FIND in
<--prev V307 next-->
From: "Roy C. Lackey" 
Subject: Re: (urth) Sev's not-so-perfect memory
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2003 23:50:34 -0500

Adam wrote:
>(It's been a while
>since I last read the books, though; are there any scenes where his great
>memory is objectively validated?)

Since Sev wrote the whole thing there are, of course, no independent
accounts of an event also related by Sev to compare. In fact, I can recall
only one scene in which another character made any comment at all about
Sev's memory, and that one casts doubts about it. It's in chapter XIII of
SHADOW, on the day Sev left for Thrax. Master Palaemon was giving Sev
instructions and advice for his journey and Sev (it's almost the trademark
of Wolfe's unreliable narrators) wasn't paying attention:

    "Severian!" Master Palaemon exclaimed. You are not listening to me. You
were never an inattentive pupil in our classes."
    "I'm sorry. I was thinking about a great many things."
    "No doubt." For the first time he really smiled, and for an instant
looked his old self, the Master Palaemon of my boyhood. "Yet I was giving
you such good advice for your journey. Now you must do without it, but
doubtless you would have forgotten everything anyway."

Now, in one breath Palaemon indicates that Sev had always been attentive in
class. Sev is pretty-near grown at this point; his schooling is over with. A
child with a very good memory, much less an eidetic one, who paid attention
in class couldn't help but be a star pupil. He only had to be told something
once. It's hard to believe that in those small classes Sev's remarkable
memory would have gone unnoticed by his teachers. Yet, almost in the next
breath, Palaemon doesn't hesitate to say that Sev would doubtless have
forgotten everything anyway. That a damn peculiar remark to make to someone
who should have been notable for never forgetting _anything_.



<--prev V307 next-->