Finished Jorge Luis Borges’s Brodie’s Report

Jorge Luis Borges, Brodie's Report I’ve just finished Jorge Luis Borges’s Brodie’s Report, a book I bought out of curiosity to see what he’d written about Edgar Allan Poe’s The Philosophy of Composition (see my notes) – something a reader called Agustín Schapira alerted me to in January last year. This is what Borges wrote:

The craft is mysterious; [...] and I prefer Plato’s theory of the Muse to that of Poe, who argued, or pretended to argue, that the writing of a poem is an operation of the intelligence.

The foreword contains a few thoughts on his authorship, which will perhaps be more interesting to someone more familiar of his works. I liked this passage, though:

I have tried (I am not sure how successfully) to write plain tales. I dare not say they are simple; there is not a simple page, a simple word, on earth—for all pages, all words, predicate the universe, whose most notorious attribute is its complexity.

However, I think this is an odd choice for the first book of his to read. It is a collection of short stories he wrote in his seventies, after a gap of twenty years. The back says that he “returned also to the style of his earlier years with its brutal realism, its nightmares and its bloodshed.” I am actually more interested in his speculative/metaphysical fiction. I’ll order his Collected Fictions and perhaps reread Brodie at a later time. (Thanks to Håkan for reading tips.)

A few days ago The New Civic Art: Elements of Town Planning, by Andrés Duany et al, arrived from Amazon.com. After leafing through it a couple of times, it’s definitely a great buy (see this review), but it’s a hefty volume which doesn’t quite lend itself to bedtime reading or carrying around for reading in spare moments. So I will probably take a look at Le Corbusier’s The City of Tomorrow and its Planning as well. I’m also waiting for a copy of Herman Hesse’s The Glass Bead Game to arrive.

The above was posted to my personal weblog on June 13, 2004. My name is Peter Lindberg and I am a thirtysomething software developer and dad living in Stockholm, Sweden. Here, you’ll find posts in English and Swedish about whatever happens to interest me for the moment.


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