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Subject: Re: (urth) Baldanders, Acies Castle & the Citadel
From: Josh Geller 
Date: 28 Jul 2003 23:26:30 -0700

On Mon, 2003-07-28 at 22:24, Chris wrote:

> All in all I think we pay too little attention to the fact that Severian is, 
> among other things, an author. And despite his disavowals he knows all about 
> literary devices and how to use them properly. And consider this: if Wolfe 
> inventing Borges in a novel is inventive, consider how much more so it is to 
> have Severian (a character invented by Wolfe) invent Borges, or Delaney 

% e.

>                                                                  (who 
> I have not read and can add nothing to the discussion of his influence).

I really like the way that you think.

Thecla's friend asked if the Fish was real, Father Inire told 
her that for an image to exist without something to reflect 
it is an impossibility. Therefore, the Fish would come into 
being (I just now noticed that it is a Fish). And at Baldander's 
castle, Dr. Talos asks Severian if he doesn't realize that 
events cast their shadow into the past, where they echo and re-echo: 
see now? The castle, the wise man and the monster? 
> So I think it bears some examination. Is the story of Baldanders an allegory 
> of Wolfe's, or of Severian's? It would be easy to say that it made no 
> difference, but I suspect that it does.

Very, very nice.

BTW, I myself don't have a strong opinion one way or the other about
Baldanders standing in for Delany. On this list we find all of the
puzzles that Gene Wolfe put in his books, all of the puzzles that he
didn't put there but are inherent either in the structure of the books
or of Reality, all of the puzzles that exist only in our minds, and 
probably one or two that don't have any existence.

In this connection, I would like to tell y'all a story.

A studious young man, finding himself possessed of unexpected fortune
and being both enamored of the pursuit of knowledge and relieved of the
necessity of supporting himself, attended the finest universities in his
country, but found himself unsatisfied with what was taught.

He heard of a sage who lived quietly apart with a few kindred souls, who
gardened and watched the stars, and who were rumored to share a secret
knowledge. He humbly introduced himself to them and begged the
philosopher to know of their secret. The sage replied that while the
secret could be learned, it could not be taught and that if he cared to,
the young man could live among them and do as they did, and perhaps he
would learn the secret.

That is after all, she added, how we all learned it.

The young man accepted the offer and started living in the community and
gardening and watching the stars.

Ten years went by.

The young man learned all that he could from the brethren and felt - and
his preceptress agreed - that he was not learning any more. So he went
off to search the far and hidden parts of the World, promising to return
with whatever he could find.

Twenty years went by. The young man returned, and went to greet his old
mentor. They sat quietly for a while.

The sage said, did you find what you were looking for?

I think so, the young man replied.

What is it, then? his teacher asked.

The young man gathered his thoughts and said:

Over the ocean,
The sun rises;
Clouds gather:
Rain falls.

His mentor looked at him for a long moment, and shook her head sadly.
She said, look at you. Your hair is grey and sparse. You are missing
some teeth. I even see a couple of liver spots on your hands. Ten years
you studied here, and twenty years elsewhere, and you are no longer
young. Soon you are going to die. This is what you have learned? You are
indeed a disappointment.

The no longer young man, shaken, with tears streaming down his cheeks,
asked his teacher, please. I beg you. Tell me the secret.

She looked at him and in a voice of passionate intensity said:

Over the ocean,
The sun rises;
Clouds gather:
Rain falls.



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