Sunday, November 29, 2015

Some Recommended Reading: Great Literature Made Easy (Borges)

Oh how well I remember my college Spanish literature class, when we were "reading" (i.e., in my case, anyway, plugging through the story with Spanish-English dictionary at hand, writing down the definitions of about half of all the words in the story) "Funes el Memorioso," by Jorge Luis Borges.

I was so embarrassed when the teacher asked me the meaning of a word which I had not bothered to look up. The word was in this sentence: " Y también, hacia el alba: Mi memoría, señor, es como vacíadero de basuras." Turns out the word was, in English, "garbage." Funes was telling the narrator, at the end of a long night of talking, toward dawn, "My memory, Sir, is like a garbage dump."

That was in the olden days, before the Internet. Just think, if I were studying Spanish literature in the newen days, I could have looked up the story in Spanish AND English, along with innumerable articles interpreting it.

So when the instructor had asked me the next question, about the meaning of this sentence (after he explained that "basura" is Spanish for "garbage" and "vaciadero" is "dumping site," I could have amazed him with a bunch of literary interpretations. Or I could have just consulted Wikipedia, which would link me to a TON of literary and not-so-literary ideas I could have used to write a crazy good paper. What if I had read only these three references from the Wikipedia page:
Oliver Sacks (2008-04-16). "Life-changing books: The Mind of a Mnemonist". New Scientist. 
The woman who can remember everything, The Telegraph, 9 May 2008

A Case of Unusual Autobiographical Remembering" Psychology Press, 2006

I could have even watched a movie made from the story:

1 comment:

Jeff Wynn said...

The Newen Days. A new family word/expression.