(urth) Thea's Identity

DAVID STOCKHOFF dstockhoff at verizon.net
Wed Apr 10 12:57:29 PDT 2013

From: Lee Berman <severiansola at hotmail.com>
>To: "urth at urth.net" <urth at urth.net> 
>Sent: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 2:41 PM
>Subject: (urth) Thea's Identity
>>David Stockhoff:  1) I forgot about the triangular faces in 5HC---of course. 
>>Are there heart-shaped faces in 5HC?
>I have always thought that Phaedria's widow's peak was the suggestion of a
>heart shaped face. (though I tend to subscribe to Borski's notion that the 
>dark hair and violet eyes of Phaedria, Thecla and (presumably) Thea might
>be a Wolfean reference to a boyhood crush on the young Elizabeth Taylor. Who
>else is famous for "violet" eyes?).
>---True, Thecla has a huge widow's peak---so of course, she has a heart-shaped face. I accept that "heart-shaped " and "triangular" are synonymic markers for the same thing but not meant as a distinction of real from copy.
>>2) I agree that the three maids have been repurposed as three clones, a clue 
>>that maids and servants with matching names are clones. Pega and Pelagia fit 
>Exactly. Thanks for making that clear. I think the labelling of the Holy Katharine
>actress as a "maid" is hammered home a few too many times to be accidental.
>>3) I agree that we should probably shift our assumptions a bit to consider cloning 
>>as not something just for nobles and mad scientists. I find this to be difficult, 
>>but I suppose a palace servant could afford it
>My interpretation or assumption would be that there is someone in the House Absolute
>who recognized Odilo's supreme competence in his palace assignment and ordered the 
>cloning to ensure continuity of the position. In fact I might even offer a possibility-
>the person who has the most House Absolute continuity himself and who surely has
>access to cloning technology- Father Inire.
>---That would support the idea that Odilo is worthy of godhood, but . . .
>>What does this do to assumptions about Severian's parentage and why/how he got into the 
>>Guild? Was Severian actually born of his mother with Odilo's clone---was that Catherine's 
>Catherine and Ouen being Severian's real parents, I'd say yes, getting pregnant was part of 
>her crime. She had been a Pelerine, most likely. But was she possibly married after she ran
>from them?
>I suspect adultery was also a part of her crime. I say it because there is some sort of 
>connection (discussed previously) between Severian's mother and the woman in the grave we
>encounter in Chapter 1 of Shadow. Her livid face and the later detailed description of 
>Allowin's Necklace suggest strangulation. And Cyriaca's punishment for adultery was
>---I agree. But it seems perversely redundant to cite adultery and then add cloning. If they had sex, she got pregnant; if either of them were infertile or castrated or ... then cloning makes sense. My thought was that cloning might technically be proscribed, so that a noble(woman) might use it freely unless she has enemies. This would at least explain her imprisonment.
>(other Catherine-Cyriaca parallels have also been discussed previously)
>---Do you remember an ancient discussion about Catherine and hair color as a marker? The upshot was that Severian does not look like his  mother. 
>>(4) It fits Wolfe's Greek model to allow ownership of other humans; cloning is an update of that. It >allows him to depict a plainly fallen but not thoroughly evil world, and fits with the Commonwealth as >the very last doddering, weak vestige, Constantinople-like, of a global/interstellar empire after a >population collapse.
>I like this perspective and agree. While Wolfe may appreciate our more enlightened age to live in,
>himself, he seems more auctorially fascinated by ancient, darker civilizations than our own. 
>---Well, to him, they aren't necessarily darker. Remember his essay on Tolkien, and I assume the same applies to Homer, more or less.
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