Argentine Short-Story Writer, Essayist, Poet
Argentine Short-Story Writer, Essayist, Poet
We forget that we are all dead men conversing with dead men.
What I'm really concerned about is reaching one person. And that person may be myself for all I know.
When I wake up, I wake to something worse. It?s the astonishment of being myself.
Who are the inventors of Tl”n? The plural is inevitable, because the hypothesis of a lone inventor ? an infinite Leibniz laboring away darkly and modestly ? has been unanimously discounted. It is conjectured that this brave new world is the work of a secret society of astronomers, biologists, engineers, metaphysicians, poets, chemists, algebraists, moralists, painters, geometers... directed by an obscure man of genius. Individuals mastering these diverse disciplines are abundant, but not so those capable of inventiveness and less so those capable of subordinating that inventiveness to a rigorous and systematic plan. This plan is so vast that each writer's contribution is infinitesimal. At first it was believed that Tl”n was a mere chaos, and irresponsible license of the imagination; now it is known that it is a cosmos and that the intimate laws which govern it have been formulated, at least provisionally. Let it suffice for me to recall that the apparent contradictions of the Eleventh Volume are the fundamental basis for the proof that the other volumes exist, so lucid and exact is the order observed in it.
Writing long books is a laborious and impoverishing act of foolishness: expanding in five hundred pages an idea that could be perfectly explained in a few minutes. A better procedure is to pretend that those books already exist and to offer a summary, a commentary.
Wakefield" prefigures Franz Kafka, but the latter modifies, and sharpens, the reading of "Wakefield." The debt is mutual; a great writer creates his or her precursors. He or she creates them and in some fashion justifies them.
We have a very precise image - an image at times shameless - of what we have lost, but we are ignorant of what may follow or replace it.
What is a book? A book seems, like a picture, to be a living being; and yet if we ask it something, it does not answer. Then we see that it is dead.In order to make the book into a living thing, he invented?happily for us?the Platonic dialogue, which forestalls the reader?s doubts and questions.
When I write, I do it urged by an intimate necessity. I don't have in mind an exclusive public, or a public of multitudes, I don't think in either thing. I think about expressing what I want to say. I try to do it in the simplest way possible.
Whoever has seen the universe, whoever has beheld the fiery designs of the universe, cannot think in terms of one man, of that man?s trivial fortunes or misfortunes, though he be that very man. That man 'has been he' and now matters no more to him. What is the life of that other to him, the nation of that other to him, if he, now, is no one. This is why I do not pronounce the formula, why, lying here in the darkness, I let the days obliterate me.
Years later, Taylor was inspecting the jails of the kingdom; and in the one at Nittur the ceiling had been covered, in barbaric colors, which time was subtilizing before erasing them, by a Muslim fakir's elaboration of a kind of infinite Tiger. This Tiger was composed of many tigers in the most vertiginous fashion: it was traversed by tigers, scored by tigers and it contained seas and Himalayas and armies which seemed to reveal still other tigers. The painter had died many years ago in this very cell; he had come from Sind, or maybe Guzerat, and his original purpose had been to design a map of the world. Indeed, some traces of this were yet to be discerned in the monstrous image.
Was it you that killed me, or did I kill you? Abel answered. I don't remember anymore; here we are, together, like before. Now I know that you have truly forgiven me, Cain said, because forgetting is forgiving. I, too, will try to forget.
We have dreamed the world. We have dreamed tough, mysterious, visible, ubiquitous in space and firm in time; but we have consented to its architecture tenuous and eternal interstices of unreason to know is false.
What is longevity? It is the horror of existing in a human body whose faculties are in decline. It is insomnia measured by decades and not by metal hands. It is carrying the weight of seas and pyramids, of ancient libraries and dynasties, of the dawns that Adam saw. It is being well aware that I am bound to my flesh, to a voice I detest, to my name, to routinely remembering, to Castilian, over which I have no control, to feeling nostalgic for the Latin I do not know. It is trying to sink into death and being unable to sink into death. It is being and continuing to be.
When it was proclaimed that the Library contained all books, the first impression was one of extravagant happiness. All men felt themselves to be the masters of an intact and secret treasure. There was no personal or world problem whose eloquent solution did not exist in some hexagon. The universe was justified, the universe suddenly usurped the unlimited dimensions of hope. At that time a great deal was said about the Vindications: books of apology and prophecy which vindicated for all time the acts of every man in the universe and retained prodigious arcana for his future. Thousands of the greedy abandoned their sweet native hexagons and rushed up the stairways, urged on by the vain intention of finding their Vindication. These pilgrims disputed in the narrow corridors, proffered dark curses, strangled each other on the divine stairways, flung the deceptive books into the air shafts, met their death cast down in a similar fashion by the inhabitants of remote regions. Others went mad... The Vindications exist (I have seen two which refer to persons of the future, to persons who are perhaps not imaginary) but the searchers did not remember that the possibility of a man's finding his Vindication, or some treacherous variation thereof, can be computed as zero.
Whoever would undertake some atrocious enterprise should act as if it were already accomplished should impose upon himself a future as irrevocable as the past.
Years of solitude had taught him that, in one's memory, all days tend to be the same, but that there is not a day, not even in jail or in the hospital, which does not bring surprises, which is not a translucent network of minimal surprises.
We (the indivisible divinity that works in us) have dreamed the world . We have dreamed it resistant, mysterious, visible, ubiquitous in space and firm in time, but we have allowed slight, and eternal, bits of the irrational to form part of its architecture so as to know that it is false.
We have shared out, like thieves, the amazing treasures of days and nights.
What makes a man is as if they were all men. So it is not unfair that one disobedience in a garden contaminates the human race; so it is not unjust that the crucifixion of a single Jew enough to save him. Perhaps Schopenhauer is right: I am the other, any man is all men, Shakespeare is somehow miserable John Vincent Moon.
When one confesses to an act, one ceases to be an actor in it and becomes its witness, becomes a man that observes and narrates it and no longer the man that performed it.
Why a should a dream be any less real than this table. Or Macbeth be less real than today?s newspaper.
You can pretend many things, including intelligence. What cannot be faked is happiness.
We accept reality so readily - perhaps because we sense that nothing is real.
We have stopped believing in progress. What progress that is!