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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: February ::
Shakespeare and the Qu'ran
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0393  Friday, 25 February 2005

[1]     From:   Julia Griffin <
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        Date:   Thursday, 24 Feb 2005 19:06:20 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0380 Shakespeare and the Qu'ran

[2]     From:   Al Magary <
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        Date:   Thursday, 24 Feb 2005 23:25:39 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0380 Shakespeare and the Qu'ran


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Julia Griffin <
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Date:           Thursday, 24 Feb 2005 19:06:20 -0500
Subject: 16.0380 Shakespeare and the Qu'ran
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0380 Shakespeare and the Qu'ran

In answer to Professor Hawkes's post on Borges' Pierre Menard: not
quite.  The twist is that he has not copied Don Quixote, nor memorized
it, but invented it (parts of it) on the basis of memory - an exercise
he justifies on the weird grounds that a reader's knowledge of a book
read some time before and partly forgotten is equivalent to ("can well
equal" - Penguin trans) the knowledge the author has of it before it is
written.

But of course the result, though verbally identical, is quite different.

Julia Griffin

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Al Magary <
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Date:           Thursday, 24 Feb 2005 23:25:39 -0800
Subject: 16.0380 Shakespeare and the Qu'ran
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0380 Shakespeare and the Qu'ran

T. Hawkes is incorrect in saying that Peter Bridgman was incorrect in
saying that "Pierre Menard" in Borges' story wrote an identical
_Quixote_ "without copying from Cervantes."  I might join Borges in
suggesting that Mr. Hawkes would "besmirch his illustrious memory," for
one must surely "be obliged to note that his goal was never a mechanical
transcription of the original:  he had no intention of *copying* it.
His admirable ambition was to produce a number of pages which
coincided--word for word and line for line--with those of Miguel de
Cervantes."

Menard explained in a letter that Borges quotes, "I have assumed the
mysterious obligation to reconstruct, word for word, the novel that for
him was spontaneous."  Borges describes how Menard produced the
fragments:  "He dedicated his scruples and his nights 'lit by midnight
oil' to repeating in a foreign tongue a book that already existed.  His
drafts were endless; he stubbornly corrected, and he ripped up thousands
of handwritten pages.  He would allow no one to see them, and took care
that they not survive him."

Cheers,
Al Magary

PS--I am uniquely privileged to have seen Menard's MS.  Though I have
forgotten where, and believe the pages were lost in the last war, I can
easily reproduce Menard's Quixote if someone would carefully describe
which parts are desired.  I will be happy to do that once I have
completed _Love's Labour's Won_.

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