From: "James Wynn"
Subject: Re: (urth) Sev's not-so-perfect memory Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2003 16:02:19 -0600 Blattid asserts: That [all the discrepancies are mistakes on Wolfe's part] strikes me as the least likely hypothesis in general (though it may be correct in any _given_ case). Crush agrees: I'm with you on this, Blattid. Especially the first and most glaring discrepancy -- that of whether Drotte or Roche mentioned the pikes. As has been said before, The first couple pages are the part of any novel that is most likely to be pristine. For this to have slipped through unnoticed would dismay me. Blattid goes on: By calling one [description] "wrong," it seems to me that he implies that the other is "right." My point is that I don't see any justification for that; in fact, I think that it may be undecidable, when Sev gives contradictory accounts, which is "true." Crush attempts to clarify: Granted. But for Severian to boast about his infallible memory and then give contradictory accounts about trivial details, it questions his account of his memory and his level of self-delusion about it far more than his general account of the events. Blattid suggests: Alternatively, he could be lying about some of the incidents -- which was my point about which version is more likely to be "edited" to suit his purposes (whether they be political, propagandistic, historical, or merely egotistical)...so the question comes down to: are the demonstrated errors of recollection subtle clues left by Wolfe as unspoken commentary on Sev's veracity, or did Wolfe make that many mistakes? Crush responds: That Severian is lying about these things strikes me as less likely than that they are typos (and I don't think it is likely _as a whole_ that they are typos). The discrepancies at issue are just _too_ trivial -- too trivial too lie about, but not too trivial to prove Roy's point. If the discrepancies were about big things, it would be obvious to argue that Severian was lying or covering up the truth. But what reason is there to lie about whether Drotte or Roche mentioned pikes? With each discrepancy discovered close to a claim of inerrant memory, the likelihood of any of them being typos decreases as well. -- Crush --