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Subject: Re: (urth) Sev's not-so-perfect memory
From: matthew.malthouse@guardian.co.uk
Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2003 07:54:12 +0100

On 11/07/2003 01:50:42 James Wynn wrote:

>I'm not sure I understand your point, O Leggy One. I don't think Roy 
>one incident over another. The point is that Severian tells one version 
>one point and another elsewhere -- frequently just at the point where he
>brags about his flawless memory. The point is that one or both versions 
>be wrong. No, Severian doesn't "edit" out the discrepancy. The conceit 
>to be that he doesn't edit his book at all -- relying on his inerrant 
>to carry him through at all times.
>Or perhaps his memory IS flawless (this is a Wolfe novel after all so it
>would make sense if the narrator's lies were to be somehow true), and his
>memory is "reconsitituted" continuously as he says on page 2 of tSotT 
>before making his first error. So every version is somehow true.  I do 
>that curly-wurly sentence is somehow (although I don't KNOW how) a true
>explanation of Severian's "memory" (if it can realistically be called 

Random thought:  What is the process for creating a new Severian when the 
old one carellesly dies?  Occasionally we see a corpse, but more often 
not.  If the heirodules are tampering with time in order to produce the 
"right" result might _both_ reccollections be true?  True that is for the 
current incarnation of Severian?

Thus Severian's claim to perfect memory could be accurate but it's 
different worlds that he's remembering.

Now the obvious flaw in this is that it isn't third person historical 
narrative but the conceit of the book is that he writes - or copies from 
memory - the manuscript that we are supposedly reading between boarding 
the Ship and casting the casket overboard.  How many times does he die in 
that time?  Not at all as far as I can remember but certainly not a 
sufficient number of times to account for all the discrepencies thus far 
noted.  How many times might he have died in the course of writing the 
original manuscript?  We can't tell because his life as Autarch isn't in 
the narative.

Which trangentially brings up something else.  Are there not at least two 
and possibly more mechanisms by which Severain is incarnated?  From memory 
it seems that we only get embarrasing bodies left behind after Severian 
boards the Ship.  Thus the reincarnation is explicit whereas before it had 
to be inferred.  Possibly a third mechanism might exists post-trial, 
during his return along the stream of time.



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