Pachina En otros proyectos Wikimedia Commons. Jorge Luis Borges en Buenos Aires. Escritor y poeta.

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The years between and were for Borges a time of really intensive immersion in the novel. He seems during this period to have read very nearly every piece of extended fiction that came out of Europe and both Americas, with a sort of treble intention: he wanted to tell his fellow Argentinians what was going on around them, and to this end contributed a series of brief essays on foreign books and authors twice a month to a popular society weekly called El Hogar; he hoped to evolve for himself a set of theories about fiction that would let him know where he stood on the possibilities for that genre; and he wanted most importantly for our purposes to discover what the literatures of the two Americas had in common— what it was that made them, however diverse, American.

The essays in El Hogar are scarcely profound—which is not surprising, given the rather social orientation of this elegant magazine. In the first of these on Jan. Rarely, for Borges, a writer emerges who practices the virtues and joys of both categories.

Faulkner likes to express his novel through its characters. The method is not absolutely original— The Ring and the Book by Robert Browning details the same crime ten times, through the mouths of ten souls—but Faulkner infuses this technique with an intensity that is almost intolerable.

An infinite decomposition, an infinite and black carnality are in this book by Faulkner. William Faulkner has been compared with Dostoevsky. Borges does not much like The Wild Palms. The book consists of two books, of two parallel and antagonistic stories that alternate. Finally, Borges acknowledges that Faulkner is the premier novelist of our time. Why, if he held the novel is such low esteem, should Borges or Borges and his mother have done the translation? Here there are, so far, no certainties; but there are probabilities.

Those rights were then presumably transferred to Sudamericana, which had only just been founded. It is also possible that Borges later wished to give the impression that his mother had done the translation, either wholly or in part, because it was a task undertaken primarily not for love of Faulkner, but for the fee paid the translator.

The romance of the title story is, to put it mildly, an ironic treatment of the star-crossed-lovers theme most recently adumbrated at that time by Hemingway in A Farewell to Arms. He has adopted this career in a fashion that must have appealed to Borges because of his reading of detective novels, which he uses as how-to-do-it manuals. The Mississippi floods its banks, and he is set free temporarily to aid in rescue and evacuation operations along the levees.

No criollismo here, nothing of Yoknapatawpha at all: only a kind of perverse paean to extreme passion hatred and love are here, as so often in Faulkner, coterminous and endurance. The translation is precise, conscientious, and decorous. Much too decorous, I had been originally ready to claim—especially in regard to matters sexual. My God, I never in my life saw anybody try as hard to be a husband as you do.

Listen to me, you lug. Nunca he visto a nadie en mi vida luchar tanto para parecer un marido. The real test of a Faulkner translation comes not in the dialogue of one of his novels, however, but in the baroque and coiled narrative itself, twisting and turning slowly along, almost endlessly ruminative and qualifying.

It is hard to imagine how this might be better. Borges does not try to make Faulkner more economical, less profligate of substantives and repetitive of verbs than he is: the Spanish is stubbornly insistent on taking its own time and stringing itself out as is the original text. Berveiller must have his reasons.

Berveiller cites in his book. The typical psychological novel is formless. The Russians and their disciples have demonstrated, tediously, that no one is impossible.

A person may kill himself because he is so happy, for example, or commit murder as an act of benevolence. Lovers may separate forever as a consequence of their love. And one man can inform on another out of fervor of humility. In the end such complete freedom is tantamount to chaos.

There are pages, there are chapters in Marcel Proust that are unacceptable as inventions, and we unwittingly resign ourselves to the insipidity and the emptiness of each day. View cart Subscribe Login. How to Give Why Give? How to Give Store. Not exactly a specific anatomy of the novel, perhaps; but the esteem, the awe, are there.

II Why, if he held the novel is such low esteem, should Borges or Borges and his mother have done the translation? Cortazar might have come close, and possibly Puig; but not Borges, and not his mother.

If the novel as an art-form was now inclined strongly toward the Dostoevskys and Prousts, then he wanted no part of it. And Faulkner, for all his greatness, must have seemed to Borges to reside in the camp of the enemy. Issue: Winter Volume 56 1. Leave a tip. Your name.

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Borges, Faulkner, and the Wild Palms



Jorge Luis Borges


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