The Dead Authors Podcast: Legendary time-traveling writer H.G. Wells (Paul F. Tompkins) welcomes literary giants to The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles for a lively discussion in front of a live audience. Unscripted, barely researched, all fun! [more inside]
In those years I imitated him, to the point of transcription, to the point of devoted and impassioned plagiarism. I felt: Macedonio is metaphysics, is literature. Whoever preceded him might shine in history, but they were all rough drafts of Macedonio, imperfect previous versions. To not imitate this canon would have represented incredible negligence.From Jorge Luis Borges' eulogy for Macedonio Fernández. Borges' relationship with Macedonio was complicated, as recounted in The Man Who Invented Borges, a fine essay by Marcelo Ballvé. Macedonio's most famous work, the posthumous-by-design work (he believed literature should be aged like good whiskey) The Museum of Eterna's Novel has finally been translated and published in English translation, here is an excerpt from the novel (one of the ninety or so prologues). The introduction to the novel, written by its translator Margaret Schwartz, has been put online by the publisher (parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Schwartz also sat down for a short interview. You can download an mp3 of a great hour-long panel discussion on Macedonio and a master's thesis on Macedonio by Peter Loggie [pdf]
Norman Thomas di Giovanni, translator for the 20th century Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges's has recently posted on his web-site, his translation of Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius, one of his most well known and greatest short stories.
The Analytical Language of John Wilkins - the Decimal System post below reminded me of this exquisite essay by Jorge Luis Borges. Famous for its appearance in Michel Foucault's The Order of Things, the essay describes an attempt to create a non-arbitrary language. For fans of Borges' work, this is absolutely classic.
Is It Fiction If It Says "Fiction" On The Cover? Jorge Luis Borges brilliantly obscured fact and fiction presenting fiction as fact. Things seem to have swung round 180º and fact is now increasingly being sold as fiction. This certainly seems to be the case with Siri Hustvedt's What I Loved. She's Paul Auster's second wife and... Well... now even critics, like The New York Observer's Joe Hagan have joined the fun, as Slate's Katie Roiphe duly noted. Fact is now presented as fiction, without the traditional disguise of the roman à clef. I think it's sad. In fact, it's an attempt on the life of imagination itself. Perhaps these authors who write memoirs masquerading as novels could be sued under the Trade Description Act? [With thanks to the always excellent Literary Salon weblog. Thanks to ColdChef for pointing it out to me.]
Light, Secret Places And Books: Photographer Sean Kernan's startling and beautifully literary interpretation of Jorge Luís Borges is based on his The Secret Books album and was reviewed on The Garden of Forking Paths, that definitive, ever-fascinating Borges website. It's a small consolation for those, like me, who would have have liked to be in Barcelona today for the opening of the Cosmopolis exhibition, which celebrates the stormy, but enduring identification of Borges with Buenos Aires. The relationship between writers and places is always interesting whenever they grow into each other to the point of almost becoming each other. Joyce is Dublin; Kafka is Prague; Pessoa is Lisbon. What other, less obvious identifications are there? Is the relationship more like mutual cannibalism, mythical reinforcement, a touristy marketing scheme or the peaceful symbiosis it's generally made out to be?