(urth) General Observation on Lupinologists (was Re: Urthbefore Earth)

b sharp bsharporflat at hotmail.com
Fri Jul 21 22:30:22 PDT 2006

I find this exchange between Dan'l and Roy very interesting:

>I'd love to see some serious _textual_ evidence for _someone_as Sev's 

>Are you having some "senior moments" a tad early? <g> Or you just 
>don'taccept Ouen as Sev's >father? Dorcas wasn't Sev's grandmother?

First I think the Lupinology world has a enough accepted dogma for most of 
us to conclude Dan'l really was having a "senior moment" and he meant he'd 
like evidence for someone as Sev's maternal grandfather.  The acceptance of 
Ouen as father, Dorcas as paternal grandmother and boatman or "Charon" as 
paternal grandfather are almost articles of faith.

Or could Dan'l really be out-skepticizing Roy here by denying Ouen's 
paternity?         Dan'l?

We often hear demands for clear texual evidence to support a claim, but we 
don't have that for Ouen and Dorcas.  All we have is a fat guy who sees a 
physical resemblance between a dark haired guy, a young blonde woman and an 
old waiter who all chanced to meet at a restaurant.  And let's not forget 
the woman's portrait in a locket...found by Ouen in a pawn shop for crying 
out loud. Can we be sure that picture is really his mother and not a 
surrogate purchased to console him in his loss? (well, yes we can be pretty 
sure, but why?)

In the absence of clear, distinct text evidence, why does EVERYBODY (even my 
brother who only read BotNS once) understand who Ouen and Dorcas are?  I 
think the answer is that BotNS is like a big jigsaw puzzle without a cover 
box.  You start by assembling piece by piece. But you don't really make 
progress until a pattern appears and you can start filling in empty spaces 
intuitively without the text telling you exactly where the next pieces fit.  
Some patterns are easier to see than others and some patterns are seen by 
some and not others.

And it is a near universally understood pattern that when family members are 
missing and physical resemblances are presented for no apparent reason we 
are expected (by the author) to jump to certain conclusions without direct 
evidence.  A physical resemblance and the name Catherine leads many to 
assume an actress that plays Katherine  is Severian's mother. This is an 
even bigger intuitive leap than the Ouen/Dorcas assumption  but I haven't 
seen a lot of argument about that since back when J. Clute suggested the old 
Autarch, Appian in that role.

In the future, sometime I'll be arguing that Catherine and Cyriaca are 
sisters, that Severian's paternal grandfather and Catherine's father are the 
same person and that Thecla's four books and Agia's four weapons help place 
each of them in Severian's family tree.  And I won't be able point to text 
which says exactly those things but I will show a certain pattern these help 
fill and, the intuitive leaps I had to make to fill them.  This pattern 
which ties to what I think is the overarching theme of BotNS (noted below).  
It won't be of much use to many Lupinologists but maybe to some who also 
perceive that same theme.

I would like to propose that knowledge of BotNS has progressed to the point 
where it can be judged sort of scientifically.  By that I mean that (like in 
science) nothing can ever be "proven" (unless Gene Wolfe decides to speak 
candidly before he passes on) so all we have are working theories.  
Competing theories.  The one (or ones) which explain best to the most people 
is accepted.

Naturally there will be divided camps and competing theories but I still 
think constructive criticism of a theory should always explain why a 
competing theory seems better.  It may be that Peter Wright will always view 
the BotNS pattern in terms of Socialist Political Theory.  For Robert Borski 
and others it might be a Moses tale.  For Dan'l and others, Catholic themes 
prevail.  But each framework might speak to many other people and there 
might be enough overlap that theories in one perceived pattern could assist 
those in another.

In recent months my own framework reference has come to agreement with Nick 
Gevers who observes that,
>"Wolfe has a fascination with paganism and the rise of Christianity that 
>eclipsed it, and has worked >this into a series of related epics: The Book 
>of the New Sun".

I'm hoping to discuss how important portions of BotNS relate to this theme 
(including the family tree), if I can find a way to break it into the 
bite-sized chunks this format requires.  Wish me luck!


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