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Have you heard of this guy Borges' story "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" all the cool people admire? It's like "Politics and the English Language" meets Pokemon Go!
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"Shakespeare's Memory" is a lot more moving when you take it as being about Borges. That is, that he still had at 80 the memories of whoever it was that could write like he did c. 40, but was not that writer.

I don't mean to sell the story short. Borges at 80 is an excellent writer. But at 40! His self-deprecation about this period in interviews is fascinating - a few confusing stories derived fom Kafka - as is how easily it's flipped once an incredulous interlocutor says but what about this, what of that. Then he says yeah, that was pretty good, wasn't it? Not quite the tone of Faulkner looking back on As I Lay Dying, but not quite not.

"The Congress" affects me for similar reasons - he'd clearly worked out much of what was essential to the story back when he was amazing. But wrote it so long after, an attempted comeback after all those knife fighter tales. And it is one in its fashion. Helped, if anything, by how the disconnect between subject matter and handling reflects that subject matter, which is about the partial giving up of a dream, or rather the desperate need to retain it in a world that had moved on from believing in such things. How the belief makes it true - not because belief can do that to just anything, but because some parts of the truth require being somehow already believed in to become true (e.g. democracy, we're all sure finding out). One last Garden era story, but only if you let it be, need it to be. He did.

And one he probably couldn't have written at 40. His style was too cruel, paradoxically. It wrung out the human, hence was perfect only for the story of humanity's having been wrung out. For "The Garden of Forking Paths," where he doesn't even let us know that Stephen Albert is Goethe, and Goethe, to him, the anti-Nazi. The one believer in people for what they are in themselves. In "Congress" we're allowed to know such things.

Not that he's wrong about the Kafka part. "The Gospel of Mark" is his "Penal Colony," "Funes" his "Hunger Artist" or "Hunter Gracchus," the minotaur piece surely self-consciously his "Burrow." The desecration of the temple becoming part of the ceremony is pretty much his "Lottery," no?

Calvino and Borges got some kind of special pass for continuing Kafka. Maybe Abe did too. His premises, anyway - Beckett and others took over his essence, his white noise self. I kind of prefer the premises. Funny how his ideas can persist in both. I guess because Kafka read his own stories: read too many Kafka stories and you become Beckett. It's like the Italian and Argentine had heard and repeated without listening. Or perhaps it's merely their firm secularity? Maybe Kafka himself couldn't listen to what he was saying for being too close to the roar of religion.

I also think, and say this as a true lover of Kafka, that Borges and Calvino manage to keep Kafka's stories from spilling in a way Kafka almost never could. In very different ways - Borges by turning them into batteries, energies conserved through infinite repetitions. Because they describe endlessly repeated mistakes, sure, but that's like solar power for a narrative. Calvino comes more out of late Kafka, and stops the loss of energy the way late Kafka did, by making the channels of uncertainty out which it ebbs part of the story. Rephrasing uncertainties as possibilities, variations. Repurposing fragments as flowcharts.

I do love Borges best of all, of these. Calvino's perfections are his Baron's, mostly - he is perfectly amazing at finding ways to go on when who could? in that line. Which is heartening, and sustains many a Borgesian whorl in its everlasting unspooling. All love and honor to Calvino, really, really. But Borges, peak Borges! Those dozen-ish stories, maybe eighty pages tops. Not at all heartless when understood, and never unsympathizing - just seeming so because of what's being analyzed, and how broadly: those ten to twelve ways we can't take it, since who could? but thus ruin what could have been. Which "could've" never quite gets described until The Congress. No, it is in "Garden." I feel about "Garden" how I feel about Shelley, I think. And little else - the astronomer's dying gestures, Turgenev's letter to Tolstoy, Crane's ball of gold. Maybe something in Chekhov, some essence instead of event.

I miss reading in the craziest way. Like all the vitamin deficiencies at once.
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In Kafka you fail because of some awryness of your substance.

In Borges because your need to be God leads you to ignore the facts.

In Calvino because the world is remarkably complicated.

In Calvino you would succeed if the world were different. Lament.

In Borges if you tried to be a smaller god. Moderate.

In Kafka if you were different. Change.

Borges is an optimist in that we can easily attain a smaller paradise.

Calvino in that we are not to blame.

Kafka in that we're already in the paradise, true paradise, of someone else.
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Jonescaseyward: From 23.5 pages into The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis:

[...] Yesterday there took place the funeral of Fernando Antonio Nogueira Pessoa, bachelor, forty-seven years of age, forty-seven, take note, born in Lisbon, studied literature at an English university, became established as a writer and poet in literary circles, on his coffin were placed sprays of wild flowers, worse luck for them, as they wither so quickly.

The nonexistent Reis is reading the obituary of his heteronymist. He's just off the ship from Brazil, from the library of which he's accidentally stolen The God of the Labyrinth, by Borges' nonexistent Quain. I have no idea why we're to take note of Pessoa's age at death.
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Wasn't looking for them there, but found a couple exegetical hints like that Goethe one in Borges' An Introduction to English Literature.

1st: In [Browne's] greatest work, Hydriotaphia, Urne-Buriall, the subject is a mere pretext for learned and lengthy disquisitions on music in which what he says is far less important than what he implies.

Borges ends "Uqbar" with a bizarre, seemingly non-sequitur ad for Urn Burial. After the discovery of the whole encyclopedia has unleashed a fad-chaos of absurd Idealisms into the world--during the peak years of a never mentioned WWII--the Borges of the story washes his hands of all of it:

Then English, French, and mere Spanish will disappear from this planet. Our world will be Tlon. All this means nothing to me; here in the quiet of the Hotel Adrogue I spend my days polishing a tentative translation in Quevedo's style - which I do not propose to publish - of Sir Thomas Browne's Urne-Buriall.

A hint, then, that what is implied is the main thing in this story also? Things as they are are ignored by Uqbarren systems, for which everything must stem from us--including other people, so everything must logically exfoliate from Me. I read the story as veiledly criticizing fascism, the fascistic versions of communism, and the theology-descended continental philosophy that they squinted themselves into existence out of. And maybe the hubris of those philosophers in the first place, however innocent they were of intention that blood be shed--they forgave themselves some corner-cuttings, becoming the precedent for all kinds of self-flattering indulgences of belief. I'd like it to directly attack religion, too, but I'm not the least bit sure it does. I suppose most Argentinian Nazi-sympathizers were Catholic, though? Or am I missing something more deeply implied.

2nd: Blake "speaks to us of 'a region of interwoven labyrinths'". This sounds close to what I noticed about "The Library of Babel," that it could be two (or more?) infinite labyrinths woven together.
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I wonder if I have anything to say about Borges. I imagine many must have unlocked as much or more of Garden; maybe not Circular Ruins. If I wrote about him I'd write about fatherhood. Not the ideal subject for me right now, but that's what I see there.
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Notes to self re. "Garden of Forking Paths":

Bender, on being rejected by the Globetrotters, before his show started to suck: My life, and by extension everyone else's, is meaningless.

Something I think I missed in previous readings of "Garden" was that the narrator is referring to Albert when he says he has spoken for one hour with an Englishman the peer of Goethe. How was Stephen Albert like Goethe, exactly? In the interview book I quoted from before, Borges is asked about Goethe; he admits to not caring much for the plot of Faust or, apparently, for Goethe's literary work in general apart from Roman Elegies, but greatly admires his absolute freedom from national or racial pride. He was a sort of emblem for him. Borges even thought the Germans venerate him so much because he's tonic to their own worst habits, an example of someone utterly lacking them, as Shakespeare is for the English (...because they're boring? dispassionate? prosaic? one-personalitied?). The interview was conducted thirty years later, but in most matters Borges' opinions had achieved full and final intricacy by the late '30s.

Albert converts from being a Christian missionary to honoring the architect of the Garden.

Something Borges says several times in his poems is that we are time.
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Though some of these are presumably just repetitions--like Tlön, Babylon and Ruins all apparently involving noplaces between Asia Minor and Iraq. Borges always preferred his noplaces there or, Kafka-style, China, though "The Immortal" is set in Northern Africa I think.

Paradise is of course the original Middle Eastern noplace. Huh, just occurred to me for the first time why the Library of Babel might be called that: language itself is both the doomed, hubristic attempt to overgo God and its punishment, at least in its present form as a phenomenon relying on variation. Scattered bits and scraps of meaning, enough to promise the lost, unified plenitude and drive us mad for it. No hint there about why we were punished, unlike in Genesis, but then if the whole world is "the communication of a lesser god to a demon" (Tlön, I think?), that's not for us to interpret.
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Forgot another intrallusion: Quain's and Menard's identical conviction that all ideas belong to everyone, that literary genius must not be reserved for the few. Too tired to quote.
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Forgot one--highly spoiling:

E. Quain's God of the Labyrinth: There is a puzzling murder in the opening pages, plodding converation in the middle, and a solution at the end. Once the mystery is solved, we come upon a long paragraph of retrospection containing this sentence: 'Everyone thought that the meeting between the two chess players had been accidental.' The words lead us to believe that the solution is wrong. The anxious reader, going back over the relevant chapters, discovers a different solution, the true one. In so doing, the reader of this curious book turns out to be cleverer than the detective.

I'm convinced there's something like this going on in The Invention of Morel, a novel reflecting Borges as thoroughly as Frankenstein does Shelley--perhaps the narrator is Morel after amnesia, or Morel is not himself Morel but an earlier Morel-supplanting interloper whose feelings went the way Morel's and the narrator's did. Both possibilities open up the ironic one that the vindicating recording will become an increasingly incomprehensible palimpsest; time will have its revenge on the attempt at timelessness.

The echo chambers in the basement haunt the most. I'd bet anything they were Borges' idea.
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Not to mention his allusions to works as yet uncreated (spoiler alert):


A. Quain: Toward the end of 1939, he published Statements, perhaps the most original and certainly the least praised or known of his books. Quain had taken to arguing that readers were an extinct species. 'Every European', he declared, 'is either potentially or actually a writer.' He also held that of the various pleasures writing can provide, the greatest was inventiveness. Since few of these would-be writers had any capacity for invention, most would have to make do with mimicry. For these 'deficient writers', whose name was legion, Quain wrote the eight stories in Statements. Each foreshadows or promises a good plot, which the author then deliberately sabotages. One or two - not the best - hint at two plots. The reader, carried away by vanity, thinks he has invented them.

The imaginatively capacious, peerlessly undeficient Calvino was to mimic the book itself forty years later. I'm not sure which of the If on a winter's night a traveler semi-stories could be said to have two plots--several do end with a couple different suspected murderers, kidnappers, spies, sisters. The book itself has something of a hidden plot. Marana, the villain, is never seen onstage but keeps providing self-sabotaging stories in response to the heroine's stated tastes of the moment. To have heard them, he must be nearby.


B. The central conceit of Quain's 'Secret Mirror' anticipates Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive.


C. Tlön's northern hemisphere's nouns anticipate Deleuze's rhizomes--just one example of that story's heavy, pervasive influence on theory. Ironically pervasive, given Borges' undermining of the ideas he's presenting, and especially the association of these games and fascism in the Postscript.


D. Another example of that, also from Tlön, though less certain; these lines remind me of the culminating moment in De Man's (to me) infinitely enraging misreading of Shelley's "Triumph of Life":

To explain or assess a fact is to link it to another one. In Tlön, this linkage is a later state of the fact, which cannot affect or illuminate its earlier state. Every mental state is irreducible and the mere fact of naming it - that is, of classifying it - implies a falsification.

The De Man passage: 'The Triumph of Life' warns us that nothing, whether deed, word, thought or text, ever happens in relation, positive or negative, to anything that precedes, follows or exists elsewhere, but only as a random event whose power, like the power of death, is due to the randomness of its occurrence.

Borges' preemptive satire of this view, in Tlön: The sight of a puff of smoke on the horizon and then of a burning field and then of a half-stubbed-out cigar that produced the blaze is deemed an example of the association of the ideas.

You can guess what ideas about De Man this leads me to associate. But never mind.
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Continuation of previous:

5. Quain: Still more unconventional is Quain's 'retrogressive, branching novel' April March, whose third (and only) part appeared in 1936. (See story for full description!)

&

Tlön: The books are different too. Fictional works embrace a single plot, with all conceivable permutations.

& of course...

Garden: The garden of branching paths was the chaotic novel; the phrase 'to various futures (but not all)' conjured up an image of branching in time, not in space. A re-reading of the book confirmed this theory. In all works of fiction, each time the writer is confronted with choices, he opts for one and discards the rest. In the inextricable Ts'ui Pen, he opts - at one and the same time - for all the alternatives. By so doing, he creates several futures, several times over, and in turn these proliferate and branch off.


6. Tlön: Works of a philosophical nature invariably contain both a thesis and an antithesis, the strict pros and cons of a theory. A book that does not encompass its counter-book is considered incomplete.

&

Menard: To this third view (which I consider beyond dispute) I wonder if I dare add a fourth, which accords quite well with Piere Menard's all but divine modesty - his self-effacing or ironic habit of propagating ideas that were the exact reverse of those he himself held.
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I read the eight stories in The Garden of Branching Paths again, the versions that Di Giovanni put up on his website in anger and which Borges translated with him. He's since taken them down because of intimidation by Kodama's lawyers, but last I checked you can get to them via Google Cache. Hadn't really paid attention to the volume's intra-allusions before:


1. Tlön: 'The moon rose over the river' would be 'Hlör u fang axaxaxas mlö' or, literally, 'Upward behind the lasting-flow it moonrose'. (Xul Solar translates this more succinctly as 'Upward, behind the onstreaming, it mooned.')

&

Babel: It is of no purpose to point out that the best book in the many hexagons I administrate is entitled Combed Thunder, and another The Plaster Cramp, and a third Axaxaxas Mlö. These titles, although at first sight meaningless, must lend themselves to some coded or allegorical interpretation. Such an interpretation consists of words and so, by definition, is in the Library.

[& the example name Stephen Albert uses in Garden is Fang...]


2. Tlön [last lines of initial story, before 1947 Postscript--thus last of the Garden version I assume?]: Things are duplicated on Tlön; also, as people forget them, objects tend to fade and lose detail. A classic example is that of the doorstep that lasted as long as a certain beggar huddled there but was lost from sight upon his death. On occasion, a few birds or a horse have saved the ruins of an amphitheatre.

I waver about this one, but in "The Circular Ruins" the ruins of the title are presided over by a worn stone figure that resembles a horse or a tiger and seem to have a dream analogue that is an amphitheater the size of the universe crowded with all possible people, from which the dreamer--who later proves unreal or at any rate contingent on his being himself dreamed, like the unwitnessed objects in Tlön--is awakened by a bird's cry.


3. Tlön: Authors are usually invented by their critics. They choose two dissimilar works - the Tao Te Ching and the Arabian Nights, let us say - attribute them to the same writer, and then with probity construct the psychology of their remarkable men of letters.

&

Menard [last lines]: Through a new technique, using deliberate anachronisms and false attributions, Menard (perhaps without trying to) has enriched the static, fledgling art of reading. Infinite in its possibilities, this technique prompts us to reread the Odyssey as if it came after the Aeneid and Madame Henri Bachelier's book The Centaur's Garden as if it were written by Madame Henry Bachelier. The technique fills the mildest of books with adventure. To attribute The Imitation of Christ to Louis Ferdinand Celine or to James Joyce - would this not be a satisfactory renewal of its subtle spiritual lessons?


4. [Most direct one!] Quain: From the third tale, 'Yesterday's Rose', I was ingenious enough to fashion 'The Circular Ruins', a story which appears in my book The Garden of Branching Paths. [See later post involving Statements for what this implies about "CR"...]
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Borges interviewed:

We saw the Russian Revolution as a sort of beginning for peace among all men. My father was an anarchist, a Spencerian, a reader of The Man Versus the State, and I recall that in one of the long summer vacations we took in Montevideo, my father told me to take a good look at many things because those things were going to disappear and I would be able to tell my children or grandchildren--I haven't had any children or grandchildren--that I had seen those things. He told me to look at military barracks, flags, maps having different colors for the different countries, butcher shops, churches, priests, custom houses, because all of those things were going to disappear when the world was one and differences were forgotten. Up until now the prophecy hasn't come true, but I hope it will come true some day.

Unrelated sentence from later in the same book:

I believe no one thinks his own behavior is exemplary.
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Twenty new translations in Poems of the Night, seventy in The Sonnets. Not always great, but something every page or so to startle me. My sister's allegedly learning Spanish. I think about doing the same, but imagine it would be the last nail in the coffin of my French--much like French murdered my Russian which obliterated my Latin.

I think I like his earliest poems most consistently, at least as translated by the competent. Almost all the new ones are by Stephen Kessler, who's usually up there with Giovanni and Kerrigan, just under Reid and Merwin, the very best Borges verse translators--not counting the great Fitzgerald, grand Wilbur and mighty Strand who only did a few each. Levine's handful in Poems of the Night are fine, surprisingly; Eric McHenry is the sucky one in these books, to my mind. Trueblood is the next worst, also surprisingly, since he's fantastic with Machado and Lorca. Wilbur can rhyme Borges, and maybe Hollander. Others should really stop trying: the reaching occludes the thoughts, which we're there for.
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Borges fetishism news: snagged discarded review copies of the two new poetry collections by mail from Housing Works for $15 total. Looks like all five volumes of this year's Penguin relaunch are edited by Suzanne Jill Levine, the weirdest and presumably least reliable of the three translators of the otherwise totally great Selected Non-Fictions volume from ten years ago (Esther Allen, who got to do the Dante essays in that and was probably the best of them, is presently selecting and translating Bioy Casares' Borges diaries). I'd say after the Garden of Forking Paths volume--a.k.a. the 1st half of Ficciones--the most crucial Borges book is that one. Not that I don't love the poems, but Borges is up there with Bloom, Hazlitt and no one else in his literary speculations. And he probably annoys far fewer people than those two. They're pugnacious, he's usually sly.

These two new ones have an annoying degree of overlap with Penguin's Selected Poems, also from ten years ago--which in turn carried over a lot of translations from the c. 1970 one. Allegedly the three upcoming prose volumes, On Writing, On Argentina and On Mysticism are also composed mostly of reprints from Non-Fictions. I'll buy them anyway, since new Borges is my heroin, but I'm not sure why others would; English-language publishing of Borges makes Calvino's situation look clean.

Even leaving aside the translation issue, there's no true "selected" volume, whether of stories or overall, even though it looks like there's so many selections. Borges' own selection, A Personal Anthology, did get translated, but he admitted picking its contents less with quality in mind than not wanting to bore people with anything over-erudite or complicated--i.e. Borgesian. He put out a New Personal Anthology a little bit later as a corrective, after all his admirers complained. Presumably the ideal Selected volume, through the early '70s anyway, would combine those two (as a start), but the second was never translated. Well, maybe not ideal--Borges was a bit overfond of his own knife-fighting stories.

Labyrinths has only a sprinkling of essays and essentially no poems; it also has way too many stories from the Spanish language Aleph (though inexplicably excluding the title story) and not enough from his first volume, since it was prepared in competition with Grove's Ficciones and each needed a selling point. The Aleph and Other Stories (English) only looks like a selection; it's Borges' and DiGiovanni's translations of all the stories that still hadn't been, as well as their retranslations of the few stories they could get permission to from the Ficciones and Labyrinths teams.

You'd think Borges: A Reader would come closest, but there's such crucial omissions there, too, that copyright issues clearly swayed the selection. And, like Aleph etc., the volume's way out of print.

Basically if you love Borges you end up buying all these books to get the tiny number of items in each unavailable elsewhere. I guess Penguin has picked up on this fact and is knowingly extending and exploiting the chaos earlier publishers created inadvertently. Naughty Penguin.
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Highly spoliative thoughts on The Invention of Morel:

1. It's interesting when authors of this kind of book leave things in that are not explained (i.e. figured out by the main character): when the narrator first sees Morel, his beard looks false. If it is, it implies he's already dying from having used his invention on himself earlier. This partly explains what he does, since he's dying himself--and, of course, makes him even more the narrator's double.

2. Some of the editorial comments, and various stray sentences through out, sound just like Borges.

3. This plot is basically repeated (coincidentally or unconsciously) in one of Calvino's later Cosmicomics stories, I think found in Numbers in the Dark. I'll find the name.

4. What's the deal with the footnote saying a passage that was supposed to start the manuscript in fact doesn't? Just foreshadows that his mind is going?

5. The influence on Lost is consistent but scattered--little bits here and there all through the five seasons. The secret room with machinery, the endlessly repeated messages etc. In Lost the past is invulnerable a bit more flexibly, though--and in some cases alterable.

6. Reads astonishingly like a (very sad) parable of the anxiety of influence, does it not? And art in general, in Morel's case: the madness of immortality at second hand--the totemic magic of assuming that if your mind is still perceived it still exists; in the narrator's case the double madness of accepting that and clumsily rewriting the earlier vision as starring yourself, while being wholly contained in it. Bloom must have been fascinated.

7. What on earth are the echo chambers beneath the museum? Was that ever explained? Between this and 4 (and 2!) it makes me wonder if this story's following, which was it, Quain's ideal of a book with a secret second plot. (He's an earlier copy of Morel with planted memories! Or he's Charlie! Or by copying the copy he'll cause the copy to die and only his own copy will be left playing its ridiculous part on an empty island for eternity! I don't know! Something!)
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Actually all of Calvino is great. I'm liking his early, communist phase quite a bit; his fabulist strain already existed then, but it was in Hawthorne's mode up until he read Borges in the mid-'50s. In Hawthorne you spend some effort convincing yourself a particular story's ethical slant can be compatible with your own views--I'm convinced all artists are leftists to the extent they're artists--and it's refreshing to get some of his sort of vision on cheaper terms. It's my kind of communism: Calvino dodged the poisonous, prophetic aspect of Marxism mostly by associating it with nature (and, not unrelatedly, staying pretty vague about it). Doesn't usually amount in the stories to much more than: our music will reclaim its harmony...someday...I hope...and small reclaimings may merge into larger. Took him a while to squarely recognize the rather different flowchart many of his associates were working from.

I wonder if that had something to do with the Borges? Borges was fascinated, among other things, with how people disagree. Calvino claimed he dodged psychology, but you could say he was attempting a separate atomism of it. For Borges, we choose our principles based on simple needs, and when the intellect doesn't overrule them (out of our need or mental weakness) they can lead us far and angrily away from one another. Our arguments become our psychology, and this is why all his criminals seem completely rational. Not great as abnormal psych, but works fine for the widely-errant normal, including the political. Borges loved the beauty of the disagreement itself, which Calvino came to love even more: not the conflict, but the departures at the root that make later conflict inevitable. Not that he didn't have his own opinions, and note them and have them carry the day, but he makes the attempt to understand the other point of view as a direction he too could have gone, to admire its specific logical emanation from foundational illogic. A kind of vacation, a re-seeing of the whole world after paying a token fee of fundamental inaccuracy.

Late Calvino is obsessed with how, in dealing with what we can't know (rather than should know better about), we're full of incipient gestures like those of Borges' heresiarchs from reality. Not that that means there's no moral concern: he's about showing the self-correction involved in how we take changes in our world. The ethical angle tends to be what one of his characters is working through at the story's present time--or, closer to late Kafka, how a character corrects her own explanation to someone else of what she's been through. Decision-making as digression, as (usually) benign self-disagreement, arguments among newborn interpretations. Calvino, too, has his ideas about the world: the 'truth' of one his stories establishes itself, and that's part of the point. He was never interested in tractionless interpretation; the only reason to get how we get the world right is to get the world right. Well, that and the joy of recognizing how we work, that generalized human narcissism.

And a touch of that vacation of fantasy. Amazing how few fantasists are purists about that, though--I guess writers have to become moralists, psychologists, political analysts in the long run, however reluctantly, because human decision-making is the only subject matter that doesn't run out. And many do seem reluctant. Deferral of opinion is an interesting phenomenon in literature.
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Two new Borges poetry collections scheduled for next March, called The Sonnets and Poems of the Night.
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Lugones has written that in Cordoba, before magazines came in, he had many times seen a playing card used as a picture and nailed to the wall in gauchos' shacks. The four of copas, with its small lion and two towers, was particularly coveted. (from Borges' "Autobiographical Essay" of 1970)

***

Been looking at old Argentine and other decks: looks like the four of cups was traditionally where the deck manufacturer identified itself, since there's so much space in the middle. Some just give their names, others have a picture logo. Haven't been able to locate this small lion & two towers one with my limited googledy skills. In McCarthy the card makes two appearances but the picture is never mentioned.

Borges was the literary find for McCarthy's generation, and the only known mixer of gauchismo and gnosticism pre-McC. Been reading them in tandem these last weeks (along with Calvino, who makes me think of Kafka, Borges and Abe constantly but never McCarthy) and the one makes me think of the other quite often. Today it was the second of two poems in In Praise of Darkness on Durer's Ritter, Tod und Teufel etching, where the Knight is praised as able to withstand both Devil and Death and ride forever on, unlike mere Borges, painfully lacking the luxury of being imaginary - like in City of the Plains' "Epilogue" and the relationship between the two protagonists in that book. Figured the connection was fanciful but then read the above and redescended into cartomania.

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