Study Guide

A Canticle for Leibowitz Chapter 13

By Walter M. Miller, Jr.

Chapter 13

  • Dom Paulo, the abbey's new abbot, glowers at the village of Sanly Bowitz in the distance. Drama, drama, drama.
  • He orders the monk to read Apollo's letter to him again.
  • The letter informs Dom Paulo that Thon Taddeo has finally agreed to go to the abbey.
  • It also warns him that Taddeo is a secular scholar and a political captive of Hannegan and his state.
  • As the monk reads, Dom Paulo thinks about Taddeo's childhood. The scholar spent those kiddie days in a monastery instead of playing with army men, Hot Wheels, and Barbies. He had pretty much no fun at all.
  • The abbot wonders if Apollo is trying to tell him something between the lines. Why mention this other information?
  • Dom Paulo's reverie is interrupted by Father Gault, who's wondering if Old Benjamin is dead yet. Always a pleasant conversation starter, that.
  • Dom Paulo says he's going to go visit the Old Jew in a day or two, so they don't have to guess one way or another.
  • And because being a hermit must be lonely work.
  • Father Gault tells him that there are three small matters that need attending to. First, the Poet needs a boot. Second, Vespers has to be dealt with. Third, there's Brother Kornhoer's experiment.
  • Dom Paulo says he'll handle the Poet and has Father Gault take care of Vespers. Then he asks about Brother Kornhoer's experiment.
  • Seems Kornhoer and Brother Armbruster are butting heads over it.
  • Kornhoer says the work is progress, but Armbruster claims it's perdition (13.57). Can't it be both?
  • And then the team breaks. Dom Paulo heads to the Poet's room where he finds a goat.
  • Seems the Poet won the beast from Old Benjamin in a game of chance.
  • The Poet lies in bed with a bottle of wine, and is told to move into the stable boy's cell.
  • Dom Paulo also tells him to return the goat. Or else.

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