rough notes

The world will be Tlön

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It’s time for my annual Borges quotation.

Now, the conjectural “primitive language” of Tlön has found its ways into the schools . . .  in all memories, a fictitious past occupies the place of any other. We know nothing about it without any certainty, not even that it is false . . . A scattered dynasty of solitaries has changed the face of the world. Its task continues. If our foresight is not mistaken, a hundred years from now someone will discover the hundred volumes of the Second Encyclopedia of Tlön.

Then, English, French, and mere Spanish will disappear from this planet.  The world will be Tlön.  I take no notice.  I go on revising, in the quiet days in the hotel at Androgué, a tentative translation into Spanish, in the style of Quevedo, which I do not intend to see published, of Sir Thomas Browne’s Urn Burial.

As imposing as this is, it is all the more powerful if you’ve actually read Browne.


Written by mitchellirons

January 26, 2010 at 9:28 am

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