Fragile Bird

The Book of the New Sun First Read and Re-read project [spoilers]

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This is a first read for me, I had started the book a while ago and got bogged down.  So I plan to do this chapter by chapter, but I've had a very busy Sunday so I'm a bit behind.

Chapter I, Resurrection and Death
Our introduction to Severian, a torturer's apprentice. 
Two important events are mentioned in this chapter, Severian goes swimming with fellow apprentices Roche, Drotte and Eata and almost drowns, and when they return for the night, late, they have been locked out of the necropolis which they must cross through to return to their quarters.  They run into a group of volunteer watchmen who refuse to allow them in, but Eata dashes through the gates and so everyone follows after him.  While going through the foggy grounds Severian literally runs into a group who are stealing the body of a recently deceased woman.  The group is made of a woman named Thea, with a heart shaped face (called "my liege" by the men), an unnamed man, and Vodalus, who Severian helps rescue from the volunteers.  Vodalus gives Severian a coin for helping him.

Severian says his most important value is loyalty to the guild, yet he will serve Vodalus and remain a torturer.  He also mentions he has the ability to remember everything.  He also says this night was the start of his manhood.
 

Chapter II, Severian

Severian has never known his parents, and neither have the other apprentices.  They were all brought to the guild as small children.  There used to be women in the guild, but not for a long time, because they got excessive in their torture.
If pregnant women are brought to the torturers, they cut the babies out, raising the boys and sending girls to the witches.

Severian has two dreams that he dreams, one about time stopping, and another about some kind of miraculous light, or flame, that can engender life in things that fall into it, like a leaf growing legs and feelers.

The boys have secret places in the Citadel and the necropolis.  Severian has found a mausoleum where he believes the nobleman displayed in a funeral bronze looks like him.

The boys also go swimming in the river Gyoll, which winds through the city Nessus.  The day of the opening chapter he almost drowns when his legs get tangled in the roots of the nenuphar plant.  While drowning, he has 2 visions, one of Marubius, the previous, deceased, master of the apprentices, and another where he was lying in a torturer's cell, listening to a sobbing woman.  A woman reaches down for him in his visions and pulls him up out of the water.  Witnesses see him literally shooting up.  When revived he tells the others about Marubius, and a boatman asks if he also saw a woman, but his friends say no, only Marubius.

He will never go swimming again.

 

More to follow on the next chapters.

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Good summaries FB, but I'll also say not to take on an onerous burden unless you enjoy it.

Highlights for me in the first two chapters:

- setting: pikes, lanterns, walking stick blade, pistol, grave robbers and walled citadel all suggest 16th or 17th century but Vodalus and group escape in a silver flier and there is mention of visitors from another planet. So we have a hint of a far future scenario with mixed eras of tech.

- Severian introduces the tale as far in his distant past, starting him on a path toward a throne. And this begins with a river immersion and a vision, plus unknown heritage (possibly noble) and suggestions of a journey/exile ahead of him. Those hints sound like a messianic flavor of the archetypal hero's journey.

- I assume the woman in his vision is important - the face he saw was not the source of the sobbing.

- Political system includes an Autarch and a aristocracy(?) of exultants who wed their daughters to the Autarch in symbolic concubinage. Slightly reminiscent of the centralized monarchy of Louis XIV at Versailles.

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As this is a re-read for me (but it's been only  a few weeks that I read it for the first time and found it confusing...) I probably pick up more hints than first readers.

The title of the first chapter seems to have at least a double meaning. The resurrection refers to Severian who almost drowned (although the details are only related in the following chapter), the death refers to his drowning and to the scene in the necropolis where he kills for the first time to help Vodalus. We also do not know yet (but we get a hint a few chapters later) what the point of the grave robbery was. There is also the "awakening" by the meeting with Vodalus that sets Severian onto something beyond his Guild.

The vision during the near-death experience is mysterious; we do not know about the deceased master. Neither do we know whether the encounter with the "giant mermaid" who saves him from drowning was a vision or real.

While the first chapter put us somewhat confusingly in medias res the second chapter is more conventional and tells about Severian's education in the Torturer's Guild. (There is one disgusting clinical detail about a flaying torture, the "client" is a collaboration suspect.) Because we are also told that Vodalus is some kind of revolutionary or outlaw.

Whatever the details of the political/social system, the castes (like "exultants") seem to be physically distinguished. Exultants are very tall (Severian is described as a youth tall for his age (about 16?) but Vodalus is much taller) and slender and long limbed, especially the women who also have "heart-shaped" faces. This also hints at a long history of breeding or genetic modification that led to physically different castes (although alll still are clearly human and can interbreed, I think).

We get more hints that we are in a post-spacefaring age (maybe this is chapter 3) as one level of the Torturer's Tower is said to have been the "propulsion chamber" of the original structure. It also has artillery in one of the highest levels but these sound more like later (regressed tech was described already, there are some high-tech remnants (like the fliers) but with some exceptions common tech level seems more like late medieval/early modern, even pistols or firearms seem very rare) not original spaceship cannons (they are fired for celebrations). It seems that at least some parts of the Citadel are abandoned (or probably never launched) huge spaceships. Even the dungeons have age-old tech far beyond the current level (lights that never go out, although some have failed).

Overall the Citadel seems like a huge city-like structure situated close to the river. A little further (mainly on the other side of the river?) is Nessus, a city that is even larger. The necropolis is roughly in between, I think (on the side of the citadel)

Edited by Jo498

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To continue.  I will make my observations after I summarize the next three chapters.

Chapter III, The Autarch's Face

The chapter starts with a reference to the coin Vodalus gave Severian, but then launches into a description of the tower the torturers occupy, the Matachin Tower, at the back of the Citadel on the western side.  He calls the rooms occupied by the masters and journeymen cabins, the rooms above occupied by the apprentices dormitories, and above them attics and abandoned cubicles, while near the top there is a gunroom where the torturers would operate guns if the Citadel ever came under attack.

The main level of the tower is described as originally having been the propulsion chamber of the original structure (is the tower in fact a spaceship?)  but the main work is done below in the oubliette (a medieval word for dungeons accessed by trapdoors in the ceiling) with three usable levels that are clean and dry and lit by lights that last forever, though some have burnt out, suggesting they have been there a very long time. 

We then visit one of the prisoner's cells, who are called "clients".  The Master, dressed in a sable trimmed robe and wearing a velvet mask with a protruding optical device that allows him to see, describes the torture so far administered to the client, a maidservant who's mistress is being sought.  She has apparently escaped with Vodalus, perhaps the woman Severian met in the graveyard?  Her leg has been flayed from below the knee down to the toes.  Students are never to mention information they have heard from clients, and Severian is admonished for asking who Vodalus of the Wood is.

Afterwards Severian examines the coin given to him by Vodalus and is shocked to discover it is a gold chrisos.  Other denominations are the silver asimi and the bronze orchalk.  One side bears the face of a woman, the other a flying ship like the one he has seen in the coat of arms in the mausoleum with the funeral bronze of the man Severian believes he resembles.  Severian returns to the mausoleum and buries the coin under a loose stone, reciting a spell that is supposed to keep hidden objects safe.

Severian goes on to describe how students move up in rank and what their tasks are.  He mentions there are many other guilds with students, like those training animals in the Bear Tower, where he discovered for the first time torturers are hated and despised.

At one point he asks Roche if the Autarch (the leader of the autarchy, a version of the word autocracy) has come to the Citadel, but Roche scoffs at this, telling him they would know from activity if he were.  Instead, the Autarch is likely at the hidden palace north of the city, the Absolute Palace.  The Autarch would use a flier to travel between the Palace and the Citadel, and would land at the Flag Tower.

Clients constantly arrive in coffles of 10 to 20, a coffle being a line of slaves or prisoners chained together (who knew there was a word specifically for this?).  Severian wonders if they are Vodalus supporters, but in fact they are profiteering merchants, camp followers who turned out to be spies, and various sordid civil criminals.  They have been brought from the frontlines of some war zone.

Severian doubts his sanity, thinking how his life has been filled with lies.

 

I have mentioned a great deal of detail from this chapter, but I expect that an early chapter like this one is packing in facts that will be referenced in future chapters and books.

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Chapter IV, Triskele

I will start by saying this chapter puzzled me.  I assume Severian's fleeting compassion for the dog he names Triskele (finally I know where that name came from!) foreshadows his eventual traitorous act against his guild.

Severian finds the body of a dog that had been tossed by the keepers of the Bear Tower for disposal and discovers it is still alive.  He notes the torturers bury their discards in the lower reaches of the Necropolis. He refers to ice hanging from the sides of the towers (it is now winter) looking like the Claw of the Conciliator, whatever that is.  I'm sure we will soon find out.

He smuggles the dog into the 4th level of the dungeons, where some of the floors are covered with mud a hand's breadth deep.  He sews up it's wounds and amputates part of a front leg.  The dog was obviously used for fighting.  Severian notes all the guilds follow the same pattern as the torturer's guild, the guild members' relationships being the same as that of the clients to the torturers, the quarry to the hunters, the buyers to the tradesmen, the governed to the governors, men to women:  all love that which will they will destroy.  I suspect this is a core theme to the books.

Eventually the dog recovers and wanders off, reappearing now and then until eventually disappearing for good, likely having been adopted by someone.  At one point Severian tries to find it, and searches the tunnels where the lights have burned out, getting lost in the dark, eventually climbing up towards light, emerging from a hole that a heavy stone sundial has collapsed into, and finding himself in a courtyard filled with rose plants and statues of strange beasts. 

He tries the doors and they are all locked, but then a young woman named Valeria enters the courtyard and brings him into her house.  Her family had waited a long time to leave Urth with an autarch from a long ago era, but were never called, and over that time (centuries?) have fallen into poverty.  They talk to each other for hours (at least one sentry's watch) and she tells him she had been told stories about a Tower of Torment, where all who enter die in agony.  Severian assures her that is a fable.  She also speaks to him about his love for the dog, and says 'you love him, so you may love another',  He agrees, but secretly decides he will never have another dog.

Edited by Fragile Bird

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Chapter V, The Picture-Cleaner and Others

Severian is elevated to become captain of the apprentices, replacing Roche when he and Drotte are elevated to journeymen.  He chooses Eata as his lieutenant, by first beating him to a pulp and then demanding loyalty, and then in turn the two of them beat the apprentices below them into submission.

As captain he has much more freedom and sees more parts of the Citadel.  He is sent to deliver a letter to the archivist and goes to the pinakotheken (a Greek word meaning the building where pictures are kept and used in modern times as the name of art galleries in various European countries, so familiar to our European boarders) where alcoves are filled with grimy pictures.  Two are described, one with a dancer whose wings seemed leeches, and a silent-looking woman who gripped a double-bladed dagger and sat beneath a mortuary mask.  Does anyone recognize these paintings by their description?

The gallery is huge, Severian walks at least a league past alcoves filled with paintings, when he comes across a man on a ladder cleaning a picture.  The picture shows a warrior on a desolate planet, and it really moves Severian deeply.  From the description it is the picture of an astronaut standing on the moon with a view of the planet Earth over his shoulder.  The cleaner explains it's from long ago, before the moon was irrigated and planted with trees, and a time when the moon was much further away from the Urth.

Two men discussing the fact Vodalus escaped after getting what he came for walk up to Sevarian, and demand to know who he is.  They are repulsed by the fact he is a torturer.  They are armigers (medieval term for persons entitled to bear a heraldic device, or arms), taller than Sevarian and wearing brighter clothing ('almost exhultants', which seems to be the highest caste).  They give Sevarian a complicated instruction on how to get to the archives, but demand he wait before he goes there so that they can get far away from him.

After they leave, the man on the ladder, named Rudesind, comes down and gives him easier instructions.  Sevarian says armigers are useless and should be done away with.  The cleaner tells Sevarian it's the third time he has cleaned the picture, the first being when he was but a young apprentice being trained.

Sevarian heads to the archives, noticing the paintings he passes all contain books in them

The Absolute Palace is mentioned again, this time by Rudesind saying they get pictures the Palace didn't want.

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Chapter VI, The Master of the Curators

Severian meets Master Ultan, the curator, an exhultant at least a head and a half taller than Severian, an old man with a white beard down to his waist and, surprisingly, blind.  He also meets his assistant Cyby, who brings a five-branched candlestick so there is light to read the message Severian is delivering.  The archives are filled with row upon row of giant bookcases, all filled with books.  Some are in poor shape, with rats nesting in the lower shelves.

The head of the torturers is Master Gurloes, and their guild is called the Order of the Seekers for Truth and Penitence.  He has requested four books from the archivist, requested by a client, an exhultant named Chatelaine Thecla.  She is with the guild "until her time with us is come", or as she has instructed Gurloes to say, "until the heart of the Autarch...is softened toward her".  Cyby is sent off to collect three of the books, and Ultan goes to find the fourth, a book about legends that could be traced back to half-forgotten facts.

There is a brief discussion of the book, and then Severian asks the archivist if he knows about the corpse-eaters, as he has heard that by devouring the flesh of the dead, together with a certain pharmacon (drug), they are able to relive the lives of their victims.  They go on to discuss whether the results would be the same no matter what part of the body was eaten, the right hand or the left hand or a foot.  Ultan says it's a pity he's a torturer, he could have been a philosopher instead.  Severian wonders how a man's entire life can be contained in each joint of every finger, surely impossible.  Ultan counters with the idea that a son resembles his father, and the father resembles the grandfather, and so on back generations, and yet the source was contained in a drachm of sticky fluid.

Severian mentions he never returns again to the lower levels of the archives, though he visits the upper levels.  He likes to mention things he does once and never again.

The chapter closes with his comment, as he hurries to return to his tower, that he is to meet his destiny and eventually himself in Chatelaine Thecla.

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14 hours ago, Iskaral Pust said:

Good summaries FB, but I'll also say not to take on an onerous burden unless you enjoy it.

I would concur. The chapters are so dense that the summaries will be, too. Plus, we all should be reading along, so I don't know how necessary they are. But good on ya, FB, for being willing to do it!

2 chapters in. Severian's near drowning is an interesting lesson in how to read the book. It's obviously a very important experience, but it initially occurs off screen. The first chapter mentions it several times but we don't really see it until the second chapter. And even then it's not adequately explained. The rest of the book follows that same pattern. I always question whether Severian actually drowned there or not. Perhaps bringing himself back to life was his first "miracle?"

The 5 coffins, 3 full, 2 open, in Severian's mausoleum is fascinating to me. Later in the book he says that he knows he's not the first Severian, so I wonder if that means he's the 4th? Presumably then there would be another after him. But the more I start thinking along those sorts of lines the more my brain hurts.

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I suppose I have had my own selfish reasons for doing chapter summaries, the prime reason being the fact that I found on my initial attempt to read the book that the chapters are so dense with information that I found reading them a struggle.  I feel like this is a seminal book for many authors, including GRRM, and surely Joe Abercrombie's torturer has his roots in Severian.

I am also trying to read with the thought that Gene Wolfe's Roman Catholic faith highly influenced him.  So far I have seen a torturer with a streak of compassion in him, which in the descriptions of the plot has a huge role since Severian is described as a torturer who betrays his guild by showing compassion to a prisoner.

Some important hints, I assume.  Vodalus perhaps has stolen the body from the necropolis in order to eat the flesh of the body and re-live her life.  Women will play a very important role in Severians future:  "all love that which they will destroy", which came right after Severian notes clients are to torturers as men are to women.

The archivist says the books themselves are more important than the information they contain.  There is a small crystal, he noted, that contains more information than all the books in the archives.  This society seems to have become fossilized after centuries of expansion, and the fossils are rotting as surely as the books that are being eaten by the rats, or the pictures covered in centuries of grime.

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Just now, Fragile Bird said:

I am also trying to read with the thought that Gene Wolfe's Roman Catholic faith highly influenced him.  So far I have seen a torturer with a streak of compassion in him, which in the descriptions of the plot has a huge role since Severian is described as a torturer who betrays his guild by showing compassion to a prisoner.

This is definitely huge. The number of characters named after saints is mind boggling. In a lot of ways Severian is kind of a mirror image of Jesus. Jesus suffered for you  while Severian makes you suffer. Jesus sacrificed himself for the world, while Severian sacrifices the world.

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matt b, I also see that the guilds all have saint's days, just like medieval guilds had patron saints.  Wolfe's use of medieval language, far far far into the future of our planet, is also fascinating.  I find it easier to read by my computer so I can look up all the obscure words and terms he uses. 

And, ha ha, I guess the idea Severian sacrifices the planet is a bit of a spoiler....

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FWIW there is an appendix by Wolfe that explains some concepts, e.g. castes, coins, units of measure largely spoiler-free. E.g. "sieur" and "chatelaine" are the honorific titles when adressing exultants.

St. Katherine is the patroness of the Torturers, the celebration is described in a later chapter.

I think Wolfe takes a lot of effort and succeeds to describe the atmosphere of a really old civilization that is aware of a huge and rich history and knows that they are "degenerated" to some extent but Severian still finds layers and layers of old history. Of course it is confusing for the reader because he does not really know what's just for setting and what has more specific symbolic meanings or carries hints. The large and often antique vocabulary is another tool. "pinakotheken" is actually a German plural form of that Greek word: Two famous museums/galleries in Munich are "Alte Pinakothek" and "Neue Pinakothek", but the word is not at all common except for those museums. (I have no clue about the first two pictures described.)

The huge library (that extends apparently underground much further than the Citadel, or this might not be meant literally by the curator) could also be an allusion to Borges. Like the library the "atrium of time" is something from a past that is mostly/partly ruined but still shows the heights of old achievements.

It also seems that the society is quite fragmented and not very well organized. Of course, Severian's experiences have been rather restricted so far, but some of the Guilds seem to be mainly tending to their own business. I do not remember that their is a commander in charge of the whole citadel. We do not really learn what the animals are trained for (supposedly blood sports?). Again it is implied that there is a rich and strange fauna, including animals that have died out long ago and were bred anew or maybe they are newly bred hybrids that are named after the extinct ones: arctother (huge bear), smilodons etc. One of the appendices also says that what is rendered as "mount" or "steed" are not our horses but superior beasts with a similar function.

The passage where Severian suddenly doubts his sanity sets a main tension for the whole narrative, I guess. Severian claimed before that he has almost total recall and cannot really forget anything, has trouble to understand how people feel whose memories tend to pale. But now he says he is also on the brink of madness, so he is in fact an unreliable narrator.

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If you look up pinakotheken you are led to the original Greek pinacotheca (the Germans use the letter k) and to the fact it's used for numerous galleries in Italy (the Romans also used the word) and in Brazil.  I assume it's also used in Greece.

How is the reference to the archives a reference to Borges?  Merely by having a library?

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That a German(ic) form is used is clear by the "en" plural ending (like in some old Saxon words as "ox - oxen") The Greek plural would be pinakothekai and the romance languages would not have "en" anding either. It's a minor point

I think Wolfe mixes references and takes word from several languages to achieve the impression some mix of old, basically European cultures. Titles like "sieur" are French, the gold, silver and brass coins have the Greek names of those metals etc.

Blind librarian. Library that does not have obvious borders and might contain "everything". Legends turning into history and vice versa. It does not have to be a Borges reference but it very well could be. (As The Name of the Rose and The shadow of the Torturer both appeared in 1980 this would at least be a nice coincidence...)

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I only meant to indicate that pinacotheca is used in the name of art galleries in countries other than Germany, like Italy and Brazil, since you said you knew only of the usage in Germany.  In contrast, it is not used in North America.

I think most GoT readers understand the relationship between 'sir', 'sieur' and 'ser'.  Chatelaine is well known and used in English (at least in Canada, and the UK as well, I believe), as the lady of the house, and the female version of castellan.

Since I haven't read any Borges, I still don't understand the Borges reference.

 

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3 hours ago, matt b said:

I would concur. The chapters are so dense that the summaries will be, too. Plus, we all should be reading along, so I don't know how necessary they are. But good on ya, FB, for being willing to do it!

I'm not actually doing a reread, just following the thread, so I'm appreciating the summaries!

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References to propulsion chamber and bulkhead definitely suggest the tower at least is a landed spacecraft. Reference to an irrigated moon strengthens this.

There is also a reference to the age of flight to new suns and, before that, an age of burrowing. Perhaps a nuclear winter stimulated the burrowing and then extra-solar exodus?

The atrium of time was strange. Why is it called that? I wondered for a moment of he had traveled back in time given the outmoded dress of the girl and her knowledge of Latin. I want to check the exact translation of those mottoes: one at least means that happiness in brief but misery lasts much longer, which is not precisely what she offers as the translation.

The painting cleaner and the blind librarian provide some glimpses at this world's history.

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The mottoes of the sun dials are translated very freely, more literally it would be:

Lux dei vitae viam monstrat: The light of god shows the way/path of life (this is interpreted in the "New sun" theology we don't know much about)

Felicibus brevis, miseris hora longa: The hour/time (appears) short for the happy ones, but long for the sad ones.

The last one is not translated at all:

Aspice ut aspiciar: Watch/look so that I may be watched/looked at (not quite sure about that one) My translation is correct, but I did not understand, so I found this absolutely fascinating list of sun dial inscriptions. It's the sundial addressing the sun: Look at me, so I am looked at!

http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/gatty/sundials/201.html

That book has of course all three mottoes, the first one continues in a second line

L

UX DEI VITÆ VIAM MONSTRAT,

S

ED UMBRA HORAM ATQUE FIDEM DOCET.

The light of God showeth the way of Life,
But the shadow telleth both the hour and teacheth the faith.

On a fine vertical dial set up in 1891 on an old stone wall which marked the northern boundary of the grounds of the Sta. Barbara Mission in California. It is in full view of the highway, so can be seen by all the passers by."It is a pretty sight,"says the writer in the "Andover Review." "to see the picturesque native Californians stopping to read the Latin, in their softened Spanish accent, with evident comprehension." There is also the inscription: "This dial was made, inscribed and set by Rowland Hazard of Peace Dale, Rhode Island, in a part of the Sta. Barbara Mission wall, built 1786, standing on his land."

 

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The mottoes of the sun dials are translated very freely, more literally it would be:

Lux dei vitae viam monstrat: The light of god shows the way/path of life (this is interpreted in the "New sun" theology we don't know much about)

Felicibus brevis, miseris hora longa: The hour/time (appears) short for the happy ones, but long for the sad ones.

The last one is not translated at all:

Aspice ut aspiciar: Watch/look so that I may be watched/looked at (not quite sure about that one) My translation is correct, but I did not understand, so I found this absolutely fascinating list of sun dial inscriptions. It's the sundial addressing the sun: Look at me, so I am looked at!

http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/gatty/sundials/201.html

That book has of course all three mottoes, the first one continues in a second line

LUX DEI VITÆ VIAM MONSTRAT,

SED UMBRA HORAM ATQUE FIDEM DOCET.

The light of God showeth the way of Life,
But the shadow telleth both the hour and teacheth the faith.

On a fine vertical dial set up in 1891 on an old stone wall which marked the northern boundary of the grounds of the Sta. Barbara Mission in California. It is in full view of the highway, so can be seen by all the passers by."It is a pretty sight,"says the writer in the "Andover Review." "to see the picturesque native Californians stopping to read the Latin, in their softened Spanish accent, with evident comprehension." There is also the inscription: "This dial was made, inscribed and set by Rowland Hazard of Peace Dale, Rhode Island, in a part of the Sta. Barbara Mission wall, built 1786, standing on his land."

 

Edited by Jo498

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In chapter v, is Rudesind cleaning a picture of Neil Armstrong on the Moon?

moon-walk.jpg

Quote

The picture he was cleaning showed an armored figure, standing in a desolate landscape. It had no weapon, but held a staff bearing a strange, stiff banner. The visor of this figure's helmet was entirely of gold, without eye slits or ventilation; in its polished surface the deathly desert could be seen in reflection, and nothing more.

 

The essence of the Borgesian aspect of Ultan's library AFAICS, lies in this quote:

Quote

"No," said Ultan. "I mean that the library itself extends beyond the walls of the Citadel. Nor, I think, is it the only institution here that does so. It is thus that the contents of our fortress are so much larger than their container."

One of the most popular Borges stories, the Library of Babel, is about a library that contains every book that has ever been written, or ever will/can be written.

Quote

Books we have also that are not books at all to the eye: scrolls and tablets and recordings on a hundred different substances. There is a cube of crystal here - though I can no longer tell you where - no larger than the ball of your thumb that contains more books than the library itself does. Though a harlot might dangle it from one ear for an ornament, there are not volumes enough in the world to counterweight the other.

This brings to mind the interpretation of the Library of Babel as a sort of database (imagine the first page of the first book saying AAAA, the second page saying AAAB, the third AAAC etc. By this virtue you could conceivably have every book that ever can be written).

Master Ultan then starts extolling about people becoming literal databases of human minds by eating the flesh of the deceased. Given all this, I think it's implied that Ultan's library might have at some point functioned as a sort of machine database/host of human knowledge - or at least of some sort of 'algorithm' which could house such a magnificent library.

I mean it at least seems clear that Master Ultan thinks the library itself isn't restricted to literal bound paper books.

Does this idea stick with anyone else?

Edited by BookWyrm2

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