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From: "Alice K. Turner" 
Subject: Re: (urth) Severian's Daughter
Date: Sat, 27 Jul 2002 21:03:22 -0400

> >Just a thought, but it seems to me that Thais (isn't
> >that a Jack Vance character?) at the end of Urth has
> >some striking similarities to Severian.
> Yes! Of Dorcas, with her leaden morning sickness! Why else would Severian
> delighted to meet anyone? And why else would Wolfe had put her on the
> and not had her talk?

What an interesting and original idea! Now that you bring it up, it seems
very posssible, given Thais's desrciption.  Here, from the Penguin
Dictionary of Saints is some info about Thais:

"Her legend relates that Thais was a notorious harlot, very beautiful and
very wealthy, who lived in Egypt during the fourth century. St. Pahinutus,or
some other desert monk, was fired with the idea of bringing her back to a
virtuous life, an enterprise in which he was successful at their first
meeting.She made a public bonfire of her wardrobe and jewelery, and was then
taken to a house of nuns, where she entered on a penetential course, never
leaving her cell. After three years, she was readmitted to the church's
communion, and died a fortnight later. It is the general opinion of scholars
that this is nothing more than a moral tale, written for edification; its
starting point may have been the Egyptian mistress of Alexander the Great,
whose name was Thais."

That Thais was one of those notoriously witty courtesans. Legendarily, she
persuaded Alexander to set fire to Persepolis--this is the subject of
Dryden's "Ode to St. Cecelia's Day." (Britannica).



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