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From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes" 
Subject: (urth) Jungle Garden
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2003 09:35:48 -0700

Forgive me if this has already been done, but ...

I recall a while back there was an argument that the Jungle Garden
scene was connected somehow to the South America of roughly-our-time.
In fact, it must be Africa, because Isangoma -- or iSangoma or
isaNngoma -- is a Zulu title for a diviner. Among the references
available on the Web ...


This would seem to explain why he can see what Robert and Marie
cannot ("Death and the Maiden" ... who is not, of course, a maiden,
but then, Severian is not exactly Death).

Okay, so ... we've got a pair of French missionaries working with a
Zulu diviner, which puts us in South Africa. Given the mail plane,
this seems to place Robert, Marie and Isangoma, with a fairly high
probability, in the second quarter of the 20th century, yes? No? But
by that time the Dutch and English had permeated South Africa so
thoroughly that it's hard to understand how Isangoma can _not_ be
more aware of their beliefs than he seems to be. (The conquered tend
to learn a lot more about the conquerors than the latter do about
the former.) So I'm thinking that they don't come from the "real"
South Africa at all, but from the South Africa of jungle movies.
Nobody seems quite to have located any movie that could be a
"source" for them, but that doesn't seem to me a problem -- after
all, when the Frankenstein story replays itself in the time of the
New Sun, it does so without the names, and in a way that resembles,
generically, the movies rather than the book. So it seems that, in
the mythic period of the New Sun, which Wolfe refers to as
"posthistory" (possibly implying a relationship to postmodernism
and the discourse referred to as "the end of history"), the stories
play themselves out in generic form, welling perhaps from the
popular un/consciousness and media rather than respecting the
intellectual "purity" of their sources (again a fairly postmodernist

I don't know where to go from there with this, but thought it was
kind of interesting.


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