Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Conversation with Jorge Luis Borges (1982)


I began reading Borges while still in my childhood; from a distant past, a few lines of his preface to the Spanish edition of Ray Bradbury's 'Martian Chronicles' come to mind: "What has this man from Illinois done, I wonder as I close the pages of his book, that episodes of the conquest of another planet haunt me with horror and loneliness? How can these fantasies touch me, and in such an intimate way?". After such eloquent introduction, who could help not being intrigued over the work that laid ahead ? I owe my taste for all things Bradbury to my father, and to Borges.

Famed Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges, fond of mirrors and doppelgangers and tigers and immortality, knives and Buenos Aires, left behind an immortal legacy of literary treasures, in his elegant, uniquely Borgesian way. His highly controversial political views annoyed both left and right wingers all the same, and it is likely they eliminated for him the chances for a Nobel Prize in Literature. Shame, for he was by far the best writer Latin America has ever produced - ever. It's only an opinion, of course.

An excerpt from the Conversation with Borges, courtesy of The Artful Dodge at the College of Wooster, Ohio (www.wooster.edu): [Borges:] "I think that the meanings are more or less irrelevant. What is important, or the two important facts I should say, are emotion, and then words arising from emotion. I don't think you can write in an emotionless way. If you attempt it, the result is artificial. I don't like that kind of writing. I think that if a poem is really great, you should think of it as having written itself despite the author. It should flow."

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