List Borges Essays

List Borges Essays-9
Positioning Borges at the center of the Argentinean literary canon is, for Bolaño, a modest way of placing him at the center of a personal canon. The Spanish novelist and critic Eduardo Lago notes in a revealing essay about Bolaño's complete works that "his debt to Borges is incalculable, but it is difficult to imagine anything further from the piecemeal intellectual fictions of the Argentinean" than Bolaño's peripatetic plotlines.Borges cultivated a summary prose that was the expression of succinct, precise thought: an almost mathematical equation.

Positioning Borges at the center of the Argentinean literary canon is, for Bolaño, a modest way of placing him at the center of a personal canon. The Spanish novelist and critic Eduardo Lago notes in a revealing essay about Bolaño's complete works that "his debt to Borges is incalculable, but it is difficult to imagine anything further from the piecemeal intellectual fictions of the Argentinean" than Bolaño's peripatetic plotlines.Borges cultivated a summary prose that was the expression of succinct, precise thought: an almost mathematical equation.

Their relationship with literature was almost sacred.

They believed in little else and were consecrated to her alone, as if literature were (perhaps because it is) a matter of life and death.

Bolaño's novels advanced from the brevity of his first incursions in narrative to the mastodon proportions of his posthumous novel, , which totals over a thousand pages. His awkward mode of narration gives the impression of being impulsive, like his characters, but eventually it is revealed that a single motor is moving apparently disparate parts. Why not Onetti, Cortázar, Puig, Vargas Llosa, García Márquez, or any of those writers forced to come together under the elastic umbrella of the Boom?

Dating back to his first novel, co-written with Antonio Porta and published in 1984, , a puerile inclination was manifest: his rebellious nature, nonconformist, unwilling "to ever settle down," as he himself put it. The writers whom Bolaño read with admiration, affection, curiosity, and sometimes hatred?

This rejection can be read as a clever break with Borges' own immediate traditions, the Argentine and Latin American literature of the first half of the twentieth century, and all the "isms" of the 20s, 30s, and 40s.

For him, the writer--whether poet or novelist--was a maker, a rápsoda, a teller of stories, and the epic was the highest form of art. Once Bolaño had established himself as a writer, he didn't miss many opportunities to declare himself a disciple of Borges, "Like all men, like all living things," he wrote in the ("The Valiant Librarian"), he lauds the merits of his precursor: "clear writing, a reading of Whitman (...) a dialogue and monologue before history, an honest approach to English verse.

One must investigate every fringe, every path that Borges has left behind.

For Bolaño, the writing of his predecessors was somewhat profane, its most obvious expression being its unprecedented commercial success.

Beyond sharing an almost religious devotion to literature, however, it is difficult to reconcile the work of Borges with that of Bolaño.

When Spanish critic Ignacio Echevarría wrote that Bolaño's was "the kind of novel Borges would have agreed to write," he paid a compliment to the Chilean writer, but what do the erudite games of Borges' very short stories have in common with the sagas of fortune and misfortune that are Bolaño's voluminous novels?

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