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From: matthew.malthouse@guardian.co.uk
Date: Thu, 17 Apr 2003 08:41:27 +0100
Subject: Re: (urth) Jungle Garden

On 17/04/2003 01:49:21 Josh Geller wrote:
>On Wed, 16 Apr 2003, Yves Meynard wrote:
>> Dan'l Danehy-Oakes writes:
>>> 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.
>"Must" is a strong word.
>> OK, but what about when Isangoma says:
>> "[The Proud One's] breath is the mist that hides the infant uakaris
>> from the claws of the margay!"
>> (p.160 in my Pocket edition of _Shadow_)
>>  From  http://ds.dial.pipex.com/agarman/margay.htm :
>> The Margay, also known as the Long Tailed Spotted Cat, is similar in
>> appearance to the Ocelot [...]
>> The range of the margay extends from Mexico down through Peru, parts of
>> Paraguay to the northern areas of Argentina.
>>  From http://www.animalinfo.org/species/primate/cacacalv.htm :
>> The red uakari is a medium-sized monkey weighing about 4 kg (9 lb). [?]
>> The red uakari is found in flooded swamp forests of Amazonia in Brazil,
>> Colombia and Peru.
>It is obviously South America.
>It is true, Isangoma means what y'all are saying in Zulu.
>Maybe it means something else in some south American Indian
>Hell, maybe it means the same thing in some south American
>Indian language.

What is the purpose of the gardens and what are they, in physical terms?

We are told that they were created by Father Inire which might lead us to
think of some magical/technoligical solution; perhaps they might be
excursions into a real but distant past.

Yet the replanting and refurbishment of the sand garden strongly suggests
otherwise.  Actually constructing something would appear to preclude the
possibility that the physical reality of the gardens lies beyond the time
or dimention of Severian's contemporary Nessus.

If Father Inire's plans have a purpose, or several purposes for the
gardens then it seems reasonable to use materials at hand to achieve it.
An "Africa" populated with South American animals is logical enough if the
aim is to create a scene that is an image of Africa on the surface for
some deeper reason.  Immediate plausibility would be far more significant
that historical accuracy.

More many seem to place the Commonwealth on that continet we know as South
America. The fauna might well be more available than anything African in

All this is separate to the effect the gardens have on those who wander
them.  Tardis like they seem of far larger size than could be accomodated
by the dome that houses them.  The affinity that some people have for some
gardens is mentioned and we see Severian spending far longer than he
thought in them.  My guess on reading was that there was something
designed to attract people so strongly that they would populate the
gardens where appropriate even to playing the roles such as we see in the
jungle garden.  Somewhat metaphysical perhaps but not I think implausible.

This still leaves unanswered - and I freely admit I have no clear ideas
here - the question about their purpose, the purpose intended by the
builder within the narative and the purpose of the author outside it.



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