By Lisa Block De Behar

Lisa Bock de Behar explores the trope of citation within the works of Jorge Luis Borges.

Borges cites innumerable authors within the pages making up his life's paintings, and innumerable authors have mentioned and proceed to quote him. greater than a determine, then, the citation is a vital part of the cloth of his writing, a material made anew through every one examining and every re-citation it undergoes, within the unending throes of a work-in-progress. Block de Behar makes of this examining a plea for the very paintings of verbal exchange; a tradition that takes group now not within the totalized and totalizable soil of pre-established definitions or essences, yet at the ineluctable repetitions that represent language as such, and that warrantly the expansiveness-through etymological coincidences of which means, via ancient contagions, via translinguistic sharings of specific experiences-of a undeniable index of universality.

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Extra info for Borges: The Passion of an Endless Quotation

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From which we may conclude that, as Borges comments apropos of Bouvard and Pécuchet, “the action does not occur in time but rather in eternity,”51 a reflection that would also correspond to his story. Within the literary frame installed by Borges’s narrative statute, the reading of the Gospel reconciles at once model and realization: “The individual is in some way the species, and the Keats’s nightingale is also Ruth’s nightingale,” Borges says in Otras Inquisiciones,52 and it is that coincidence that justifies the reflection that I transcribe as an epigraph.

Without naming it, he warns: “So is it that in the word difference (différence), a letter, the seventh, was exchanged for the first letter of the alphabet, in secret, silently. Sufficient for the text to be another,”40 or for the text to be. In the same way as Derrida, Edmond Jabès does not formulate simply a claim for writing, but rather, recognizing its emergence, he deconstructs the illusion that impedes our distinguishing among logos-truth-presence. In French, the substitution is neither heard nor said; it is hardly even written: différence/différance, and in that operation—substitution without suppression—is verified its relevance.

Borges’s theological exercises weave another atrocious version of literary passion: high fidelity puts reading at risk. Because of faith, because of identification, the fidelity manifested by his characters is at least doubled; the risk as well. In a certain way, the Borgesian material conforms to the cycle of evangelical narration: just as Mark recounted what Peter had recounted, so does Espinosa recount what Mark recounted. 24 Borges By way of the out-loud reading of the Gospel, Baltasar Espinosa, “whose theology was uncertain,”43 Borges says, consummates a precarious con-substantiation.

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