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Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2002 11:09:01 -0800
From: Michael Andre-Driussi 
Subject: (urth) eponyms as saints

Jerry Friedman quoted and wrote:

>> Seems to me that real-world eponyms are not devices to tell time, but
>> by-products of time and culture.  If the word is still in use, then the
>> eponym remains: our busts of the eponyms would include de Sade,
>> Quisling,
>> Bowdler, et ali.  If in a hundred years we no longer used the words
>> sadism,
>> quisling, and  bowdlerize, then those busts would be removed, the
>> eponyms
>> forgotten along with their "words."  (Note the memorial/funereal tinct
>> here.)
>This is interesting, but my guess is that the eponyms are saints, like
>the eponyms of San Francisco, Marylebone, people named James, etc.

That's funny, because I don't normally think of the people of the
Commonwealth having saints (granted that they are all named after Catholic
saints, but I have never seen this as a literal sign of the saints being
resurrected, as James Jordan did in his early interview with Wolfe, but
rather as a clever trick to get big history and alien-ness in one coherent,
convenient package), so I used non-saint eponyms.

But of course you are right, they =do= have saints (well one: "St. Amand"),
so the busts become perhaps a sequence of saints and commoners.  From high
to low, altitude-wise at least.

Still, another point I wanted to transmit was that while Nessus is
"eternal," the quarters of the city are definitely not: they have a rather
brief lifespan, in fact, and then they are abandoned to ruin as the city
moves North. So the busts, despite their seeming antiquity, are not all
that old, really, and were placed there by recent architects for recent
tastes.  (I mean, it isn't like they are as alien in culture/distant in
time as Etruscan busts in medieval Italy.)  With this, I would guess that
the eponyms are known rather than unknown; and since Severian's time seems
to be at a low-tide for churches, I suspect the eponyms to be more like
guillotine, gerrymander, and shyster than St. Agia (although that would've
made a neat moment!).



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