Part 1: A 250-word (maximum) abstract must contain: 1) A research question; 2) A thesis statement; 3) A statement of how the thesis statement applies to the chosen film and Borges’ fiction; 4) A state

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Part 1: A 250-word (maximum) abstract must contain: 1) A research question; 2) A thesis statement; 3) A statement of how the thesis statement applies to the chosen film and Borges’ fiction; 4) A statement about the conceptual framework (ideas from the secondary scholarly sources).

Part 2: The final project consists of a research paper that explores the relevance of Borges’ writings in contemporary culture within the United States. The project should analyze a film of your choice through the lens of Borges’ ideas. The analysis must incorporate at least TWO of his works read in class and at least TWO secondary scholarly sources.

The final project will consist of at least FIVE pages in length (Times New Roman, 12 pt., double space, or about 1500 words) PLUS a list of bibliographical references.

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The movie is Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, David Slade

I have attached 2 Borges fiction readings (Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius. AND Coleridge’s Dream) and I have also attached the secondary scholarly sources (Baudrillard-simulacra, AND THE CONCEPT OF TIME OF JORGE LUIS BORGES)

Part 1: DUE May 7th at 10 pm est.

Part 2: DUE May 13th at 11 pm est.

I will not pay until both parts of the paper are complete.

Part 1: A 250-word (maximum) abstract must contain: 1) A research question; 2) A thesis statement; 3) A statement of how the thesis statement applies to the chosen film and Borges’ fiction; 4) A state
C o le rid g e ’s D re a m T he lyric fragm ent “K ubla K han” (fifty-odd rhym ed and irregular lines of exquisite prosod y) w as dream ed by the E nglish poet S am uel T aylor C oleridge on a sum m er day in 1797. C oleridge w rites that he had retired to a farm near E xm oor; an indisposition obliged him to take a sedative; sleep overcam e him a few m om ents after reading a passage in P urchas that describes the construction of a palace by K ublai K han, the em peror w hose fam e in the W est w as the w ork of M arco P olo. In C oleridge’s dream , the text he had coincidentally read sprouted and grew ; the sleeping m an intuited a series of visual im ages and, sim ply, the w ords that expressed them . A fter a few hours he aw oke, certain that he had com posed, or received, a poem of som e three hundred lines. H e rem em bered them w ith particular clarity an d w as able to transcribe th e fragm ent that is now part of his w ork. A n unexpected visitor in terrupted him , and it w as later im possible for him to recall th e rest. “T o his no sm all surprise and m ortification,” C oleridge w rote, “that th ough he still retained som e vague and dim recollection of the general purport of the vision, yet, w ith the exception of som e eight or ten scattered lines and im ages, all the rest had passed aw ay like the im ages on the surface of a stream into w hich a stone has been cast, but, alas! w ithout the after restoration of the latter!” S w in burne felt that w hat he had been able to recover w as the suprem e exam ple of m usic in the E nglish language, and that the perso n capable of analyzing it w ould be able— the m etaphor is K eats’— to unravel a rainbow . T ranslations or sum m aries of poem s w hose principal virtue is m usic are useless and m ay be harm ful; it is best sim ply to bear in m ind, for now , that C oleridge w as given a page of undisputed splendor in a dream . T he case, although extraordinary, is not unique. In his psychological study, T he W orld o f D ream s, H avelock E llis has com pared it w ith that of the vio linist and com poser G iuseppe T artini, w ho dream ed that the D evil (his slave) w as playing a m arvelous sonata on the violin; w hen h e aw oke, the dream er deduced, from his im perfect m em ory, the “Trillo del D iavolo.” A nother classic exam ple of unconscious cerebration is that of R obert L ouis S tev enson, to w hom — as he him self described it in his “C hapter on D ream s”— o ne dream gave the plot of O lalla and another, in 1884, the plot of Jekyll and H yde. T artini, w aking, w anted to im itate the m usic he had heard in a dream ; S tevenson received outlines of stories— form s in general— in his. C loser to C o leridge’s verbal inspiration is the one attributed by the V enerable B ede to C aedm on (H istoria ecclesiastica gentis A nglorum IV , 24). T he case occurred at the end of the seventh century in the m issionary and w arring E ngland of the S axon kingdom s. C aedm on w as an uneducated shepherd and w as no longer young; one night he slipped aw ay from som e festivity because he knew that the harp w ould be passed to him and he didn’t know how to sing. H e fell asleep in a stable, am ong the ho rses, and in a dream som eone called him by his nam e and ordered him to sin g. C aedm on replied that he did not know how , but the voice said, “S ing abou t the origin of created things.” T hen C aedm on recited verses he had never heard. H e did not forget them w hen he aw oke, and w as able to repeat them to the m onks at the nearby m onastery of H ild. A lthough he couldn’t read, the m onks explained passages of sacred history to him and he, as it w ere, chew ing the cud, converted the sam e into m ost harm onious verse; and sw eetly repeating the sam e m ade his m asters in their turn his hearers. H e sang the creation of the w orld, the origin of m an, and all the history of G enesis: and m ade m any verses on the departure of the children of Israel out of E gypt, and their entering into the land of prom ise, w ith m any other histories from holy w rit; the incarnation, passion, resurrection of our L ord, and his ascension into heaven; the com ing of the H oly G host, and the preaching of the apostles; also the terror of future judgm ent, the horror of the pains of hell, and the delights of heaven; besides m any m ore about the D ivine benefits and judgm ents . . . H e w as the first sacred poet o f the E nglish nation. “N one could ever com pare w ith him ,” B ede w rote, “for he did not learn the art of poetry from m en, but from G od.” Y ears later, he foretold th e hour of his death and aw aited it in sleep. L et us hope that he m et his angel again. A t first glance, C oleridge’s dream m ay seem less astonishing than that of his precursor. “K ubla K han” is a rem arkable com position, and the nine-line hym n dream ed by C aedm on barely displays any virtues beyond its oneiric origin; but C oleridge w as already a poet w hile C aedm on’s vocation w as revealed to him . T here is, how ever, a later event, w hich turns the m arvel of the dream that engendered “K ubla K h an” into som ething nearly unfathom able. If it is true, the story of C o leridge’s dream began m any centuries before C oleridge and has not yet ended. T he poet’s dream occurred in 1797 (som e say 1798), and he published his account of the dream in 1816 as a gloss or justification of the unfinished poem . T w enty years later, in P aris, the first W estern version of one of those universal histories that are so abundant in P ersian literature appeared in fragm entary form : the C om pendium of H istories by R ashid al-D in, w hich dates from the fourteenth century. O ne line reads as follow s: “E ast of S hang- tu, K ublai K han built a palace according to a plan that he had seen in a dream and retained in his m em ory.” T he one w ho w rote this w as a vizier of G hazan M ahm ud, a descendant of K ublai. A M ongolian em peror, in the thirteenth century, dream s a palace and builds it according to his vision; in th e eighteenth century, an E nglish poet, w ho could not have know n that this construction w as derived from a dream , dream s a poem about the palace. C om pared w ith this sym m etry of souls of sleeping m en w ho span continents and centuries, the levitations, resurrections, and apparitions in the sacred books seem to m e quite little, or nothing at all. H ow is it to be explained? T hose w ho autom atically reject the supernatural (I try alw ays to belong to this group) w ill claim that the story of the tw o dream s is a coincidence, a line draw n by chance, like the shapes of lions or horses that are som etim es form ed by clouds. O thers w ill argue that the poet som ehow knew that the E m peror had dream ed the palace, and then claim ed he had dream ed the poem in order to create a splendid fiction that w ould palliate or justify the truncated and rhapsodic quality of the verses. 19 T his seem s reasonable, but it forces us to arbitrarily postulate a text un know n to S inologists in w hich C oleridge w as able to read, before 1816, about K ublai’s dream . 20 M ore appealing are the hypotheses that transcend reason: for exam ple, that after the palace w as destroyed, the soul of the E m peror penetrated C oleridge’s soul in order that the poet could rebuild it in w ords, w hich are m ore lasting than m etal and m arble. T he first dream added a palace to reality; the second, w hich occurred five centuries later, a poem (or the beginning of a poem ) suggested by the palace; the sim ilarity of the dream s hints of a plan; the enorm ous length of tim e involved reveals a superhum an executor. T o speculate on the intentions of that im m ortal or long-lived being w ould be as foolish as it is fruitless, but it is legitim ate to suspect that he has not yet achieved his goal. In 1691, F ather G erbillon of the S ociety of Jesus confirm ed that ruins w ere all that w as left of K ublai K han’s palace; of the poem , w e know that barely fifty lines w ere salvaged. S uch facts raise the possibility that this series of dream s and w orks has not yet ended. T he first dream er w as given the vision of the palace, and he built it; the second, w ho did not know of the other’s dream , w as given the poem about the palace. If this plan does not fail, som eone, on a night centuries rem oved from us, w ill dream the sam e dream , and not suspect that others have dream ed it, and he w ill give it a form of m arble or of m usic. P erhaps this series of dream s has no end, or perhaps the last one w ill be the key. A fter w riting this, I glim psed or thought I glim psed another explanation. P erhaps an archetype not yet revealed to m ankind, an eternal object (to use W hitehead’s term ), is gradually entering the w orld; its first m anifestation w as the palace; its second, the poem . W hoever com pares them w ill see that they are essentially the sam e. [1951] — Translated by E liot W einberger
Part 1: A 250-word (maximum) abstract must contain: 1) A research question; 2) A thesis statement; 3) A statement of how the thesis statement applies to the chosen film and Borges’ fiction; 4) A state
THE CONCEPT OF TIME OF JORGE LUIS BORGES Author(s): Albert I. Bagby, II Source: Romance Notes , Spring, 1965 , Vol. 6, No. 2 (Spring, 1965), pp. 99-105 Published by: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for its Department of Romance Studies Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/43802398 JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected]. Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at https://about.jstor.org/terms is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Romance Notes This content downloaded from 128.228.0.67 on Sun, 08 Jan 2023 04:27:30 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms THE CONCEPT OF TIME OF JORGE LUIS BORGES By Albert I. Bagby, II the reader who is well acquainted with the works of the contemporary essayist Jorge Luis Borges, will already have become aware of the fact that in the discourse of practically all this philosopher’s writings there is a question as to his ideas about time and eternity. Even Borges himself must have been aware of this because when he wrote his book Otras inquisiciones (1952yf K H D W W H P S W H G L Q L W V O D V W F K D S W H r entitled “Nueva refutación del tiempo”, to clarify his ideas about these questions. Borges seems to realize that in his allusions to time he has created a certain confusion about what he thinks and attempts to justify his position. The reader derives frequently from the works of Borges the impression that he is denying time ; nevertheless, what I am attempting to show is that Borges is not refuting time “per se”, but time in its empirical sense as the philosophers of idealism, Ber- keley and Hume, conceive of it. It is certain that a reader who loses himself in the profound lines of a writer like Borges, probably will not consciously have his attention directed to this secondary element which moves in a ghostly manner, perhaps in an almost unnoticed fashion through the philosopher’s narratives. Borges – by means of his temporal allusions – would cause a superficial reader to believe that he actually does not know what the thinks about eternity. In the last paragraph of Otras inquisiciones he concludes: Negar la sucesión temporal, negar el yo, negar el universo astronómico, son desesperaciones aparentes y consuelos secretos. Nuestro destino (a diferencia del infierno de la mitología tibetanayf Q R H V H V S D Q W R V R S R U L U U H D O H V H V S D Q W R V R S R U T X e es ¿reversible y de hierro. El tiempo es un río que me arrebata, pero yo soy el río; es un tigre que me destroza, pero yo soy el tigre; es un fuego que me This content downloaded from 128.228.0.67 on Sun, 08 Jan 2023 04:27:30 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms 100 ROMANCE NOTES consume, pero yo soy el fuego. £1 mundo, desgraciadamente, es real; yo, desgra- ciadamente soy Borges. 1 The author finishes without saying explicitly what time and eter- nity represent to him; he nevertheless leaves fragments of material which enable us to draw some inferences of the ideas he has. The reference to the tiger which destroys him might well remind one of his parable entitled Inferno where he describes a leopard which is created by a powerful entity which tells the animal in a dream what it is to be and how it is to behave. It is but a lowly beast in a complex and chaotic world which will then in turn present it to a particular man at a particular given time who will know it is a savage, hungry, treacherous animal. That is, a man can dream himself into the reality that he wishes while the animal does not posses this protective consciousness and must be conceived in whatever form a superior mind may will. 2 Another example of the reality of “el yo” with time and destiny as substantiating factors is Borges’ parable on Cervantes and the Quixote. Supposedly Cervantes in mockery of himself invented a man who through his reading of glorious tales sought adventure and happiness in prosaic places. Disillusioned by the reality that faced him, this man, Quixote, died in Spain in about 1614, just a short time before Miguel de Cervantes. Both the dreamer and the dreamed one were realities. One is a product of the books of chi- valry; the other of the ordinary averyday world of the seventeenth century. 3 The same question thus persists : Am I who I am, or who I conceive myself to be? Persisting in the illustration of the very same idea, the book Ficciones which appeared in 1944 contains a chapter entitled “Las ruinas circulares” ( The Circular Ruins yf L Q Z K L F K % R U J H V S X V K H V W o its last consequences the hypothesis of Berkeley’s idealism – accord- ing to which the Consciousness is what creates reality. Here we have a man who through the architecture of his dreams invents another 1 Jorge Luis Borges, Otras inquisiciones (Buenos Aires: Emecé Editores, S. A.> 25 junio de 1952yf S . 2 Jorge Luis Borges, Labyrinths, «Selected Stories and other writings». ( A new Directions Book , Copywrited 1962yf S . a Ibid., p. 236. This content downloaded from 128.228.0.67 on Sun, 08 Jan 2023 04:27:30 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms THE CONCEPT OF TIME OF JORGE LUÍS BORGES 101 man, only to find that the new man in turn is not real either. A more powerful consciousness is dreaming (creatingyf K L P 4 In another section of Ficciones entitled The South there is a place where the protagonist Dahlman is in a café pensively caressing a cat. He rationalizes as he smoothes the cat’s black coat – that the contact is an illusion, and that the two beings, man and cat, are as good as separated by a glass – for man lives in time, in succession, 5 while the magical animal lives in the present, in the eternity of the instant. 6 Such ideas as these may be further seen in El truco where Borges expands his favorite belief that all men are really only one man. Furthermore, El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan contains a note relative to the same ideas of Borges. In essence, in The Garden of Forking Paths we find the theory that “The future exists now”. 7 The story supplies a picture, though not complete – of how the uni- verse should be. Here time is thought of not as absolute and uniform, but rather as an infinite series of times in a dizzily growing, ever- spreading network of diverging converging and parallel lines. This web of time intertwines through the passing of centuries, embracing every circumstance and possibility of reality. We exist in some ins- tances and not in others. In some both “you” and “I” exist but all in all we do not exist in most of them. This story is a guessing game in which the subject is time. The word itself, however, is never mentioned. 8 Let us now observe Borges’ reaction to the concepts of those whom he really considers his opponents : The pure idealist Berkeley says that “time is the succession of ideas that flow uniformly and 4 Jorge Luis Borges, Ficciones (Grove Press Inc., New York, copywrited 1962yf S S . 5 It has been pointed out that Borges has created confusion about his beliefs on time; he has perhaps even contradicted himself at times. The fact is, time has meant different things to him in different essays. At any rate, while the reader may choose to interpret the use of the word «succession» here as a contradiction of his supposed ideas, I should hold the point that «succession» as used by him merely means the «moving present» which I subsequently illustrate. 6 See note 4, pp. 169, 170. 7 See note 4, p. 170. 8 See note 4, pp. 99, 100. This content downloaded from 128.228.0.67 on Sun, 08 Jan 2023 04:27:30 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms 102 ROMANCE NOTES of which all beings participate”. 9 While Berkeley is affirming the continuous existence of objects, Hume denies it. Hume also refutes personal identity and makes of each man “a collection of links or awarenesses which succeed each other with inconceivable speed”. 10 According to Hume time is a succession of indivisible moments. 11 Borges criticizes these two idealists from the standpoint that they have created an uncertain, vague, unstable and mental world. For Borges, the world – whatever it is made of – must possess matter and spirit, and subjectivity as well as objectivity. Borges refuses to accept a world made up of pure absolute time, and of evanescing impres- sions. His world is also made of time but is of a different type of time. It is a world based on the ideal architecture of space, an infinite world revolving around e supreme being. A world and time made of spirit – made of God. To Borges the universe is “un infinito multiplicándose en el infinito, y los hombres andamos perdidos, com- plicando el caos con nuestros propios laberintos mentales”. 12 If Borges affirms that Berkeley and Hume are idealistic in their ideas, I would suggest that the temporal allusions he has made mark him as more idealistic than those whom he accuses of being idealis- tic. Borges believes that there is no secret god behind the scenes who governs the acts and receives the impressions. His god is openly and precisely the totality of these things. According to him, we are only the series of these imaginary acts and of these errant impres- sions. What series is Borges talking about? He says: Negados el espíritu y la materia que son continuidades, negado también el espacio, no sé qué derecho tenemos a esa continuidad que es el tiempo. 13 Borges denies – with arguments of idealism itself – the vast tem- poral series which idealism permits. While Hume has denied the existence of an absolute space, in which each thing has its place, 9 Alexander Campbell Fraser, The Works of George Berkeley, «A treatise concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge» (Oxford, The Clarendon Press, 1901yf S . 10 David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, Vol. I, (London. J. M. Dert & Sons Lmtd. New York, E. P. Dutton & Co., Inc., 1956yf S S . 11 Ibid., pp. 69-80. 12 See note 1, pp. 205, 206. 13 See note 1, p. 207. This content downloaded from 128.228.0.67 on Sun, 08 Jan 2023 04:27:30 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms THE CONCEPT OF TIME OF JORGE LUÍS BORGES 103 Borges denies that of one only instant in which all occurences are perpetuated. For him the idea of negating coexistence is no less diffi- cult than denying succession. Borges further adds: Niego lo contemporáneo también. El amante que piensa ‘Mientras yo estaba tan feliz pensando en la fidelidad de mi amor, ella me engañaba’ se engaña; si cada instante que vivimos es absoluto, esa felicidad no fue contemporánea de esa traición; el descubrimiento de esa traición es un estado más, inepto para modificar a los ‘anteriores’ aunque no a su recuerdo. La desventura de hoy no es más que la dicha pretérita. 14 Borges thinks of every instant as autonomous. Nothing can alter the past. According to him, etch moment that we live exists, not its imaginary aggregate. Borges continues: Si el tiempo es un proeso mental ¿cómo pueden compartir de él millares de hombres, o aún dos hombres distintos?» 15 Borges indicates to us – with reason – that time in the form of a succession becomes easily disrupted at the exact moment in which any element of the succession is repeated. Thus, Borges is correct in pointing out that if outside of each awareness (actual or con- jecturalyf P D W W H U G R H V Q R W H [ L V W D Q G L I D O V R R X W V L G H R I H D F K P H Q W D l awareness the spirit does not exist, neither will time exist outside of each present moment! What is Borges really saying? Doubtless he is not refuting time because he himself assures us that denying time involves two negations: (1yf 1 H J D W L Q J W K H V X F F H V V L R Q R I W K H F R Q V W L – tuents of one series, 16 and (2yf Q H J D W L Q J W K H V Q F K U R Q L V P R I W K H S D U W s of two series. 17 Borges therefore criticizes the formulators of an ill-conceived temporal concept and confronts us with a concept which alienates itself further from the representatives of idealism, Berkeley and Hume. Borges gives us three concrete examples of the time-eternity rela- tionship. In his Historia de la eternidad , Borges formulates that the 14 Jorge Luis Borges, Inquisiciones (Buenos Aires: Emecé Editores, S. A., 1925yf S . 15 See note 1, p. 208. 16 See note 1, p. 209. 17 See note 1, p. 209. This content downloaded from 128.228.0.67 on Sun, 08 Jan 2023 04:27:30 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms 104 ROMANCE NOTES universe in which we live requires “eternity”, and adds that to live is to lose time and that we cannot recover or retain anything except under structure of “eternity”. 18 In his presentation of Sentirse en muerte , he tells us of an experi- ence he had while paying e visit to the city of Barracas where he spent his childhood. Borges says that having walked down the same streets, seen the same houses, the same sidewalks, the same turbid and chaotic earth – he came to the conclusion that it was not as if he had surmounted the presumptive waters of time nor returned to the past. What had happened is that he felt himself possessor of the absent or withholding sense of the inconceivable word “eternity”. His experience was a pure representation of homogeneous happen- ings, not only identical to those which transpired or that corner so many years before, but without similarities or repetitions – the very same. 19 In his book El aleph Borges relates an experience which he had in the basement of a rather crazy friend of his called Carlos Argen- tino. He tells us that in the mysterious darkness of the basement he found himself in a certain particular position on one of the steps that were descending, a position from which he could detect a little spot of light or illumination in the midst of the blackness. That small light supposedly represented simultaneously everything one could imagine in the world. That little mystical spot represented the beginn- ing and the end ; the alpha and omega ; all and nothing ; the infinite concept “eternity”. 20 Time and eternity are therefore interlinked. One complements the other. Borges denies the existence of a past and future and con- sequently of time if such an entity really depends on a preterite and on a future. Borges renounces “totality” in order to exalt each one of the parts – and through Berkeley’s and Hume’s dialectic he is able to arrive at a “Schopenhauer”, which consists more or less of the following: The form of the appearance of the will is only the 18 Jorge Luis Borge«, Historia de la eternidad (Buenos Aires: Emecé Edito- res, S. A., 1936yf S . 19 Jorge Luis Borges, El aleph (Buenos Aires: Translated by P. Verdevoye y N. Ibarra, Ligny- Sur-Marne, 1951yf S . 20 Ibid., pp. 136-139. This content downloaded from 128.228.0.67 on Sun, 08 Jan 2023 04:27:30 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms THE CONCEPT OF TIME OF JORGE LUÍS BORGES 105 present, not the past nor the future. No one has lived in the past and no one will live in the future; the present is the form of all life. 21 CONCLUSION: Here, therefore, are formulated Borges’ temporal ideas, and his concept of time of present duration is even better illustrated by a carriage wheel which, while turning, touches the ground at only one spot and at only one instant. So our life is the temporal present and lasts the same as an idea. Thus: According to Borges, time as such does not exist – outside of a limited framework. Things remain the same; we are the ones that change. What really matters is not mental perceptions but attitudes. We make time and by consequence it is a subjective projection of our will, of our very being. Time is an intellectual reaction of our subconscious and all we are able to project is the “right now” (the presentyf , I W L P H L V D P D Q L I H V W D W L R Q R I R X U E H L Q J Z K L F K R Q O H [ L V W V L n the instantaneous “now”, it is neither more nor less than the moving present , and let us bear in mind that the present can suffer a state of movement without necessarily being in succession. Eternity, on the other hand, being limitless time, is the present stopped. Winthrop College. 21 See note 1, p. 209. This content downloaded from 128.228.0.67 on Sun, 08 Jan 2023 04:27:30 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms

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