Mouseion: the counter-institutional agent of the literary utopias of Ricardo Piglia and Dimitris Kalokyris.
In this article I focus on the work of two contemporary writers, the Argentine Ricardo Piglia and the Greek Dimitris Kalokyris, who have both been remarkably influenced by the philosophical and aesthetic principles of Jorge Luis Borges; Kalokyris is one of the two principal translators of Borges's work in Greece. (1) Specifically, I concentrate my study on the concept of the 'museum' as a counter-institutional and deinstitutionalizing agent of Piglia's and Kalokyris's literary utopias.
The topos of the 'museum' constitutes a fundamental concept in the work of Ricardo Piglia. Like Piglian writing in general, which upholds the contradictions and conflicts of contemporary culture, the topos of the 'museum' plays an antithetical role. Like Macedonio Fernandez's Museo de la novela de la Eterna (1929) (2) and Borges's 'El aleph' (1949), (3) two texts which Piglia considers as 'version[es] microscopic[as] del Museo' where 'todo el universo se concentra', the Piglian corpus itself emerges as a universe in condensation or, in Piglia's terms, as a 'museo fantastico y filosofico'. (4) As the etymology of the word indicates, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] is the seat of the Muses. In fact, the museum is another name for 'la isla de Finnegans', Piglia's political and aesthetic utopia established in his short story 'La isla', which was first published as part of his novel La ciudad ausente (5) and subsequently appeared in his collection of short stories Cuentos morales. (6) In effect, the notion of the utopia as the register of the future is crucial in the texts of Piglia and closely associated with that of the 'museum'. As a metaphor for literature, the 'isla' is the literary and philosophical 'other bank' of Lucian and Plato, the linguistic utopia situated, according to Piglia, on the River Liffey: 'El rio Liffey [...] atraviesa la isla de Norte a Sur. Pero Liffey es tambien el nombre que designa al lenguaje y en el rio Liffey estan todos los rios del mundo' (Cuentos morales, p. 43).The constitutive element of the 'isla' is language, which basically means that the word is equivalent to the world--wor(l)d--whose ultimate version is the unapproachable, in Piglia's terms, 'Palabra de Dios' (ibid., p. 51)--the Borgesian topos of the 'Word' exempli.ed in stories such as 'La escritura del Dios' (OC, I, 596-99), 'Parabola del palacio' (OC, II, 179-80), 'El espejo y la mascara' (OC, iii, 45-47), and 'Undr' (OC, III, 48-51).
The utopian 'isla' is the land of the Borgesian Hacedor who registers present, absent, and potential realities with what Roberto Arlt--in his Aguafuertes portenas (1933) (7)--and subsequently Piglia call the 'maquina polifacetica' of fiction. In effect, 'la isla' is the 'other bank' of reality where the archetypal poet, or, in Greek, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]--from the verb [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] 'I make'--interminably constructs and deconstructs his wor(l)ds. As Idelber Avelar acutely observes, in La ciudad ausente Piglia rewrites Borges's 'El inmortal' and the topos of the immortal city--'la Ciudad de los Inmortales' (OC, I, 533)--as a fictional construct. (8) Evidently, the 'isla', as the (by definition) utopian 'Ciudad de los Inmortales', emerges as the ultimate 'Ciudad ausente' or, as I shall argue later, 'de los Ausentes'--of 'El Proceso' initiated with Videla's ferocious dictatorship in 1976. (9)
In his interview with Monica Lopez Ocon, Piglia asserts that 'la realidad esta tejida de ficciones'. (10) The Borgesian notion of literature as the maker of the world is crucial in the aesthetics of Piglia, who understands fiction as the creator of the future. Specifically, Piglia has repeatedly referred to his notion of the relato futuro, a text which registers the (by definition absent) future, i.e. the realities which, in Piglia's terms, are 'ausentes' from and/or alternative to the present reality. In his essay 'Ficcion y politica en la literatura Argentina', Piglia maintains that 'la novela no expresa a ninguna sociedad sino como negacion y contrarrealidad. La literatura siempre es inactual, dice en otro lugar, a destiempo, la verdadera historia. En el fondo todas las novelas suceden en el futuro' (Critica y ficcion, p. 131). Piglia relates the notion of the 'utopia' to that of the 'future', conceiving the latter as a malleable space and time inhabited by all those realities which have no place in the present--i.e. excluded, forgotten, and potential realities. In this way, literature will always inhabit the future and will always register utopian realities by creating for them, again in Piglia's terms, an artificial [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] to respire. (11) Hence, what Piglia calls the 'verdadera historia' is actually the history of literature which resides in the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.], the utopian place where all realities can exist simultaneously and all sorts of narratives, from literature to philosophy and science, find a place to breathe. Hence, the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.], where the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]-Maker and his multifaceted literary machine reside, stands for the collective and heterogeneous cultural memory of the world. In fact, the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] is the seat of [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] (memory), who is the Muse of epic art--the art of storytelling par excellence. Accordingly, in La ciudad ausente, the 'Museo' accommodates the woman-machine, a postmodern version of the notorious storyteller Scheherazade, who recounts stories interminably. In fact, as Piglia himself notes in his interview with Maria Antonieta Pereira, his literary museum is the space where 'cuando uno entra, se ponen en funcionamiento las imagenes y los suenos, y los relatos que uno tiene internalizados'. (12) In the same interview, Piglia adds: 'El museo viene de Macedonio [Fernandez]. Lo que hice fue imaginar un museo de la ficcion. Asi como los pintores tienen un museo, yo empece a pensar como seria el museo de los escritores. Seria un museo con relatos, con ficciones, un museo del amor, de lo imaginario. [...] Habria que hacer un museo asi en el mundo' (ibid.). Moreover, the museum is a concept of modernity, which seeks to give its subjects a sense of a common and continuous cultural identity. As Nestor Garcia Canclini argues in Culturas hibridas, the 'funcion mas sutil de los museos' is 'construir una relacion de continuidad jerarquizada con los antecedentes de la propia sociedad'. (13) Evidently, the museum becomes the institution where the nation-state defines its cultural identity on the basis of inclusions, exclusions, and neutralizations of what it conceives as appropriate or inappropriate for the establishment of a coherent homogeneous cultural narrative. In other words, in modernity, the museum constitutes an institutional power which sanctifies and legitimizes the State's interpretative (and often monolithic) narratives of patrimony. Referring, for example, to the Museo Nacional de Antropologia in Mexico, Garcia Canclini argues that there is almost no reference to non-indigenous cultures and an attempt is made to homogenize diverse and often conflicting pre-Hispanic traditions in the name of 'mexicanidad'. He says:
Tampoco aparecen otras etnias que han tenido y tienen un papel significativo en la formacion del Mexico moderno. Nunca se habla de los espanoles, ni los negros, ni los chinos, ni los alemanes, ni los arabes. La vision antropologica esta reducida a lo prehispanico y lo indigena tradicional. [...] Prefiere exponer un patrimonio cultural 'puro' y uni.cado bajo la marca de la mexicanidad. [...] Lo logra exaltando simultaneamente las culturas indigenas singulares de cada grupo para subordinarlos al caracter generico de lo indio y a la unidad de la nacion. (Culturas hibridas, p. 181)
The institutional mechanisms of the museum exclude and neutralize differences and deviations so that everything finally fits into the 'legitimate' pattern produced and projected by the State. When it comes to literature, this canonization of traditions and works neutralizes the text and makes it effectively moribund since it freezes its potential to bifurcate and simultaneously sustain different meanings and interpretations. Ultimately, in the museum the text ceases to breathe, it dies from asphyxia. Similarly, in his essay 'Un cadaver sobre la ciudad', Piglia argues, referring to Arlt: 'El mayor riesgo que corre hoy su obra es el de la canonizacion. Hasta ahora su estilo lo ha salvado de ir a parar al museo: es dificil neutralizar esa escritura, se opone frontalmente a la norma de hipercorreccion' (Formas breves, p. 50).
The museum is the institutional power of the State as a 'Great Narrator' which Piglian writing attacks from the inside. That is, as I have already argued, Piglian literature, as a [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.], is an agent which upholds the notions of contradiction, heterogeneity, and multitemporality--notions which undermine the legitimacy of the homogenizing discourse of the Museum-State. In other words, inside the Museum Piglia constructs his counter-Museum, the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] where the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] permanently exhibits his heterogeneous wor(l)ds. Hence, the exposition of heterogeneous narratives in the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] unsurprisingly leads to the exposure of the authoritative and monolithic narratives of the Museum. Ultimately, against the Museum as a metaphor for the institutional power of the State, Piglia places the literary [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.], the Museo de la novela which accommodates not the past but the future: the alternative (absent) realities.
Along with the museum, as Michel Foucault argues in L'Archeologie du savoir, (14) the State also uses other institutions such as schools, mental asylums, and prisons in order to deal with opposition and establish a system of homogeneous relations. In Piglia's texts, the museum, the mental asylum, and prison are interchangeable, they are metonymies of the State's institutional power against which the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]--literature--fights.
The short story 'Los nudos blancos', first published in La ciudad ausente and later in Cuentos morales, is a text about madness epitomized by the Piglian topos of the woman-machine. In fact, a number of insane women run throughout Piglia's work. Laura in 'La nena', Anna Livia Plurabelle in 'La isla', Lucia Nietzsche and the daughter of Rilke in 'Encuentro en Saint-Nazaire', Echevarne Angelica Ines in 'La loca y el relato del crimen' (Cuentos morales) as well as Rosa Malabia in 'La mujer grabada' (Formas breves): they all constitute variations of the same model of 'la mujer loca'. In 'Los nudos blancos', Elena Fernandez--who is a precursor of the woman-machine, Anna Livia Plurabelle of 'La isla'--is interned in the clinic of the psychiatrist Dr Arana, the man with the institutional power of Reason. On the one hand, Elena 'estaba segura de haber muerto y de que alguien habia incorporado su cerebro (a veces decia su alma) a una maquina' (Cuentos morales, p. 18). On the other hand, in order to 'cure' Elena's insanity, Dr Ara na, who is 'un especialista en la memoria artificial' (ibid., p. 23), is about to operate on her brain--'habra que actuar sobre el cerebro') (ibid. p. 22)--and replace her memory--'hay que actuar sobre la memoria' (ibid.)--with an artificial one--'una memoria ajena' (ibid., p. 25). The State's control of personal memory also becomes explicit in the case of Grete, who 'habia sido infiltrada y sepulto su pasado y adopt o una historia ficticia. Nunca mas pudo volver a recordar quien habia sido' (ibid., p. 26).
The mental asylum, Dr Arana, and his biotechnology become the agents of the 'memoria ajena' which Piglia basically understands simultaneously in three different ways. First, he considers it as the principal characteristic of Argentine political history since 1976; secondly, as the fundamental feature of contemporary culture; and thirdly, as a major characteristic of 'peripheral' countries such as Argentina. In particular, first, Argentina is a country which strives to 'forget' 'la guerra sucia' of 'El Proceso' by actually 'forgiving' those who were responsible. After the 'Ley de Punto Final' introduced a decade later by the government of Alfonsin (1986), 'perdon y olvido' became the political discourse of both the latter's and Menem's presidencies. In other words, Argentina experiences, in Jose Maria Gomez's terms, 'un eclipse de memoria', (15) for she uses the law of forgetting as a means for recovering from her dark past. Ultimately, contemporary Argentina uses amnesty as the signifier for amnesia, so to speak. Secondly, though postmodernity is an era, as it were, of excessive documentation and artificial memory, contemporary culture witnesses, in Fredric Jameson's terms, an emptying out of memory. He claims: 'Memory seems to play no role in television, commercial or otherwise (or, I am tempted to say, in postmodernism generally): nothing here haunts the mind or leaves its afterimages.' (16) In contemporary urban centres such as Buenos Aires, technology generates a bewildering perception of temporality. As Beatriz Sarlo notes, the electronic culture and especially television, video games, and the Internet engender a 'vaciamiento de historia': (17) that is, they put together miscellaneous actions, decentred fractures which produce a heterogeneous story, a collage of narratives without memory. Likewise, Jameson argues that 'we are left with a pure random play of signifiers that we call postmodernism [...] which ceaselessly reshuffles the fragments of pre-existent texts [...] in some new and heightened bricolage' (Postmodernism, p. 96).
Finally, the loss of memory is also related to the way 'peripheral' countries appropriate what Piglia calls 'memoria ajena', i.e. the memories of others. Evidently, Piglia shares with Borges his notion of 'argentinidad' as defined in the latter's notorious essay 'El escritor argentino y la tradicion'. According to Borges, 'Argentineness' and, I would add, other 'peripheral' identities such as 'Greekness' ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]) are de.ned by the periphery's ability to appropriate (and be irreverent towards) foreign traditions. Such 'peripheral' spaces are hybrid since they are constructed upon heterogeneous and heteroclite identities. In effect, according to Borges, Argentines (like Greeks) can appropriate diverse cultural elements because they at once participate in European culture, yet are distant from it: 'Creo que los argentinos, los sudamericanos en general, [...] podemos manejar todos los temas europeos, manejarlos sin supersticiones, con una irreverencia que puede tener, y ya tiene, consecuencias afortunadas' (OC, i, 273). Similarly, in his essay 'Poeticas de la novela en America Latina', Piglia notes, referring to Borges's concept of the heterogeneous, multitemporal, and multilingual reality of 'peripheral' countries such as Argentina (and Greece): '[Los] pueblos perifericos [...] se manejan entre dos historias, en dos tiempos y a menudo en dos lenguas. [...] Para Borges ese lugar incierto permite un uso especi.co de la herencia cultural: los procedimientos de falsificacion, la traduccion como plagio, la mezcla de registros, el entrevero de filiaciones.' (18) In fact, Piglia arms that what is known today as a major feature of postmodern culture--the 'memoria ajena'--has been a chief element of Argentine reality in the last two centuries. In his essay 'Memoria y tradicion', he states that in countries of the periphery like Argentina writers use 'una memoria impersonal', they remember with 'una memoria ajena'; and he adds: 'Esa parece una excelente metafora de la culturamoderna.' (19) Finally, in the same essay he asserts a la Borges: 'Podemos apropiarnos del universo desde un suburbio del mundo. Podemos apropiarnos porque estamos en un suburbio del mundo' (ibid.).
Evidently, once again we encounter the antithetical role of the 'museum'. On the one hand, the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] is the space of the 'memoria ajena', i.e. the land of the archetypal [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] who appropriates, falsifies, and recycles the narratives--memories--of others. In this way, the Piglian [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] is a metaphor for both literature and (contemporary) culture. On the other hand, the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] contests the homogenizing power of globalizing agents such as the market and the media as well as the institutional power of the State. First, it calls into question the great narratives of postmodern culture: the narrative of consumerism and its symbolic products, the fetishized commodities or, in Sarlo's terms, the 'aura massmediatica' (Escenas de la vida postmoderna, p. 119) and its promises to replace the lost sense of anity and proximity--once experienced in rural life--by creating a fantasy of closeness, an imaginary proximity and community within the decentred and fragmented post-contemporary cosmos (ibid., pp. 84-85). Secondly, the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] contests the Argentine State's policy, in Dr Arana's terms, of replacing the 'memoria personal' with 'una memoria artificial'--amnesty as a signifier for amnesia. And it does so, as we have already seen, by offering spaces of respiracion artificial to alternative realities--in this case, realities that are 'ausentes' or 'olvidadas'.
To sum up, Piglia attacks the amnesiac, fragmentary, and decentred postmodern culture from the inside. That is, his texts are palimpsests of the most diverse narratives and cultures, they are series of falsifications and appropriations (at times even 'cut-and-pastes') of heterogeneous texts. They are testimonies of the postmodern condition and they are so because Piglia, so to speak, simulates postmodernity's own techniques: collage, zapping, 'video clip'. In this way, Piglia demonstrates (and exposes) in the most effective way the contradictions and paranoia of certain aspects of post-contemporary (virtual) culture--against which his literary discourse fights. Yet at the same time, by registering the above techniques Piglia offers an (exaggerated) example of the very mechanisms of cultural production which depend upon heterogeneous elements and traditions. Ultimately, Piglian writing emerges as a schizophrenic (contradictory) discourse, which at once attacks and relishes its fragmentary and heterogeneous nature. In effect, by simulating the postmodern condition, the Piglian [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] develops an extremely powerful critical discourse of and on postmodernity.
Elena Fernandez, who is interned in the Clinic-Museum, believes that she has a double role. The founding text of this Borgesian topos of the 'double', exempli.ed in stories like 'La forma de la espada' (OC, I, 491-95) and 'Tema del traidor y del heroe' (OC, I, 496-98), is to be found in Piglia's early text 'Mata Hari 55', first published in La invasion (1967) (20) and later collected in Cuentos morales. Here, the protagonist is a double agent, presumably an anti-Peronist spy during the Revolucion Libertadora of 1955 who instead finally proves to be (or becomes?) a Peronist agent (Cuentos morales, pp. 148-58). In 'Los nudos blancos', Elena believed that 'era una loca que creia ser una mujer policia a la que obligaban a internarse en una clinica psiquiatrica y era una mujer policia enternada para fingir que estaba en una maquina exhibida en la sala de un museo' (ibid., p. 19). The symbiosis of madness ('mujer loca') and truth ('mujer policia') in the figure of Elena is symptomatic of Piglian writing, which uses madness in order to subvert the authoritarian reason of the State. In fact, in Piglia female insanity demonstrates the madness inherent in the Reason of the many Argentine dictatorships and especially that of 'El Proceso'. This is what happens, for example, in the detective story 'La loca y el relato del crimen'. Here, the protagonist Emilio Renzi is a literary critic who 'se ganaba la vida haciendo bibliografias en el diario Elmundo' (ibid., p. 92) and who now becomes a journalist-detective trying to write an article on the murder of a woman called Larry. The only witness to the crime is 'la loca' Echevarne Angelica Ines, whose discontinuous discourse Renzi finally manages to decipher revealing the truth--a truth which is evidently constructed upon the remainders of madness. Specifically, Renzi isolates the phrases which the madwoman repeats--'la loca [...] hace diez horas repite siempre lo mismo' (ibid., p. 95)--and then 'lo que no entra en ese orden, lo que no se puede clasificar, lo que sobra, el desperdicio, es lo nuevo: es lo que el loco trata de decir a pesar de la compulsion repetitiva' (ibid., p. 96). According to Renzi, the phrase of truth composed by the rest of the language of the madwoman is as follows: 'El hombre gordo la esperaba en el zaguan y no me vio y le hablo de dinero y brillo esa mano que la hizo morir' (ibid.). However, 'el hombre gordo' to whom Echevarne refers is not Antunez, the man that the police accuse of murdering Larry, but somebody called Almada, a fact which makes it impossible for Renzi to publish his article since Luna, the editor of the newspaper, does not want to dispute the official story of the police: 'Yo hace treinta anos que estoy metido en este negocio y se una cosa: no hay que buscarse problemas con la policia. Si ellos te dicen que lo mat o la Virgen Maria, vos escribis que lo mato la Virgen Maria' (ibid., p. 97). Since Renzi cannot publicize the truth about the murder, he quits and subsequently writes his story, whose first lines coincide with the first lines of the actual story of 'La loca y el relato del crimen' we are reading, thus revealing his role as the alter ego of Piglia. The idea of the journalist-detective is yet another topos in Piglia's writing which apparently comes from his Borgesian and Arltian readings. As he notes in 'Homenaje a Roberto Arlt', 'un critico literario es siempre, de alg un modo, un detective: persigue sobre la superficie de los textos, las huellas, los rastros que permiten descifrar su enigma. [...] El critico aparece como la policia que puede descubrir la verdad.' (21) Piglia conceives all, fiction, politics, and history, as full of falsifications, abuses, and silences, and hence the role of the reader-critic is to detect and expose them. Moreover, the idea of the writer-detective is strongly associated with his concept of fiction as a contestant of politics and the State--the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] as a counter-institution. In fact, as Avelar acutely observes, 'la politica argentina toma la forma de una inmensa novela policial donde lo que hay que hacer siempre es recorrer la escena del crimen, rastrear huellas, asignar una culpa' ('Como respiran los ausentes', p. 420). Hence, for Piglia, a writer is a detective whose attempts aim at recovering--and recalling--the silences and abuses in the modern history of Argentina and permanently exposing them in the galleries of the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.].
To sum up, like Foucault, who in Histoire de la folie (22) argues that art and philosophy are the only spaces where madness can exist outside the confinement of totalitarian reason, Piglia demonstrates that in countries like Argentina literature--and art in general--is often the only means to contest the censorship of authoritarian regimes. This is because literature accommodates whatever Reason classifies as excluded--in this case, madness--and consequently makes it silent, forgotten, or absent. Ultimately, Piglia seems to suggest that in our contemporary culture a 'cuento moral' is that which registers 'realidades ausentes', giving them space 'to breathe'. In this sense, Piglia's counter-institutional [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] accommodates a permanent exhibition of 'cuentos morales': stories of alternative (political and cultural) realities.
Let us now turn to Dimitris Kalokyris and more specifically to his recent work, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] (The Museum of Numbers), (23) a book of '[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]' ('narratives and icons') as the writer himself calls it (p. 11), a collection of short stories for which Kalokyris received the Greek National Short Story Prize in 2002. The subtitle of the book, '[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]' ('Introduction to Nonentitism'), places the reader immediately within the utopian realm of literature. This is, in Kalokyris's terms, the land of 'Homerica' where the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] endlessly invents his wor(l)ds through his art of forgery, precisely like the Borgesian Hakim de Merv in Historia universal de la infamia (1935). (24) In his essay '[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]' ('The Figure of a Myth'), Kalokyris quotes the words that Borges addressed to him in their encounter at Athens in 1983, according to which Homer is essentially the archetypal [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]:
[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] El hacedor, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]. (25)
[Homer] is the Poet--the Maker. This is whom I had in mind when I wrote El hacedor, and I used the word in the sense of the maker, as the English would say. (26)
The first text which deals with the notion of utopia is '[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]' ('The Other Bank'), published in [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] (Varia historia) in 1991. Here, using the term 'other bank' as a code word for utopia, Kalokyris maintains:
[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]. (27)
It would be unnecessary, I think, [...] to underline that Colombus violated open doors in his search for the Other Bank. One could say that he simply charted the projecting areas of the future New Atlantis of Bacon or of the eternal New Land or the Octana. (28)
Yet Kalokyris published the founding text on his literary utopia four years later in [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] (The Discovery of Homerica), for which he also received the Greek National Short Story Prize in 1996. In the eponymous last story of the book, Kalokyris argues that before setting off on his voyage to America Columbus visited the homeland of Homer, the island of Chios, where he was accommodated in the so-called 'Villa Omerica' owned by the family of some Genoese rulers of Greek descent called Giustiniani. He subsequently argues:
[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] Amerigo Vespucci [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] Albericus Vesputius [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] Alberico Vespuzio ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]). (29)
I propose with great confidence that the name 'America' is due to Columbus. It originated from the remembrance of the island of Chios, and the admiral would have named some coastline of the new land 'Homerica' in honour of Homer. The name was not recorded right away, but it must have been written on some maps. [...] Many records have been omitted and only Christian toponyms remained for the most part. [...] Thus the name could have originated from Homer, which the tradition preserved, slightly distorted, and extended, and certainly not from the first name of the insignificant and highly dubious Florentine Amerigo Vespucci or Albericus Vesputius or Alberico Vespuzio (so many names--as if the Interpol of geography was after him). (30)
The alliterative words 'America' and 'Omerica', Columbus's stay in the 'Villa Omerica' in Chios, a great many historical conspiracies, mostly on the part of the colonizers who altered the names of places and kept only the Christian ones, as well as the 'insignificant' and 'dubious' companion of Columbus: all these factors, according to Kalokyris, support the argument that the real name of the New World was 'Omerica' and not 'America', which actually constitutes a distorted version of the former. Later on, Kalokyris refers to two particular cases of what he calls 'conspiracy': two historical maps where the name 'Homerica' is either changed to 'Himerica' ('of Chimera') or not mentioned at all. Evidently, at this point Kalokyris inverts conventional reasoning by claiming that the absence of the name 'Homerica' is essentially the greatest proof of its existence. In fact, 'nonentitism' emerges as the discourse of the literary utopia of Homerica: the place where, in Piglia's terms, absent (alternative) realities proliferate precisely because rational or, in Kalokyris's terms, 'integral' ('[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]') discourse is undermined (Beth, p. 10). Ultimately, Homerica emerges as the infinite and immortal land of the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.], the territory of parody, where everything is possible because everything, including history itself, is an endless series of games of and with language. Like the Piglian 'isla de Finnegans', Homerica encapsulates the Borgesian topos of the immortal city. Essentially, all Borgesian, Piglian, and Kalokyrian literary utopias create an artificial [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] which accommodates the heterogeneous and multitemporal (alternative) realities of the Wor(l)d.
In effect, Homerica becomes the metaphor for the Kalokyrian work in general and accommodates all his past and future books--or, so to speak, 'museums'--since Varia historia. But why does Kalokyris call his most recent book 'museum' in the first place? At the end of the story '[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]' ('Geography'), the writer reveals the true nature of his profession: cartography. Kalokyris claims to be a cartographer of an assortment of maps which have a single common feature: deceptiveness. He states:
[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]. (The Museum of Numbers, pp. 134-35)
At that very moment, for the first time I thought [...] of the profession I would silently follow throughout my life [...]: executive of the Department of Geography. I would design small but crucial falsifications of features on maps; on naval, rural, or roadmaps, on railway, underground, mountain, and political maps. [...] [I would] devise minimal acts of sabotage on the system of orientation--first as an oversight, then as a farce, subsequently as a form of trap, and finally as an abrupt explosion. Blank maps, maps which are perforated by national upheavals, [...] maps of winds and waters, cryptic, mysterious, imaginary, and vertical maps. [...] And this is what I more or less did.
As a result, like the critic of Piglia's work, Kalokyris's reader (and primarily the author himself as reader) is obliged to undertake the role of the detective and trace the literary crimes, the malicious falsifications, and deliberate misinformation of the writer, who, in Derrida's terms, disseminates 'viruses' in the network of literature. (31) I repeat Piglia's words: 'El critico aparece como la policia que puede descubrir la verdad' (Nombre falso, p. 122). Similarly, in '[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]' ('Palpable Darkness') Kalokyris claims that every map is to a great extent a '[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]' ('product of imagination'). He argues, employing his typically jocose discourse:
[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]. (The Museum, p. 143, emphasis added)
It would be better to avoid wars since in this way maps become useless. [...] And we know quite well how much labour it takes to design a map even if to a great extent it is a product of imagination. [...] So let us not overlook a science to which we owe, if nothing else, the fact that it taught us that the centre of the world is not Bethlehem.
The maps to which Kalokyris refers are of course the offsprings of literature and art in general, they are the '[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]' ('cartographical exercises') of his book [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] (Prow towards Lucifer) (32) which are produced, so to speak, by the Department of Geography of Homerica or the 'Colegios de Cartografos' of the Empire in Borges's story 'Del rigor en la ciencia' (OC, II, 225). These maps, Kalokyris ironically comments, have shown us that 'the centre of the world is not Bethlehem'. In fact, these maps have shown us that (at least) culturally the centre of the world is nowhere, yet it is everywhere. This is because all ideologies, from religion to politics and from philosophy to culture, are, in Borges's terms, provisional 'esquemas humanos' (OC, ii, 86) and thus they are equally arbitrary and conventional. Like Borges and Piglia, Kalokyris regards history, philosophy, and religion as products of forgery--in Borges's terms, as series of 'falseamientos' and 'tergiversaciones'. (33) They are false maps of the universe and they are so because, still in Borges's terms, they 'guess' and 'conjecture' the cosmos which is essentially inaccessible to the human mind. As Borges puts it, the only viable thing to do is 'conjeturar las palabras, las definiciones, las etimologias, las sinonimias, del secreto diccionario de Dios' (OC, ii, 86). Accordingly, Kalokyris writes, citing Bertrand Russell:
[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]. (34)
Ever since Plato most philosophers [...] have found fault with the proofs of their predecessors--Thomas Aquinas rejected Saint Anselm's, and Kant rejected Descartes's--but they have supplied new ones of their own. In order to make their proofs seem valid, they have had to falsify logic, to make mathematics mystical, and to pretend that deep-seated prejudices were heaven-sent intuitions.
Religious narratives are equally arbitrary, as we are informed in '[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]' ('Tetranychos'), a pseudo-essay on comparative religion. Here, '[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]' ('Despair'), who, according to Kalokyris, is the personification of the 'first day of the world' (p. 39),
[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] (The Museum, p. 37)
from time to time remembered--fragmentarily--various mostly disconnected details, chiefly concerned with the story of a child from a humble family who grew up in the environment of herdsmen (in most traditions the fathers are insignificant carpenters or blacksmiths, like the father of Abraham, the father of Agnis, or Cinyras, the father of Adonis) because, usually, a profession offers the child an earthly origin. The mother, though, was of aristocratic descent (and mariam also means princess), a Persephone[...].
The story of Tetranychos is, as it were, a mythology of the 'sacred', a syncretic narrative of diverse religious and mythological traditions varying from those of Jesus and Krishna, to those of Dionysus, Oedipus, Hyacinth, Hercules, and Eros which all finally converge in the figure of the boy called Tetranychos. Essentially, religion, mythology, and literature are all narratives recited by 'Despair', 'the first day of the world' when human beings began, in Borges's terms, to 'conjecture' their mythologies (ficciones) in a desperate attempt to put the chaotic universe into order--to construct, yet again in Borges's terms, a 'cosmos' (OC, I, 435), which etymologically means 'ornament', 'order'. Since that first day, humans 'in despair' do nothing but plan narratives of the infinite cosmos, forming countless simulacra out of their 'vast mirror', one of whose sides they call God and the other, Caesar (The Museum, p. 39). In fact, the image of the two sides of the mirror, where God stands for [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] and Caesar for humans (or human narratives), is another metaphor for the world as a textual universe, the wor(l)d as infinite mirrorings (simulacra) of God. In '[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]' ('Celestial Typography'), Kalokyris notes: '[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]' ('It is well known that mirrors sometimes process the non-existent': The Discovery of Homerica, p. 145). 'Nonentitism' is the science of the simulations of the infinite as captured in the mirror, i.e. as conjectured and planned by the human mind--the ultimate [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]-Maker of the cosmos. But what happens to all these conjectures and plans? What happens to all these religious, scientific, and mythological narratives? Ultimately, what happens to 'Tetranychos'? The narrator states: '[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]' ('He disappeared. What can be done? Everything usually ends up at the mercy of linguistics and numbers': The Museum, p. 39). As Kalokyris states in the 'Prologue' of Varia historia, history is a creation of literature which, in turn, endlessly plunders bibliography. And he adds: '[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]' ('The plundering of bibliography can be classified among the ways of reregistering human pathology': Varia historia, p. 10, emphasis added). In other words, sooner or later religious, philosophical, and scientific narratives reach the point where they have no more than aesthetic value. They become raw materials (numbers and letters) in the syncretist melting-pot of fiction where irreverent writers like Borges, Piglia, and Kalokyris are ready to 'plunder' and dislocate visual and/or verbal images from their original place and subsequently (re)locate them in their literary museums: the space of the aesthetic.
On the one hand, evidently Kalokyris conveys Borges's evaluation of epistemology as raw material to be used by literature. They both consider that narratives are valid and valuable not for their truth-providing sources but for their aesthetic value. In the 'Epilogo' of Otras inquisiciones, Borges states: '[Estimo] las ideas religiosas o filosoficas por su valor estetico y aun por lo que encierran de singular y de maravilloso' (OC, II, 153). And elsewhere: 'J'ai surtout songe aux possibilites litteraires de la philosophie idealiste [...]. Cela ne signifie pas forcement que je croie a la philosophie de Berkeley ou de Schopenhauer du fait que j'ai utilise leurs possibilites litteraires.' (35) Similarly, in one of the pseudo-essays of The Discovery of Homerica, Kalokyris declares:
[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] (The Discovery of Homerica, p. 85)
Let me explain myself: I am not interested so much in the history of Literature as in the literature of History. This is the only meaning of a science or an art: to give raw materials to the forms of other [sciences and arts]. In this light life itself is also a form of literature that consists mainly of flashing metaphors. And unfortunately this is not just a language game.
On the other hand--and now I go back to my initial question--ever since Varia historia, Kalokyris's books have been Museums of Numbers, places where heterogeneous artefacts (alias narratives) are rearranged in order to serve nothing other than the pleasure of reading and/or viewing. In '[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]' ('Fotinos or Eldorado'), for example, Kalokyris reveals how he composes his texts: '[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]' ('Intriguing in my mind, using words as the materials of self-destructing books': The Museum, p. 71). The creation of both the text and the museum is an act of 'intrigue' and 'plundering' (of bibliography and civilizations) which transmutes, transforms, and dislocates words and artefacts respectively in order to re-place them in their new location, that of the text(ual)-Museum. Moreover, The Museum of Numbers is a book of paradoxes which by definition are irreverent to any notion of identity--as defined by Western rationalism--and behind which we can naturally encounter Borges's paradoxes as well as his concept of the negation of identity and subjectivity. As in the case of Borges, paradoxes help Kalokyris establish his argument regarding the fictionality and arbitrariness of narratives and consequently their value as raw materials for literature and not as sources of truth. The story of '[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]' ('Brana'), for example, undermines the authority of scientific discourse by confirming the existence of a fish which never weighs the same as another fish of identical size--a theme that certainly recalls the monstrous stones in Borges's 'Tigres azules' (OC, III, 379-86), which uncontrollably reproduce and diminish:
[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]. (The Museum, p. 76)
None of the fish that have been captured has the same weight as another one. They might be of exactly the same size and the same girth, but one might weigh 12 grams and the other 40 kilos. No satisfactory explanation has been provided for this phenomenon.
To sum up, in a world where science, religion, and philosophy are no less arbitrary and paradoxical than paradoxes themselves, the only thing that eventually endures is the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] (the seat of the Muses), which, as Piglia also affirms, is as vast as the Borgesian 'Biblioteca de Babel' (OC, I, 465-71). This [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] is a massive cartography of the aesthetic, a space where various narratives merge with each other in a series of infinite language games. As in the case of 'El aleph', the Museo de la novela de la Eterna, and 'La isla de Finnegans', [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] emerges, in Piglia's terms, as 'un museo fantastico y filosofico' (Formas breves, p. 36) where the wor(l)d exists in condensed form. Moreover, the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] is also, so to speak, the Department of Aestheticization of Homerica; in other words, like Medusa, who used to turn everything into stone, the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] turns everything (narratives, artefacts) into objects of aesthetic value transmuting and dislocating their original meanings. Like Piglia's 'Museo' in 'La isla de Finnegans', Kalokyris's 'Museum of Numbers' contests institutional (national) narratives and (postmodern) agents of power by employing a series of aestheticizing processes which are essentially liberating: by aestheticizing everything, Kalokyris's Museum deinstitutionalizes the narratives of various institutions such as religion, philosophy, science, nation, and so on. To put it differently, in the lands of Homerica, paradoxically enough the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] emerges as the deinstitutionalizing power which deprives institutions of the notion of authority.
Moreover, as in the case of Piglia, the curator of Kalokyris's Museum is of course Borges's irreverent [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.], who, as we have already seen, in Piglia's terms, appropriates '[el] universo desde un suburbio del mundo'. In effect, like Borges and Piglia, Kalokyris arms that 'peripheral' identities such as Greekness (and Argentineness) are constructed upon heterogeneous memories and traditions--Piglia's notion of the 'memoria ajena'--and, in this sense, their semantic correspondance is their hybridity. Recently, in our conversation in Athens (2003), Kalokyris quite amusingly stated: '[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]' ('For those to whom Greekness means piety, orthodoxy, and spirit of the race, I am a Japanese entomologist'). (36)
Furthermore, like Piglian writing, Kalokyris's discourse is highly engaged with the notion of the 'emptying out of memory' and history in contemporary culture. Specifically, in his story '[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]' ('On the Total Book'), Kalokyris argues that human civilization is essentially a 'written' one due to the fact that writing is the only way to fight against oblivion:
[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]. (Prow towards Lucifer, p. 11)
The civilization that we know still remains, in one way or another, essentially Written. And it remains so because it has invested everything in the fallacy of memory: what is not remembered is not written; what is not written does not exist; what does not exist, we create; what we create ... and so on.
Subsequently, in 'Argumentum sub rosa [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]' ('Argumentum sub rosa; or, Photography as a Literary Genre'), he argues that the world (as memory) becomes virtual memory, which, in turn, has no real substance. Specifically, in the same story he relates the art of photography to literature by suggesting that they both aim at reconstructing memory:
[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] (37)
Immaterial photographs [...] have already taken over. Projected transparencies are in competition with DVDs [...] and the digital images of computers. [...] The memories of the future will be rationalistic, but of a dreamlike texture. Without material substance but of high fidelity. Fleeting and radiant. They can be selected and remote-controlled.
The key term here is 'remote control', an act which is carried out from a certain distance (tele-). The term is naturally associated with contemporary video culture. Photography and literature reconstruct a time distant from the present--either past or future--and in this sense they are also acts of 'remote control'. However, in postmodernity videotechnology creates a distance of a totally different kind: a virtual distance. That is, not only time but also space and substance have become virtual. Kalokyris at once playfully and sceptically arms that the memories of the future (the virtual photographs and texts) will be of a dreamlike texture, yet 'rationalistic' due to the 'high fidelity' provided by technology. And therein lies one of the greatest contradictions of our contemporary culture, which produces untrue (virtual and artificial) documents of high fidelity.
Effectively, like the Piglian 'Museo', the Kalokyrian Museum is the space of the 'memoria ajena' which Kalokyris at once enjoys, as the fundamental feature of ('peripheral') literatures and cultures, and criticizes, as the postmodern condition. However, in contrast to its Piglian counterpart, the Kalokyrian [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] seems not to be charged with the need to accommodate the political memory (or amnesia) of Modern Greece. Actually, except for some random and subtle allusions to the political history of his country, Kalokyris's engagement with politics is virtually restricted to his view of narratives (including politics) as linguistic 'numbers' which nourish literature. As I have already argued, Kalokyris aestheticizes everything and in this sense he also aestheticizes political narratives. Yet the absence of a direct political discourse is obviously extremely interesting in a country where the political turbulence and the successive dictatorships of the last two centuries reinforced (and quite often demanded)--as in the case of Argentina--the convergence of politics and literature. Quite unsurprisingly, the latter was charged with the task of speaking about what the former used to suppress. In effect, I consider Kalokyris's abstention from political engagement of the Piglian kind to be a result, first, of Borges's influence on Kalokyrian writing and, secondly, of the different way in which Greece has dealt with her (dark) past. On the one hand, as we have repeatedly seen, Kalokyris's encounter with Borges launched his writing into the terrain of infinite (language) games with infinity. Right from the first story of Varia historia, '[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]' ('Theories about the Nature of the Universe'), Kalokyris reports that some people--who conspicuously [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] (view) the universe through Borges--believe
[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]. (Varia historia, p. 13)
that all things are contained in a monochrome ball which a little child kicks casually on an imaginary seashore, and, they add, perhaps this explains what Heraclitus meant when he said: 'Age is a child playing, playing draughts.'
Yet the following question now arises: Why has Borgesian influence not equally freed the Piglian [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] of the need to register the 'absent' political realities of modern Argentina? The answer, as I have already implied, lies in the way Greece has dealt with her last ferocious dictatorship initiated by the military regime of Papadopoulos in 1967. Specifically, with the rise of the 'Third Hellenic Republic' and the restoration of democracy in 1974, Greece dealt with her 'dirty past' by putting on trial and subsequently imprisoning the dictators. Thus, in contrast with Argentina, Greece, which still keeps her political convicts in prison, never projected amnesty as a signifier for amnesia; consequently the urge (of literature) to register absent (sociopolitical) realities has naturally been of a much lesser degree. In fact, Greek literary discourse, which for most of the twentieth century has been highly political, has gradually been depoliticized to a considerable degree during the last two decades. This becomes explicit, for example, in the case of the second principal translator of Borges, Achilleas Kyriakidis, whose Borgesian turn in the 1980s was marked by a gradual depoliticization of his previously highly politically engaged discourse.
Finally, Kalokyris's concept of the Museum is closely associated with the topoi of the dictionary and encyclopaedia which run throughout his texts in various (per)versions. In particular, Varia historia has the format of a dictionary, with an 'Index' of names and places at the end of the book and with stories which could easily be glosses in a dictionary or an encyclopaedia. The 'Index' also appears in [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] (Beth: An Archive for Borges, 1992) and [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] (Photoromance, 1993) while in 1997 Kalokyris published [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] (Lexicon), his personal 'dictionary' of poems and texts originally published in the years 1972-97. In fact, what Kalokyris does on all these occasions is, like Piglia, to deinstitutionalize and undermine the classifying methods of rationalism from the inside. That is, he uses rationalism's agencies of classification (the museum, the dictionary, and the encyclopaedia) to show that such attempts are futile and always lead to arbitrary and temporary outcomes. Hence, Kalokyris's books, which are dictionaries and encyclopaedias of the miscellany put together according to the method of free association, strike at the foundations of rationalism. As in the case of the museum, they destabilize and deinstitutionalize narratives of all sorts. In addition, both dictionary and encyclopaedia, the foremost sources of knowledge, finally become, like the museum, the space of the aesthetic.
Ultimately, the literary museums of both Piglia and Kalokyris--constructed upon the materials provided by Borgesian aesthetics and subsequently accommodated in the 'Island of Finnegans' and the 'other bank' of 'Homerica' respectively--are counter-institutional and deinstitutionalizing agents which deconstruct the arbitrary geopolitics of culture by arming that all (cultural, philosophical, religious, and political) narratives are equally legitimate and central, yet equally arbitrary and peripheral to the 'true' (if any) meaning of the world. Their common denominator is their irrefutable fictionality.
LUCY CAVENDISH COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE
(1) The second is Achilleas Kyriakidis.
(2) Buenos Aires: Corregidor, 1975.
(3) In Obras completas, 4 vols (Buenos Aires: Emece, 1996-97) (hereafter OC), I (1996), 531-630.
(4) Formas breves (Buenos Aires: Temas Grupo Editorial, 1999), p. 36.
(5) Buenos Aires: Seix Barral, 1992.
(6) Cuentos morales: antologia 1961-1990 (Buenos Aires: Espasa Calpe, 1995).
(7) In Obra completa (Buenos Aires: Lohle, 1981), pp. 41-267.
(8) 'Como respiran los ausentes: la narrativa de Ricardo Piglia', Modern Language Notes, 110 (1995), 416-32 (p. 432).
(9) Videla's modernizing project to transform the ideological and cultural foundations of Argentina, which was accompanied by severe forms of social repression and an open war against the Communists, was euphemistically called 'Proceso de Reorganizacion Nacional' or, simply, 'El Proceso'. The period of 'El Proceso', also known as the 'Guerra Sucia', accounts for 2,300 political murders, some 10,000 political arrests, and about 30,000 disappearances.
(10) Critica y ficcion (1986) (Buenos Aires: Seix Barral, 2000), p. 10.
(11) Ricardo Piglia, Respiracion artificial (1980) (Buenos Aires: Seix Barral, 2000).
(12) Ricardo Piglia y sus precursores (Buenos Aires: Corregidor, 2001), p. 243.
(13) Culturas hibridas: estrategias para entrar y salir de la modernidad (1991) (Buenos Aires: Paidos, 2001), p. 142.
(14) Paris: Gallimard, 1969.
(15) 'Eclipse de la memoria, politica del olvido: las cuestiones de los derechos humanos en una democracia no consolidada', Punto de vista, 36 (1989), 1-7 (p. 1).
(16) Postmodernism; or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (London and New York: Verso, 1991), pp. 70-71.
(17) Escenas de la vida postmoderna: intelectuales, arte y videocultura en la Argentina (Buenos Aires: Ariel, 1994), p. 55.
(18) 'Poeticas de la novela en America Latina: Macedonio Fernandez', Compar(a)ison, 1 (1997), 21-27 (p. 23).
(19) 'Memoria y tradicion', in Modernidad, posmodernidad y vanguardias: situando a Huidobro, ed. by Ana Pizarro (Santiago de Chile: Fundacion Vicente Huidobro, 1995), pp. 55-60 (p. 58).
(20) Buenos Aires: Jorge Alvarez.
(21) In Nombre falso (1975) (Buenos Aires: Seix Barral, 1994), p. 122.
(22) Paris: Gallimard, 1972.
(23) Athens: Agra, 2001.
(24) In OC, I, 287-345.
(25) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] [Beth: An Archive for Borges] (Athens: Ypsilon, 1992), p. 19.
(26) All translations are mine unless stated otherwise.
(27) Varia historia (Athens: Ypsilon, 1991), pp. 67-68.
(28) Octana is the literary utopia of the Greek surrealist poet Andreas Embirikos.
(29) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] [The Discovery of Homerica and Other Phantasmagories] (Athens: Ypsilon, 1995), p. 157.
(30) 'The Discovery of Homerica', trans. by Penelope Salmons, Mondo greco, 2 (1999), 33-37 (p. 36). I have made certain changes to the original translation.
(31) 'The Spatial Arts: An Interview with Jacques Derrida', in Deconstruction and the Visual Arts: Art, Media, Architecture, ed. by Peter Brunette and David Wills (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), pp. 9-32.
(32) Athens: Nefeli, 2001, p. 8.
(33) Borges makes use of the verbs 'falsear' and 'tergiversar' in OC, I, 291.
(34) The Discovery of Homerica, p. 15, quoting Bertrand Russell, 'The Philosophy of Logical Analysis', from A History of Western Philosophy (London: George Allen@Unwin, 1961), pp. 783-89 (p. 789).
(35) Jean deMilleret, Entretiens avec Jorge Luis Borges (Paris: Belfond, 1967), p. 72.
(36) Eleni Kefala, '[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]' ['In the First Person--Interview with Dimitris Kalokyris'], Diavazo, 437 (2003), 36-42 (p. 41).
(37) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] [Photoromance] (Athens: Ypsilon, 1993), p. 107 (emphasis added).
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|Publication:||The Modern Language Review|
|Article Type:||Critical Essay|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2004|
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