(urth) Pike's ghost

David Stockhoff dstockhoff at verizon.net
Wed Nov 30 13:35:43 PST 2011

On 11/30/2011 4:10 PM, Gerry Quinn wrote:
> > Thank you Lee for pointing out that the memories Severian inherited
> > from the previous Autarchs make no mention of the Mandragora.
> Or of any of the many other things he found in his quarters.  They 
> were, however, the quarters of earlier Autarchs, even though they had 
> not been used for centuries.
> - Gerry Quinn

How do we know this? Is the answer somewhere here:

Yet it was impossible that I should occupy a suite other than that 
anciently set aside for

the autarchs; and impossible too that I should have it refurnished to a 
degree that would

imply criticism of my predecessors. And if the furniture had more to 
recommend it to the

mind than to the body, what a delight it was to discover the treasures 
those same

predecessors had left behind: There were papers relating to matters now 
utterly forgotten

and not always identifiable; mechanical devices ingenious and enigmatic; 
a microcosm

that stirred to life at the warmth of my hands, and whose minute 
inhabitants seemed to

grow larger and more human as I watched them; a laboratory containing 
the fabled

"emerald bench" and many other things, the most interesting of which was 
a mandragora

in spirits.

Or not? Is the "most interesting" mandragora really on the same level of 
significance as the "unidentifiable papers"? Is Severian supposed to 
have instant recall of things his predecessors have themselves forgotten?

But for diplomacy's sake let me edit Lee's comment a bit:

It appears from the questions Severian puts to the mandragora that he 
doesn't know who or what it is. From this we may conclude that "the 
memories Severian inherited from the previous Autarchs make no mention 
of the Mandragora."

Is that better?

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