Summary Guide for "A Canticle for Leibowitz"

Topics: Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman, A Canticle for Leibowitz Pages: 14 (5476 words) Published: September 28, 2014
A Canticle for Leibowitz (chapter summaries 8 - 19)

Chapter 8 Summary
Arkos relaxes once the Dominicans take over the cause, eleven years after Francis' incident. Francis devotes years of free time labor to his project, which blends with the tedium of days and seasons that for everyone ends with Extreme Unction and the Just King's judgment of "come" or "go." Sarl completes a fifth page before dying, leaving notes someone may use to finish the task. Fingo is restored to the carpentry shop and allowed an hour a day to work on his Leibowitz. Francis enjoys watching the martyr’s visage emerge, with merry-but-sad crinkly eyes and the hint of a wry smile Francis recognizes but cannot place. The smile irritates the abbot, who hides the completed carving in his study. Word of Francis' progress on the illumination spreads and someone insists the Beatus he met must inspire him. When Jeris succeeds Horner as master of the copy room, he insists Francis put away the things of a child and start doing a man's work. Francis hopes to outlive Jeris and resume work. Providence arranges another way by sending a prothonotary apostolic, Msgr. Malfreddo Aguerra as postulator for Leibowitz's canonization. His Dominican clerks will reopen the shelter, explore the "Sealed Environment," and interview Francis about his alleged apparition. The abbot provides deluxe accommodations and entertainments beyond Aguerra's needs or wants, suggesting this abbey lives extraordinarily well. Arkos suggests an unhappy end to Francis' life if he is not very careful in what he says to Aguerra, lest Leibowitz's cause be shelved again. Thus, Francis goes frightened to the suave, diplomatic elder, who wants him to verify a compilation of travelers' stories about the incident. Reading the fat scroll of hearsay horrifies Francis, who insists the event is nothing like this and wishes he had never mentioned a pilgrim to fellow novices. Francis briefly summarizes their one meeting, not marked by halos, heavenly choirs, or carpets of roses. The stranger did, however, write two unintelligible marks on a rock. Agreeing travelers' stories are always exaggerated, the postulator throws Miracle No. 7 into the waste bin. There is more than enough evidence for sainthood without this, and the Devils Advocate would have crucified Francis, Aguerra says, before revealing 15 skeletons have been found in the inner chamber. Aguerra hopes and believes the gold-toothed skull is Emily. Before returning to New Rome, Augerra insists on seeing Francis' unfinished illumination, declares it beautiful, and insists he finish it. Jeris must allow it. Chapter 9 Summary

After Aguerra's departure, his malign opponent, Msgr. Flaught, arrives to a cooler reception. Arkos does not warn Francis against using his imagination with the Devil's Advocate. Flaught inquires about mental illness in Francis' family, before moving on to artificially aging paper, the commonness of the name Emily and its diminutives, and the "fantastic twaddle about an apparition." Francis is interrupted frequently as he tells his version, and is subjected to a ruthless cross-examination. Deciding Francis’ story is trivial Fraught dismisses him. Viewing the Leibowitz blueprint, Fraught finds it a vivid, "dreadful incomprehensibility," and a waste of six years' work. Francis is relieved not to be told to quit. The abbey’s work goes on routinely after Fraught's departure, until word comes from New Rome the Pope has decided to canonize Leibowitz in conjunction with a General Council. Withered by age, Arkos summons Francis to appoint him the abbey's delegate to the event, eventually admitting the Pope has asked for him by name. He will carry the original blueprint, and Arkos recommends he take his illumination as a personal gift to the Holy Father. Francis faints. Chapter 10 Summary

Reaching New Rome takes at least three months and entails great danger from robber bands. Francis prays they will be too ignorant to understand the value...
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