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From: "Chris" 
Subject: Re: (urth) Malrubius' ghost
Date: Fri, 18 Jul 2003 21:42:18 +0000

Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that Palaemon would have been used in its 
place. I suppose what I'm saying is that one's affection for a "favorite" 
tends to be at the expense of that favorite's peers, and you can be more 
indifferent to the "2nd best teacher" than to a particularly interesting 
stranger. Not stating that as a rule, but it's true often enough and I had 
thought (perhaps incorrectly) that I had picked up some genuine indifference 
on Sev's part toward Malrubius (the living one that is).

The last paragraph is definitely an interesting thought. Although, with 
Valeria, you can somehow see her importance to him through his omissions 
even at the beginning; I did not notice anything similar with Malrubius, but 
that could just be a failure of my reading. But in general, your statement 
about Sev's silence about things close to his core brings some comparisons 
to mind. You have Valeria, who you find out very little about. Then there is 
Thecla, who you hear a good deal about, though Severian seems most 
comfortable speaking of generalities and is very grudging when it comes to 
details. And just to set the opposite end of the scale you have Agia, who 
Sev is very open about nearly from the beginning- does he wax poetic about 
her from his very first description, or is that an error in my memory? You 
could throw Dorcas into the mix as well. Where do each of these people stand 
in relation to his core?

But this is a discussion unto itself.

>Now hang on, there: the unalterable reason why Malrubius was chosen over
>Palaemon is the fact that Malrubius is already dead, in the timeframe, and
>a logical candidate for a ghost is needed.  Palaemon is not even a
>The ghost is to Severian as a fairy godfather is to a hero.
>Not to defend the old "Malrubius is the basis of the ghost" line, but
>still, there was a certain poignancy in the notion that a person who wasn't
>so influential when alive would be a source of wisdom after his death.
>That magical thinking wish that unknown ancestors would give us hints about
>the silly world around us: the more prosaic understanding about how the
>dead communicate to us through their words and actions in the past, whether
>we lived through that timeframe and did not perceive their wisdom at the
>time, or whether we were born long afterward.
>Another thing is this: the closer in one gets toward Severian's core, the
>more silent he becomes.  We know next to nothing about Valeria, yet he says
>he has written too much!  So in this light it would make perfect sense that
>Malrubius was important enough to have little written about him.

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