Borges, Labyrinths, Humor

Reading Borges I have to say was humorous in some ways.  Interesting in others, but regardless of my feelings on the subject, he definitely is an excellent short story writer.

The Two Kings and Labyrinths was what really struck out to me.  The labyrinth with many features, gilded and obviously complicated, could not compare to the absolutely featureless, yet so much more vast labyrinth that was the desert.

The South was very interesting.  As we learnt in the lecture and as I noticed while reading the story, there was a sort of disconnect.  It was as if the guy wasn’t actually there and it made sense since it is implied he died in the sanatorium.  The language used, the subtle hints, Borges was a master at that.

The Library of Babel?  Blew my mind.  Books upon books, overlapping books, somehow unimportant due to the massive overlap, yet somehow important because each one is ever so slightly different.

Pierre Menard’s Don Quixote perplexed me.  I understand it a little more after today’s lecture.  The idea that if it was written by Pierre Menard, in a different time, by a different person, would the meaning be the same?  Just because you change the milieu it came out of, does the story’s meaning change as well?

Emma Zunz made me go Huh?  But now that I reflect on the lecture I kind of get it.  Everything she said was true… to an extent, but what was changed was the milieu, the setting, the circumstances… which meant that everything else.. was false?  Or was it true?

I am eager to discuss this in the seminars, if I can make it out of bed tomorrow because I feel absolutely horrible.


2 thoughts on “Borges, Labyrinths, Humor

  1. Yeah, Two Kings was really good. Hilarious and elegant.

    I also felt something off reading The South, but was shamefully unable to pick up on the “twist” of the story. I understand now why Borges called it his best work.

    Babel’s secret, I think, is “infinite and periodic”; that each book in the library is, rather than different from each other, the exact same. Every book can be interpreted in an infinite number of languages, and every one of those interpretations is the exact same as one interpretation in every other book using different languages. Thus, every book contains every book in the library–every book is the library.

    Don Quixote is an interesting literary work, although I had a hard time paying attention as I wasn’t educated on the context at the time. It reminds me somewhat of what Foe is trying to do, although Foe is, in my opinion, a very badly written book.

    Emma Zunz is an interesting case study of epistemology. The question of what is truth and what really happened comes to the foreground…what did really happen?

  2. Haha I agree with you on “The Library of Babel,” it definitely can bend your mind in many ways that were not expected, and can be interpreted in as many ways as there are books in the library. We have the idea, as many mentioned in class, that the library is everything that has, is, or could ever be written, experienced, felt, thought, etc., and we have Kevin’s interpretation of each book being the same. I for one tend to go towards the first version, just because I often have thought about the endless nature of the universe (getting all philosophical here…) and, me being religious, have a faith in God, and believe that he is all knowing, just as the library of Babel. Either way, no matter how one interprets it, there really is no right and wrong 😛

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