(urth) Severian's Mausoleum

Jeffery Wilson clueland.com jwilson at clueland.com
Sun Nov 23 22:36:37 PST 2014

On 11/21/2014 9:16 AM, Robert Pirkola wrote:
> I was struck by the term "faithless door" in the passage describing
> Severian's mausoleum " . . . it was the smallness of the room, the
> thick walls of masonry, and the single, narrow window with its one
> bar, together with the faithless door (so massively heavy) that
> remained eternally ajar."  (*Shadow and Claw*, pg. 17).
> I do not know, and still do not know, what a faithless door is but
> while trying to find out, I came across this poem attributed to
> William Gifford, called *Epitaph* (1852), which has interesting resonances
> with Severian's story:

I believe it is personification, and a faithless door will not serve its 
intended purpose like a faithless servant does not serve as intended. 
The mausoleum door is stuck open so it cannot keep safe the interior, 
likewise the door in the poem fails to keep out the person that bursts 
in. I suppose a door that fails to open when necessary would be equally 

It's a quaint and archaic turn of phrase like many in the BOTNS, and 
perhaps it is no coincidence that it appears near the beginning and ends 
of the tale(s), which are also the times when Sev discusses his own 
faithlessness, as in the numerous vows he has broken.

Jeff Wilson - < jwilson at clueland.com >
A&M Texarkana Computational Intelligence Lab
< http://www.tamut.edu/cil >

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