(urth) Father Inire

mournings glory mourningsglory at hotmail.com
Thu May 25 12:16:32 PDT 2006

Plunking on the honkytonk of his brain, bsharp improvises the following 
cadenza about the pansimianess of Father Inire:

<The most telling clue is when Rudesind first comes down from the ladder 
"like an aged monkey, seeming all arms and legs and wrinkled neck; his hands 
were as long as my feet, the crooked fingers lined with blue veins". Why 
would Wolfe use almost all the physical descriptions of Father Inire for 
Rudesind unless he really was him?>

In his essay on the onomastics of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe writes, "In this 
piece I'd like to go into names a bit more deeply, beginning with the rule 
of naming I used: Everything is just what it says it is."

Rudesind, of course, is a saint's name, a convention used over and over 
again by the author to differentiate humans from Other -- a rule however 
bsharp violates in favor of ape's blood and gerontica. Moreover, there is in 
Rudesind an exquisite pun, because it derives from the Latin word, 'rudis,' 
which comes about as close as you can say in that antiquated language, to 
"paint by numbers." This is because Rudesind is one of those failed artist 
types who is perhaps best exemplified by the Shawian dictate, "Those who 
can, do; those who can't, curate." Hence his endless starf*cking prattle 
about Fechin, as well as his own artistic ambitions as a youth. This is not 
extensive deep cover by an alien operative; it's gall by someone who's never 
fully accepted his own mediocrity. (Interestingly, as Rudesind conducts 
Severian through a narrower corridor of the House Absolute's gallery, the 
torturer-critic opines of the pictures there, "From what I could see of 
them, they appeared very bad--more daubs." This may well be because he's in 
Rudesind's personal wing.)

This does not, however, mean that Rudesind hasn't been used by Father Inire 
as a factotum. As Severian tells the curator at the end of _Citadel_, "We 
know your master is what the people call a cacogen, and that for whatever 
reason, he is one of those few who have chosen to cast their lots entirely 
with humanity, remaining on Urth as a human being. The Cumaean is another 
such, though perhaps you did not know that. We even know that your master 
was with us in the jungles of the north, where he tried until it was too 
late to rescue my predecessor."

So let me attempt a summation: Rudesind, as the root of his name suggests, 
is "unskilled, not improved by art." He's a dripper and spitter manqué-- not 
an eater of fleas in the Hierodule zoo.


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