Of Borges’ 1935 book, The Universal History of Infamy, the best things are: a, the title, and b., the preface, a glorious meditation on the baroque which has had many repercussions in Latin American lit and historiography. The stories themselves, though, are a bit thin. Still, it is a title to dream about. Infamy has filled our eyes and ears so often, since it was written, that we are all becoming a bit nearsighted and deaf. In a sense, these fictions – inspired, I think, by a French tradition going from Nerval to Marcel Schwab, of which the English equivalent is Pater’s Imaginary portraits – have also inspired, or at least communicated secretly (secret communications are the plumbing of culture, vases communicants indeed) with the vein of microhistory that revived the discipline in the 70s and 80s. One dreams of, say, a Universal history of survivors, a Universal history of double agents, etc. And yet, the universal here is pointillist – it is a matter of extending the anecdote.
“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears
Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann
"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads