(urth) Hut in the Jungle

b sharp bsharporflat at hotmail.com
Tue Mar 31 11:35:21 PDT 2009

Son o'Witz asks-

>would the Sorcerers underground pits list among those examples?

Good question. The entranceway is a bit labyrinthine but I don't
see any time travel elements involved as seen in the other examples.

>Is there any reason to infer that the time travel device in the
>vertical structure is forward only?

No. Severian moves from future to present in the Last House by going
down flights of stairs. Living in a tower near the Atrium of Time,
Valeria and her home have antique qualities. She and her family live
in the lower levels of her tower, below ground level. Thus I deduce she
comes from Severian's past.

I think Ultan's Library is hidden in the past; twisted, old
monkey-like Rudesind, wise in the ways of Inire, directs Severian
to a shortcut to the Library and he has to descend to get there. Cyriaca's
uncle's (a suspiciously knowlegeable character worth investigting) story
jibes with this idea of the library hidden in the past (as does the J.L.Borges

Regarding Urth's relationship to Earth I'll note that in Norse mythology,
the three Norns are Urth (past), Verthandi (present) and Skuld (future).

Wolfe won't speak on a lot of the mysteries of his books but I think on this
one he is clear and open.Here is a quote from Gene Wolfe in an interview with James
Jordan regarding Severian and Urth's place in regard to our world:

>JJ: This universe that you set in Briah, or part of it--is that our universe?
>Or is that a universe that resurrected saints have set up in the world to come
>as part of the cities that they made?

>GW: No. I thought of it as a long past universe. Something that we are repeating
>rather than something that we are.

I think there is a similar quote like this in another interview or two.

>Isangoma / Inire ? hmmmm....

Well when Inire is first mentioned we are told he is very old, bent and twisted and
looks like a monkey. Why would such an important character never be openly shown?
Using this physical description I think we can find him appearing many times, but never
openly. Recognizing that (like Hephaestus) in addition to being bent he is adept at
creating stuff helps the identification sometimes. Also, like so many Greek Gods, he
seems to have a thing for young, human women. Sometimes he can be spotted that way.

I'll mention that toward the end of UotNS, Severian sees a woman being escorted by soldiers
along the Path of Air. This woman is surely related to the Contessa in Dr. Talos' play but
other hints tie her to Catherine AND to the dead woman in the grave at the very beginning of
Severian's story. Leaving other implications to dangle, I'll conjecture that the Path of Air
leads to the top of a tower in the Citadel. Going from top to the bottom of this tower brings
a person back in time from Flood Day to the time just before Severian becomes Captain of

Anyway, here is the link to the James Jordan interview. http://members.bellatlantic.net/~vze2tmhh/wolfejbj.html#urth2
Jordan's questions are so intensely religious I think Wolfe lets his guard down a little more
than usual. Fine with me!

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