(urth) Severian's Sexuality

b sharp bsharporflat at hotmail.com
Sat Jun 7 07:12:27 PDT 2008

Brunian asks:

>Jolenta is his sister? Cyriaca is his aunt? Agia and Agilus are his cousins?

>Is there any evidence for any of this in the book?

I don't know!!! I think so. And I'm not alone in that.  But maybe that's just
 because I/ we were looking for evidence. From my first readings of this series
I felt we were meant to identify members of Severian's family. For those who don't 
perceive that challenge the evidence will seem circumstantial or even 
manufactured.  And Wolfe ain't tellin'.

Few debate the conclusion that Ouen is Severian's father and Dorcas 
his grandmother. But it is never stated openly in the book.

I think maybe it was Clute who deduced that the maid who plays St.
Katharine is Severian's mother Catherine, whose face looks like a pool of still
water (mirror) to Severian.

As far as I know it was Borski who figured Agia and Agilus to be his cousins. 
He makes a good case that Dorcas died in childbirth long after Ouen was born, 
gving Severian an aunt or uncle, so why not cousins.  Severian is a twin so 
perhaps his cousins are also.  The incest between Agia and Agilus might connect
 them to Severian and Dorcas' family. Perhaps the sexual attraction between 
Agia and Severian also. The golden aureole Wolfe keeps giving A and A could be
a connection to Dorcas.

Borski sees the prisoner who nails children's feet to the floor as Severian's aunt.
I think Cyriaca is a much better candidate.  She is the right age and height.  
She shares a dark aureole of hair and an oval face with Catherine. They both 
escaped from the Pelerines.  The Oedipal incest theme ties in nicely. Moreover, 
Cyriaca is comfortable escapingto Nessus, where she can cook and sew 
(Agia and Agilus ran a used clothing shop in Nessus their mother had owned).  
Agia possesses knowledge and acoutrements (scarlet cape and misericorde) 
associated with the Pelerines.

Jolenta might be the best candidate for his sister, Severa because SOMEBODY has
to be Severa. She is the right age and height. She has hair color like Dorcas, but 
that and her real name are suspiciously hidden when Severian first meets her. There
is the incest tie-in.  Jolenta could have been a witch who left her guild like Severian 
(though perhaps Merryn and the Cumaean would have mentioned it..or maybe not).

There is evidence for other family members as well, but where do you draw the line 
of skepticism? Wolfe leaves things in a way which allows a reader the range from 
dismissing even Dorcas as a family member through accepting the possiblily of even more
than I've mentioned. 
(I could hint at [grand] Father Inire but perhaps we need not have that can of worms opened ;-).

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