Several Items

Sun Feb 19, 2006

It was subtle of Borges’s prologue to place Louis-Auguste Blanqui among Origen and Augustine in the list of those who refuted the central conceit of The Invention of Morel. I am looking forward to reading the scholarly comment on this book, which I suspect hasn’t been satisfactorily explained. (Clute’s note in The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, for instance, calls it a “successful search for immortality,” which requires an unusual definition of “successful” and perhaps even “immortality.”)

Chomsky somewhere remarks that bee communicationists have postulated that their dances contain information we can detect, but that the bees themselves cannot. I can’t immediately locate this remark or what inspired it (not, as far as I could see, in Hauser’s The Evolution of Communication), but you have to admire its elegance.

Heinrich Mann did a number of drawings in the style of Grosz. Gore Vidal’s remembrance of Orson Welles is the wittiest thing I’ve ever read by him, though the personals from the NYRB in the late 80s are not to be trifled with, entertainment-wise. Diana Reed Slattery’s The Maze Game (Deep Listening, 2003) seems indebted to the Hesse I was teaching last year at this time.

More books of literary criticism should have on the order of forty-six chapters. John T. Irwin’s The Mystery to a Solution: Poe, Borges, and the Analytic Detective Story (JHUP, 1994) is one of the few.