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From: "Steve Strickland" 
Subject: Re: (urth) fuligin
Date: Sat, 23 Feb 2002 20:32:21 -0600

Ok, I'm sure this is old news, since it involves The Book of the New Sun,
but I thought it was interesting.

I was looking up the word 'fuligin' in the dictionary the other day.  I was
interested to see that sitting right in front of the 'fuligin'-like words
(namely, 'fuliginated', meaning 'of a sooty color or appearance'; 'fuligo',
meaning 'soot'; and 'fuliginous', meaning 'blackened with soot'), there were
were several similar sounding words derived from a root with a quite
different meaning.  These were 'fulgurate' ('emit flashes like lightening');
'fulguration' ('the action of lightening'; 'in assaying, a brightening in
the appearance of a molten metal'); 'fulgurous' ('resembling, full of or
charged with lightening').

Like the little girl in the jacal Severian brought back to life, we all know
that the fuligin that is blacker than black, when worn by Severian, the
torturer who is not a torturer, is in reality whiter than white.  Severian
is the shadow of the torturer, which means, in Chesterton's terms, that he
is not the torturer, not death, but something in fact like the opposite of
death; and it is he who brings the white sun as the new sun.  As I recall,
toward the end of Citadel of the Autarch Severian even laughs at himself as
he describes how he exchanged the cloth that is blacker than black for the
white that is whiter than white.

So I wonder if Wolfe intentionally selected the term fuligin in part because
its root word meaning 'soot' is so similar to the root word meaning
'lightening'.   Sort of a play on words.  Something like that would
certainly be within his bags of tricks, uh, I mean, repertoire.


           Who are you in those bright clothes?" she asked.  And then, "Oh,
I am dreaming."


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