To include that prologue would have been to create another character—Cervantes—but it would also have meant presenting the Quixote in terms of that character and not of Menard. Let us recall once more his diatribe against Paul Valéry in Jacques Reboul’s ephemeral Surrealist sheet. The work Les problèmes d’un problème (Paris, 1917), which discusses, in chronological order, the different solutions given to the illustrious problem of Achilles and the tortoise. ² [I also had the secondary intention of sketching a personal portrait of Pierre Menard. The Baroness de Bacourt (at whose unforgettable vendredis. Once that image (which no one can legitimately deny me) is postulated, it is certain that my problem is a good bit more difficult than Cervantes’ was. (In fact, the final sentence of the story refers to James Joyce by name.) It must have been a jest of our friend, misunderstood by the lady.] When “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote” appeared in 1939, the story marked a turning-point for the career of Jorge Luis Borges, a little-known Argentine writer and librarian who had, up to then, concentrated his efforts on Symbolist poetry, critical essays, and short fictional sketches. Madame Bachelier has seen here an admirable and typical subordination on the part of the author to the hero’s psychology; others (not at all perspicaciously), a transcription of the Quixote; the Baroness de Bacourt, the influence of Nietzsche. But the Odyssey, thanks to my opportune ignorance of Greek, is a library of works in prose and verse, from Chapman’s couplets to Andrew Lang’s “authorized version” or from Berard’s classic French drama and Morris’s lively saga to Samuel Butler’s ironic bourgeois novel. Menard's version is less reliant on local color, more skeptical of historical truth, and on the whole "more subtle than Cervantes's" (93-94). Retrieved from s) A manuscript list of verses which owe their efficacy to their punctuation.¹ autobiographical prologue to the second part of Don Quixote, I recognized our friend’s style and something of his voice in this exceptional phrase, Such a preference, in a Spaniard, would not have been inexplicable, Ah, bear in mind this garden was enchanted, but I am quite capable of imagining it without the Quixote . I) A preface to the Catalogue of an exposition of lithographs by Carolus Hourcade (Nîmes, 1914). PIERRE MENARD, AUTOR DO QUIXOTE A Silvina Ocampo A obra visível que deixou este romancista é de fácil e breve enumeração. Pierre Menard, Autor do Quixote Origem: Wikipédia, a enciclopédia livre. Can Pierre Menard be the author of Don Quixote? He multiplied draft upon draft, revised tenaciously and tore up thousands of manuscript pages.³ He did not let anyone examine these drafts and took care they should not survive him. . Following Menard's example, readers can interpret canonical texts in fascinating new ways by attributing them to authors who didn't actually write them. Our superstition that translations are inferior – reinforced by the age-old Italian adage traduttore traditore – is the result of our naïvete: all great works that we turn to time and again seem unalterable and definitive. What a series of espagnolades that selection would have suggested to Maurice Barrès or Dr. Rodríguez Larreta! My general recollection of the Quixote , simplified by forgetfulness and indifference, can well equal the imprecise and prior image of a book not yet written. A short story by Jorge Luis Borges in which an acquaintance of the author, Pierre Menard, resolves to independently compose Cervantes' classic novel Don Quixote.Though the end product is identical to the original of several hundred years earlier, Borges provides a deadpan review in which he points out how much richer the new version is, quoting the same passages from each to … (I speak, naturally, of my personal capacity and not of those works’ historical resonance.) The Oxford Book of Latin American Essays (1997) calls "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote" "the most influential essay ever written in Latin America. Cervantes’ text and Menard’s are verbally identical, but the second is almost infinitely richer. To this third interpretation (which I judge to be irrefutable) I am not sure I dare to add a fourth, which concords very well with the almost divine modesty of Pierre Menard: his resigned or ironical habit of propagating ideas which were the strict reverse of those he preferred. . Menard left behind an unfinished masterpiece which "consists of the ninth and thirty-eighth chapters of Part I of Don Quixote and a fragment of Chapter XXII" (90). A Silvina Ocampo. The latter, in a clumsy fashion, opposes to the fictions of chivalry the tawdry provincial reality of his country; Menard selects as his “reality” the land of Carmen during the century of Lepanto and Lope de Vega. f ) A monograph on Raymond Lully’s Ars magna generalis (Nîmes, 1906). by the victims of his disinterested maneuvers. our reader will ask. As the narrator notes in the final paragraph, "Menard has (perhaps unwittingly) enriched the slow and rudimentary art of reading by means of a new technique the technique of deliberate anachronism and fallacious attribution" (95). To glorify the occasional performance of that function, to hoard ancient and alien thoughts, to recall with incredulous stupor that the doctor universalis thought, is to confess our laziness or our barbarity. I only know that any modifications would be sacrilegious and that I could not conceive of another beginning for Don Quixote. One might say that only yesterday we gathered before his final monument, amidst the lugubrious cypresses, and already Error tries to tarnish his Memory . I have taken on the mysterious duty of reconstructing literally his spontaneous work. The story is about the Menard's seemingly impossible and absurd task of rewriting the Cervantes's Don Quixote. Having examined with care his personal files, I find that they contain the following items: Here is an illuminating quote from Borges' essay “Some Versions of Homer”, which deals with the dilemma of translation and “definitive” texts: To assume that all recombinations of elements are necessarily inferior to their original form is to assume that draft 9 is necessarily inferior to draft H – since every text is a draft. . e) A technical article on the possibility of improving the game of chess, eliminating one of the rook’s pawns. Fame is a form of incomprehension, perhaps the worst. This disdain points to a new conception of the historical novel. “The Quixote ,” clarifies Menard, “interests me deeply, but it does not seem— how shall I say it?—inevitable. There are no traces of such a work in Menard’s library. Do you feel that this narrator is simply a stand-in for Borges, or are Borges and the narrator very different in major ways? History, the mother of truth: the idea is astounding. Menard in his novel Quixote has no gypsies, no conquistadors and no mystics. Biography of James Joyce, Influential Irish Novelist, Dreaming of Xanadu: A Guide to Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem “Kubla Khan”, All About Italo Calvino's "Invisible Cities", "A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings": Study Guide, Stylistics and Elements of Style in Literature, The Renaissance Writers Who Shaped the Modern World, Flash Fiction From Baudelaire to Lydia Davis, A Guide to All Types of Narration, With Examples, M.F.A., Writing Seminars, Johns Hopkins University, M.A., English Language and Literature, McGill University, B.A., English and Writing Seminars, Johns Hopkins University, Why did Borges use so many literary allusions in “Pierre Menard, Author of the. Jorge Luis Borges's Ficciones explained with part summaries in just a few minutes! Quite the same Wikipedia. Written in the seventeenth century, written by the “lay genius” Cervantes, this enumeration is a mere rhetorical praise of history. Kennedy, Patrick. Our first reading of famous books is really the second, since we already know them. This is not an artistic flaw; in fact, Borges’s narrator is fully conscious of these omissions. He's an editor at and ILEX Publications. h) The work sheets of a monograph on George Boole’s symbolic logic. “Thinking, analyzing, inventing (he also wrote me) are not anomalous acts; they are the normal respiration of the intelligence. I, in contrast, can only reject any divergence. As for Borges’s humorous self-criticism, de Costa notes that Borges and Menard have strangely similar writing habits. Rather as impossible! r) A cycle of admirable sonnets for the Baroness de Bacourt (1934). (I speak, naturally, of my personal capacity and not of those works’ historical resonance.). “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote” (1939) is regarded as one of the key object-texts in postmodern theorizing (1). The Quixote —Menard told me—was, above all, an entertaining book; now it is the occasion for patriotic toasts, grammatical insolence and obscene de luxe editions, Fame is a form of incomprehension, perhaps the worst. The only difference is that the philosophers publish the intermediary stages of their labor in pleasant volumes and I have resolved to do away with those stages.” In truth, not one worksheet remains to bear witness to his years of effort. Borges situates “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote” in this growing tradition of quotation and appropriation. Instead, he decided that the best route was "continuing to be Pierre Menard and coming to the Quixote through the experiences of Pierre Menard" (91). Since Spanish is my native language, the Quixote is to me an unchanging monument, with no possible variations except those furnished by the editor, the bookbinder, and the compositor. Decidedly, a brief rectification is unavoidable. . It has been republished in numerous collections. But he goes further when he considers a real book, such as Don Quixote, as though it were an imaginary book, itself reproduced by an imaginary author, Pierre Menard, who in turn he considers to be real. Historical truth, for him, is not what has happened; it is what we judge to have happened. But how could I dare to compete with the golden pages which, I am told, the Baroness de Bacourt is preparing or with the delicate and punctual pencil of Carolus Hourcade?] I had the honor of meeting the lamented poet) has seen fit to approve the pages which follow. Or can you think of real-life reading and writing methods that recall Menard’s ideas. Menard achieved this re-creation of the Cervantes text without really re-creating Cervantes's life. The notion of a “definitive text” belongs to religion or perhaps merely to exhaustion. “Pierre Menard,” Borges noted in 1968, “was still a halfway house between the essay and th… There is no exercise of the intellect which is not, in the final analysis, useless. Menard proposes, recommends, discusses and finally rejects this innovation. The title character of "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote" is a poet and literary critic from France-and is also, unlike a more traditional title character, dead by the time the story begins. ThoughtCo. Another example is James Joyce’s Ulysses, which mixes bits of everyday speech with imitations of ancient epics, medieval poetry, and Gothic novels. . I know such an affirmation seems an absurdity; to justify this “absurdity” is the primordial object of this note.² (Let us recall once more his diatribe against Paul Valéry in Jacques Reboul’s ephemeral Surrealist sheet.) He did not want to compose another Quixote —which is easy— but the Quixote itself. The Quixote is a contingent book; the Quixote is unnecessary. by the victims of his disinterested maneuvers) has sacrificed “to veracity and to death” (such were her words) the stately reserve which is her distinction, and, in an open letter published in the magazine Luxe, concedes me her approval as well. With this project, Menard didn't aim to merely transcribe or copy Don Quixote, and he didn't attempt to produce a 20th-century updating of this 17th-century comic novel. In addition, the bibliography that starts off “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote” includes “a study of the essential metrical rules of French prose, illustrated with examples taken from Saint-Simon” (89). One is that philological fragment by Novalis—the one numbered 2005 in the Dresden edition—which outlines the theme of a total identification with a given author. Instead, Menard's "admirable ambition was to produce a number of pages which coincided-word for word and line for line with those of Miguel de Cervantes," the original author of the Quixote (91). through the experiences of Pierre Menard. The twenty or so items on the narrator's list include translations, collections of sonnets, essays on intricate literary topics, and finally "a handwritten list of lines of poetry that owe their excellence to punctuation" (89-90). The unauthorized sequel by Avellaneda is the most famous of these, and Pierre Menard himself can be understood as the latest in a line of Cervantes imitators. Object-texts are texts which become the locus of philosophical analysis, and seem to best represent a particular kind of aesthetic ideology. “The final term in a theological or metaphysical demonstration—the objective world, God, causality, the forms of the universe—is no less previous and common than my famed novel. Kennedy, Patrick. truth, whose mother is history, rival of time, depository of deeds, witness of the past, exemplar and adviser to the present, and the future’s counselor. While a standard 20th-century short story describes a conflict that builds steadily towards a crisis, climax, and resolution, Borges's story imitates (and often parodies) an academic or scholarly essay. g) A translation, with prologue and notes, of Ruy López de Segura’s Libro de la invención liberal y arte del juego del axedrez (Paris, 1907). It is a revelation to compare Menard’s Don Quixote with Cervantes’. All in-text citations refer to Jorge Luis Borges, "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote", pages 88-95 in Jorge Luis Borges: Collected Fictions (Translated by Andrew Hurley. m) The work Les problèmes d’un problème (Paris, 1917), which discusses, in chronological order, the different solutions given to the illustrious problem of Achilles and the tortoise.