Macedonio Fernández reviewed

Macedonio Fernández, The Museum of Eterna's Novel (The First Good Novel), translated from the Spanish with an introduction by Margaret Schwartz, preface by Adam Thirlwell (Rochester, NY: Open Letter, 2010).

In a previous blog post, I quoted briefly a couple of passages about Xul Solar. Here is a more extensive excerpt:

From “Prologue to the Never-Seen”

And here is my review of the novel, together with a table of contents I composed:

The First Good Meta-Novel?

Here is an excerpt from my review related to the prologue excerpted (see prior link):

He makes some tongue-in-cheek references to futurism. He jocularly ponders reader reception, the role of the audience. Without the seductive music of language and an audience, there would be more beautiful works of art, several Cervantes, Heines, etc. Again we find an attack on realism. I find this interesting, if unconvincing, not only for the reference to Heine and other great artists, but for my (and Borges’) interest in combinatorics. There is also an amusing musing about the creation of neologisms, with reference to the artist and language inventor Xul Solar. Invention for Macedonio precedes and supersedes what we call reality.
Jorge Luis Borges was greatly influenced by Macedonio, though I am not certain in what ways. What he thought about the multiplication of works of art as Macedonio indicates, I do not know. I can see how Borges used this idea, but I can also see how Borges would have found the mere manipulation of combinatorics wanting.  File this in The Twilight Zone under ars combinatoria.

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