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From: adam louis stephanides <astephan@students.uiuc.edu>
Subject: (urth) Il (Peter) Principe
Date: Sun, 19 Jul 1998 16:35:59 


I was away for a few days, or I would have responded to your post earlier.
I have a few minor cavils, which I'll discuss elsewhere, but I found it
admirably clear and enlightening.

Unfortunately, it only leaves me more baffled regarding _Urth_ as a whole.
In fact, it now seems to me that _Urth_ is at least as obscure as
_Castleview_.  To start with, the Hierodules have been supporting the
"rickety" political structure of the Commonwealth for a thousand years or
more, apparently solely so that at the end of this time Severian, the
man destined to bring the New Sun, will be Autarch.  This is too
reminiscent of _The Sirens of Titan_ for my taste.  More to the point, it
makes even more urgent the questions I asked in an earlier post: why must
an Urthman bring the New Sun, why an Autarch, and why Severian?  I'm not
as confident that the answers I gave are correct as I was then, but I
haven't seen any better answers.  For that matter, I'm doubtful about the
whole punishment-and-redemption-of-Urth schema: if the "redemption"
involves wiping out 99.9% of Urth's population, one would think the
"punishment" could be dispensed with as superfluous.

I'm also baffled by the course of events surrounding Severian's "trial."
Why is he led to think that his trial will be like his predecessor's?  Is
it just so he will be a more humane ruler as Autarch?  But then why isn't
he told the truth as soon as he leaves Urth?

And what is the function of the battle royal between the sailors and the
aquastors?  Were the Hierogrammates really willing, after all those years
of preparation, to risk the survival of their race on the outcome of that

In short, your post made me realize that so far, the first half of _Urth_
doesn't make sense for me.  Any help you, or anyone else of course, can
give me would be most appreciated.  (If this post seems querulous, it's a
reflection of my desperation.)


*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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