If Macedonio hadn't invented Borges, Borges would've invented him
July 21, 2010 11:55 PM   Subscribe

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]
posted by Kattullus (7 comments total) 58 users marked this as a favorite
I've read The Museum of Eterna's Novel. I think I can unhesitatingly endorse it, though it requires some indulgence and patience. It helps that it is often very funny.
posted by Kattullus at 12:28 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

ooh. neat. bought.
posted by juv3nal at 1:39 AM on July 22, 2010

I found my way to Borges from Ellison's introduction to Angry Candy:

"At my tip-top best, I'm not fit to sweep up his shadow. That he died, having never received the Nobel prize for literature he so richly deserved, crushed me and sent me deeper into my melancholia."

From there I looked up Borges, and was amazed. Now, from Borges, I have another writer to discover. I'm looking forward to this.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:42 AM on July 22, 2010

Thanks for this
posted by MinPin at 2:43 AM on July 22, 2010

See, this is what an excellent post is like ... excellent.
posted by Phanx at 6:14 AM on July 22, 2010

Great post. There seem to be a lot of good articles on the quarterlyconversation site.
posted by HumanComplex at 6:47 AM on July 22, 2010

What Phanx said :)
posted by puny human at 9:46 AM on July 22, 2010

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