B. If B had no mind or
memories to begin with, then B = A.

The best New Sun example might be Severian himself in UNS. Not just
once, but twice (at least), Sev describes dying and then opening his
eyes and sitting up in a new aquastor body, which subsequently
'solidifies'. The Sev who fell down the Ship's air shaft or was clubbed
to death by his adoring Inca worshippers would be "A" in the memory/self
transfer, and the new aquastor-body which awakens would be "B". 
Narrating in the first person, the Sev who eventually retires to the
bower by the beach on Ushas (perhaps prevailing upon Odilo's descendant
to keep bringing him libations of margarita with little paper umbrellas?
<g>) and writes the memoir we received as UNS is, at most, someone who
received the memories of someone who received the memories of Severian
the torturer-who-became-Autarch. Yet from this Sev's point of view there
was no real change or significant discontinuity.

And this seems to properly happen only when A is dead and B comes or is
restored to life. Recall the Hierodules' admonition in UNS as Sev is
revived in Apu-Punchau's tomb: "Our eidolons are always of the dead [or
the not-yet-born, as on the planet of Yesod]. Have you not wondered why?
Be warned!". Or Chatelaine Thea " It is said that memories thus held
together may amaze the mind". Right. One of the consequences of course
is a thorny plot/theme complication.

Other examples of this idea in B/UNS:

Thecla living again in Severian (induced by Vodalus' alzabo, but
hallowed by the Claw), BNS

The predecessors' memories installed in a reigning Autarch, BNS

Other aquastors (Malrubius in BNS, the others in the Hall of Testing in
UNS), who seem to have been constructed from the memories Sev had of

the rite of alzabo as practiced by Vodalus' party, BNS

the memories subsumed and exploited by the living alzabo of its prey,
BNS. Becan and Severa "haunted the dim thicket of the beast's brain, and
believed they lived".

could the near-drowning with which Sev commences the narrative have been
an actual drowning followed by an eidolonic substitution of the same
sort? (by whom? Abaia? Why?) I don't particularly believe in that idea,
but it raises interesting questions. B/UNS keeps referring to that
incident and the idea that someone died in Severian's place in some
sense or other. 
Also, if one is hunting Christ-parallels, I would propose that incident
as the analogue of Jesus' baptism by John the Baptist. Baptism is said
to symbolize death, particularly the 'death ' of the 'old man of sin' as
one is 'born again'.

There are other examples of this idea to be found outside the "New Sun"

those pitiful techno-revenants of "The Packerhaus Method" (ugh! Better
Damnation Through
Chemistry! ) 

maybe, the Mainframe "Gods" of LS. Presumably Typhon and his brood still
lived when the
Whorl was launched, but from the viewpoint of its inhabitants he was
dead and gone.

and, of course, good ol' Mr. Million in 5HC

(on the other hand poor old Latro of "Soldier of the Mist" seems almost
to be a nonperson at times as his stuggle with his crippled memory keeps
him in a permanent identity crisis, as it were)

I'm sure other examples might exist in those Wolfe works I haven't read

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

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