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This prose piece, sometimes called a blank verse poem, is a continuation of Borges’ career-long inquiry into the meaning of “reality,” and its place in the hierarchy of constructed existences. From “Labyrinths” to “The Garden of Forking Paths,” Borges is constructing in his writing alternate worlds, brought into existence more by the possibilities of imagination than by parallel universes. By “imagination” is meant, not some Alice-in-Wonderland other-world, but the almost mathematical inevitable conclusion to consciousness itself—if the human mind can “perceive” things, then it can also “perceive imagined things”, so that, like a house of mirrors, the imagined being can in turn imagine another and so on ad infinitum. The Library that contains every book possible must also contain the book that says it doesn’t exist. In “Borges and I” (or “Borges and Myself”), the “narrator” declares that the world’s “Borges”, who wins prizes, gives speeches, is recognized in journals, etc. is a construction that the world has devised, but that is distinct not only from the “flesh-and-blood” Borges who walks the streets of Buenos Aries, but from the narrator himself. When a child is being taught the parts of his body (this is you arm, this is your ear, etc. etc.), the child inevitably asks “What part of me is me?” Borges is musing on which Borges is the Borges who is writing this very piece—the famous one who writes things, or the man who walks in Buenos Aries. So, besides being about multiple realities, the piece is also about how we establish our actual one-ness, our uniqueness from the universe that created us (as Martin Buber puts it, I and Thou).
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