Sunday, January 18, 2009

Thomas Hall Lecture 1

It has been suggested that the text is referencing Borges’ relationship with his father. Shortly before Borges wrote “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote”, his father died. Both father and son admired each other. It is also noteworthy that Borges had received a head injury between the bereavement and writing the text.

I think that the text becomes the new Quixote itself.

In Cervantes’ Don Quixote, Alonso Quixano is a retired man obsessed with acts of chivalry. In a deluded manner, he calls himself Don Quixote de la Mancha and sets out on adventures to prove his belief of self-heroism, by fighting fictitious enemies.

A parallel can be drawn upon Borges’ character Pierre Menard. Both characters, Quixote and Menard, cite imaginary accounts of their doings and rationale. In the narrative reality, their delusions are both dismissed, but often backed up by ones who show concern. The list of Menard’s personal files may be a kin to Quixote’s recollections of tales of gallantry. For example, as Quixote fights what he sees as giants, they are in actuality windmills. So for Menard’s heavyweight texts, they may be considered scribbling of a mad man. Another parallel is that of Menard’s Countess de Bacourt, an advocate of Menard’s work, could be considered to be Cervantes’ or rather Quixote’s Dulcinea del Toboso, a farm girl elevated in status and renamed by Quixote to raise his deluded ego.

The question I have left from my initial thoughts on this text is, whom is Borges relating himself to the Cervantes book. Is he Cervantes himself? Or is he (which is my preferred line of enquiry), Sancho Panza, the realist who goes along with Quixote’s imaginary account of encounters, but knows Quixote’s view or interpretation is far from factual.


StrangePlace said...

actually your comments have made me think about the work in a new light as to who the auther himself was. which i suppose in itself proves the work in is somewhat context sensitive in how much you know about the cercumstances of the writing of the peice itself

tomT01 said...

My thoughts haven't changed on this. It is a good practical joke. Don't believe every word you read!