From: "LJ Janowski"
Subject: (urth) Sev's not-so-perfect memory Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2003 09:14:27 -0500 Chris wrote: From: "Chris" Subject: Re: (urth) Sev's not-so-perfect memory Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2003 00:09:06 +0000 To throw more into the fire: Perhaps, given the "many worlds" cosmology of the NS books, Severian has actually picked up memories from Severians in several different branches of the possible event tree which all had similar enough outcomes that they succeeded and were able to return, become Autarch, and pass their memories on. If the differences were small enough he might not notice that he was remembering it differently from one time to the next. Even larger differences might pass unnoticed if there were enough time between the first remembrance and whenever he revisits the same subject. It may not be the only or even the best solution, but it's consistent enough and hangs together with the Ash episode. LJ writes: I tend to side with Chris (and the several others who were pursuing similar arguments), I simply cannot believe that several of the conflicting points would be Wolfe's mistakes. For instance, the "like glass grow"/"like grass grow" dissimilarity between Sev's charm in BOTNS and UOTNS was so striking I caught it while reading the first time through. And given that Wolfe has stressed in several interviews that he finds it shocking when he readers expect narrators *not* to lie, it seems that the tension between Sev's claims to flawless memory and his actual capabilities has to be deliberate. As several excellent posts have pointed out, there are several areas where, even if Sev's memory is near flawless (his narration is highly detailed and he seems too unimaginative to completely fabricate things whole cloth), he becomes muddled and contradicts himself. I like the theory that the contradiction results at least partially from outside manipulation of Sev's timeline and would argue that another of Severian's claims also supports the idea. With all the insistence on Sev's claims to perfect memory, the discussion has not touched upon another Sev's insistence that he is at least partially insane. To my mind, Sev's belief in his own insanity reflects his occasional lapses into fugue and the events at the end of BOTSS (too unbelievable for him to write down), but also support the many timelines interpretation (i.e. the ambiguity of Sev's memory sometimes results from accurate memory of events that temporal manipulation has rendered ambiguous). Sev suspects his insanity because his memory, ordinarily powerful, fails him at several critical junctures. The claims of perfect memory and partial insanity allow Sev to have his cake and eat it too. He can rationalize the flaws in his acute memorty to himself by using his partial insanity to explain experiences that are muddled in his mind. _________________________________________________________________ Add photos to your messages with MSN 8. Get 2 months FREE*. http://join.msn.com/?page=features/featuredemail --