Rodrigo Quian Quiroga. Borges and Memory: Encounters with the Human Brain. Trans. Juan Pablo Fernández. Cambridge (Mass.): Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 2012 [Book Review]
journal contributionposted on 2017-05-23, 00:12 authored by Nick Kankahainen
In “The Circular Ruins” Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges pursues the implications of (what we today might call) an intertextual view of reality to a somewhat vertiginous conclusion, entertaining the notion that one may not “be a man,” but “the projection of another man’s dream” that we may be little more than an assemblage of the various beliefs, anxieties and obsessions that gripped generations prior to our own. A similar logic applies to books: no one person writes any book, nor is any reading of it independent of all other readings. Inasmuch as “universal history is the history of the various intonations of a few metaphors,” as Borges reminds us, quoting Pliny the Elder: “ut nihil noniisdem verbis redderetur auditum” [nothing that is heard can be repeated with the same words]. Writer and reader are each a combination of an infinite number of impressions, experiences, and ideas, both remembered and forgotten.