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What I'm reading

March 30th, 2003

I’m still leafing through my collection of Borges short stories. A particularly interesting one, in the light of various debates in this corner of Ozplogistan last year (try starting here and reading forward through the archive), is The Don Quixote of Pierre Menard, about a writer who attempts to think himself into the position of Cervantes, and then reproduce Don Quixote, succeeding to the extent of two chapters. Borges, in the person of a literary executor, quotes from Cervantes’ original a conventional apostrophe to History , then the identical passage from Menard’s ‘reproduction’ which, he argues, is utterly different by virtue of being written by a 20th century author.

As much as I throw myself into this intellectual escapism, I have to admit that I’m reading everything I can find about the war. At an intellectual level, I’m still convinced that this is a pointless activity – having tried and failed to stop the war, there’s very little that supporters of peace can do now to mitigate its awful consequences. But this hasn’t stopped me thinking about it most of the time, and so I’ll probably resume posting about it before long.

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