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Date: Thu, 10 Jul 2003 07:24:01 -0700
From: Michael Andre-Driussi 
Subject: (urth) TBOTNS, Sev's last line

Matthew wrote:
>Severian states that he sent one copy of the manuscript to the library at
>the citadel and will cast the second - the copy we are reading - into the
>Wouldn't a conscious effort at propaganda require a rather more active
>effort at publication and dissemination?  Without that I can't see
>Severain having contemporary politic motives as being credible.  A concern
>for history - one that rulers often have - looks more plausible.

Right.  I wasn't saying that I agreed with Clute's examination of The Book
as a political document, I was just saying that he had published that more
than 12 years ago.  FWIW.

But yes, the fact there are only two copies works against The Book as
propaganda and returns it to the scale of confession, apology, and/or
private autobiography.

The notes I gave about the wait for the New Sun also suggest The Book
cannot be intended for the masses.  (Then again, perhaps it isn't =mass=
propaganda that is implied?  What if it were just some kind of "elite"
propaganda?  Hmmm.  So Father Inire . . . and Cybe and Racho . . . are the
only ones whose opinions matter? )  To further that, I should remind us
all of Severian's last line in TBOTNS:

"To this account, I, Severian the Lame, Autarch, do set my hand in what
shall be called the last year of the old sun."

Thus he does not think it will take a year to bring the White Fountain; so
where is the time for the text to get out to the people?

OTOH, maybe we are looking at this propaganda angle from the wrong end (I
should re-read the Clute, myself!).  It is perhaps not so much a pre-New
Sun propaganda (with a "use before deluge" stamp) as a post-New Sun
propaganda ("use only after deluge"): an explanation as to why so much
destruction was required to bring the New Sun, to a presumed target
audience of otherwise happy citizens of the New Sun Commonwealth (clearly
Severian not realizing that the destruction would be near total, sweeping
his civilization away completely).

Which is pretty close to what you say about a ruler's concern for history,
just a bit more immediate.



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