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From: "James Wynn" 
Subject: (urth) Severian and Horn's perfect memory
Date: Tue, 8 Jul 2003 19:34:46 -0600

Jeff Prucher wrote:
" the ability to record all the events of a person's life which is what
Severian's memory does."
and Chris said:
"Now, with normal people who don't have Sev's perfect memory..."

Crush goes off on a tangent:
This has always bugged me. I don't believe Severian really does have a
perfect memory, but it is interesting that he thinks he does. In "On Blue's
Waters" Horn makes a similar claim that he does not believe he has
"forgotten anything" that he and Nettle wrote in the Book of Silk.

I don't believe Severian has a perfect memories because of the error in
memory he makes at the very beginning of tSotT. A previous review of the
archives showed me that Bill Carmichael addressed this question way back in
Oct 1999 http://www.urth.net/urth/archives/v0028/0209.shtml but it seems to
have gotten zero rise out of the list back then. Has this been determined to
be a typo? If not then....

If Severian and Horn are not merely ignorant of facts, or concealers of
unpleasant facts, or shaders of the truth, or even out-right liars -- but if
their memories of events are just plain faulty as well, then this carries
the concept of the untrustworthy narrator to a whole new level. But why is
Wolfe playing this game over again?

The questions I pose are:
1. What does the false belief in one's flawless memory mean in these
stories? That is, what is Wolfe driving at here?

2. What is the connection between Severian and Horn that we are surely
expected to draw from their shared claims of perfect memory?

I am still winding my way through tBotSS, but I have a sneaking suspicion
regarding the answer to the second question; however I have no clue about
the answer to the first.

Can anyone take these on?

--- Crush


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