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From: "Tony Ellis" <tony.ellis@futurenet.co.uk>
Subject: (urth) Let me shoulder your burden, brother.
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2000 15:13:20 +0100

corncrake wrote:

> When I pointed out that Severian's meeting with the lochage earlier in
Shadow was a little like Christ
> before Pilate, someone --- I think Tony Ellis --- quite rightly made
the same objection.

Yes, that was me. Sorry. But I think you have a much stronger case with
Hethor re-echoing Simon of Cyrene’s charitable offer, and top marks for
spotting this. (Am I the only one, by the way, who can never think of
this beautiful and life-affirming Bible episode without thinking of the
bit in Life of Brian where the Saintly Passer By shoulders a
crucifixee’s burden and the crucifixee promptly runs like hell?)

It’s just struck me that the interview between Severian and the Archon
is as good a candidate for a parallel of the interview between Jesus and
Pilate as his meeting with the Lochage. After all, Abdiesus is a local
governor, as Pilate was, and he has the same air of the educated,
heartily-sick-of-the-provinces time server. But I think this just
illustrates how easy it is to find parallels between the Gospels and

> In particular, I have racked my brains for any explanation of the doll
he had in his cabin, as described in
> his first monologue in chapter XXX, `Night', though the nature of her
`lemon-wood box' is perhaps
> worth consideration. (Why lemon-wood, anyone?)

She’s a paracoita. A sex droid. Surely the perfect companion for the
lonely sailor, far from shore? Lemon-wood because it smells sweet, I
would think. In the ancient world there was a big market for rare,
pleasant-smelling woods.

Totally off topic: The sad story of the Essex is indeed fascinating,
especially to an Essex boy such as myself. I recommend the chapter on
“The Wreck of the Medusa” in Julian Barnes’ “A History of the World in
10 ½ Chapters” as another compelling account of shipwreck and
cannibalism at sea - as well as one of the best accounts of the creation
of a work of art that I’ve ever read.

Slightly more on topic: one of the conceits in Barnes' novel is the idea
of history repeating itself, but as a whimper rather than a bang. (The
image he uses, as I recall, is the way a belch faintly brings back the
taste of the hotdog you had earlier in the day.) This certainly chimes
with the idea of Hethor standing in for Simon of Cyrene, and indeed with
the idea of Severian standing in for Christ.

Tony Ellis
On-line Editor, PC Format magazine
01225 442244 x2349

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

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