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Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2003 22:44:20 -0500
From: Charles Reed 
Subject: Re: (urth) Silkhorn's memory; Sev's book

Howdy Crush.  It's been a long time since I've posted to the group, but 
I've been following the discussion intermittently (as my limited time 
allows) and wanted to point something out:  You quoted On Blue's Waters 
(hardback page 43) as follows:

>"A copy of our book, which I meant to read during calms and the like, not so
>much to relearn the facts we had set down as to gently persuade my memory to
>dwell upon our conversations, and the conversations I had with Nettle, Moly,
>and others about him. You that read will not credit it, but I do not believe
>I have forgotten anything that Nettle and I put into our book, or that I
>ever will."
You then go on to say in pointing out the parallel with Severian that:

>. . . Horn limits his perfect memory to *events* [my emphasis] in his book . . .
This might be nit-picky in the extreme but I feel compelled to point it 
out anyway.  Horn is not claiming his memory of *events* in the book to 
be infallible; he is merely claiming that he has forgotten nothing of 
what he *wrote* in the book.  These are two entirely different things. 
 The actual events that occurred in Horn's final days and weeks aboard 
the Whorl are most likely a confused jumble in Horn's mind.  And there 
are major, gulf-sized holes in Horn's actual memory since he pieced the 
story together from his and Nettle's memories, plus a variety of other 
sources, including his memories of what Silk (and others) told him. 
 Some of the conversations, I believe, he even admits to making up 
wholesale based on who he knew to be present, and what those people most 
likely said.  

I think the only real similarity between Horn and Severian (at least as 
far as their abilities to remember) is a thematic one.  Horn's memory 
isn't perfect -- he just claims to not have forgotten anything which he 
put into his book.  That sounds almost oxymoronic, but I don't think it 
is.  I don't even see is as abnormal, given the fact that he spent 
nearly every evening for (what I would guess to be) well over a decade 
writing it and re-writing it and re-writing it again.  It is his life's 
work -- as opposed to being his vocation.  There are stories I wrote in 
junior high that I still recall with extraordinary vividness because of 
the energy I invested in them at the time.  Writing something down on a 
piece of paper is extraordinarily powerful in its ability to imprint 
something strongly in memory.

Severian, on the other hand, does indeed make the claim of having an 
infallible memory of *events* -- not merely an accurate memory of 
something he wrote down.

Take that for what it's worth. :-)



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