(urth) The Katharine maid

Nathan Spears spearofsolomon at yahoo.com
Thu Oct 26 12:50:39 PDT 2006

Roy, I'm confused about the contradiction you are trying to point out.  The passage from Urth names his mother and says that she bore him in her prison cell, and the passage from Claw says that he fed from her breast in her prison cell.  I think the sentence you highlight is pointing out that children will not breast feed after they are taken by the torturers.  Severian is still with his mother in her cell, he has not yet been "taken."

----- Original Message ----
From: Roy C. Lackey <rclackey at stic.net>
To: The Urth Mailing List <urth at lists.urth.net>
Sent: Thursday, October 26, 2006 2:25:17 PM
Subject: Re: (urth) The Katharine maid

Rex Lycanthrosaurus quoted and wrote:

>On Thu, 26 Oct 2006 11:41:41 -0400, "b sharp" <bsharporflat at hotmail.com>
>> Of course Severian won't openly
>> tell US who his parents are...so if they know they had to figure it out,
>> as we did.
>Actually, Severian names Catherine as his mother in Chapter XLIV of
>"Perhaps I was too distant from myself, from the Severian of bone and
>flesh borne by Catherine in a cell of the oubliette under the Matachin
>This also seems to contradict Roy Lackey's supposition that Severian was
>borne outside the Matachin.

Ah, yes, so it does. It also contradicts the passage I quoted earlier:

"[ . . .] a breast running with warm milk. It was my mother's breast then,
and I could hardly contain my elation (which might have wiped the memory
away) at having reached back at last to her, after so many fruitless
attempts. My arms sought to clasp her, and I would, if only I could, have
lifted my eyes to look into her face. My mother certainly, for the children
the torturers take know no breasts. The grayness at the edge of my field of
vision, then, was the metal of her cell wall. Soon she would be led away to
scream in the Apparatus or gasp in Allowin's Necklace." (CLAW, chapter

Both quotes cannot be true. The sentence, "My mother certainly, for the
children the torturers take know no breasts." is either a pointless lie or
another example of Wolfe being forced to change his mind about some things
when he came to write the sequel. I can't think of any way to reconcile the
two passages.


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