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_. -Roy --