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From: m.driussi@genie.com
Subject: (whorl) razors here 'n' there
Date: Wed, 28 Oct 98 17:39:00 GMT

Odd detail re: the razor of Silk's father, potent and mysterious
artifact.  It reminds me of a detail from the Jonas/Miles engima in
TBOTNS, when Severian asks the reanimated soldier if he carries a

"I mention this trifling incident because it was the first thing I
said to him that he seemed to comprehend.  He nodded, then reaching
under his hauberk produced one of those little blades that country
people use, razors their smiths grind from the halves of worn
oxshoes.  I ... asked if he had soap.  If he did, he failed to
understand me, and after a moment he seated himself on a rock from
which he could stare into the water" (IV, ch. 3).

This scene contains much.  That the soldier stares into the water
like Narcissus is one thing, but that it later turns out he somehow
looks like a male form of Jolenta (Severian shows him his face in a
mirror and asks him if it is like the one of the most beautiful woman
in the world; "Miles" says yes; then Severian tells him Jolenta is
dead [ch. 6]) is an additional puzzle piece which I don't think has
ever been addressed.  (Is the body "Miles" therefore literally the
brother of Jolenta?  Or is this another case of mirror magic
transformation--that the Briatic creature who steps into the mirrors
returns looking something more like the beloved: so that the cat
of "The Cat" goes in like a cat but comes out like a miniature

Be that as it may, the point of this post is the apparently heavy
weight carried by "razor" but not "soap" in the mind of the risen
soldier.  This sure seems to be significant, and it even seems
familiar--but of what?  Something in Tarzan?  Certainly there was a
scene in "Greystoke: the Legend of Tarzan" (if I got the title right
and the scene right) involving the naming of razor, but nothing like
that in the book Tarzan.

Is it something slight and oblique, like "razors are made of the
metal iron; androids are made of metal and named after iron;
therefore the Jonas in Miles remembers razor (which might presuppose
that Jonas was riding in Miles before the death by fever, instead of
strictly after the death by fever)"?

Hard to say.  This razor connection isn't nearly as strong as the
"scarf of entrapment" which appears directly in both TBOTNS and


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