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From: Jim Jordan <jbjordan@gnt.net>
Subject: (whorl) Driussis
Date: Thu, 03 Apr 1997 00:03:13 

[Posted from Whorl, the mailing list for Gene Wolfe's Book of the Long Sun]

Having receive Mantis's latest three pamphlets (which you should all get):

	1. On history of Urth. I still have not found the passage I remember about
the flipping of Urth on her axis. But, on 2:83 (hc) Vodalus does say that
the men of Urth once leapt "from galaxy to galaxy." Intergalactic travel,
with ease, implies a very long chronology. So does the reddening of the sun.
	So do the layers of previous civilizations found on the mountains carved
by previous tyrants. The process is explained in geology as:
	a. Many thousands of years of civilizations at the mouth of a river.
	b. Submerging of the delta under weight of silt, etc.
	c. Mountain uplift as mantle pushes back.
All of this, in terms of present-day understanding, would take millions of

	2. Silk's enlightenment:
	a. The beetle that looks like jewelry but lays its eggs in the dung is the
Egyptian dung-beetle or scarab (thus jewelry). The Scarab rolls its dung
along in front of it, in a ball. The Great Scarab similarly pushes the sun
in its path across the sky. Severian catches a glimpse of such scarabs
running the suns of the universe as he departs from Yesod.
	b. The man on the scaffold is Christ, and His mother is Mary.
	c. The man on the horse honored with palm branches is Christ at His
triumphal entry. Note the next sentences (3:413): "Would Echidna and her
children kill the Outsider too? With a flash of insight, he felt sure they
were already trying." For Wolfe, of course, the Outsider incarnate was
Jesus. Thus the association in Silk's mind. Note also Silk as
"Christ-figure": it is as they honor him that he recalls these things. This
event shortly precedes Silk's own death, burial, and resurrection (on which
see my ancient post on gospel parallels).
	d. Is the enlightenment caused by a brain clot, the Whorl computer, or the
Triune God? The answer in Christianity, and especially in Roman
Catholicism, can readily be: all three, in term of primary and secondary
causation.. Given, however, that Pas sought to suppress the original
Catholic religion of Viron, I don't see that the Whorl computer would have
been programmed with the information about Christ. Idolatry is a theme in
Wolfe, in "There Are Doors" especially, and Gene's comment to me was that
the Long Sun would largely concern idolatry. So, I think we should let
Gene's religion play a hand here.

	3. The foot wound. Surely Claudius is a factor, as well as the Bible. But
foolish me, to have forgotten that Wolfe had polio as a child! There's lots
of autobiography in Wolfe (in "Peace" especially, of course). See also "The
Hero As Werewolf(e)," one of Gene's directly lupine tales.

	4. Chrasmological comes from Greek: oracular speech, or oracular words. I
think we can be 99.44% certain of this.


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