Wednesday, January 01, 2014

"He resolved to outstrip the vanity which awaits all the woes of mankind; he undertook a task that was complex in the extreme and futile from the outset.  He dedicated his conscience and nightly studies to the repetition of a pre-existing book in a foreign tongue."  (Borges, "Pierre Meynard," trans. Anthony Bonner)

"He resolved to anticipate the vanity that awaits all the labors of mankind; he undertook a task of infinite complexity, a task futile from the outset.  He dedicated his scruples and his nights 'lit by midnight oil' to repeating in a foreign tongue a book that already existed."  (ibid., trans. Andrew Hurley)

"Indeed, he saw with absolute clarity the experimental nature of his works, which might be admirable for their innovativeness and a certain laconic integrity, but hardly for their strength of passion.  'I am like Cowley's odes,' he said in a letter to me from Longford on March 6, 1939.  'I belong not to art but to the history of art.'"  (Another Borgesian writer & judgment close -- maybe too close -- to my own heart)

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