Wednesday, November 29, 2006

with borges...


another recent book suggestion; similar to le corbusier's hands in that it is also a remembrance, and also a short little book. it was written by alberto manguel and titled with borges.

manguel's memoir covers the years 1964 - 1968, when he visited borges several times a week to to read to him aloud. borges, by the early 60's was blind and according to manguel, "there exists a vast group of those who once read out loud to borges, minor boswells whose identities are rarely known to one another but who collectively hold the memory of one of the world's great readers".

like the architect wogenscky, manguel has a wonderful sense detail in describing small moments, notating things about borges the human, and also borges literary habits. since manguel is also a writer of renown, his insight into borges the writer (and reader) is extremely sensitive. it's only 75 pages, but while i was in berlin a few weeks ago, it was the only book i had with me and i read it cover to cover 4 times and found new things in the text every time.

there are some really nice bits related to translation, one showing borges transformation of shakespeare and borges saying "if you are going to translate shakespeare, you must do it as freely as shakespeare wrote"... a few pages later mangeul writes,"another of borges's subversions is the notion that every book, any book, holds the promise of all others, both mechanically and intellectually. borges believed this to be true, provided the idea could be taken to its utmost limits. every text is a combination of the twenty four letters of the alphabet (more of less according to each language). for that reason, an infinite combination of these letters would give us a complete library of every conceivable book past, present, and future...". this is definitely a beautiful thing.

the book is published by telegram books, there's more info here. once again, rather than doing the lazy amazon thing, please see if your small local bookstore has it or can order if for you.


Blogger Dan Goodsell said...

i like the one text is all texts idea. that one lodge right in the back of my brain to be thought about more....

6:32 AM  

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