(urth) Borges

James Wynn crushtv at gmail.com
Mon Nov 23 09:17:01 PST 2009

>>I've always thought the Borges=Ultan theory was tenuous.
>>Not impossible, just not much supporting it beyond Utlan's
>>blindness. Borges is a great writer, but other than "The Book of
>>Imaginary Beings" which cites the Baldanders, I haven't noted much
>>influence from him. Of course, that might be due to a deficiency in
>>my Borges knowledge.[snip]While Wolfe might well have been
>>introduced to the monster "Baldanders" by Borges...

>In terms of Borges influencing Wolfe (in general and BOTNS in particular),
>the Borges story Funes the Memorious features a character who
>remembers everything in perfect detail
>Gene Wolfe has also commented on the influence of Borges:
>GW: Yes, I took the name of the giant who is still growing from
>The Book of Imaginary Beings

Well, that certainly settles where he got the name, although how it relates 
to Wolfe's constantly growing giant is still a mystery to me.

And also Borges was a blind librarian of South America. Even if one happily 
embraced the theory that Buenos Aires is Nessus, that's still a thin hook to 
hang a theory that Ultan was patterned on Borges...not that I don't *like* 
the theory and it certainly does no harm. But while I heard and read Wolfe 
repeatedly allude to Chesterton and Vance being "influences" (and he 
explicitly identified The Dying Earth as his "golden book"), I've never 
heard him say that about Borges. Its seems such a grand honor to give to 
another writer (some have even associated Cyby with Wolfe himself). It 
suggests an association greater than mere professional and artistic 

By the way, does anyone have the lyrics to 70s folk band Ougenweide's song 
"Bald Anders"?


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