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From: "Roy C. Lackey" <rclackey@stic.net>
Subject: (urth) The Closing Door
Date: Sun, 6 Aug 2000 23:58:24 

 Last year, while pointing out some of Severian's inconsistencies as a
narrator, I noted the fact that the night before Thecla's death Sev went to
his mausoleum to sulk. He said then that it was his last visit there (I,
XII). That was not true; he went there several months later, after becoming
autarch, and retrieved the coin Vodalus had given him (IV, XXXVI). Also, the
little verse he said when he retrieved the coin differed slightly from the
verse given when he hid it, so that "glass" became "grass". Further, he went
to the mausoleum again fifty Urth years later, after the flood, though he
didn't go in (V, XLVII).

 I only recapitulate these facts as background for something else associated
with these visits that I had not noticed before, no matter how many times I
read the books. On the first visit mentioned above, Sev describes the jammed
door of the mausoleum as the "half-open door" (which is also half-closed,
depending on how you look at it). On the second visit above, it is described
as "three-quarters shut". On the third visit above, "...I found it's
long-jammed door shut, the force of the onrushing sea having completed a
motion begun perhaps a century ago."

 How are we to account for the progressive closing of the 'jammed" door?
What did Wolfe intend by it? And what of the time frame? Sev was no more
than twenty years old when he became autarch, if that. He ruled for ten
years, then was gone for forty more on his trip to Yesod. So, "a century
ago" would have been about thirty years before he was born. What was going
on then that began the moving of the door?


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

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