(urth) Questions . . .

stoneox17 at aol.com stoneox17 at aol.com
Wed Nov 28 08:50:37 PST 2007

I have always assumed that "quercine penetralia" could be interpreted 
"heart of the (oak) wood," so Vodalus's messanger would be saying "I am 
the heart of the wood," which makes sense if you think of Vodalus as a 
Hood type outlaw (which on one level he is).

Of course, if it's like "pelagic argosy," it has another and possibly 
several other
meanings as well.  Any suggestions?

Peter S.

-----Original Message-----
From: Eric Ortlund <eortlund at briercrest.ca>
To: The Urth Mailing List <urth at lists.urth.net>
Sent: Tue, 27 Nov 2007 1:10 pm
Subject: Re: (urth) Questions . .


As far as quercine penetralia - i.e., the inner recesses (penetralia) of
an oak (quercine) - I have absolutely no idea.  Oak trees don't seem to
show up anywhere else in the book.  Ships do, but oak trees?


From: urth-bounces at lists.urth.net [mailto:urth-bounces at lists.urth.net]
On Behalf Of Dan'l Danehy-Oakes
Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2007 11:34 AM
To: The Urth Mailing List
Subject: Re: (urth) Questions . . . [html][mx][spf]


These are great questions for examples of how to unpack the layers
of meaning Wolfe stuffs into his texts.


    3) Is there a deeper significance to the code phrases Vodalus
gives Severian?  There's so much about ships elsewhere in the
book (thepelagic argosy) - the ship on the tomb Sev rests in as a
boy, the ship he sails to Yesod in - and the Autarch drops the
phrase to Sev. as he's talking about the higher world Severian will
eventually travel to.  Or is it "just" a phrase?

There's a *lot* here.

First, when a pelagic (deep-sea) argosy "sights land," it means that the

long voyage is nearly over. This is true, but not perhaps in the way
that Vodalus intends.

Second, the argosy is "pelagic" in the sense of Pelagianism: the
HeiroFoos are guilty of the heresy of trying to perfect humans through
natural means rather than relying on divine grace.

The ship on Sev's tomb *is* Tzadkiel's ship; at one point, it is implied
that there is only one ship of this sort in the Universe.

There are no coincidences
   [COINCIDENCE: You weren't paying attention to the other half of
   what was going on. -- Chad C. Mulligan, "The HipCrime Vocab"]
in the Book of the New Sun; what seems to be a coincidence is
always at least a synchronicity and most likely part of someone's
plan, if only Wolfe's map of the meanings of the Book.

One of the many things I love about the Book is that what appears
at first to be driven by a series Dickensian coincidences turns out
to be a causally-driven plot (though, admittedly, the causality does
not always work forwards in linear time).

On another level, of course, it's just a phrase.

Someone else wanna unpack the second password?

Dan'l Danehy-Oakes, writer, trainer, bon vivant
I am miserable, he is miserable,
We are miserable.
Can't we have a party? Would he rather have a party?

Invite the next generation of students to consider Briercrest College 
Seminary. Visit www.briercrest.ca/refer.
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