Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The discovery of Uqbar

Now I want to teach a class that will start perhaps with Kafka and then move through Beckett, Borges, Nabokov, Primo Levi, Georges Perec, David Markson...

So - Borges' "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius":
The contact and the habit of Tlön have disintegrated this world. Enchanted by its rigor, humanity forgets over and again that it is a rigor of chess masters, not of angels. Already the schools have been invaded by the (conjectural) "primitive language" of Tlön; already the teaching of its harmonious history (filled with moving episodes) has wiped out the one which governed in my childhood; already a fictitious past occupies in our memories the place of another, a past of which we know nothing with certainty - not even that it is false. Numismatology, pharmacology and archeology have been reformed. I understand that biology and mathematics also await their avatars...


  1. That sounds WONDERFUL. What would be on the fantasy-syllabus of this course?