THE NIGHTMARE NETWORK
Go Back   THE NIGHTMARE NETWORK > Discussion & Interpretation > Ligotti Influences > Jorge Luis Borges
Home Forums Content Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read Contagion Members Media Diversion Info Register
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes Translate
Old 11-15-2014   #1
Druidic's Avatar
Druidic
Grimscribe
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 2,563
Quotes: 0
Points: 69,154, Level: 100 Points: 69,154, Level: 100 Points: 69,154, Level: 100
Level up: 0% Level up: 0% Level up: 0%
Activity: 79% Activity: 79% Activity: 79%
Borges comments briefly on Lovecraft' "bogus" story

http://books.google.com/books?id=gQr...ecraft&f=false

An interesting exchange with Borges here. I read this first when I was 21. I'm still perplexed by his reference to "The Colour out of Space"--for that was the story he refers to-- as "disagreeable and bogus." I suspect the aspect of physical horror in Lovecraft's fiction elicited deep revulsion in Borges; it certainly did in Blackwood and many other critics of the time. Borges attitude toward Lovecraft was, at least on the surface, a complex and contradictory one. (Of course, the two writers had so much in common, Borges could have just found Lovecraft insufferable.)
Bogus could refer to Borges stubborn insistence on seeing Lovecraft as an "unconscious parodist" of Poe. Whatever, Borges seemed drawn to at least some of his tales. A man who read for Borges told how he would read a Lovecraft story, get halfway through, and Borges would begin to argue energetically with the late author. Interesting.
Somewhere in that is the potential for a good story in a Borges tribute anthology.
Druidic is offline   Reply With Quote
4 Thanks From:
cynothoglys (08-29-2015), gveranon (11-16-2014), MTC (11-16-2014), ramonoski (11-16-2014)
Old 11-16-2014   #2
gveranon's Avatar
gveranon
Grimscribe
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,086
Quotes: 0
Points: 26,193, Level: 100 Points: 26,193, Level: 100 Points: 26,193, Level: 100
Level up: 0% Level up: 0% Level up: 0%
Activity: 57% Activity: 57% Activity: 57%
Re: Borges comments briefly on Lovecraft' "bogus" story

I can't find a source for this, but I recall reading that Borges was thrilled that a translation of one of his stories ("The Garden of the Forking Paths") was published in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. Someone who knew Borges said he was prouder of this than of the prestigious Prix International that launched him to worldwide fame. I suspect that, at least sometimes, deep in his heart of hearts, he would have loved to be an obscure pulp writer rather than a highbrow modernist. This may be why he had an odd ambivalence toward Lovecraft. If he simply disliked Lovecraft's stories, why would he write a pastiche ("There Are More Things"), a pastiche that clearly tried, however tongue-in-cheek, to get into the spirit of the original? And why would he ask people to read Lovecraft to him in his old age? That he stopped the reader so he could argue with Lovecraft is interesting, but it is quite telling that he was having Lovecraft's stories read to him in the first place!
gveranon is offline   Reply With Quote
8 Thanks From:
ChildofOldLeech (11-16-2014), cynothoglys (08-29-2015), Druidic (11-16-2014), Howarth (11-16-2014), Mad Madison (11-16-2014), mark_samuels (11-16-2014), MTC (11-16-2014), ramonoski (11-16-2014)
Old 11-16-2014   #3
Justin Isis's Avatar
Justin Isis
Chymist
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 449
Quotes: 0
Points: 16,420, Level: 88 Points: 16,420, Level: 88 Points: 16,420, Level: 88
Level up: 49% Level up: 49% Level up: 49%
Activity: 14% Activity: 14% Activity: 14%
Re: Borges comments briefly on Lovecraft' "bogus" story

From the same "conversation":
Burgin: You've quoted Conrad as saying that the real world is so fantastic that it, in a sense, is fantastic, there's no difference.

Borges: Ah, that's wonderful, eh? Yes, it's almost an insult to the mysteries of the world to think that we could invent anything or that we need to invent anything. And the fact that a writer who wrote fantastic stories had no feeling for the complexity of the world. Perhaps in the foreword to a story called "The Shadow Line," a very fine story in Everyman's Library - I think he wrote a forward to that story - there you'll find the quote. Because, you see, people asked him whether "The Shadow Line" was a fantastic story or a realistic story, and he answered that he did not know the difference. And that he would never try to write a "fantastic" story because that would mean he was very insensitive, no?
I made this exact argument about the irrelevance of the supernatural two years ago in this interview, wasn't aware that Conrad and Borges also had the same idea. At least now when confronted with the "I have no concern with mundane humans! I'm only interested in visionary realms of mystery!" types, I can refer back to this. Supernatural horror in literature is insensitive, and insensitivity is a crime I'd rather not commit. 
Justin Isis is offline   Reply With Quote
4 Thanks From:
cynothoglys (08-29-2015), Druidic (11-16-2014), gveranon (11-16-2014), ramonoski (11-16-2014)
Old 11-16-2014   #4
Druidic's Avatar
Druidic
Grimscribe
Threadstarter
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 2,563
Quotes: 0
Points: 69,154, Level: 100 Points: 69,154, Level: 100 Points: 69,154, Level: 100
Level up: 0% Level up: 0% Level up: 0%
Activity: 79% Activity: 79% Activity: 79%
Re: Borges comments briefly on Lovecraft' "bogus" story

I don’t think one should make too much of Conrad’s remark. It’s an individual preference. Supernatural intrusion in Heat of Darkness would have been disasterous; The Colour out of Space couldn’t exist without its fantastic elements, we’d be left with just the story of Job.
Durrenmatt never used the supernatural in his novels though one certainly had the feeling reality could cross the border any time.
It really depends on the work. All fiction is a lie. How can you make it into a bigger lie by bringing a ghost into it?
Druidic is offline   Reply With Quote
8 Thanks From:
ChildofOldLeech (11-16-2014), cynothoglys (08-29-2015), Fenris Technique (11-18-2014), gveranon (11-16-2014), Mad Madison (11-16-2014), mark_samuels (11-16-2014), Speaking Mute (11-19-2014), The Alchemist (11-16-2014)
Old 11-16-2014   #5
gveranon's Avatar
gveranon
Grimscribe
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,086
Quotes: 0
Points: 26,193, Level: 100 Points: 26,193, Level: 100 Points: 26,193, Level: 100
Level up: 0% Level up: 0% Level up: 0%
Activity: 57% Activity: 57% Activity: 57%
Re: Borges comments briefly on Lovecraft' "bogus" story

That interview with Borges was published in 1967. In another interview, published in 1968, Borges made comments along the same lines, questioning whether there is a distinction between reality and illusion. And he said this:

"I am attracted to fantastic writing and fantastic reading, of course. But I think things that we call fantastic may be real, in the sense of being real symbols. If I write a fantastic story, I'm not writing something willful. On the contrary, I'm writing something that stands for my feelings, or for my thoughts. So that, in a sense, a fantastic story is as real and perhaps more real than a mere circumstantial story. Because, after all, circumstances come and go, and symbols remain. Symbols are there all the time. If I write about a certain street corner in Buenos Aires, that street corner may pass away for all I know. But if I write about mazes, or about mirrors, or about the night, or about evil, and fear, these things are everlasting -- I mean they will always be with us. So, in a sense, I suppose a writer of the fantastic is writing of things far more real than, well, what newspapermen write about. Because they're always writing about mere accidents, circumstances. But, of course, we all live in time. I think that when we write about the fantastic, we're trying to get away from time and to write about everlasting things. I mean, we do our best to be in eternity, though we may not quite succeed in our attempt."


I think that someone with Borges' notion of the real would not be stopped from writing supernatural horror if he wanted to, and would not be insensitive to reality if he did so. It would depend on how it was handled in a particular story.
gveranon is offline   Reply With Quote
6 Thanks From:
ChildofOldLeech (11-16-2014), cynothoglys (08-29-2015), Druidic (11-16-2014), mark_samuels (11-16-2014), Speaking Mute (11-19-2014), The Alchemist (11-16-2014)
Old 11-16-2014   #6
Druidic's Avatar
Druidic
Grimscribe
Threadstarter
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 2,563
Quotes: 0
Points: 69,154, Level: 100 Points: 69,154, Level: 100 Points: 69,154, Level: 100
Level up: 0% Level up: 0% Level up: 0%
Activity: 79% Activity: 79% Activity: 79%
Re: Borges comments briefly on Lovecraft' "bogus" story

I
Quote
think that someone with Borges' notion of the real would not be stopped from writing supernatural horror if he wanted to, and would not be insensitive to reality if he did so. It would depend on how it was handled in a particular story.
He may well have written such a story, gveranon! There are three possible readings of "The South."
One, a literal reading: it happened as described.
Another: the second half is a dream of the dying man still in hospital.
Third, the one I like best, is that it is indeed a dream but a dream after death. There are references in a couple short pieces by Borges of the dead creating their own world which resembles the world they knew--perfectly.
Druidic is offline   Reply With Quote
3 Thanks From:
ChildofOldLeech (11-16-2014), cynothoglys (08-29-2015), gveranon (11-16-2014)
Old 11-16-2014   #7
KrakenMundi's Avatar
KrakenMundi
Mannikin
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 22
Quotes: 0
Points: 3,373, Level: 38 Points: 3,373, Level: 38 Points: 3,373, Level: 38
Level up: 16% Level up: 16% Level up: 16%
Activity: 0% Activity: 0% Activity: 0%
Re: Borges comments briefly on Lovecraft' "bogus" story

Quote Originally Posted by Druidic View Post
All fiction is a lie. How can you make it into a bigger lie by bringing a ghost into it?[/SIZE][/FONT]
Quote Originally Posted by gveranon View Post
I think that someone with Borges' notion of the real would not be stopped from writing supernatural horror if he wanted to, and would not be insensitive to reality if he did so. It would depend on how it was handled in a particular story.
I'm reminded of Jean Cocteau's insistence (in many places) that a poet must lie in order to tell the truth. I maintain that the true can be expressed through the fantastical every bit as efficiently as it can through what we call realism.

One of the earmarks of the true is that it has a tendency to astonish and confuse. Truth fails to reconcile itself with the rational on almost every count. Truth must be distinguished from facts, of course - truth can contradict itself in every way and still remain true, while facts are limited by their dependence on consistency. The fantastical can unveil aspects of reality that are very difficult to reveal through journalism.

As for Borges arguing with Lovecraft, I like to imagine that they argue in the same way as does an old married couple. Long term affection, familiarity, and mutual respect have a tendency to breed a certain type of contention
KrakenMundi is offline   Reply With Quote
6 Thanks From:
ChildofOldLeech (11-16-2014), cynothoglys (08-29-2015), Druidic (11-16-2014), gveranon (11-16-2014), mark_samuels (11-16-2014), Speaking Mute (11-19-2014)
Old 11-16-2014   #8
Druidic's Avatar
Druidic
Grimscribe
Threadstarter
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 2,563
Quotes: 0
Points: 69,154, Level: 100 Points: 69,154, Level: 100 Points: 69,154, Level: 100
Level up: 0% Level up: 0% Level up: 0%
Activity: 79% Activity: 79% Activity: 79%
Re: Borges comments briefly on Lovecraft' "bogus" story

Fiction can tell the truth because fiction is a lie; the human heart demands mythologies, not dry facts and statistics. It's the only Truth that counts.
As Nietzsche said all the Poets lie. As Jim Morrison croons, "Gonna tell you wicked lies"... No disagreement here, kraken.
I would debate Justin (if I had the energy for it) that the thirst for the supernatural is an inescapable part of being human; and why should we limit our humanity in our fiction? It's one reason why I'm not that dogmatic on the subject of religion. After all I'm not the Professor of Everything There Is To Know (Thanks, Mr. Cohen!)
I like the way you characterize the 'debate' between Borges and Lovecraft. As I said before there's a good story in this but its beyond me. Mark S. on the other hand, could do justice to it.
Druidic is offline   Reply With Quote
5 Thanks From:
ChildofOldLeech (11-16-2014), cynothoglys (08-29-2015), gveranon (11-16-2014), KrakenMundi (11-16-2014), mark_samuels (11-16-2014)
Old 11-16-2014   #9
mark_samuels's Avatar
mark_samuels
Grimscribe
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,401
Quotes: 0
Re: Borges comments briefly on Lovecraft' "bogus" story

Borges, of course, by his own admission, only ever had one central character in his fiction: (aspects of) Borges himself.

Much the same is true of Lovecraft, Poe, Machen and, dare I say it, Tom Ligotti.

As for the supernatural, well, the universe is contingent by its very nature. Bertrand Russell tried to bluster his way around it by saying the "universe just IS", which is only begging the question. Now scientists postulate a wholly theoretical multiverse in order to try and get around the problem. All they do is put off the same conclusion.

Supernatural? We're each and every one of us supernatural entities.

Mark S.

"You have no idea how much nastier I'd be if I were not a Catholic. Without supernatural aid I would hardly be a human being." Evelyn Waugh
mark_samuels is offline   Reply With Quote
6 Thanks From:
cynothoglys (08-29-2015), Druidic (11-16-2014), gveranon (11-16-2014), KrakenMundi (11-16-2014), qcrisp (11-16-2014), ramonoski (11-16-2014)
Old 11-16-2014   #10
gveranon's Avatar
gveranon
Grimscribe
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,086
Quotes: 0
Points: 26,193, Level: 100 Points: 26,193, Level: 100 Points: 26,193, Level: 100
Level up: 0% Level up: 0% Level up: 0%
Activity: 57% Activity: 57% Activity: 57%
Re: Borges comments briefly on Lovecraft' "bogus" story

Quote Originally Posted by mark_samuels View Post
Supernatural? We're each and every one of us supernatural entities.
Mark S.
I think Ligotti would say the same, but he'd mean something different by it!
gveranon is offline   Reply With Quote
3 Thanks From:
ChildofOldLeech (11-16-2014), cynothoglys (08-29-2015), Druidic (11-16-2014)
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
bogus, borges, briefly, comments, lovecraft, story

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
The Most "Screwed-Up" Book/Story You've Ever Read? Nirvana In Karma General Discussion 17 08-16-2016 12:04 PM
"Lovecraft, Nihilism, and Fascism: An Article by Paul St John Mackintosh" Dr. Locrian H. P. Lovecraft 59 02-04-2015 11:54 PM
Lovecraft, Racism, & The "Man of His Time" Defense Nicole Cushing Cthulhu Mythos 23 06-29-2012 09:03 AM
film inspired by Lovecraft's"Shadow out of Time" and "Shadow Over Innsmouth" rresmini H. P. Lovecraft 1 04-10-2011 11:06 AM
Ligotti comments on "Blood will have its Season" LadyLovecraft General Discussion 8 09-22-2009 10:34 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:40 AM.



Style Based on SONGS OF A DEAD DREAMER as Published by Silver Scarab Press
Design and Artwork by Harry Morris
Emulated in Hell by Dr. Bantham
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Template-Modifications by TMS