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From: "Alice Turner" <al@interport.net>
Subject: (whorl) Canna, Dr.Talos's play
Date: Tue, 4 Mar 1997 08:29:29 

[Posted from Whorl, the mailing list for Gene Wolfe's Book of the Long Sun]

Tercel was looking up Flier terms. I offer this for "canna" as the only
Gaelic definition in the OED. "Glacaiocht" isn't there.

cannach ("kan@x). Sc. Also canna. 
[a. Gaelic cánach.] 
The Cotton-grass (Eriophorum). 
1803 A. Grant Poems 42 (Jam.) The downy cannach of the wat’ry moors. 
1804 Grahame Sabbath 244 Where the leafless cannachs wave their tufts Of
silky white. 
1810 Scott Lady of L. ii. xv, Still as the canna’s hoary beard. 
1852 D. Moir Desert. Churchyard, The hoary cannach. 

(I pasted that directly from my brand-new OED CD-ROM; it may come out
looking odd in your mailboxes, but I hope not.)

Talon,  I don't think anything could make you actually *like* Dr. Talos's
play, but it's not entirely arbitrary. On one level it is a fairly close
following of the Persian creation myth with Dorcas, Severian and Jolenta
taking the parts that later Jewish myth assigns to Eve, Adam and Lilith.
(Jahi is, quite literally, the Whore of Babylon referred to in Revelation;
Gayomart (Nod)--Baldanders--is the unsuccessful First Man that Jewish myth
eliminated). BotNS, taken through Book V, is itself a creation myth, with,
at the end, Pega, Odilo and Thais standing in in a sort of parody of the
play; the Sleeper stands in for Baldanders rather than Sevarian, for
Sevarian is at this point the Autarch---God.

Then it is prophetic in a cryptic way; it foretells the drowning of Urth
accurately and refers to Apu-Punchau. The Contessa refers backward to
Thecla, but she stands for the exultant class in general. Mantis pointed
out to me (to my astonishment!) that the scene she describes in Claw,228
actually happens in Urth, 293. I haven't made a true study of the
play---and perhaps you're right, it's more for the puzzle-seekers---but I
respect it, and I would love to hear it performed, or in a staged reading.


Questions or problems to whorl-owner@lists.best.com

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